Miami will be a very interesting team to watch in this draft. By far and away their biggest need is at offensive tackle. There were rumblings that the Dolphins might move struggling 2nd year pro Jonathan Martin over from RT to LT. That thinking was met with extreme skepticism, seeing as Martin had a bad season last year, including moments like this (watch the left tackle):
Then the Dolphins were linked to a trade in which they would acquire Chiefs LT Branden Albert for a 2nd round pick. Whether or not that trade happens, it’s a clear indication that the Dolphins themselves are not sold on Martin at LT. Therefore, drafting a player who is only going to be a RT (or perhaps a guard) in the NFL doesn’t make much sense, which would eliminate a player like Alabama’s DJ Fluker.
So the Dolphins have a few options. If they want to trade up to snap up one of the 3 stud OTs (Luke Joeckel, Eric Fisher, or Lane Johnson) to play LT for them, they have the ammo to do so, with 11 picks, including 5 in the first 82:
Or they can stand pat. The problem with standing pat, however, is that a player may not fall to them they they “love,” as noted by the Miami Herald’s Armando Salguero (bold notation is mine):
The truth is some players would be easier to love if Miami wasn’t picking so high. The Dolphins really like Texas safety Kenny Vaccaro, who was in town visiting the team Tuesday. They really like defensive tackles Sheldon Richardson and Sylvester Williams, cornerback D.J. Hayden and even Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o.
So are the Dolphins ready to commit to any of those players at No. 12? No, they all appear possibilities in a trade-down scenario, where the increased value of the picks could bring the Dolphins to loving any of those players, particularly Vaccaro.
But if the club stays at No.12, love will continue to be hard to find.
Vaccaro seems like a strange name to me, not because he isn’t great player (he is), but because the Dolphins already have a good (although unheralded) safety tandem in Reshad Jones and Chris Clemons.
The really intriguing player among that group is DJ Hayden, who up until a couple weeks ago was more of an unknown name. If you are unfamiliar with Hayden’s story, here is a great read from Andrea Kremer on NFL.com. Or if you prefer video…
The short version of it is that Hayden was injured during a practice on a fairly innocuous play and was rushed to a hospital. It was determined that his vena cava, the main blood vessel that brings blood from the lower extremities back to the heart, was nearly completely torn off the back of the heart. For those of you who are not doctors, having a torn vena cava is not ideal for staying alive.
Hayden’s evaluation by NFL teams will be more doctor oriented than scout oriented. On the field, Hayden is awesome. He’s a ball hawk. He anticipates routes and breaks on them. His play recognition is excellent. He’s an outstanding and very willing tackler. He can blitz. He’s always looking for a strip, but not if it will keep him from making a tackle. I hadn’t watched any tape of Hayden until Mike Mayock called him the best CB in the draft, but when I did I was almost embarrassed that I had barely even heard of him. When I had a chance to take a deeper look at him, I found that his tape is excellent.
Brent Grimes signed with Miami this offseason, but it’s only a 1-year deal and Grimes turns 30 in July. On the other side, Richard Marshall is serviceable, but certainly a player you would look to upgrade if given the opportunity.
The Dolphins have shown interest in Hayden, and I think he’s a legitimate option at 12, assuming his medicals check out. Every year there are at least two “Holy crap” picks in the first round. This would be one of those, although maybe it shouldn’t be.