2014 DRAFT GUIDE
11 picks give Dolphins flexibility in draft

By STEVEN WINE - AP Sports Writer
    2013-04-23 12:21

MIAMI (AP) - The Miami Dolphins go into the draft with enough picks to field a team. Now the goal is to field a winning team.

After many months of patient maneuvering, the Dolphins accumulated 11 picks, beginning with the 12th overall selection Thursday. They have five of the first 82 selections, the most in the NFL.

So they should come out of the weekend with a bounty of new talent, a foundation for the future, and a new direction after four consecutive losing seasons - the franchise's longest such stretch since the 1960s.

General manager Jeff Ireland, much-maligned for decisions in previous drafts, swung several deals to put Miami in such a favorable position. He knows the Dolphins can't botch it.

``A lot of thinking and a lot of planning went into this,'' Ireland said. ``The fact that we do have 11 draft picks, and five in the top three rounds, that's important. It doesn't come around very often that you have that kind of clout in the draft. We need to take advantage of it.''

The abundance of early picks affords the Dolphins considerable leverage in trade talks. There has been speculation they'll move up in the first round, but with myriad needs, it's also possible they'll trade the No. 12 selection for multiple lower choices.

``Obviously you have options - I like to use the word `ammunition' - to go up if you wanted to,'' Ireland said. ``Certainly there are opportunities to do that, and there are also opportunities to move back and move around.

``I've got enough ammunition to get to the first pick if I wanted to,'' Ireland said, smiling slightly. ``But I don't see myself doing that.''

Whatever the moves, they could prove pivotal for the Dolphins' GM, a Bill Parcells protege preparing for his 15th draft and his sixth in Miami. Fans mindful of so-so draft results in recent years have clamored for Ireland's firing.

Not one player remains with the team from Ireland's first season with Miami in 2008, and the 2011 draft netted only one starter - center Mike Pouncey. Second- and third-round picks have been especially disappointing.

``I am aware of it,'' Ireland recently told reporters. ``You guys keep me aware of it quite often.''

Now that second-year coach Joe Philbin and his staff have settled into their jobs, they'll likely have more input in the Dolphins' draft room this time around. But Ireland said his approach remains the same.

``Obviously you are trying to upgrade the room and the dynamics of the room,'' he said. ``Certainly I haven't changed too much in regard to picking players. I have been doing it a long time now.''

The biggest need is a replacement for left tackle Jake Long, who departed to the Rams in free agency. Miami would likely need to trade up to select Luke Joeckel of Texas A&M, Eric Fisher of Central Michigan or Lane Johnson of Oklahoma, but D.J. Fluker of Alabama is expected to be available at No. 12.

Fluker is a right tackle, which would mean moving Jonathan Martin - a second-round pick last year - from the right side to left tackle.

``It would be a great bet at right tackle if Jonathan Martin can get it done at left tackle,'' draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. said. ``It will help your running game as the best running blocking right tackle to come out in years."

But will Ireland use such a high choice on a player perceived as the fourth-best tackle available? And will he devote yet another first-round pick to an offensive lineman?

Miami took Long as the first overall pick in 2008 and Pouncey as the 15th overall choice last year.

``If I get another Pouncey and another Jake Long, I would do it every draft,'' Ireland said. ``Those kinds of guys are pretty darn good. I wish I had a whole team full of Mike Pounceys and Jake Longs.''

But in the next breath he added, ``I'm not going to pigeonhole myself just to take an offensive lineman. I think we have a couple other positions that we might go after.''

A defensive back or defensive lineman are other possibilities with the first pick. Less pressing needs include guard, running back, outside linebacker and tight end.

Whatever the position, the Dolphins seek playmakers who can change the course of a game in one snap. Miami ranked 27th in yards in 2012, when the wideouts caught only three touchdown passes, and the defense tied for fourth-worst in takeaways - statistics that underscore the lack of a big-play capability.

With the team in the market for so many upgrades, perhaps Miami will keep all 11 picks. Quantity is important to Philbin.

``Ideally we'd add 11 excellent football players to the roster, and create an even more competitive atmosphere than we have right now,'' the coach said. ``We all know the draft, and free agency for that matter, are not necessarily exact sciences. But I'd rather have 11 than five. So I'm excited about it.''

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Kelvin BenjaminJul 29 10:40a

Carolina Panthers WR Kelvin Benjamin (knee) doesn't have a timetable for his return after bruising his left knee, but he is expected to be back in days, not weeks. [ More ]

Robert MeachemJul 28 07:03p

New Orleans Saints WR Robert Meachem (back) and OG Ben Grubbs (undisclosed) did not participate in practice Monday, July 28, but head coach Sean Payton said both should return [ More ]

Josh GordonJul 28 07:03p

Cleveland Browns WR Josh Gordon has hired attorney Maurice Suh to help with the appeal of his impending suspension, according to a source. Suh helped Seattle Seahawks CB Richard [ More ]

Jonathan GoodwinJul 28 07:03p

New Orleans Saints C Tim Lelito and C Jonathan Goodwin split reps at center with the first-team offense during practice Monday, July 28.

Rokevious WatkinsJul 28 06:32p

Kansas City Chiefs OG Rokevious Watkins (back) cleared waivers and was placed on the Reserve/Non-Football Injury list Monday, July 28.

