Free agency sure hasn't been friendly to us Dolphins fans. Most of us find ourselves blaming everything on Jeff Ireland, even if it's not even football related.
For example: "I have a flat tire. It's all Jeff Ireland's fault!"
With Joe Philbin, the Dolphins are expected to improve through the draft rather than through free agency. With that in mind, the Dolphins will need to accumulate as many draft picks as possible. They clearly proved their point when they traded Brandon Marshall for two third-round picks.
They might also look for trade partners in order to move back from the eighth spot in the first round. This would be ideal for Miami in order to get a better value on quarterback Ryan Tannehill if they are willing to draft him.
Some draft analysts have him going at No.8 to Miami, but if they can move back, they would be able to possibly receive a second-round pick and draft Tannehill later in the first round.
Without Peyton Manning or Matt Flynn, the Dolphins will most likely start the season with Matt Moore. They may possibly look for their quarterback in the draft. If teams like the San Diego Chargers or Cincinnati Bengals are willing to move up, the Dolphins can get their quarterback of the future. If Miami stays at eight, they are better off going with another position.
Let's take a look at what could possibly go down on draft day.
Miami Dolphins trade their eighth pick to the San Diego Chargers for the Chargers' 18th and 49th picks.
With Miami moving down to No.18 and adding a second-round pick, I would feel more comfortable with them drafting Tannehill here.
Tannehill can become Miami's quarterback of the future if he is given enough time to develop. Mike Sherman knows exactly what he is getting and this pick might solve Miami's quarterback problem of the last decade.
Miami would have some more ammunition here with the 42nd and 49th picks. With the departure of Brandon Marshall, the Fins need a legitimate wide receiver and they could select him in the second round.
Alshon Jeffery has been on a consistent drop through the draft boards, but could be a steal in the second round. If he is able to run a good 40 at his pro day, he will find himself in the first round. He has all the skills to be a Pro Bowler in the NFL and could give Miami and Tannehill a legitimate target for years to come.
With their second pick in the second round, Miami will most likely address their pass-rushing problems. Vinny Curry is able to play in both a 4-3 and 3-4 scheme, which would allow Kevin Coyle to be extremely flexible with his defense. Cameron Wake wouldn't be too disappointed with this pick either.
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With the Brandon Marshall trade, the Dolphins received the Bears' 74th pick. With back-to-back picks in the third round, the Dolphins can address their offensive line and tight end issues.
With the first of these picks, the Dolphins may have a shot at drafting tight end Orson Charles. He recently had an off-the-field issue that may cause his draft stock to drop, but drafting him in the third round is a great value pick. He has the ability to stretch the field and give Moore or Tannehill some more options.
With the pick that follows, the Dolphins can take Brandon Washington. He can step in and play either right tackle or guard. With Lydon Murtha getting a lot of hype to start at right tackle, Washington might slide in and play guard to replace Vernon Carey.
With a young quarterback on the roster, the Dolphins need to make his life a lot easier. Tommy Streeter is a raw but talented receiver. He has elite speed and if he can polish his route running he can be an elite receiver in the league.
A pairing of Alshon Jeffery and Tommy Streeter has the potential to scare any defense.
Safety has now become a major issue for Miami. With Yeremiah Bell being released and the free safety spot up for grabs, Miami needs to improve this position as soon as possible.
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Antonio Allen comes to the NFL after playing the spur linebacker position at South Carolina. He will probably need a year to adjust and learn the position since he hasn't played the safety position exclusively, but he is a smart player that has the physical tools to succeed in the NFL.
Cliff Harris has the type of athleticism that is very rare to find. He has plenty of speed, as anyone that plays at Oregon does, and can help the Dolphins with depth at cornerback, but especially on special teams. He does have character concerns, but a sixth-round pick is good value for Harris. With him playing special teams, Clyde Gates can focus all his energy on learning how to play the wide receiver position.
Jacquies Smith was a solid player for Missouri that had some good games against very good teams. He is not considered an elite pass-rusher, but he can develop into a very serviceable backup. It is never a problem to have too many pass-rushers.
1st round: Trade back, draft Ryan Tannehill, QB, Texas A&M
The move may have been made by the Dolphins' front office to make room for more potential free agent signings. It's possible Peyton Manning told Miami that the only way he would play for them was if they signed Pierre Garcon and Reggie Wayne. Possibly even Dallas Clark.
I was anxious to see what the Dolphins would do once free agency started, but this is not what I expected would happen. Marshall is one of the top receivers in the league and was a big part of Miami's offense. Miami gave up a second-round pick when they traded for him while he was with the Denver Broncos and are now getting less value with two third round picks.
