Many mock drafts have been posted, but I don't think many of them account for Philbin's history and what we have been doing. Since Philbin has arrived, he has sought big name talent at the top of the draft and prioritized potential over immediate contribution. This can be seen in his first draft where he picked up Tannehill and Martin, a guy who slipped out of the first. In his second draft, the Dolphins traded up for Dion Jordan and then took a CB in the second who had all the measureables, just not great tape. In the first two rounds, Philbin likes to get the sexy picks. The picks that will get fans excited. He goes for BPA over need, especially in the first.
This is somewhat true even in his Packers days. The Packers, when Philbin was there, pretty much always went DL or LBer in the first. I think we will go that way in this draft, just like last year. In the second, the packers went WR or DB. The Packers then go for the OL in the third and fourth rounds, if they need it. They didn't always follow this trend, but it is a trend.
Secondly, Lazor will probably want to bring in his own offense. Lazor runs a fast offense that will try to out-speed the D and use a zone blocking system to take advantage of the spread out D to create a running game. If you look at the Eagles, what you see is speed. Wallace is the only one on the Dolphins with blistering speed. The Eagles have two outside WRs with blistering speed and one jack of all trades. If you look at the Packers vs. Dolphins, you see the Packers have a lot more size.
For those that don't think the Packers have more size at WR look at this:
Thanks to Wallace being taller than Cobb, the Packers only average to be 1 inch taller than our WRs. Taking Wallace-Cobb out of the equation, the Packers are about 2" taller than our guys on average. The Packers WRs, though, outweigh our guys by over 15 pounds on average!!!!!
Our WR corps doesn't hold up. We are small and slow, or at least Philbin and Lazor should think so compared to the type of talent they are used to. I can see Lazor wanting to find a tall, fast player to implement his system. Philbin will likely want it too, as he is on the 'hot seat' and needs to prove his offensive scheme can produce more. Philbin needs to get his offense out of the bottom 10 this year, or he is done.
Next to consider is what our DT position will look like. Many want a DT in the first, but I would caution against it. We will likely keep one and I hope it is Soliai. He is a decent dedicated run stopper. Starks on the other hand would make an average dedicated run stopper and an average interior pass rush specialist. Starks, though, is the better than the sum of his parts and his versatility is what made him useful as a 34 DE and in a rotation in a 43. With Starks likely the odd man out, we could do one of two things: replace him through the draft, or roll with two DTs and not rotate anymore.
I would put precedence on DE over DT, as they get more sacks. Also, if we are to have a roatation at both DE and dT, that means that we will have to give starter money to 6 guys, when only 4 of them play at a time. It is not realistic, if you look at the cap in general. Having a rotation at DE gives us 5 starters at four spots along the DL. Given the NASCAR package we can use and Vernon's ability to play DT, DT roation doesn't make much sense.
The OL coach we just hired comes form the texans. More information can be read, here. Basically, our new system will require a lot of movement by our OL on running downs. This needs to be weighed into consideration when acquiring new OL.
Now on to what I think they will do in the draft.
Ra'Shede Hageman, DT, Minnesota
In the first round I am looking for amazing defensive line talent or linebacker talent. I think I found just the right guy. Ra'Shede Hageman could be another great interior pass rusher. If Soliai gets resigned, he will likely be a pass rush down only player, but he has the strength to be an everydown type of guy. Putting him next to our current pass rush specialist, Jared Odrick, we would be able to create a lot of pressure up front on obvious passing downs. He also would be able to keep up our DT rotation, with one of our tackles likely leaving. With Anthony Barr and C.J. Mosley likely gone and us already having three DEs we have invested in, we will probably go DT. Hageman is compared to J.J. Watt for his size and his penetration skills. The idea behind this pick will be to enhance an already great DL.
Antonio Richardson, OT, Tennessee
I cannot see this coaching staff missing on such a steal in the second. He will be by far the BPA, because of a very strong OT class. He needs to work on bull rushes, but does well in other aspects of pass blocking and is a road grader. He also has prototypical size.