Ezekiel AnsahJul 28 06:32p

Detroit Lions WR T.J. Jones (shoulder) and DE Ziggy Ansah (shoulder) are making progress in his rehab, but there are timetables for their returns, according to head coach Jim [ More ]

Quentin GrovesJul 28 06:23p

The Houston Texans signed LB Quentin Groves (Browns) to an undisclosed contract Monday, July 28.

J. VanderveldeJul 28 06:12p

Philadelphia Eagles RB Chris Polk (undisclosed) and OG Julian Vandervelde (undisclosed) did not participate in practice Monday, July 28.

Terrell ThomasJul 28 06:03p

The Seattle Seahawks have agreed to terms with CB Terrell Thomas (Giants) on a one-year deal. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Michael CrabtreeJul 28 05:53p

The San Francisco 49ers will try to sign WR Michael Crabtree and OG Mike Iupati to contract extensions before they become unrestricted free agents next offseason, according to general [ More ]

Josh HullJul 28 05:42p

The New England Patriots released LB Josh Hull Monday, July 28.

DeMarcus LoveJul 28 05:32p

The New York Giants have claimed OG Mark Asper off waivers from the Buffalo Bills. The team also waived OT DeMarcus Love.

Gary BarnidgeJul 28 05:32p

The Cleveland Browns activated LB Tank Carder (undisclosed) and TE Gary Barnidge (undisclosed) from the Non-Football Injury list Monday, July 28.

Teddy BridgewaterJul 28 05:12p

Minnesota Vikings QB Teddy Bridgewater will receive playing time with the starting offense during preseason games, according to head coach Mike Zimmer. The team will need that information to [ More ]

Christian PonderJul 28 05:12p

The Minnesota Vikings are willing to trade QB Christian Ponder. Ponder has performed well during training camp but probably will be the No. 3 quarterback.

Tyler GaffneyJul 28 05:02p

The New England Patriots claimed RB Tyler Gaffney (Panthers) on waivers Monday, July 28.

Tony HillsJul 28 04:53p

The Miami Dolphins signed free-agent OT Tony Hills (Raiders) to an undisclosed deal Monday, July 28.

Evan RoysterJul 28 04:32p

Washington Redskins RB Evan Royster (hamstring) did not participate in practice Monday, July 28, because of a strained hamstring. He was able to do some light work on the side with the trainers.

Patrick PetersonJul 28 04:01p

Arizona Cardinals CB Patrick Peterson will be used strictly on defense this season and will not see time in any offensive situations. The Cardinals have excess capacity at wide [ More ]

Kelvin BenjaminJul 28 03:42p

Carolina Panthers WR Kelvin Benjamin (knee) has a bone bruise, according to head coach Ron Rivera. There is swelling in the knee but nothing is structurally damaged.

Lamar MillerJul 28 03:37p

Miami Dolphins RB Lamar Miller will be used much like Philadelphia Eagles RB LeSean McCoy was last season. That means he should see quite a few passes headed his [ More ]

Ndamukong SuhJul 28 03:32p

Detroit Lions DT Ndamukong Suh's contract extension discussion will be put on hold until the end of the season, according to a source.

Odell Beckham Jr.Jul 28 03:12p

New York Giants WR Odell Beckham Jr. (hamstring) missed practice Monday, July 28, to receive treatment for his injured hamstring. Head coach Tom Coughlin said Beckham probably has some tests scheduled for the hamstring.

Ryan WilliamsJul 28 03:02p

Dallas Cowboys RB Ryan Williams looks to be a longshot for the final roster, because he is not a good special teams player and would have to help on [ More ]

M. BernadeauJul 28 02:43p

Dallas Cowboys OG Mackenzy Bernadeau has been working at left guard with the first-team offense, because OG Ronald Leary (hamstring) has been dealing with a hamstring injury. Bernadeau and [ More ]

Dan WilliamsJul 28 02:22p

Arizona Cardinals DT Dan Williams (knee) is not expected to participate in practice Monday, July 28, but the team does not believe his knee injury is serious.

Everette BrownJul 28 02:22p

The Washington Redskins have signed free-agent LB Everette Brown (Cowboys). Terms of the contract were not disclosed.

B. RoethlisbergerJul 28 02:02p

The Pittsburgh Steelers are confident that they will be able sign QB Ben Roethlisberger before his current contract expires, according to general manager Kevin Colbert. Colbert said he expects [ More ]

Anthony GaitorJul 28 01:42p

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have signed free-agent CB Anthony Gaitor (Dolphins) and undrafted free-agent DT Jibreel Black (Michigan). Terms of the contracts were not disclosed, but all contracts signed [ More ]

Alshon JefferyJul 28 01:32p

Updating a previous report, Chicago Bears WR Alshon Jeffery (foot) left practice early Monday, July 28, because of a sore foot.

Matt CasselJul 28 01:23p

Minnesota Vikings QBs Matt Cassel, Teddy Bridgewater and Christian Ponder have been evenly splitting reps during the early part of training camp, according to offensive coordinator Norv Turner. Turner [ More ]

Kelvin BenjaminJul 28 01:23p

Carolina Panthers WR Kelvin Benjamin's (knee) left knee injury isn't expected to be serious, and head coach Ron Rivera is optimistic that Benjamin won't miss much time. Benjamin is [ More ]

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2014 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group