Draft day is here! Big doings here at The Miami Herald and on my radio show, Armando and Perkins on 640Sports.
Here's the deal: First off please check out the information below. It tells you what I believe will happen during this Dolphins draft. It tells you what should happen. It gives analysis and opinion. Pretty cool, right?
Then tune in to my radio show at 640-AM in South Florida or the webcast right here at The Miami Herald. We'll be talking Dolphins and NFL draft with tons of guests, including Nat Moore, Keith Sims, Tony Collins, Louis Oliver, Gino Torretta, Troy Drayton and others throughout the morning 6-10 a.m. You are welcome to call in toll free from anywhere in the United States at 1-888-640-9385.
We are having a draft party in a Prius. Let's just say it was the suggestion of a co-worker I respect. 640Sports will have on-air personalities driving around South Florida in a Toyota Prius throughout the day. For my show, the Sports Brothers will be on the highways and byways giving out prizes.
If you listen to the show and attend the Dolphins Draft party starting this evening at Sun Life Stadium, you can win the 640 Sports Challenge. All you have to do is listen, show up to the draft party and win.
The winner gets a Jake Scott autographed football. Scott was the Most Valuable Player of Super Bowl VII, the game that culminated Miami's perfect season.
As to the actual draft, consider my thoughts by way of categories:
Most likely draft pick in Round One: Ryan Tannehill. As I wrote in my column today, Tannehill simply makes the most sense for a team trying to plug a hole that's been leaking far too long. He is not ready to play in 2012. The Dolphins won't admit this because, well, it's probably not wise to set the bar so low. But as Mike Mayock said this evening on the NFL Network, the guy is going to take a year or two to become NFL functional. The Dolphins have that time because they have two vets that I write about in the column.
Do I dig the idea of Tannehill?: Not that much. I believe the Dolphins would be picking a guy at No. 8 that is not the eighth best player in the draft. I understand QBs are overdrafted. This would be a classic case of a player being overdrafted.
Most likely alternative: Trade down. The Cowboys need to jump higher to grab Alabama safety Mark Barron. They need to get up ahead of the Bills who covet Barron and are scheduled to pick 10th. If the Dolphins aren't truly sold on Tannehill to the point they could be talked into picking lower and adding a second-round pick, this is the scenario that could play out. Frankly, I would love this scenario because Miami should still get a good player at 14 and then have two second-round picks plus two third-round picks. The Cowboys have the 45th overall pick or 13th pick in the second round.
Most likely player drafted if not Tannehill: I still think the Dolphins love Fletcher Cox. He fits as an addition to their 4-3 look. He can be an inside presence -- you've seen what that did for Detroit when they got one. He has pass-rush skills that can translate to DE. And he'd be great in sub packages. There's also the fact he would play right away. By the way, if you're thinking the Dolphins have plenty of DT help, remember the team is considering Jared Odrick at DE and Randy Starks is unsigned after this season.
Most likely player drafted if not Tannehill and Cox: South Carolina CB Stephon Gilmore. Dolphins like him a lot. He also plays an impact position where the Dolphins have lacked players that turn the ball over. There are some NFL teams -- New England among them -- considering going with extra corners and dialing back to one safety. It is an adjustment to the offensive explosion that's happening in the league. Teams simply require more cover players.
Player the Dolphins absolutely, positively will not draft in the first round: Iowa OT Riley Reiff. Remember him? Kiper and Bucky Brooks and others had him listed to the Dolphins in their early mock drafts. The Dolphins don't love him much. He has short arms. He lacks explosive punch. And he simply would be a reach to anyone picking him in the top 20. And I don't foresee the Dolphins being that low in the round.
Quarterback I like most not named Luck or Griffin: Kirk Cousins of Michigan State. You will laugh, but he reminds me of Tom Brady. Under the radar guy. Chip on his shoulder. Played in a major conference for a long time and won a lot of games. Did heroic stuff in college. Was a wonderboy in the fourth quarter. Was very good in the red zone. Has a solid arm that could get better. Smart. He is a leader, as made obvious by the fact he was captain three consecutive years. He'll probably go in the late second or third round. I would take him. At the end of the day, I guess I'm big on production. You know, stuff that happens on the field.
Getting ahead of ourselves for Friday: In the second round I'm thinking offensive line and specifically right tackle. Mike Adams of Ohio State is a possibility. I also like Kendal Wright of Baylor as a WR possibility here. My concern is the Patriots, who worked out Wright as late as this week, will grab this kid late in the first round. If the Dolphins pick up multiple second-round picks, keep T.Y. Hilton of FIU on your radar. Kid is a TD waiting to happen. Otherwise he could be third-round material as both a WR and returner.
What must happen before the weekend is out: If the Dolphins leave this draft without having added a right tackle that can compete for a starting job, I believe the draft will have failed in part of its purpose. Yes, I know Lydon Murtha is the favorite of some fans and the team has liked him for some time. But he's injury-prone, folks. And durability is a critical factor. I saw Artis Hicks work at right tackle this week and he looks like someone that other teams discard. Maybe he'd look much better in pads. I hope so. But I believe the club needs to draft a right tackle at some point this draft that can plausibly take over the starting job.