Following on from Wednesday's article detailing the top 5 boom or bust prospects in next months NFL Draft, this weekend it's time to focus on the top 5 safest selections for the Miami Dolphins in the first round on draft weekend.
Boom or bust prospects have the potential to become huge stars in the NFL. However, these same prospects are just as likely to find themselves on a one way ticket out of the league altogether.
Sometimes it's better to pursue a safe college football prospect in the NFL Draft. In terms of characterizing a ‘safe' prospect, these will be players who have no medical red-flags, no character concerns, and are almost certainly going to contribute on the football team. While they may not have the high ceiling that teams crave, they project to be dependable starters at the next level.
Which players are the safest bets in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft? Lets take a quick look.
5. WR Brandin Cooks, Oregon State (5-11, 189, 4.33)
Wide receivers are one of the most difficult positions to project going into the NFL, but Cooks's all round ability at the position makes him as sure a prospect as you can get at wide receiver. Cooks is a special athlete with great acceleration and speed to burn. While Miami's wide receivers in 2013 failed to get many yards after the catch, Cooks would be electric in this area. Also displaying solid hands, very disciplined in his routes and a good character in the locker room, the young receiver would be an asset to this Dolphins team. Slight knocks on Cooks include his lack of ideal size, but this very well may be irrelevant in Miami's west coast offense.
4. OG Xavier Su'a-Filo, UCLA (6-4, 307, 5.04)
Protecting quarterback Ryan Tannehill should be priority number one heading into the draft. Should all the first round offensive tackles be taken ahead of Miami's number 19 selection, Xavier Su'a-Filo would be a very good consolation prize. Well built and agile, Su'a-Filo would be a great candidate to start at left guard in Miami's zone blocking scheme. 38 career starts at UCLA also means he should have no trouble with injuries in the NFL.
3. S Calvin Pryor, Louisville (5-11, 207, 4.58)
Signing Louis Delmas doesn't necessarily mean Miami are set at safety. With Delmas's past history of injuries problems, Calvin Pryor could be a nice long-term addition to the secondary. While his height has measured in lower than expected, together with his failure to set the combine alight with his 40 yard dash time, Pryor is the type of safety who plays fast, has good anticipation and can make those thunderous hits. A wide receiver's worst nightmare is hearing the footsteps of the safety before making the hit. Pryor is that player. One slight knock on him is his physical play may draw penalty flags in the NFL, but his elite tools means many teams will be clamoring to sign him.
2. OLB Ryan Shazier, Ohio State (6-1, 237, 4.38)
Miami had a big problem at the linebacker position last season. One of the issues was their inability to stop the run. Signing a versatile linebacker like Shazier will stop that. Capable of rushing the quarterback or dropping back into coverage, Shazier's instincts, speed and physicality against the run could make him a great fit with the Miami Dolphins.
1. OT/OG Zack Martin, Notre Dame (6-4, 308, -)
Zack Martin is the surest thing in the 2014 NFL Draft, and for good reason. While the offensive lineman lacks the type of body scouts prefer in a tackle, his instincts, toughness and versatility could make him an ideal fit in multiple positions on the offensive line. Should Dennis Hickey be nervous about a potential injury to Branden Albert (who has had his fair share of injuries over the past few seasons), Martin would be the perfect player to fill in at left tackle in case of an emergency. This pick would solidify Miami's porous offensive line, and would be the most sensible pick at number 19.
Do you agree that the above prospects are the safest in the NFL Draft? Are there any other players that you feel should make the list? Lets hear your views!