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Draft order, what picks need to bring [Update]

The NFL has released its official draft order for the April 2009 draft and although the order might change slightly at the end of rounds 3-7 because of the addition of compensatory picks, you can pretty much bank on much of this remaining.

So here's the 411 on the Dolphins:

They have nine overall picks. They have at least one selection in every round, except the sixth when they have no pick. They have two picks in the second round. They have three picks in the seventh round.

The picks by round:

FIRST -- 25th (25th overall).

SECOND -- 12th (44th overall) from Washington and 24th (56th overall).

THIRD -- 23rd (87th overall).

FOURTH -- 26th (122nd overall).

FIFTH -- 25th (153rd overall).

SIXTH -- 24th (184th overall) to Dallas.

SEVENTH -- 5th (197th overall) from Cleveland, 23rd (215th overall), and 28th (220th overall) from Carolina.

Alrightie then. So what do the Dolphins do with those picks, those nine opportunities to improve the team?

Following the league-wide cooling off of free agency at the end of this week, I think it will be obvious to everyone the Dolphins are not about to sign a sure-fire, starting-caliber player the remainder of free agency. Oh, some unrestricted free agent might sign and have the chance to compete for a starting job. Some veteran might even be cut unexpectedly -- as Chad Pennington was -- and also fit in as the Dolphins look to get an answer at a questionable position.

But are the Dolphins going to find someone in what remains of free agency that will be anointed a starter from the moment he puts signature to contract as Gibril Wilson and Jake Grove were? Probably not.

So it is the draft that will offer Miami the next greatest opportunity -- outside of trades -- to find starters. And on a team with as many needs as the Dolphins still have, one would expect they could find at minimum one and perhaps even three rookies to start relatively quickly out of the coming draft.

And where does Miami need these starters?

Cornerback. Wide receiver. Outside linebacker/pass rusher. 

The cornerback spot as currently filled on the Miami roster shows what happens when a team invests a high draft pick on a position and the player flops. The loss of Andre' Goodman in free agency wouldn't be a big deal if Jason Allen, the first-round pick in 2006, were ready to step up and step in. Allen's not, at least coaches haven't thought so -- demoting him time after time after time, to the point he was mostly a special teams player at the end of last season.

So the Dolphins need a starting caliber cornerback and, at minimum, need someone with great promise to groom so he can step in when Will Allen is out of contact after the 2009 season. Cornerback, in my opinion, is currently the team's most glaring need.

Then there is the receiver position. The Dolphins need a No. 1 receiver. Can a rookie be a No. 1 receiver? Most cannot, but rookies can certainly make a difference as evidenced by the work Eddie Royal, DeSean Jackson and Donnie Avery did as rookies last season.

Hakeem Nicks screams "draft me" to Miami. He is polished. He is strong. He has experience in a pro offense. And Nicks is a great competitor as evidenced by the fact that when teammate Brandon Tate went down with an injury and teams rolled their coverages to Nicks, Nicks responded by improving his production. He was better when the pressure was on and teams paid closer attention to him. He would start on the Dolphins tomorrow.

But I doubt the Dolphins would be able to get him unless they get him in the first round and I don't know if that is the plan, given the relative value Bill Parcells places on wide receivers. We shall see. [Update: The youtube video I had up previously was of Nicks in 2007, his sophomore year. Thanks to N.C. fan Reggie Harrison for pointing it out. I've replaced it with a highlight look of 2008 action, including one of the sickest catches of the year at the 2:47 mark against West Virginia. Check out the concentration as Nicks brings the ball behind his back.]

The next highest priority is clearly improving the pass rush and the Dolphins will do this, in all probability, by picking an outside linebacker. Don't get hooked on strong side or weak side. As a rookie that player doesn't really have to start. He can be a situational pass rusher that plays in every passing situation as one of Miami's quarterback-chasing-front-four in the nickel and dime packages.

Eventually coaches will decide if that rookie rusher is Matt Roth's replacement in 2009 ... or Joey Porter's replacement beyond that. Again, don't get caught up in weak or strong side right away. The coaches will figure that out eventually. Concentrate on the need to get pressure on the quarterback from a source other than Porter, particularly in the nickel and dime packages. That's the key.

Actually, those are the three greatest keys to improving the Dolphins in 2009 now that free agency is about to slow to a trickle.

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I thought Chase Coffman and Pat White would be late 2nd rounders... but I would love to see both drafted in those spots.

I'm pretty sure at least 3 of the top 6 WR's will be available for both our 2nd rd picks. No need to grab one in the 1st. So here is my list of potentials in each round. Cushing would be my pick at #1 but I have a feeling his stock went too high after the combine. I'm hoping at least one of the 2a picks will be there (fingers crossed).

