The NFL draft process is in the home stretch, with the 2013 NFL Draft itself just over two weeks away. From college players declaring for the draft to the Scouting Combine through various Pro Days and on to private workouts and local prospect days, the news is filled with scouting reports and draft stock watches. Of course, through all of those reports, mock drafts are changed, updated, and re-written. Over the past two days, six mock drafts have been updated by the CBS Sports NFL analysts.
Of the six different mocks, only two of them projected the same player going to the Miami Dolphins, and it's likely not the player you expected the Dolphins to land.
The first mock draft comes from Rob Rang, who sees the Dolphins selecting Alabama guard Chance Warmack. Of the pick, Rang writes:
The Dolphins have added talented pass-catchers for Ryan Tannehill but they won't do any good if he doesn't have time to throw. Miami lost left tackle Jake Long to the St. Louis Rams and allowed veteran guard Brandon Moore to leave town after hosting a visit with the New York Jets' free agent. With the top offensive tackles off the board, general manager Jeff Ireland might do the next best thing by selecting Warmack, who some believe is the best overall player in the draft and only available here due to the fact that he's "just a guard."
I cannot really find fault with this pick. The Dolphins have to address the offensive line, it's really that simple. As Rang points out, the Dolphins have a ton of new toys for their offense, but it will not be any good if Tannehill can't throw a pass because he's getting leveled every time he drops back.
The Dolphins are retooling the offensive line from Tony Sparano's power blocking scheme to Joe Philbin's zone blocking plan. They have to take the players that fit that scheme, and offensive line may now be the top need heading into the draft after adding two receivers and a tight end to the arsenal around Tannehill.
However, Dane Brugler sees the Dolphins going exactly the opposite direction from Rang. Rather than trying to protect Tannehill with their first pick, Brugler has them trying to attack opposing quarterbacks with defensive end Ezekiel Ansah. Brugler explains:
The Dolphins addressed several of their needs in free agency, but still have some question marks at offensive tackle and defensive end. And with the top-three tackles off the board, Miami might elect to draft a pass rusher and with Ziggy Ansah still available, that becomes a no-brainer.
Again, this seems like a great pick for the Dolphins. They need a pass rusher opposite Cameron Wake, even if Olivier Vernon develops as everyone hopes he will, and Ansah is seen as one of the top prospects at the position. He has a high ceiling, but will require time to continue to develop. He is going to go early in the draft, but if he is still available with the 12th pick, Miami has to consider it.
The third mock draft returns to the offensive line as Pat Kirwan sees Miami selecting Alabama offensive tackle D.J. Fluker. Of the pick, which many will see as a reach, Kirwan writes:
The Dolphins have the salary cap space to buy a veteran right tackle like Andre Smith, Tyson Clabo or Eric Winston, but haven't made that move and it's the second week of April. Fluker is a plug-in right tackle who facilitates moving Jonathan Martin to the left side.
Fluker is the fourth tackle in a draft class with three elite tackles. He probably would succeed in the NFL as a right tackle, but the Dolphins could probably use the pick on another need and still get a right tackle answer in the second round. If the team were to take Fluker with this pick, I would not be overly upset, but I think they could do better.
Clark Judge comes in with the fourth mock draft update for CSB Sports. Looking at the Dolphins' pick, Judge sees the team taking the most popular pick among mock drafts right now for Miami, Florida State cornerback Xavier Rhodes. Judge succinctly explains, "Dolphins trying to catch New England, so anything you can do to stop Tom Brady is advised."
Taking Rhodes seems like the way most people predict the Dolphins to go this year, and it does make sense. The team needs to upgrade the cornerback position after seeing 2009 first round pick Vontae Davis and second round pick Sean Smith, leave the team over the past two offseasons. However, after the signing of Brent Grimes, adding a cornerback may not be a first round priority for Miami.
Finally, we reach Pete Prisco and Will Brinson, who both see the Dolphins selecting Alabama cornerback Dee Milliner in the twelfth spot. Most predict Milliner to be gone long before the Dolphins make their first selection, but if he is sitting on the board by the time Miami is on the clock, he's going to be the selection.
Prisco explains the pick writing, "They have to find a starter to fill the void left by Sean Smith."
Meanwhile, Brinson writes:
Jeff Ireland also would've liked one of the top tackles here and I wouldn't rule out a trade up by the Dolphins in this draft especially given how aggressive they've been this offseason, but having the top-rated cornerback in the draft drop their way is something they'll take in a heartbeat, especially after losing Sean Smith this offseason.
What do you think of these six mock drafts? Which one of these projections do you think is the most likely? Would you go somewhere else with the pick? Let us know in the comments below.