By my estimation, here are the Miami Dolphins needs as of March 17th at 3:20 p.m.
2 CB's (one could even argue 3)
2 OT's (one could argue 1)
1 TE (one could argue 0)
1 OG (one cannot argue)
Cases could be made for RB, S, and DE as well. But I consider the aforementioned 4 more pressing, because we need starters at these positions (CB), or significant competition for the incumbent (OT, OG, TE).
Things to consider:
1. If Long signs with St. Louis, we have an immediate need for a starter at T, as well as an unproven LT in Jonathan Martin. Even if Yeatman is some secret OT assassin, we still need to have competition with Martin and/or depth for the both of them.
2. Our CB play cost us at least 2 games last year (Arizona, 4th and 10 ring a bell? Indianapolis, a double team gets usurped by a stumblin', fumblin', bumblin' Sean Smith and allows TY a most egregious TD). And this unit has gotten worse. I know there is still time to salvage a good CB corps, whether it be a free agent and draft picks, or multiple draft picks. But this situation has me downright scared about 2013. We need a serious game plan.
3. John Jerry was painfully average last year - and that might even be a compliment. Competition is necessary for him to either A) bring out the best in him, or B) find his replacement. Incognito is in the last year of his contract.
4. We signed Keller, but he's a stop-gap solution at this point. Clay and Egnew are still unknown, and Clay is running out of opportunities to prove that he can be consistent. With a Keller/Clay/Egnew group we have probably the worst blocking TE's in the league. We need a multi-dimensional TE so defenses actually have to guess whether the TE is going to stay in and block, or go out on a route. It would be nice to occasionally keep the defense off-balance when a TE is in the game.
5. A bag of potato chips is sooooooo much better than a bag of popcorn. I don't even know why popcorn is that popular. It's either movie-theater propaganda/brainwashing or it's the fact that you can stuff half a bag of popcorn into your mouth at once and get multiple kernels smashed into your clothes and it's somehow socially acceptable and even revered.
6. Having one of those dreams where you can take control and direct what happens next is one of the coolest things ever. You can take the weirdness to a new level, get revenge, be friends with somebody famous, or find a way to have sex with everybody. Or you can have a dream where you were walking down the street completely naked except for a necktie, get revenge against the bully from middle school (he was wearing clothes, what a loser), run into Dave Chappelle on the street and go to the strip club with him, and (wouldn't you know it) all the strippers want to have sex with you! Crazy how that works. Either way it's pretty sweet.
OK, I digress.....
Here are some mid- and late-round prospects I have circled in case the Dolphins strike out in free agency and the 1st 3 rounds of the draft....Also....please keep in mind that these are 4th-round talents and beyond. Each and every one of them will have question marks and weaknesses, but yet, year after year, some of these guys become quality players in the league.
Reid Fragel, ~5th round, Ohio State. A converted TE (played TE his 1st 3 years at OSU) that has the athleticism, quickness, and ability to add muscle without comprimising lateral agility (he added 20 pounds between his junior and senior year and retained all of his quickness. Scouts believe he can add another 20 pounds to his frame easily.) He was Honorable Mention All-Big 10 in the only year he has ever played the position. His technique is at times sloppy and he has trouble recognizing disguised blitzes and stunts. However, I think these are coachable things.
David Quessenberry, ~4/5th round, San Jose St. Rated just below Johnson and Fisher at the Senior Bowl. He can play both guard and tackle, has great quickness, and shows his chops in pass blocking. He's usually referred to as "polished", which usually means he has a low ceiling. However, most scouts have him rated as a consistent OT who projects as a RT in the league. His versatility could also have him play G, although he would need to add a little weight, but has the athleticism necessary for the zone-blocking scheme.
Ricky Wagner, ~5/6th round, Wisconsin. A Division-1 basketball player who decided to walk-on at Wisconsin. He is used to having to prove himself. Wisconsin also has a great track record of developing OL talent at the NFL level. He played on both sides while at Wisconsin, protecting Russell Wilson's blindside (earning Honorable Mention all-Big 10 in the process). Not fast enough to play LT, but has the long arms, short-area quickness, and technique to develop into a quality RT. According to scouts, he has limited upside, but could serve as quality depth on the OL.
Leon McFadden, ~3/4th round, San Diego State. A consistent producer, and one of 5 players in team history to be voted 1st-team all-conference in 3 straight years. Fluid feet and hips, allowing him to change directions quickly. Fearless competitor and team leader. Excellent experience and more-than-adequate production. Father was a MLB player so comes with pro-ready demeanor. Inconsistent as a press-cover and size can affect him with bigger receivers - does his best work off-man or in space.
Terry Hawthorne, ~4th/5th round, Illinois. Speed and ball-hawking ability are top-shelf. Reads and reacts in a flash to jump routes. Sometimes is too aggressive in coverage and doesn't always finish the interception. Quick learner, aggressive competitor, and physical in run support.
Johnny Adams, ~6th/7th round, Michigan State. Highly recruited out of high school and a versatile player. Adams has good ball skills, as he made plays even after the interception. He is disciplined and has the potential to play press-man, but is best-suited for zone coverage where he can take advantage of his focus, discipline, and ball skills.
Omoregie Uzzi, 5th/6th round, Georgia Tech. More quick than powerful, but fits the zone-blocking to a T. An explosive and quick athlete. Scouts have compared him to Jahri Evans, with elite-type run blocking ability but lacking in pass blocking skills. He has also demonstrated the ability to get low leverage to protect against bull rushes. Georgia Tech's average offense last year could allow Uzzi to fly under the radar.
JC Tretter, 4th/5th round, Cornell. Athletic and has even more room for muscle. Quick, light feet and admirable lateral agility. Still undersized and lack of quality-level competition are concerns, but has the ability to add some muscle and use his quickness and intelligence to become an effective blocker in the zone scheme.
Jake Stoneburner, 5th/6th round, Ohio State. Not great production overall (but knowing the Buckeyes like I do, they rarely focus the TE as anything other than a 3rd or 4th option on almost every play). However, did score a TD 1 in every 4 times he touched the ball. Ran a 4.52 at his Pro Day and is developing as a blocker (he originally signed with OSU as a WR). Not overpowering as a blocker, but makes up for it with tenacity and a high motor. Easily coachable.
Mychal Rivera, 5th/6th round, Tennessee. Has drawn comparisons to Kellen Winslow Jr. in terms of playing style, he has the potential to stretch the field and has good YAC, route-running, and catching ability. Tough in the run game and also played special teams for the Volunteers. He lacks ideal size and struggled with leverage at times as a blocker, but is a versatile player and a good red-zone target.
You guys intrigued by any of the late-round guys?
Happy St. Patrick's Day to everyone. Enjoy your green beer and corned beef.