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2014 NFL Draft Handicapping Tips – Miami Dolphins

Miami Dolphins

The Miami Dolphins certainly won free agency a year ago, but the team is now feeling some pressure after a disappointing .500 season. They enter this year’s draft with some major needs along the offensive line, though their 19th overall selection could make that tricky to fill.

Few teams are looking to trade up this season, but after pushing their chips to the middle of the table a year ago, the Dolphins could be a team looking to make a move early on Thursday.

Miami Dolphins (8-8)

Draft picks (by round)

Round 1 – 19
Round 2 – 50
Round 3 – 81
Round 4 – 116
Round 5 – 155
Round 6 – 190
Round 7 – 234

Here are five things to expect from the Dolphins on draft day:

Dolphins 2014 NFL Draft Predictions

They look to trade up in the opening round

It may not be easy to do, but the Dolphins should at least be working the phone to see if they can move up into a position that will allow them to grab one of the impact offensive linemen expected to come from this draft.

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Filling that need in the later rounds is doable, but if this is a team that is actually serious about winning now, they aren’t in a position to plug in a project at a key position. Ryan Tannehill’s development was clearly held back by poor offensive line play, and that isn’t something that can happen again.

They draft no fewer than two offensive linemen with their first four picks
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The first item on new general manager Dennis Hickey’s to-do list must involve re-vamping the team’s offensive line. Stanford David Yankey, Nevada’s Joel Bitonio, and Ohio State’s Jack Mewhort all fit the bill.

Hickey knows this is an area he’s going to be judged on early on, and the opinion that comes from his handling of the situation could stick with fans in Florida for a long while. He’s likely to bring in multiple bodies to ensure this situation gets resolved.

They draft a tight end

It’s tough to tell what kind of shape Dustin Keller’s going to be in when he returns. The team would love it if North Carolina’s Eric Ebron fell to No. 19, though that seems unlikely. Tannehill certainly showed a willingness to use his tight end a year ago, and getting something more than the production they got out of Charles Clay seems like it would be helpful.

More realistic targets could be Texas Tech’s Jace Amaro, or Washington’s Austin Seferian-Jenkins in the second round.

They select multiple players in the secondary

After the offensive line, the defensive secondary is where the Dolphins have the most holes to fill. It isn’t likely that they’ll be able to solve all their problems through the draft, but they’ll likely try.

The team puts defensive needs on the backburner in favor of its offensive needs

With an offensive-minded coach like Joe Philbin, that shouldn’t be surprising. Many have the team projected to take an offensive skill play in the first round despite obvious needs in other areas.

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