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For Miami, draft begins with Bolts at No. 3

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The Miami Dolphins will have options at No. 8 overall in April's NFL draft, but what are they? Which teams in the top seven will have the most influence regarding players available when Miami goes on the clock? We review some of the top scenarios and let you choose the outcome!

You couldn't pay me to mess with this man.
You couldn't pay me to mess with this man.
Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Defense, defense, defense.

The Miami Dolphins desperately need it. This year's NFL draft has plenty of it--well into days two and three, in fact. That means the Fins will get a defensive stud with their No. 8 overall pick, right? Well, that's the plan. But as any Dolfan know, trying to project a Miami draft selection is much like trying to predict how long the Kim-Ye union will last (whatever total you're thinking, I've got the under).

Sure, the Dolphins in 2015 stuck to the offseason script and nabbed Louisville wide receiver DeVante Parker at No. 14 overall. But what about the previous draft, when they surprised everyone with the selection Tennessee right tackle Ja'Wuan James at No. 19 overall? Remember when draft analysts in 2013 spent months trying to figure out the Dolphins' pick at No. 12 overall, and then watched with their jaws on the floor as Miami traded up to No. 3 overall? Good times! And don't bother saying you saw either of those moves coming--unless you were in the team's headquarters, your guess was as good as anyone else's. And that's OK. Part of the fun of the NFL draft is trying to guess what your favorite team will do. And if you guess right, bragging rights--365 days of them. It's a beautiful feeling, although you'll quickly learn that no one else cares that you made that great call. I thought I was pretty sharp for calling Miami's Vontae Davis selection in 2009. Seven years later, I just correctly guessed the next Dolphins player to be traded for a second-round pick. Win-ning.

Jokes aside, perhaps Mike Tannenbaum and Co. will be a bit more conventional in how they approach the draft. Until we know that for sure, all we can do is try to guess what the Dolphins will do with the eighth pick on April 28. Which brings us to the point of this article: attempt to take some of the guesswork out of that No. 8 overall pick. How can we do that? It's simple ... sort of. While it would be virtually impossible to correctly guess the first seven picks in this year's draft, we do have the luxury of knowing a couple of likelihoods at the top of the draft (Ole Miss tackle Laremy Tunsil will almost certainly be the No. 1 pick; Cleveland at No. 2 will almost certainly draft a quarterback). From there, we can fashion several scenarios that stem from the first "variable" (aka the team whose drafts plans aren't completely transparent) in the draft order. And this year, the role of variable will be played by the San Diego Chargers at No. 3 overall.

First, let's get those two top picks out of the way.

1. Tennessee Titans

Laremy Tunsil, OT Ole Miss

2. Cleveland Browns

Carson Wentz, QB North Dakota State

Congrats to the Titans for stepping up and finding a left tackle with whom Marcus Mariota can grow old. The obvious joke here is that Mariota likely doesn't grow old behind Tennessee's current offensive line. It was terrible in 2015; we all saw it when Miami went to Nashville last October and beat the bejeezus out of the Titans. Anyway, move Taylor Lewan to right tackle, throw Tunsil in at left tackle, yadda, yadda, yadda. Good for you.

The only thing to note about Cleveland's pick is that, while there's no certainty that Wentz will be the pick, there is certainty that it will be a quarterback at that spot. Because Goff is right there in the discussion for the second overall pick, I am fine with looking at the two QBs as interchangeable in terms of value. Opinions and analysis aside, both guys are big-name QB prospects in an offensive draft class that is rather shallow. Consider it an upset if both guys don't go top seven, or at least top 10.

With picks one and two out of the way, we're now in the murky part of the draft--a place where even the mega-name prospects--Florida State cornerback Jalen Ramsey, UCLA linebacker Myles Jack, Ohio State defensive end Joey Bosa--aren't locks to any specific team. San Diego's our variable team, so it will be our guinea pig while we explore multiple options at No. 3 and the scenarios created as a result. Let's kick off this projection with the player who satisfies the Chargers' No. 1 need.

3. San Diego Chargers

Ronnie Stanley, OT Notre Dame

If you watched San Diego play last season, you saw Philip Rivers take a Daniel LaRusso-on-Halloween-night-style beating just about every week. Brutal stuff. Ronnie Stanley would be the No. 1 offensive lineman selected most years--the kind of player who can come in and lock up your left tackle position for a decade. That's exactly what he would do in San Diego, so let's do the obvious thing and mock him to the Chargers.

Next up is Dallas. Every draft analyst on Twitter wants to give the Cowboys a quarterback. Jerry Jones has repeatedly stated he won't take one at No. 4 overall. Jerry's word is about as solid as tin foil, but let's humor him and say Dallas indeed stays away from the quarterbacks. What then? Well, J.J. has a rich history of falling in love with devastatingly talented athletes. Myles Jack is devastatingly talented. Myles Jack is going to Dallas.

4. Dallas Cowboys

Myles Jack, LB UCLA

It's worth pointing out that both Jalen Ramsey and Joey Bosa are strong possibilities for the Cowboys. And again, all three players could land with any team in the top seven, so it doesn't really matter whom we mock where. They're getting drafted before the No. 8 pick (with the exception of one in a particular scenario, but we'll get to that later).

