There's just no getting away from a tackling machine like Manti Te'o.
The best thing about the NFL Draft is that you can literally begin talking about next year's event just moments after the last one wraps up. As many here on The Phinsider have mentioned over the last two weeks, the 2013 NFL Draft will be a milestone for the Dolphins, as it will be the first draft in over a decade where the quarterback position isn't Miami's top need. That's a pretty exciting notion unto itself. For once, the Dolphins can actually hunker down and focus on bringing in high-round draft picks to bolster the pass rush, solidify the secondary and further add a lethal element to the receiver corps. Cue the heavy applause.
With an eye on bettering this team next season, yesterday I took some time to check out Mel Kiper's first 2013 Big Board. Aside from my usual reaction whenever reading an initial big board (I almost always question just how many of the listed underclassmen will actually come out), I have to admit how impressed I was with some of the Dolphins-ready talent on the board. I've repeatedly stated my early man-crush on NC State cornerback wunderkind David Amerson, but that's not to say I'd be averse to the Dolphins going with one of the three pass-rush barons (Georgia's Jarvis Jones, LSU's Barkevious Mingo and Sam Montgomery) who will be available next spring. Not surprisingly, all four of these players are in the top eight of Kiper's Big Board.
It doesn't stop there for Dolphins prospects, however. USC receiver Robert Woods is listed at No. 7 on the board, and he'd be a devastating addition to the Dolphins' young, eager offense. Woods should have a fantastic year with quarterback Matt Barkley returning to USC, so keep an eye on him this season.
Speaking of Amerson, the cornerback position should be fully stocked in the 2013 draft. Michigan State's Johnny Adams, Florida State's Xavier Rhodes and Mississippi State's Johnthan Banks are all on Kiper's list. Sean Smith's 2012 season should be a good indicator of whether or not the Dolphins will be looking for a cornerback next offseason.
My sleeper prospect for the Dolphins in 2013 is inside linebacker, and Notre Dame's Manti Te'o, an instinctive run killer with advanced size and strength for the position, lands at No. 10 on the big board. If the Dolphins can't get David Amerson in 2013, I'd be very much okay with nabbing Te'o.
You'll need ESPN Insider to view Kiper's 2013 Big Board.