For most teams the starting goal of each season begins with winning the division. We all know who has won the division 10 out of the 11 past seasons so the teams goal should be focused 100% on beating that opponent.
Looking at the past five playoff appearances the Patriots have lost in the postseason to the Ravens 2x, Giants 2x and the Jets. These are teams that for the most part have won with a bad ass defence in place that were able to slow Brady down to give there offence a chance to not play catchup all game.
So why am I bringing up the obvious you may ask, its simple, I think the Dolphins based on the talent in the draft and where there need for playmakers should be going after two DE in this draft at #12. I will highlight the players below and some assumptions in the offseason.
The Miami Dolphins will be able to land one of the top 3 FA WR - Bowe, Wallace, Jennings (if you have been hibernating all winter and didn't know who they were already)
Jake Long will be allowed to leave in FA (especially with the report that he is expect "at least" 10 mil a season), therefore allowing us to resign two of the following people Starks, Hartline, Smith. In this scenario I am taking Hartline and Smith. I also believe under these circumstances Garner will be resigned.
*please also take into consideration that if Hartline or Smith leave they will be able to sign someone of similar caliber to replace.
The following players will all be taken before the Dolphins select at #12. Star Lotulelei, Damontre Moore, Luke Joeckel, Bjoern Warner, Dee Milliner and Jarvis Jones.
If Warner, Moore, Jones or Milliner fall I would probably take them before the two players I highlight
Like in previous years almost all "holes" in the roster will be addressed in FA with someone who you can live with but not always elite talent. I expect this to be the case at OT and CB.
The Dolphins will be looking to add a playmaker at #12. So if your thinking Long's replacement move on. With that being said if FA is a knockout of the park in the play maker section I would not be against someone like Eric Fisher .. but I don't see that happening.
Add a Dynamic Pass Rusher to put in the rotation. This is the Dolphins #1 need IMO. If they are ever going to beat the Patriots for the division they are going to have to take the blueprint the Giants made famous 5 YEARS AGO !!!!
Keep adding pass rushers til you cut the head off the snake (BRADY BEING THE SLIMY SNAKE) is my point of view.
Players that will be most likely available at 12 that would fit this mold include:
1. Dion Jordan, UO
Dion has been mocked to the Dolphins the most out of any of these players mentioned and would also be my number one player to take. He has rare athletic ability (TE coming out of HS) and can be used in so many ways. In the video you can see him used to cover TEs, stand up and rush the passer and rush with his hand in the dirt. While like any player he is far from perfect but from what I have read and seen this is my guy.
Dion Jordan 2012 Highlights ᴴᴰ (via ThatHighlightChannel)
2. Ezekiel Anash, BYU
"Ziggy" is a raw prospect as he has only been playing football for three years. Like Jordan he is a freak athlete which is what intrigues me most about both prospects. Recently at the Senior Bowl he had a fantastic game but didn't flash enough for some people during practice. Here is his draft profile from nfl.com. It started and ended for me at the JT comparison, we waited over a decade before we drafted our replacement for Marino lets not do the same for JT ;)
Ezekiel "Ziggy" Ansah Highlight Reel - OFFICIAL (via BYU Cougars)
Game Changer on Defense
I'm looking forward to what OV can bring to the table next year and I love the flexibility that Koa Misi brings to the table but the honest truth is we are still short another solid pass rusher. Too many times during the season I found that the Dolphins simply didn't create enough pressure despite the sack totals they put up.
My main reason for liking someone like Anash or Jordan over a more traditional end is the provide flexibilty in how you can use them. They are both are incredibly athletic and can me used in many different ways. For instance this can allow the phins to be lined up with Wake, OV at DE and either one filling in for at OLB or likewise Wake, Jordan at DE with Misi at OLB. Both have the ability to stand and drop and can confuse the QB with multiple looks.
The best way I describe it is they can be used as a "Joker" much like our beloved JT was used during his DPOY season in 06.
To end this off I will say I am not blind that these players are raw and a work in progress but the truth is so would any WR we take at #12. The difference is IMO you can always put a DE and let them rush on 3rd down and they are still very effective players (see Aldon Smith 2011) compared to a WR who you are expecting to make big plays each and every play.