Well, it's officially the end of football season. And that sucks. But that means it is also time to look to the future and improve the football team. With a new GM in place, it will be interesting to see how the off-season will play out. I think everyone can agree that the offensive line is a mess. Potentially needing 4 new starters out of the group. That seems to be the most obvious need for the team. We also have 5 major contributors on the defense becoming free agents in Grimes, Carroll, Clemons, Starks & Soliai.
Miami currently has the 5th most cap room available this off-season with just over 32 million. Obviously, the players who we select in the draft will depend a lot on who we pick up in FA.
Mock drafts all around the web have Miami selecting an OT in round 1. But I don't see this happening, nor would I necessarily agree with it.
I feel like when you draft, you should pick BPA. So before the draft starts, you try to address your needs with proven veterans set to hit the free agent market. Potential FA offensive lineman coming out this year include: Eugene Monroe, Jared Veldheer, Michael Oher, Brandon Albert, Geoff Schwartz, Jon Asamoah, Roger Saffold, Travelle Wharton. I'm going to say that it is safe to assume we will pick up at least 2 of these free agents to fill our LT and LG spots.
Now if I were GM - I would re-sign Grimes & Clemons and pick up Sam Shields, CB from GB. Starks & Soliai are going to ask for big money and are both past their prime. I'd let them walk and sign the younger, more affordable Ziggy Hood (DT from Pitt).
So, going into the draft, most of the glaring needs have been addressed. Depth on both the offensive and defensive lines is needed, but no area of the team is really devoid of talent. This gives you the freedom to select a player on ability, rather than need.
In the middle of the first round, I see a few playmakers that can make an immediate impact on the Dolphin's offense. Believe it or not, Touchdown production was a huge weakness for this offense last year. We simply didn't make enough big plays. Wallace is the only "game changer" on the offense. Defenses game plan to stop him and they take their chances with the other three, knowing that most of the time - they won't catch it and burn a defense. This makes scheming against our offense a lot easier. We don't have anyone (besides Wallace) who scares defenses.
Our offensive line was far from good last year, but a lot of the sacks were coverage sacks. No one was getting open. Especially later in the season when defenses started paying more attention to Clay.
I'm not saying we should get rid of any of these players, they all are good at certain things and can be used as great complimentary pieces. But we need to add another THREAT. Round 1 is the best place to find a true game changer, and I have my eye on a few players, specifically:
Worth a pick in round 1 are Sammy Watkins, Marqise Lee, Eric Ebron & Mike Evans. Watkins will most likely be gone when we select, but it is very possible that the other three could slide to #19. My personal favorite is Mike Evans but I believe that any of these guys will take our offense from "moving the ball" to "scoring touchdowns".
The only other player I could see worth taking in round 1 would be the DT, Hageman. And he may not make it to #19 due to rumors that he is a workout freak and his combine numbers may push him to the top 10.
If any of these guys are available @ 19, it's a no-brainer to me. Explosive plays were a big reason we failed last year.