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Miami Dolphins Draft: Round 1 Preview & Predictions

With the NFL Draft only a day away, it’s time to put all the cards on the table and pick the player most likely to join Miami in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft.

Rob Foldy-USA TODAY Sports

The results of my recent poll on who the Miami Dolphins should select with the nineteenth overall pick revealed was a two horse race between Zack Martin, with 35% of the votes, and CJ Mosley, with 31% of the votes.  In third place was Eric Ebron, with 12% of the votes.

In an ideal world, Zack Martin would absolutely be the pick for Miami.  He would immediately upgrade the offensive line from day 1 and may just turn out to be the safest pick in the entire draft.  Likewise, CJ Mosley has the potential to be the ‘quarterback' on defense that Miami so desperately craves.  Remember the unit suffered badly in 2013, causing the team to lose games they should have won.

Having said that, is first-year GM Dennis Hickey willing to gamble on a player with multiple injury concerns, playing for a college team who have produced many injury prone players?  Perhaps Mosley is the exception, not the rule.  But then again, perhaps not.

Without a shadow of a doubt, the one position that needs upgrading is at right tackle.  In recent years stop-gap solutions have not worked. The Dolphins need to give Ryan Tannehill every chance to succeed in what is a make or break year for the third-year quarterback.  This is the year the Miami Dolphins need to draft a right tackle.

Unfortunately, Miami are not well positioned to select a tackle with the 19 overall pick.

Trade up?  Too costly.

Stay at 19? It's likely the top four tackles will already be off the board.

Trade down?  Unless the Dolphins are so enamoured with one of the second tier tackles, the team needs to explore this avenue.

Make no mistake, right tackle is not the ‘sexy' pick every Dolphins fan wants to see happen.  However, it is the sensible choice.  By trading down, Miami can select their right tackle of the future and accumulate more picks in a draft that is the deepest in recent memory. Wide receiver and tight end are two positions that provide great value in the second and third round.

The 2014 draft will reveal much about Dennis Hickey and the draft strategy the team will look to employ for years to come.  Is Hickey a gambler, or will he play it safe? We will soon find out.

First Choice: Zack Martin, OT. The safest pick in the draft, and a future Pro Bowler. Enough said.

Risky Pick: CJ Mosley, ILB. Head and shoulders above the rest of the linebacker class, but will past injury problems keep the Dolphins away?

Dark Horse: Eric Ebron, TE. No tight end on Miami's roster can match the talent Ebron has.

Trade-down: Ja'wuan James, OT. Well versed in the zone blocking scheme Bill Lazor will look to employ, and anchors against pass rushers.  Moving down in the draft to select one of the best players available, and at a position of need, makes sense.

Final Prediction: Ja'wuan James in a trade-down with the Cleveland Browns.

Do you agree?  Who do you think the Miami Dolphins will select in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft? Let's hear your views!