ESPN draft guru Mel Kiper has the Dolphins picking Alabama inside linebacker Rolando McClain with their No. 12 overall pick of the first round in the upcoming draft.
But Kiper believes the Dolphins will have a healthy and perhaps heated discussion whether to go with McClain or Oklahoma State's Dez Bryant if the wide receiver is on the board when Miami selects.
"Dez Bryant, I think he'll be in the discussion, but you look at him and he could go higher," Kiper said today on a nationwide conference call. "I have him going at No. 10 to Denver still ... [The Dolphins] certainly need wide receiver help and you got to get it at some point and I think they will try get in this draft.
"But at that point, I think McClain would be the best option if Bryant's gone. And even if Bryant's there it's going to be a heck of a discussion, I would think, even if Bryant is still on the board."
Yeah, I could see that discussion going something like this:
Jeff Ireland: Bill, we've got a wide receiver and a linebacker on the board and ...
Bill Parcells: I'm Bill freakin' Parcells and I love linebackers.
Ireland: Linebacker it is.
Seriously, the Parcells penchant for drafting linebackers is well-known. And picking McClain, whom Kiper says has "a Ray Lewis-type enthusiasm and Bill Parcells will see that in McClain," seems logical.
"You look at Parcells when he was with the Giants and at other places, he loves linebackers that have that type of ability, especially guys with his kind of size too, with LT and Carl Banks and those type of guys," Kiper said. "This is an inside linebacker that looks like an outside linebacker."
And that is where Kiper and I disagree. I believe the Dolphins have a greater need at OLB than ILB. But Kiper doesn't see any OLB as worthy of the No. 12 selection.
I believe Michigan's Brandon Graham is more than worthy of that pick, talk of his short arms be damned. I love Graham! I have put in adoption papers for Graham because I want that guy in my family if he's not going to be on the Dolphins!
And here's the kicker, despite saying Graham rates around No. 20-32, Kiper also seems to love Graham.
"I've liked him all along, that's the one guy I've been consistent with all the way through," Kiper said. "He's got that great work ethic, he comes hard every play. He took advantage of some offensive tackles that were very suspect, obviously, and in the NFL that's not the case."
Kiper believes Graham will somehow wind up chasing Dolphins quarterbacks someday, either for a Miami division foe, or a team the Dolphins must eventually beat to become great.
"I actually have him going to New England in the latest projection I did from the standpoint of being a 3-4 outside backer," Kiper said. "As a 4-3 defensive end situational guy if Indianapolis looks at him in that rotation with [Dwight] Freeney and Robert Mathis it makes sense. I think his character and every game bringing it, the way he did production-wise is the reason why he's a pick to go now between 20 and 32."
I think that's precisely the reason the Dolphins should take him at No. 12. The kid brings it every play. Every single play. And he brings it with speed and explosion and good instinct and discipline.
Why isn't he rated higher?
Anyway, if the Dolphins decide to address their 3-4 OLB need later in the draft, Kiper has a handful of guys rated after the first round. They are:
Jerry Hughes of TCU, Ricky Sapp from Clemson, Antonio Coleman at Auburn, Cameron Sheffield at Troy, Eric Norwood at South Carolina. Kiper had Wisconsin's O'Brian Schofield rated as a first-rounder until he blew out his knee at the Senior Bowl in January.
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