This is another time where BPA meets need. Dixon fits perfectly into our defensive scheme. We need another rangy safety that is good in man next to Clemons and Dixon would supply it. Dixon is also familiar with cover 2, so he will be fine when we go to that zone. Dixon should come into our secondary and contribute immediately.
Tyler Lawson, OL, Utah State
Lawson currently plays center in the NFL, but his mobility tells me that he will do just fine at OG, especially in our system. Lawson will have a learning curve to play guard, but provide excellent depth at center, if Pouncey would get hurt. Right now the only center depth we have is a guy that got bullied by 2nd and 3rd stringers in the 2013 preseason.
In the later rounds, I expect that they will go for BPA. I also think that they will be looking for LBers and HBs here, as those are two groups that could have guys drop for a variety of reasons.
If I am correct on what we will do, we will have bettered the middle of the offense and defense. While we still need some better play makers on offense and defense, we should be able to do much better, if the rookies play. In all likelihood, only rookies that need to play will. This will mean that players like Hageman and Lawson will not play. Dixon might, but that depends on how the coach views Jones's down season last year.
What follows is what I would want. OL is obviously our biggest weakness on this team, but it is one of the deepest categories in this draft. This will allow us to focus on other positions first, then come back and improve the OL.
Jace Amaro, TE, Texas Tech
Amaro is a jumbo receiver that is becoming increasing popular in the NFL. When playing, he will likely be in the slot or tighter. He is not an inline blocker, but is a superb receiver and could increase the number of big plays in the passing game we have. He is dangerous in the open field, showing tremendous strength that comes with his 260 pound body. His size and athleticism should provide the matchup problems for defenses that your favorite receiving TEs do. He is great at getting good position and plucking the ball out of the air, giving Tannehill a guy that can just go up and get it. He will continue to get great position, as his 6' 5" 260 frame will make it difficult for DBs to win a jump ball against.
Tre Mason, HB, Auburn
Tre Mason vs Missouri 2013 SEC Championship
With the hiring of the Texans ex-OL coach, it would make sense for us to implement that run blocking system. For that, we need a good one cut runner with strength. Miller was decent when he had holes, but too often tripped up in traffic, showing bad balance. With this pick, we will get a guy with great vision, balance and quickness. He has average speed, good enough to keep from getting caught from behind but isn't a homerun threat. His one-cut running style works wonderfully in this system, as demonstrated by Arian Foster and Ben Tate. He best compares to Ray Rice in that he is a smaller back with a lot of bulk. If he can hone his receiving skills, as Auburn didn't ask him to catch much, he will be a very effective HB.
Ja'wuan James, OT, Tennessee
James is the other good Tennessee offensive tackle. He might not be the road grader Richardson is, but he is quick and has good technique in pass protection. James should be a day one starter and stay that way for his career with the Dolphins.
Seantrel Henderson, OT, Miami
Henderson is a beastly offensive tackle that should be able to start immediately and open up the outside running lanes. Henderson is surprisingly quick for a big guy and bends at the knees well. His long arms will be a benefit at this level as well.
Isaiah Lewis, Safety, Michigan State
Lewis should provide good depth for us at the safety position. He could also develop into a starter one day. He has the size and speed to fit into our system, although he will need to be a better defender in man coverage.
Spencer Long, OG, Nebraska
Long was a four year starter at Nebraska that got and ACL tear that will likely keep him out of training camp, if not preseason. Long was projected to be a second day pick until he tore his ACL, so if he recovers fully we will get a good guard in the 7th.
In my mock draft, I tried to use the depth of the OT class to the Dolphins advantage, as it allows us to get some offensive playmakers and still upgrade the offensive line. Amaro will bring more explosion to our offense, while Mason should bring the running game back to life. Henderson and James should be bookend tackles and should solidify our line. The weakness of the offense will still be the offensive line, but we will have better skill position plays and pass protection. We will still have to be a pass happy team, but the pieces are coming together for a resurgence of the Miami running attack. On defense, not much has changed, but we do have a guy in the wings if Jones has another down year.