Todd Gurley, DeVante Parker, Eric Kendricks.....Media outlets up and down the country are about to kick into overdrive as to who the Miami Dolphins will select in the early rounds of the 2015 NFL Draft.
But how about those under the radar prospects? Lets check out 5 guys that Miami could select in the middle rounds of the draft.
Chris Conley, WR, Georgia (6-2, 213 lbs)
Project Round: 3-4
Chris Conley had an exceptional combine, by posting the best 45" vertical jump and running a fast 40-yard dash time with 4.35 seconds. He used both of these to his advantage last season, displaying the ability to leap in the air in order to bring in the catch, while flying past defenders for the deep ball. His production was also very good last season, with 36 catches for 657 yards and 8 touchdowns. Miami's wide receivers are all somewhat on the smaller side, and Conley could add much needed size to the position to help the team threaten more in red zone situations.
Ben Heeney, ILB, Kansas (6-0, 231 lbs)
Projected Round: 4
When watching Ben Heeney's tape, it screams NFL caliber starter. His critics suggest he's not athletic enough, but countless players with similar traits to him at inside linebacker have thrived over the years, with Zach Thomas and, most recently, Chris Borland (although now retired) being a case in point. Whatever Heeney lacks in athleticism, he makes up for it in spades. He's a very intelligent, smart player who can see the play develop in front of him. What's more, he has a non-stop motor and rarely wants to leave the field. How about his coverage skills? No problem, he's had a few interceptions over his career. Heeney is a player to root for and would be a fine addition to the team to compete with Koa Misi if the Dolphins don't add a linebacker early.
Mitch Morse, OG, Missouri (6-5, 305 lbs)
Projected Round: 4
The Dolphins have 3 quality starters alongside the offensive line, but could still use some help at both guard positions. The problem with this draft? Too many of the guards are a fit for the power scheme rather than a zone-blocking offense, that requires it's offensive lineman to have solid technique and stay light on their feet. Morse can absolutely fill that role at the next level. He's played center and tackle at Missouri, meaning NFL teams will love his versatility. Also good in pass protection and, while he doesn't display elite footwork, he's very quick coming out of his position. This will probably stop him from being a tackle in the NFL, but he could be an ideal fit as a guard. In some ways, he is similar to Justin Britt, so don't discount him from competing for playing time early.
Charles Gaines, CB, Louisville (5-10, 180 lbs)
Projected Round: 5
This year's draft may not have that elite corner that can lift a defense on day one, but it does have tremendous depth at the position. Judging by the corners currently on Miami's roster, the front office may not have a problem with Gaines' height or slight frame, the latter of which can be worked on with some preseason conditioning. The plus points for Gaines is his ability to turn his hips and run with wide receivers. His 40 yard dash time of 4.44 at the combine certainly confirmed this. May also be able to help on kick-off duties. Needs work in the weight room, but his technique and athleticism will mean he will forge a role on a team next season.
Christian Covington, DT, Rice (6-2, 289 lbs)
Projected Round: 5
While he hasn't played at the top level in college football, he absolutely dominated last season by amassing 83 tackles and 15 sacks, despite facing countless double-teams. Has had his fair share of injuries (had surgery on his knee after missing half of 2014) that will require checking out. But, having said that, he's very powerful and could challenge for playing time next season. Getting snaps alongside Ndamukong Suh could really mask his size limitations and enhance his ability to disrupt the pocket.
Have you had a first-hand chance at watching some of these prospects play? Are there any other players in the middle rounds that you feel the Dolphins should look out for? Lets hear your views!
Alex Parish is an Associate Editor at The Phinsider. Be sure to follow me on Twitter@AlexParish89.