The Miami Dolphins need to improve dramatically in 2014. After consecutive 7-9 and 8-8 finishes under head coach Joe Philbin, the pressure is on in a make or break year.
But how far are the Dolphins willing to pursue success? Will they make a safe selection, or will they roll the dice on a prospect that, for a number of reasons, may be considered a boom or bust prospect?
On a side note, no quarterback prospects have been included in the list. This is due to a combination of reasons, including the unlikelihood that Miami will select one in the first round and the fact that the quarterback position is most often the biggest lottery in the NFL Draft.
So without further ado, lets check out the top 5 boom or bust prospects that the Miami Dolphins could make in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft.
5. DT Ra'Shede Hageman, Minnesota (6-6, 310, 5.02)
Hageman would be much further up the list if Miami actually had a need for a defensive tackle. Capable of being an absolute monster on the defensive line, his talent screams first round, but his inconsistent tape raises a number of flags. Shows great size and rare burst for a man of his size to push offensive lineman deep in the pocket. In the right situation, Hageman has the ability to be a perennial Pro Bowler. But can he put it together on a consistent basis?
4. ILB C.J. Mosley, Alabama (6-2, 234, 4.65)
Due to poor linebacker play, the team desperately need an upgrade. The Dolphins explored a move for D'Qwell Jackson in free agency, but did not bear fruit. As a result, don't discount Dennis Hickey and Joe Philbin from targeting an inside linebacker in the draft. The best of the bunch is C.J. Mosley, one of the most polarizing prospects among Miami Dolphins fans and the media. Linebackers with the athleticism to play sideline to sideline and the instincts are rare in the NFL Draft. Whether it's stopping the run, or dropping back in coverage, Mosley is incredibly good at everything he's asked to do. Add into the mix his leadership skills, and any team that drafts him will have their quarterback on defense. The only knock against Mosley is his lengthy list of prior injuries. Should he overcome his injuries, Mosley will be a star for the next decade. On the flipside of the coin, if the reverse happens, Mosley will be out of the NFL within a few years.
3. WR Marquise Lee, Southern Cal (6-0, 192, 4.52)
The wide receiver position is the second to only the quarterback position with a high boom or bust factor. While the Dolphins have depth at the position, don't discount Miami searching for an upgrade should the best player available fall into their lap. At this point Marquise Lee represents a slight reach at the 19 overall pick, but could come into play should the team decide to trade down in the draft. During his first two seasons, Lee looked like a future Pro Bowler at Southern Cal. Since then, Lee has had to endure a nagging knee injury during 2013, which has hindered his progress. Displaying unique straight-line speed and acceleration to gain separation from cornerbacks, Lee has the potential to form a deadly partnership with Mike Wallace. However, his slight frame has meant he struggled with injuries. Will he remain healthy against NFL competition?
2. TE Eric Ebron, North Carolina (6-4, 250, 4.60)
In a strong tight end class, Eric Ebron stands head and shoulders above the rest. Any tight end that has size and speed will be a hot commodity on draft day. However, has Ebron already maxed out his potential? Relying too much on his athleticism, Ebron has failed to learn the finer nuances of the game. For example, is Ebron a player that can run a full route tree? Moreover, while Ebron has good hands to make the catch (including spectacular one-handed catches) and demonstrates his ability to be serviceable when blocking, he has had some issues with ‘contact drops'. Ebron has the potential to be outstanding in today's passing league, but will he become a one-trick pony with a limited route tree?
1. OT Cyrus Kouandjio, Alabama (6-5, 322, 5.59)
Cyrus Kouandjio was pegged firmly as a first round prospect in the 2014 NFL Draft, before medical red-flags from numerous teams at the NFL Combine saw his stock slip. Physically, Kouandjio has broad shoulders and long arms for the offensive tackle position. Moreover Kouandjio is also light on his feet and has an amazing 16 percent body fat, making him perfect for the zone blocking system Miami will be looking to utilize in 2014. However, will his medical red-flags come back to haunt him? Kouandjio would be a high-risk selection at 19.
Do you agree that the above prospects have boom or bust potential? Are there any other players that fall into this category, that are not on the list? Lets hear your views!