Let's face it, friends and neighbors. The 2013 season has been quite underwhelming for Miami Dolphins fans. It may be early for some, but I'm already spending quite a bit of time examining prospects for the 2014 draft, next April. Before we begin, let's focus on Miami's needs, due to lack of current production and/or players leaving via free agency after the 2013 season - OT, OG, DT, TE, S, CB, WR, RB. Please keep in mind that a few of these needs (such as CB and DT) depends on who Miami re-signs. My money is on Miami signing Brent Grimes to an extension, and possibly one of the defensive tackles. Get your produce ready to throw - here are my selections:
Round 1 - Antonio Richardson - OT, Tennessee. I'll probably take a lot of grief for making this selection, given the propensity of most fans looking for play-makers, but let's face it, Dolphins fans; the offensive line is a mess. At this point, I'm targeting Richardson because Jake Matthews seems to be out of reach in Round 1.
Round 2 - Anthony Johnson - DT, LSU. "The Freak" is exactly as he's advertised. Ever since he was a Freshman at LSU, despite being behind 2 future NFL picks, Johnson has displayed the ability to rush the passer from the defensive tackle position, and hold his own in the running game. Johnson could easily move up in the rankings between now and April, but if he's here in round 2, he's a must get.
Round 3 - Zack Martin - G/T, Notre Dame. Oh c'mon...ANOTHER lineman? Yes, indeed...do you see a theme here? Though Martin is starting at Tackle currently, he projects to move inside to Guard on Sunday afternoons. With Incognito being a free agent at the end of this season at LG, and yet another hole at RG, Martin could see immediate playing time in 2014.
Round 4 - Arthur Lynch - TE, Georgia. Lynch displays a decent ability to block in the running game, and as we saw this season, he has the speed and skills to put up huge numbers in the middle of the field. This is Tannehill's new security blanket.
Round 5 - Lamarcus Joyner - S, Florida State. Joyner has the ability to play CB in a pinch, probably in nickel and dime situations over the slot, but for my money, he's the replacement for Chris Clemons next season. I'm putting a lot of stock in the 2 rookies Miami drafted in 2013 to pick up the slack next season, so Joyner solidifies the secondary next to budding superstar, Reshad Jones.
Round 6 - T.J. Jones - WR, Notre Dame. A go-to wide receiver in 2013 for Notre Dame, Jones has put up impressive numbers, despite Tommy Rees doing everything possible to hurt his draft stock.
Round 7 - Michael Dyer - RB, Louisville. This pick could be a horrible bust, but a running back who could have been a 1st or 2nd day pick, if he didn't get into trouble while at Auburn, is worth a late round flier here.
So there you have it, Dolphins fans. It's never too early to think about the future.