The Jaguars are up next at No. 5, and it's a great bet that they'll pick between Ramsey and Bosa. The rumor is that Jacksonville will address pass-rusher over the perimeter, which would mean Bosa here. However, the Jags do have Dante Fowler Jr. set to return following his knee injury last May. If they add Bosa, it's an embarrassment of pass-rushing riches; if they add Ramsey, they make things easier for Fowler Jr., Odrick, Alualu and whoever else is playing on their defensive line.

Let's go with Ramsey.

5. Jacksonville Jaguars

Jalen Ramsey, CB/S Florida State

Well, that was cruel to watch, even though I am the one who made the draft pick. Whatever. Moving on. Next up is Baltimore, and they're a tough team to read this year. Joe Flacco was whipped like the family pig by pass-rushers last year, but Stanley is off the board. Joey Bosa is the No. 1 player on the board, but I see him as primarily a 4-3 guy, and Baltimore loves itself some 3-4 scheme. Ozzie Newsome is a man who makes things fit, though, so let's just go with the low-hanging fruit.

6. Baltimore Ravens

Joey Bosa, DE Ohio State

That brings us to the San Francisco 49ers at No. 7, and unless they want to start the quarterback who has all but attempted to jet propel himself out of the Bay Area via trade, it's probably wise to think signal-caller here.

7. San Francisco 49ers

Jared Goff, QB California

8. Miami Dolphins

So that leaves us with the Dolphins at No. 8, and some very good options--Florida cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III, Oregon defensive end DeForest Buckner, and if they want to reach a bit, Ohio State outside linebacker Darron Lee, Alabama inside linebacker Reggie Ragland, Clemson defensive end Shaq Lawson, etc. Good stuff.

Now let's start over from No. 3, and this time we'll give San Diego the top player available.

3. San Diego Chargers

Jalen Ramsey, CB/S Florida State

Eric Weddle is out, and the Chargers have some good pieces to work with in the secondary (Jason Verrett, specifically). Ramsey would be a no-brainer here if not for the fact that the Chargers have raging needs on both sides of the trenches. Still, Ramsey's the pick. Depression sets in. On we go.

4. Dallas Cowboys

Joey Bosa, DE Ohio State

The all-American kid goes to America's Team. Oof. Reading that line actually made me a little nauseous.

5. Jacksonville Jaguars

Myles Jack, LB UCLA

It's just a hunch of mine, but I suspect the Gus Bradley and the Jaguars really want Myles Jack. He'd have at least a impact similar to the linebackers Bradley coached while in Seattle. At least, and probably more so. Just saying.

6. Baltimore Ravens

Ronnie Stanley, OT Notre Dame

Hand, meet glove. Stanley is the blindside protector Flacco and the Ravens need so desperately. It would be cruel (but not unusual) to give the Ravens any other player if Stanley is available.

7. San Francisco 49ers

Jared Goff, QB California

I hate the 49ers, so let's not talk about them any more than necessary. That said, kind of cool that this selection would keep Goff in Northern California.

8. Miami Dolphins

Despite shaking up pick Nos. 3-6, the Dolphins at this spot still have the option of Hargreaves and Buckner. I'd lean more toward Hargreaves, but would gladly accept either player. Buckner could thrive in a Justin Tuck-type role in the 4-3, and if the rumor about Miami gradually sliding to the 3-4 is true, Buckner would do much damage as a true 5-technique. More win-ning.

Let's introduce a scenario that would introduce new available prospects to Miami.

3. San Diego Chargers

DeForest Buckner, DE Oregon

As mentioned, the Chargers' 3-4 is in need of many repairs. Buckner would be a strong move in the right direction for San Diego.

4. Dallas Cowboys

Jalen Ramsey, CB/S Florida State

Can you imagine the look on Jerry Jones' face if he were presented the dilemma of choosing between Ramsey and Jack? He might require resuscitation.

5. Jacksonville Jaguars

Myles Jack, LB UCLA

Yes, yes. We're all very proud of you, Jacksonville. You'll probably also have Olivier Vernon on the roster when you make this selection. We hate you.

6. Baltimore Ravens

Ronnie Stanley, OT Notre Dame

Again, it's just hard for me to imagine Ozzie Newsome passing on a mint left tackle a couple of months after inking Flacco to a three-year extension.

7. San Francisco 49ers

Jared Goff, QB California

Have I yet made it clear that I think the 49ers will draft Jared Goff? No? I tried.

8. Miami Dolphins

Let's welcome Joey Bosa to the program, as his iffy standing in Baltimore's defense could result in him sliding to No. 8 overall. It's a long shot, of course, but never say never this time of year. In this scenario, the Dolphins' top options include Bosa and Hargreaves. If Bosa went to Baltimore, the Dolphins would have their pick of Hargreaves, Stanley and the semi-reach options. Considering the Dolphins' need for defense, that last scenario is my least preferred.

Who would you take at No. 8 overall? Post your answer in the comment section and I'll include the response in my next draft poll.