I think as Dolphin fans, we would all like to somehow see either Andrew Luck or Robert Griffin III end up as their 1st Round pick. We've also all heard the difficulties in this happening. The Colts would be crazy not to take Luck with the first pick, and both Cleveland and Washington both have an easier path to selecting Griffin. Personally, I think the Browns will pass and take the RB Richardson, with Griffin either going to the Redskins at #6 or earlier if they feel like they have to move up. The Seahawks could be in play as well if Griffin gets to #5, so the Dolphins have a LOT of competition.
The X-Factor is that one of these teams most likely will be taken out of the bidding due to Matt Flynn. He'll sign with one of these teams (Browns/Redskins/Dolphins/Seahawks) unless a mystery team ends up pursuing him (possibly the Chiefs?). I'd be happy if the Dolphins were that team as long as the contract doesn't get too crazy (I start getting nervous at anything over 5 years/$30 million for a guy who has started two games only in a great offensive system). In no way am I comfortable with a Kevin Kolb (5 years/$60+ million I believe) type deal for Flynn.
If the Dolphins could trade their 1st and 2nd to move up and get Griffin I'd do it. If they could trade their 1st this year and next year I would do it. Anything more than that, I think it is just a bad idea. The Dolphins have good, not great talent on their team and adding a rookie QB at this point will result in something along the lines of Gabbert/Ponder rather than Flacco/Ryan at this point. A rookie QB needs a talented team to step in and be successful, especially a good offensive line to allow them to have an extra second or so to make decisions on where to go with the ball.
So if the price is higher than listed above, my desire is to move on and fill in team needs as best they can with the top 3 picks. Here is what I would try and do if I was Jeff Ireland:
Step 1: Trade down in the 1st Round to pick up and extra 2nd/3rd Round pick. Whatever you can get. Just make sure you can get one of the top rated players on your board in the 1st Round that you absolutely know will step in and start this year. Positions of need include OT or OG, pass rushing end or LB, Free Safety, pass catching TE.
Step 2: With 4 picks now in the top 100 of the draft (after trade, hopefully mid-1st, 40 or so, 70 or so, plus the extra 2nd/3rd with the trade), take one of each of the above list of positions, whoever is highest on the board at that particular time. My preference would be taking offensive line, pass rusher, then TE, and finally safety. I'd be okay in getting another (yes, another) offensive lineman if one of the top 4-5 guys are still available in the 1st after the trade down. Add a free agent OG/OT (like Grubbs, Nicks, or Gaither) and the Dolphins would have one of the top 4-5 lines in the NFL. I'd also be okay with one of the pass rushing guys as the 1st Round pick, but I think in the end one of these guys could fall to us at #40, while there is no way one of the top OT/OG falls that far. Pass rushers are also not as much "sure things" as offensive linemen, so I'm skeptical of the guys that would be available from #15-25.
Step 3: Unless Dwayne Allen TE falls to #40, I would wait until the 3rd Round to pick up the TE. If you can get the best TE in the draft at our 2nd Round pick, take him. If he is gone, go after the best of the remaining pass rushers. If Mark Barron (safety) falls this far, I'm not in favor of taking him. He is more of a SS type and we have plenty of those (I think R. Jones will end up there after Bell retires and will do fine). If an OT/OG was not taken in the 1st Round (and a pass rusher was), I think that has to be the pick here regardless, even if Allen is still available.
Step 4: Third pick, whether it be in the 2nd or 3rd Round would be the best TE available, Barron if he falls this far, or a pass rushing DE/LB.
Step 5: With the Dolphins fourth pick in the first 3 rounds, I'd take the best FS available. I'm not sure who that is, just someone with good range, good ball skills, and has experience playing the middle of the field deep or against TE's. If a safety was picked earlier, then obviously pick whatever position hasn't been selected yet.
Step 6: With the Dolphins 4th Round pick - I would take a QB. I might even be convinced to take a QB in the 3rd Round if the Dolphins really weren't in love with any of the safeties (or have possibly signed a safety in free agency). Maybe this is Brandon Wheeden, who because of his age might be able to step in quicker than a younger QB prospect. Or it could be Kirk Cousins, Nick Foles, Russell Wilson, or whoever has potential to learn over the course of a year or two behind Matt Moore.
Step 7: In the later Rounds, fill in holes (maybe another pass rusher, offensive lineman, or even another QB they like).
This improves the entire team I believe, hopefully getting 2-3 starters out of the first 4 picks and 1-2 others that play an important role on the team. This gives us a strong, young offensive line. I think our WR/RB are set for next year, and although not elite, have a chance to be a top 10 offensive unit (especially with a pass catching seam TE in the mix and another year of Bush/Clay/Thomas playing together). The defense gets help in it's two main concerns - pass rushing and covering the middle of the field. It's a top 10 unit already and a good safety and second outside pass rusher to compliment Wake could push the unit into a top 5 defense.
This gives Matt Moore a solid team to work with on both sides of the ball. With his quality play over the last half of the year, I think he deserves a chance to lead the team next year. Bring in a rookie like Wheeden and an experienced third QB, and I think the Dolphins just might be a playoff team.