So we're about 18 days away from the NFL Draft and, like all of you, I'm beginning to go a little "stir-crazy." And that's why I decided to embark on this post - a post that will probably do nothing more than generate some discussion. After all, any attempt to try to narrow down the list of potential Dolphin draft picks is really nothing more than an exercise in futility.
With that said, here's the plan. I'm hoping to narrow down the list of potential players that the Dolphins will have a shot at with their first two picks - numbers 25 and 44 overall. To do this, I'll have to use my personal draft big board.
So what I've done is taken my own top 50 players in the draft and broken the list into 4 separate groups - locks to be gone by pick 25, likely to be gone by pick 25, players who will likely be available at pick 25, and players who could last into the middle of round 2.
Locks to be drafted by pick #25
These players are virtual certainties to be drafted by the time the Dolphins are on the clock:
Matthew Stafford, Mark Sanchez, Michael Crabtree, Jeremy Maclin, Jason Smith, Eugene Monroe, Michael Oher, Andre Smith, Brian Orakpo, Everette Brown, B.J. Raji, Aaron Curry
Likely to be drafted by pick #25
These players will probably be off the board at pick 25, though there's a chance one or two could fall:
Josh Freeman, Chris Wells or Knowshon Moreno (at least one of them will be off the board), Eben Britton, Tyson Jackson, Brian Cushing, Clay Matthews, Rey Maualuga, Aaron Maybin, Malcolm Jenkins
Likely available at pick #25
These players could be on the board and available for the Dolphins to draft with their 25th pick - but many will not make it down to their second pick (44th overall). Also, 3 of these players will be gone - as I've listed just 21 players above. (Note: if more than 3 are gone, that means at least one of the players listed above have fallen to Miami's pick at 25):
Chris Wells or Knowshon Moreno (whichever one you don't include in the previous group), Kenny Britt, Hakeem Nicks, Darrius Heyward-Bey, Percy Harvin, Donald Brown, Brandon Pettigrew, William Beatty, Alex Mack, Max Unger, Larry English, Robert Ayers, Michael Johnson, Peria Jerry, Evander Hood, Clint Sintim, Connor Barwin, James Laurinaitis, Vontae Davis, Darius Butler, Sean Smith
Likely available at pick #44
These players are from my top 50 and will probably be around for the Dolphins second pick in the draft. However, one or two could be gone (Note: If more than one is gone, that means at least one player above would have fallen to pick 44):
Brian Robiskie, Duke Robinson, Ron Brace, Paul Kruger, Alphonso Smith, D.J. Moore, Louis Delmas, William Moore
So what the hell is my point?
That's probably what you're asking yourself right now. And to be honest - I'm not too sure. Here's what we know, though. The Dolphins will have the opportunity to add 2 of those players mentioned to their roster.
So which two? That's the million dollar question right now. And attempting to get inside the heads of Bill Parcells and Jeff Ireland is just something that isn't possible. But here's what we can do....we can guess.
Of those 50 players I listed, we can remove the 12 who are "locks" to be gone by pick 25. That narrows the list to 38. Then let's remove players who just wouldn't make sense for the Dolphins to select. Those are Josh Freeman, Chris Wells, Knowshon Moreno, and Donald Brown. I also don't see the Dolphins spending one of their first two picks on a tackle, meaning we can eliminate Eben Britton and William Beatty. And just like that, we're down to 32 players. I'm also willing to bet that the Dolphins won't draft Peria Jerry or Evander Hood - two players who would play defensive end in Miami's 3-4. And based on the contracts given to their two starting safeties, I don't think the Dolphins are in the business of searching for a day one safety - which eliminates Louis Delmas and William Moore.
That leaves me with 28 players for the Dolphins first two picks. Of those, 6 are in the "likely to be gone" group - Tyson Jackson, Brian Cushing, Clay Matthews, Rey Maualuga, Aaron Maybin, and Malcolm Jenkins. Outside of Jenkins, who was reportedly told by the Dolphins that he'd have to be a safety in this league, I think the Dolphins would draft any of those players if they fell to 25th overall.
The one wildcard to that theory, though, is Vontae Davis. I put Davis in the "likely available" group just because I'm not sure how other teams will feel about his potential "character concerns." If Vontae is on the board at 25, though, it's hard to imagine the Dolphins not seriously considering him - as he possesses the size and speed this regime wants.
Is there any conclusion to this?
In short - no, there is not. But I know many people are like me in that it's fun to lay out the possibilities in black and white. I will say that I'm fairly confident in saying the Dolphins, if they stay at 25 and 44, will select 2 of those 28 players we've identified as likely options. Which two is obviously up for debate. I think this layout did show that the draft is deeper at wide receiver and pass-rushing outside linebacker than it is at cornerback - which is why I'll be pulling for Vontae Davis, Darius Butler, or Sean Smith with pick #25.