Marshall will be reunited with Jay Cutler in Chicago, whom he shared success with while they were members of the Denver Broncos. It had been suggested that the Bears would go after a wide receiver, either through free agency or the draft. Instead, they ended up getting one of the top receivers in the league, and only gave up two third-round picks to get him.
I am curious to see what Miami's plan is after releasing Marshall. If they don't sign Manning and he doesn't bring in the aforementioned receivers, what is Miami going to do with Joe Philbin's pass-heavy offense? If they bring in Matt Flynn, who is he going to throw to?
I really hope Miami has a real solid plan as of now.
Manning's upside is that he is obviously proven and if he can stay healthy for two or three years, the Dolphins are immediate Super Bowl contenders. With Manning in place, it is also possible that Miami can reel in free agent Reggie Wayne to play alongside Brandon Marshall as well as tight end Dallas Clark.
Miami's plan B is free agent quarterback Matt Flynn. Nobody has better information on Flynn's potential than Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin. Philbin knows what Flynn is capable of doing right now, as well as his potential with this team.
Flynn would not be brought in with a package, like Manning could be, but he is a younger and healthier option that could pan out for Miami and possibly give them a franchise quarterback.
It has been made clear by the Dolphins front office that Miami is not all in on Matt Moore starting next season despite the success he had late last season.
With Robert Griffin out of reach, the Dolphins are down to their last two options and they better be convincing in their recruiting, unless they want to see Jason Campbell or Kyle Orton wearing the aqua and orange in Week 1.
With the quarterback position being the biggest question, what the Dolphins do at the position will determine what they do in the first round of the draft. If they sign a free agent, Miami will draft either a pass-rusher or an offensive lineman.
If they don't sign a free-agent quarterback, it is likely that the Dolphins will give up an arm and a leg to get Robert Griffin. So what should the 'Fins do with their first-round pick?
Draft a Pass-rusher
Miami only has one pass-rusher on its roster—Cameron Wake. The retirement of Jason Taylor will really hurt this defense in terms of putting pressure on opposing quarterbacks. However, if Miami decides to draft a pass-rusher, this will greatly impact the overall quality of this defense.
With another pass-rusher, Cameron Wake will stop seeing as many double teams and will be able to have a Pro Bowl-caliber season. Aside from quarterback, this may be Miami's biggest need.
Players to Keep an Eye On
Draft an Offensive Lineman
This may not be a popular pick among Dolphins' fans, but it will surely help the Dolphins quarterback situation moving forward. Whether they start Matt Moore or another quarterback next season, Miami has to shore up the right side of the line in order for any quarterback to succeed.
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This is a good class of offensive lineman, which would allow Miami to wait until the second round to draft one, but let's not forget Jeff Ireland has surprised us all in recent years.
Players to Keep an Eye On
Draft a Quarterback
This is clearly the biggest need for the Dolphins in order to be a playoff team. We may see Miami start a new quarterback next year, however, it is still unknown if it will be a free-agent signing or a rookie quarterback.
If Miami is unable to land a free-agent quarterback, they will turn their attention to the draft. Andrew Luck is out of the question, but there's still a chance to land Robert Griffin with the second pick.
If Miami is going to draft a quarterback, they have to draft an NFL-ready quarterback, and there are only two this year. They can't afford to draft another project quarterback like Chad Henne.
Players to Keep an Eye On
Robert Griffin III
The only reason the Miami Dolphins would trade up in the draft would be to take Robert Griffin III with the second pick.
Out of three teams (Cleveland Browns, Washington Redskins, Miami Dolphins) supposedly in the running for the Baylor quarterback, the Dolphins have the least chance of enticing the Rams to trade them the pick.
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Cleveland has two first-round picks this year, including the No. 4 pick, which would give the Rams a shot at drafting a player they really like.
The Redskins have the No. 6 pick, which the Rams might also like.
But the Dolphins, with the No. 8 pick, have less to offer the Rams. They will have to offer a bigger package than either of these teams, which would make Dolphins' management a little hesitant. If they are able to make the move, the Dolphins will most likely solve their quarterback problems that have plagued them since Dan Marino retired in 1999.
This is another possibility the Dolphins have in case they are unable to move up to draft Griffin. Miami may feel that none of the players available at their current position are worthy of the pick and would rather accumulate more picks.
By trading down, the Dolphins might get a better value for a right tackle later in the first round while getting another second-round pick. They may also get a game-breaking pass-rusher later in the first round rather than getting that with the No. 8 pick.