With Miami having reached their bye week and the feeling of optimism growing by the minute, let’s take a look at how bright the future could possibly be getting as we look ahead to the 2013 and focus specifically on what the Dolphins could do in the draft with the extra picks they’ve acquired the last six months. Even at 3-3 and some of the youth starting to blossom for Miami, there are still some holes to fill as well as some veterans who will start to move past their primes that will need to have young players in place to fill those spots when the time comes.
MDD Staff Writer: Chad Pullen
1. Devin Taylor DE, South Carolina
At 6-6 260 Devin could make Dolphin fans remember yet another 6-6 Taylor in teal and orange in all-time great Jason Taylor. Devin would be able to line up opposite Cam Wake and cause havoc for opposing offenses off the edge and once Wake decides to hang them up, Taylor would be able to pair with last year’s third round pick Olivier Vernon who has shown glimpses of his potential. Miami would be set up nicely in the pass rush department with three viable guys, and their future would be set even after Wake starts to slow down and eventually retires. More pressure on the QB also helps the Dolphins on the back end as their secondary will need to be addressed in this draft as well.
2. Cobi Hamilton WR, Arkansas
Hamilton has the size (6-3 210) and tools that no current Dolphin receiver has and he would be an excellent fit. Still raw and with a lot of room to grow, he may not excel immediately on the field as a rookie, but his skill set alone should keep defenses honest and allow Devone Bess to move back in the slot where he is best suited. As Hamilton and QB Ryan Tannehill grow, Cobi could eventually become the number one receiver the Dolphins need, moving Hartline to two, and Bess inside at the slot giving Tannehill the weapons he’d need for both short, intermediate and deep throws as Miami would be able to attack at all levels of a defense.
2. Desmond Trufant CB, Washington
Now GM Jeff Ireland begins to really solidify the roster by replacing Vontae Davis with the 6-0 185 Trufant. Desmond comes in with NFL lineage as he is the younger brother of Seahawks CB Marcus Trufant and that could possibly give him a leg up as he would have someone to help him learn quickly what it takes to succeed at the NFL level. He has also played since coming in as a Freshman and has gone up against the likes of Andrew Luck, Matt Barkley and Nick Foles at the collegiate level. He should be able to start from day 1 and deepen the corner position with Sean Smith and Richard Marshall. Having already improved the pass rush, and now helping out the secondary, Miami’s defense could compete for best defense in football and still have five rounds of the draft to go.
3. Patrick Larimore MLB, UCLA
If Devin Taylor can remind Dolphin fans of Jason Taylor, then Larimore just might be the new Zach Thomas. A few inches taller than Thomas at 6-3 250, Larimore is similar to Thomas in that he finds the football. Where the football is, Larimore isn’t far behind. With both Karlos Dansby and Kevin Burnett getting up there in age, Larimore could be brought in to replace whichever one declines fastest and keep OLB Koa Misi outside rather than having to shift him inside as has been speculated. This would also keep some of the continuity of the defense if players don’t have to shift and switch roles. Larimore may not be given the chance to start right away and a year learning behind Dansby and Burnett could do him some good going forward anyways.
3. Vaughn Telemaque S, Miami
In keeping with the theme I brought up last year before the draft season, each year should see the Dolphins begin to pluck players from their own state a little more often as plenty of NFL ready talent has come through the state of Florida and was largely ignored by the Dolphins. After grabbing two Hurricanes this past April, Ireland will once again have a shot at a local product that will fit in on the roster with ease and help bolster the secondary even further. Telemaque has impressive size at 6-2 200 and can play either position should Reshad Jones or Chris Clemons be deemed worthy of upgrading over. So far this season Jones has played very well, and Clemons has been decent, but there are still too many big pass plays being made against the Dolphins and Telemaque may be able to help with that along with Trufant and the added presence of Devin Taylor.
4. Jordan Reed TE, Florida*
It is possible that last year’s third round pick Michael Egnew will eventually have the light come on and begin to produce results for the Dolphin offense at the TE position but in case that doesn’t happen to their liking, Ireland doubles down by taking Reed who is almost a clone physically to former Gator TE Aaron Hernandez. At 6-3 245, Reed plays more like a hybrid TE/WR and could pair nicely with Egnew in two tight end sets if Egnew can get it together. Reed also doubles as a replacement for Charles Clay who has regressed this year after a promising rookie season. TE may be a luxury at this point after spending a third round pick on one just last season, however with five players already selected, taking Reed in the fourth round is well worth the investment. Reed is only a Junior however, so Miami would need a little luck of having him come out early.
5. Ryan Swope WR, Texas A&M
This is merely connecting some dots. Miami has invested fully in Tannehill as well as tapping into Offensive Coordinator Mike Sherman’s input on former A&M Aggies such as FB Javorskie Lane and WR Jeff Fuller who is currently on the practice squad. Swope is a tough and fearless receiver who worked well with Tannehill last year and at 6-0 205 is just big enough to have an impact in the slot while also sliding down the draft board a bit as he doesn’t possess the prototypical size or speed that teams covet. With Hamilton already in hand as the bigger receiver, and Hartline and Bess in the fold as well, Swope could serve as a solid fourth receiver and special teams contributor as well. The fact that he knows the offense alone with his familiarity with Tannehill and Sherman would only help him produce even as a rookie from the fifth round.
6.* Andrew Wallace OG, North Carolina State
Miami should continue to bolster their OLine as often as possible to make sure they protect the QB as well as open lanes for the running backs. With Long and Martin manning the tackles, and Pouncey the center for the next several years, Miami will look to improve the guard position as much as they can. Wallace may not help out much immediately but has the size needed to man the position should he ever be called upon at 6-5 305. Also at this point, you’re not looking for starters in the sixth round so much as you are looking for hidden gems and depth behind your starters. This pick may also be conditional as it comes from the Colts in the Davis trade, this could become a later pick depending on the conditions set.
7. Devon Kennard DE, USC
In a similar manner as with the Reed selection, taking another defensive end makes sense in case there is an injury or even just stashing a player away on the practice squad to develop his skills for possible use in the future. Kennard is very similar to Misi and last year’s fifth rounder Josh Kaddu in that he is 6-3 250, almost identical measurable to guys Ireland has selected before. He may be able to hybrid between DE and OLB and be used in a similar manner as Misi and how Kaddu projects to be used.
7. Morgan Newton QB, Kentucky
Green Bay made a habit of taking QB’s every couple years even when they had Brett Favre or Aaron Rodgers under center. They did so for depth, as well as potential trade pieces if one caught the eye of another GM in preseason or spot duty. Coach Joe Philbin witnessed this first hand and may feel the same way in Miami. With Matt Moore likely leaving, the Dolphins will need to backfill a spot although not spend an early pick as the roster is not deep enough to spend picks on players that figure to be backups only. Newton is 6-4 240 and plays in the SEC although not for a very good team, and not a lot of playing time. But in the seventh round, and merely a project QB to sit behind Tannehill and Pat Devlin, Newton would have a few years to sit and learn and see how he progresses a couple years down the line.