1. Larry English DE/OLB
1. Clay Matthews DE/OLB
1. Aaron Maybin DE/OLB
2a. Alphonso Smith CB
2a. Percy Harvin WR
2a. Hakeem Nicks WR
2b. Evander Hood DT
2b. Connor Barwin DE/OLB
2b. Brian Robiskie WR

HAKEEM NICKS/LB is the best choice with the first round or early 2nd pick. Nicks IS NOT JUST A POSSESSION WR. He averages 18 yds a catch runs a 4.49 40. 12 TDs in 13 games. 21 TDs in 3 years. 15 catches over 25 yards this year. He is a do it all type of WR/a game changer. All of those LBs would be great choices with 2nd round picks. Nicks will be great choice not matter where he is picked. I predict he is gone before we have a chance around pick #15

I think this is the way it will end up in April.

1. Larry English
2a. Sean Smith
2b. Brian Robiskie

and sometime on Sunday they will select Terrance Taylor.

KJL13,

I agree with you though I put Mathews ahead of english in round 1.

I would also add Butler and D.J. moore at 2a. I would also put Barwin and Sintim ahead of Hood. Either way I expect atleast 1 LB most likely 2 in first 3 rounds, a CB and DT. Those wanting a WR are going to be disappointed I believe.

Blaze

obama sold us a bill of good,
Tiss tiss you sound like you been sipping on grand pa's cough medicine and listening to too much "rush limby" quit complaing and take a frekin hike. Of course Obama will spend more to fix the mess gw made than any other president. gw left the cost of the war off the books. Bill bubu Clinton entered the white house with a deficite and left with a surplus inbetween that time the economy was the best it was in several decades. so loosen up your tighty whities and tlk dolphins football!

KJL13, you don't just go after any reciever. You go after the one's that look special with possible value. And the ones that look special are Crabtree and Nicks. Assuming Crabtree will be gone Dolphins will be lucky if Nicks is there at 25 and we will grab him if available then. If not we will wait and pick one in round 3.

dolphins4life, lay off the kool-aide and stop watching MSNBC and CNN ( Clinton news network ). When clinton left office he also left us with the beginning stages of a recession and a defecite . Then 9/11 happened because of his ineptness and failures on terror by clinton . That had a huge effect on the economy and bush got us out. Also obama"s (the socialist ) spending and stimulis bill had nothing to do with money ( or cost ) for the war . So please wake up and learn something about politics before you talk.

fish need to take the best wide reciever available with 1st pick! We need someone who can break the game open everytime he touches the ball, and we don't have that right now. But before that happens, trade 2nd and 4th round picks to get a second pick in the 1st round, and take the best linebacker available at that spot.

obama sold us dude...no the wheels for 9/11 where in motion long before Clinton took office. In fact the 9/11 ripple effect started with the Reagan and Bush administaion when they trained and sold arms to Osama bin laden and his men in order to over throw sadam husien. But his real motivation all along was to kill americans. And I don't watch msnbc or cnn, though i have checked out ac360 now and then. Now gw didn't do a thing to get us out of aything. So when you mention something about "learn politics" well LOL. Hello, we have socialism embedded in our schools. We have some socialism like a police force, a fire department, libraies, but communism being the most extreme form and the US being the most liberal form. So don't assume most people don't know about polictics I'm here to talk Dolphins football!

Dave I agree with you Dave we need Nicks. and i'm a defence wins championships guy but this time I hope Tuna and company picks him. There are plenty of good linebackers out there to be had in round two. good nite dolphins nation.

DOLPHIN4life, lol. all i heard was how saddam and iraq had nothing to do with 9/11 and terroism. So NOW they the did have something to do with it to suit your left wing agenda in this arguement , LOL . You can't have it both ways . Socilaism has taken over by nationalizing our banks and soon our health care. What's next . Ask europe how this is working. AGreed lets stick to football.

I agree with Aqua 1 that inside linebacker is more of a glaring need then OLB. If Cameron Wake doesnt workout maybe we can bring JT back to Miami at a discount. Draftwise at the 25 spot I would hope that Rey Maualuga will be there if not MAYBE Laurinitis, if they are both gone we HAVE to take Hakeem Nicks. I personally thought Nicks was better even when Tate was healthy and the guy DOMINATED the skills competition. He has to be the pick at 25. There will be CB's to be had in the second round or we could use some of our later picks to move back up into the first round.

Here's an update to my wish list after I read a few columns this weekend. I'm pretty sure we will go best available with pick #1 then a CB with #2a. #2b pick will probably go based on need with whatever we didn't get with #1.

1. Larry English DE/OLB
1. Clay Matthews DE/OLB
1. Hakeem Nicks WR
2a. Alphonso Smith CB
2a. Darius Butler CB
2a. DJ Moore CB
2b. Evander Hood DT
2b. Connor Barwin DE/OLB
2b. Brian Robiskie WR

My guess would be either one of these scenarios

1. Hakeem Nicks WR
2a. Darius Butler CB
2b. Connor Barwin DE/OLB

or

1. Larry English DE/OLB
2a. Darius Butler CB
2b. Brian Robiskie WR

Nicks, Butler, Barwin seems like a better choice on paper. Pat White would be a nice #3 pick. I doubt he will last through the 2nd round though.

mando. Brian Robiske should definatly be the WR the Dolphins go after. He's more polished than Nicks is. Plus his father is an NFL Coach, and he has a way better chance to step in and start immediatly

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