Below is a preliminary ranking of 10 draft-eligible prospects who are best suited to put on the aqua and orange come draft night 2014. Is this a super-early big board? Of course it is. But we're officially in the grasp of the offseason doldrums, so anything goes. Enjoy, and keep in mind that, as of right now, the Dolphins' biggest needs next offseason should be defensive tackle, safety, offensive line depth (you can never have enough of it) and maybe tight end. Scratch the final item off that list if Dion Sims gets nasty this season.
Without further ado ...
1. Jake Matthews, OT Texas A&M
Those of you who are saying, "Hey, offensive tackle wasn't on the potential needs list" are correct. However, Matthews is a slam-dunk prospect in the zone-blocking scheme, so he'll have a place on this list until we know for certain that Jonathan Martin is the wave of the future as Miami's left tackle (for what it's worth, I believe he's the real deal).
2. Louis Nix III, NT Notre Dame
Nix would be an ideal replacement for defensive tackle Paul Soliai, as he pairs two-gap-clogger size with underrated ability as a pass-rusher. Very quick off the line, too.
3. Timmy Jernigan, DT Florida State
Jernigan will have Miami's attention next offseason if Randy Starks flies the coop. The Seminole product is a classic 3-technique with a lightning first step, and he tends to get very comfortable in opposing backfields. Surprisingly effective as a pursuit defender, too.
4. Ha'Sean Clinton-Dix, S Alabama
I am far more comfortable drafting safeties than corners out of Alabama, and Clinton-Dix is a young ballhawk who reads the game well and flashes outstanding instincts for the position.
5. Sammy Watkins, WR Clemson
The Dolphins' didn't land their initial man in Tavon Austin, but they can certainly make up for that with a big-play talent like Watkins. Questions about character and durability remain, but there's no debating that Watkins is a rare offensive sparkplug with loads of upside.
6. Daniel McCullers, DT Tennessee
Why? Because he's a 6-foot-8, 380-pound defensive tackle, and I want to watch him eat Steven Ridley and Tom Brady on the same play.
7. De'Anthony Thomas, RB Oregon
Why not make it consecutive years in which the Dolphins tap the University of Oregon in the first round? Thomas is a more explosive version of Watkins, with rare speed and rarer wiggle ability. Give him an inch and he'll take it to the house--just ask the Wisconsin Badgers, who Thomas vaporized in the 2012 Rose Bowl.
8. David Yankey, OT/G Stanford
A do-it-all offensive lineman makes tons of sense for a Dolphins coaching staff that clearly covets do-it-all players. Yankey projects as a guard in the NFL, but he's strong and nimble enough to work the right edge, too.
9. Austin Seferian-Jenkins, TE Washington
A man among boys when it comes to the tight end position, but can he behave himself on a consistent basis? We'll see. Still, Seferian-Jenkins is built like a tank and has elite-level ball skills. Not a burner in the open field, but extremely difficult to bring down nonetheless.
10. Anthony Johnson, DT LSU
One of the most nimble defensive tackle prospects in next year's class.