The Miami Dolphins have to finish the rebuild of their offensive line, and should be looking to add at least one potential starter when the NFL Draft rolls around at the beginning of May. Most people expect Miami to target Zack Martin with the 19th overall pick, but he could be off the board, along with most of the "first round" graded tackles, when the selection finally arrives.
What would the Dolphins do in that scenario?
Earlier today, ESPN's Mel Kiper, Jr. posted his annual "Grade A" mock draft, a projection of what would be ideal for the team to receive his top rating after the selection process, as well as a look at what the team would do if Kiper were the general manager. He sets up three rules when he does this mock:
1. At each slot, I make a pick in the best interest of only the team with the pick. I won't pass on a player at No. 5 just because I like how he fits better at No. 7.
2. There are no trades. I note team needs, but not all picks are specifically to hit a need -- same as the draft.
3. This is NOT A PROJECTION. It's more a look at how I currently value players at each slot.
In this mock draft, the scenario of Martin coming off the board before the Dolphins can select is exactly what happens. Suddenly, the Dolphins find themselves without a viable offensive line option when they are on the clock. Kiper's pick, in this case, is actually one I would really like to see Miami consider, even if Martin were on the board - Louisville safety Calvin Pryor.
Kiper's mock continues with selections in both the second and third round as well, with the Dolphins doubling up on offensive linemen there. In the second, with the 50th overall selection, the Dolphins add Nevada tackle Joel Bitonio, with the 81st selection backing up that pick with Ohio State tackle Jack Mewhort.
Kiper explains the Miami selections, writing:
Needs along the offensive line get skipped in Round 1 mainly because the board doesn't offer enough value at those positions in this slot. When Zack Martin went off the board at No. 17, it limited any possibility to go O-line here. Pryor is an impact player coming off a dominant season and can fill a need at safety. In Round 2 I go with Bitonio, a versatile offensive line prospect who can play either guard or tackle. Same with Mewhort in Round 3. I'd like to consider a cornerback in Round 3, but the issues on the line are more pressing. It's both a protection issue and about creating some running lanes. As it's currently constructed, I don't know if the line will be able to do either consistently, but this draft should help.What do you think of Kiper's "Grade A" draft for Miami? You can also find a run down, round-by-round, of the mock here.