What we know: there is a lot of talent this year, just not a lot of elite talent. Also, there seems to be little separating the pack (according to most) after the elite players come off the boards. I first thought......meh......this won't be that hard to figure out. We all know what the team needs and there is plenty of talent to choose from. Well, sorting out so much comparable talent was harder than I thought.
Round 1: Tyler Eifert - TE - Notre Dame
I hear both applause and adamant objections. Those who have read my several comments on this site knew this was coming and why, but the (valid) argument remains the same. He is going off the board in the first round and fairly high because, yes, he's that good. Keller is only here for sure for one season. He is not a great blocker and he might be breaking down physically......... we have no way to know for sure. I don't care about what Egnew "Might" be able to become in time, because it will never be what Eifert is right now: an elite prospect and the best in years at that position. Excepting our cornerback situation, our defense is otherwise good and this pick has to be offense. Not o-line mind you, but playmaker. We will not draft a WR, don't need a RB this early or a QB at all (not that we would pick one of the chumps available anyway). Eifert gives a shot to this newly formed offense than can make it elite for years. Not by himself, but by creating a sustainable strength that makes everyone else better because of him. I hear he is a fair blocker and getting better too.
Round 2a. Kyle Long - OT - Oregon
Honestly, my first choice here would have been Matt Elam or Menelik Watson, but I feel like they will both be gone by this pick. If either is still on the board, I change my pick. As it is, I decided to go with Long. Moore would have been a masterful grab here too, but like Long, his off-field issues/history are scary. I would be worried about drafting Moore and expecting him to behave in South Florida. Long at least seems to be getting his personal life together and his talent at a high need position does it for me. I think we get good value and great talent where we need it.
Round 2b. Jordan Poyer - CB - Oregon St.
There are some very promising CBs in this draft, but in a pass happy league, I'm afraid there will be a run on the upper tier early and often. Also, the drop off on linemen comes more quickly than at other positions which is why I wait until 2b to go corner. My first choices would actually be Taylor, Wilson or Slay, but it depends on what other teams do. Taylor and Wilson could easily go at the end of round 1. If one falls, we take it. I'm not sold on Amerson. I think there is a good shot Poyer is here at the least and we better get the best available when we're on the clock, whomever that may be.
Round 3a. D.J. Swearinger - S - Southern Carolina
DJ projects as a free safety and is a heavy hitter. That's exactly what you would like to have for the long term to solidify the back end of your secondary. Despite a nagging foot injury, I think he's a good risk/reward player who has a nose for the football and plays like he has a vendetta to settle.
Round 3b. Ryan Swope - WR - Texas A&M
I would LOVE to get a Marcus Wheaton, but I doubt he'll be around at a time when we can make a luxury pick for a WR for the future. Why Swope? Like Devon Bess, he's projected as a slot receiver who can also line up outside. He has chemistry already with Tannehill and Mike Sherman's offense. If Bess goes down with an injury, Swope could take his spot with possibly zero drop off. Also, the Phins may not resign Bess after this year and would already have a ready replacement on the roster in this case.
Round 4. Luke Marquardt - OT - Azusa Pacific
Offensive line is the first position to drop off talent wise and so this makes a good round to double up with the O-line depth. Marquardt is a developmental prospect with big upside. He also has a basketball background and is very athletic with quick feet........a good thing for the zone blocking scheme Miami uses. He could provide not only depth but insurance against injury (or someone else's off field issues) and would not have to be a starter right away. Some analysis believe he could become a starting right tackle in the NFL, so if he is there, it would be a good stock-up pick in my opinion.
Round 5a. Bennie Logan - DT - LSU
Some project Logan could fall to this round. I would REALLY like to believe that, but I don't hold my breath. I picked him here hoping because he could really develop into a special player under the guidance of our 2 monster tackles currently on their last year of their contracts. Chris Jones (Bowling Green) is more likely to be here and is a sleeper pick. He's no Logan, but could be pretty good. In that case, I would probably flip picks 5a and 5b.
Round 5b. Quinterus Smith - DE - Western Kentucky
If it were not for an ACL injury, Smith would be long gone by now. He's a sack machine and destroyed D.J. Fluker in the Crimson Tide game. He needs to put on some weight (6'5" 250), but paired up with Cameron Wake..........QBs should be very afraid when Miami lines up. Despite being injured, he racked up 12.5 sacks in 2012 and returned a fumble 75 yards for a TD against Florida Atlantic. If he's here he is a no-brainer pick.
Round 7a. Vernon Kearney - CB - Lane
Here is where it gets interesting. It's very hard to say who will still be around by this time and I would have liked to have taken a linebacker at some point by now, but I just wasn't in love with anyone in the later rounds. That said, like the O-line, this is a time when you stock up and roll the dice for depth. The knock on Kearney is the level of competition he faced. He does have good fluid hips, the length and athleticism to match up well with the other corners in this draft. He is projected as a late round pick and if he's still here, he might be worth a look. He could provide extra insurance, if he lives up to his potential, if Grimes has lingering health issues or someone else gets hurt.
Round 7b. Zack Stacy - RB - Vanderbuilt
Projected for rounds 5-7, he would be a huge steal if he falls this far. Again, I won't hold my breath. He averaged 5.5 per carry and totaled 1,141 and 10 TDs for Vanderbuilt. He could provide good depth and can catch passes out of the backfield too. He's small, only 5'8", but sturdy at 216 lbs and could provide an option to Thomas.
Round 7c. Branden Smith - CB - Georgia
Almost to the MR. IRRELEVANT pick, this one is a huge toss-up and it really depends on what you feel you need. The biggest weakness on the Dolphins, until otherwise proven, is cornerback. Yep, I would actually triple up in this draft. Smith projects as a nickle corner and Nolan Carroll needs to be pushed. Smith needs more development and is not likely to become a starting corner in the NFL, but he did grab 4 INTs last year. Anyone with better hands than another Smith recently on the Dolphins could improve the secondary.
Ok, I didn't like the way things seemed to pan out as the draft progressed and I'm sure some of you will hate about half of these picks. However, its unfortunate that we can't just pick whoever and whenever we would like. Still, I like the potential of these players and what they could do to improve the team. Not knowing how other teams will pick the board makes this a much harder exercise than I thought it would be.
I would be ecstatic for the #1 and #5b picks to fall for us in particular. Are there other picks at these spots (that you can make an argument for, please) you think would be a better scheme fit or has better upside? I'm curious to your thoughts and open to your criticism (nicely please).