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Star Lotulelei in the first round makes sense (which is bad)

I know Jeff Ireland loves defensive tackles. A lot.

In two of the past three years the Dolphins have used their franchise tag on, you guessed it, defensive tackles -- Paul Soliai in 2011 and Randy Starks this year.

Only days after tagging Starks with the franchise tag, Ireland made no secret to his personnel people that he still wanted to add another defensive tackle because those guys are good to have and he already knew Tony McDaniel was headed out the door. Ireland also sees the defensive line as a Miami staple and he wants to keep it strong.

Ireland has said in at least two drafts that he's always looking for big bodied nose tackle/defensive tackle types because men built to play the position are hard to find.

One of the Dolphins signings this offseason? Defensive tackle Vaughn Martin, who was inked to a two-year deal.

So we've established Ireland likes to have defensive tackles in the fold.

And that leads me to my concern:

That on April 25, sitting at No. 12 in the first round, Ireland will look at his horizontal draft board and see Utah defensive tackle Star Lotulelei sitting there and he'll pull the trigger.

Lotulelei is by any measure a solid NFL draft choice at No. 12. Indeed, he might be the highest player on the Dolphins board at that time if the selections go as most of the experts have it mocked so far. For example, Mel Kiper of ESPN and the NFL Network's Daniel Jeremiah, Charles Davis, Gil Brandt and Charley Casserly all have Lotulelei on the board when Miami picks.

Furthermore, most of those experts have the big man going one pick later to Tampa Bay.

So what we have is the Starman being available and not being a reach around the No. 12 spot where Miami is scheduled to pick.

Then you have the fact the Dolphins like Lotulelei, you have the fact they've met with him privately, you have the fact both Starks and Soliai are in the final years of their deals, and it spells the Dolphins giving serious consideration to Lotulelei. I mean, very, very serious consideration.

And why do you sense tripidation about this on my part?

Three things:

Star Lotulelei doesn't play cornerback. And the Dolphins need to add a starting-caliber cornerback fairly high in this draft because I'm a lot more certain that Tom Brady will be his old self in 2013 while I'm not nearly as certain that Brent Grimes will be.

Star Lotulelei doesn't play offensive tackle. And if the Dolphins want to keep quarterback Ryan Tannehill's head on his shoulders next year, they need to add a starting-caliber offensive tackle in this draft.

Third, Star Lotulelei has a reputation for being very good on plays he didn't take off. In other words, his motor wasn't in gear every play he's on the field. Yes, he's on the field a lot. But I still don't like players that take plays off.

Fourth, and this one is thrown in as an aside because the problem has apparently been resolved, Star Lotulelei had that heart issue during the Indianapolis Combine. And having players with a past history of heart issues (even small and temporary ones) is scary in South Florida where the July and August temperatures are trying even for players with strong hearts.

I guess I'm worried the Dolphins will draft Lotulelei in the first round because he's a value pick and it makes sense addressing a future ... but he doesn't resolve either major need today.

The Dolphins have had no issues addressing future needs this offseason. They replaced Karlos Dansby and Kevin Burnett. But in the face of needing a starting OT and a starting CB (my opinion) are they going to address DT in the first round?

It's possible. Very possible.



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Still need a QB.

Zonk, still need to see you as a victim in our next episode

I love the pick. I can see the headlines now:

In my opinion, drafting Star at 12 only makes sense if the Dolphins were to trade Starks for a 2nd or 3rd round draft pick.

Otherwise, it may be like when Wanndstadt took Fletcher with Surtain and Madison already at CB -- addressing a team strength while ignorning team needs.

The Dolphins still need playmakers and speed, epecially on offense. An elite TE would be a nice start. So would a speedy WR that can get yards after the catch.

Wallace will attract too much defensive attention unless the other receivers can get open.

Unfortunately, the Dolphins also need to address the offensive line; a half decade of over-investment in the unit has not resulted in high performance on the field.

The secondary and defensive end also are areas of need.

There are other ways to address team needs without spending your first round pick.

Green bay selected Aaron Rodgers when they had Brett Favre, ignoring team needs. bad pick?

Jamar Fletcher was a horrible pick because the team had a screaming need for A QUARTERBACK and because Fletcher COULDN'T PLAY AT ALL. This is totally different. There are capapble offensive tackles in a lot of different places other than the first round of the draft. Quarterbacks - that's pretty much the only place you find them unless you get extremely lucky.

Albert is out there, McKinnie is out there, Winston is out there ... that's just three off the top of my head. Know of any capable starting QBs just out there available???

Star Lotulelei,

I'd be all in taking him at #12. I'd much rather have the best DT in the draft along with a top talent in this draft then reach for a guy like Xavier Rhodes who's talent level even though is good is also probably every bit as good as a CB like Blidi Wreh-Wilson, Darius Slay or David Amerson and many more. Probably 2 of the 3 if not all of them will be available in round 2.

As far as drafting a LT it's not some position that's set in stone when transitioning from college to to the NFL. Just last year Jonathan Martin who was a very good LT in college switched to RT, although Jake Long was the reason why the coaching staff isn't ready to name him LT this year either and there's no competition at all on that side. Lane Johnson looks like a good player and will be the only of the top 3 projected LTs on the board and maybe even gone when Miami picks. So the 3rd best LT who might end up being a RT before all is said and done at #12? OR the best DT in the draft who's disruptive as they come and makes a strength even stronger and sures it up for the future.

If Star was there and Miami took him, I'd be plenty happy with that selection.


Any idea on how big Will Yeatman is this year?? He needed to put on about 35 pounds from last year in order to play tackle.

Amen Andy - exactly. I hate drafting for need unless that need is a QB - take the best talent and shore up your needs in free agency.

Here's a couple of draft trades that would be interesting for Miami.

1. Dallas is at 18 and they are in love with Cooper and Vaccarro. They will get neither of them at 18. Dllas moves to 12 and gives up their 80th in the 3rd and a later round selection to make up the points differene. Dllas Selects Cooper or Vaccarro and Miami at 18 selects Eifert.

2. We see and know that the Pats are wanting Jamar Taylor at 29. We also want Taylor so we trade up to pick 26, 27 or 28 to snatch him away from the Pats and get our guy. We give up 1 of the 3rd round picks plus pick 42 to move back into the first round.

Or we just keep all 3 3rd round picks. BUT I do love snagging someone the Pats may be targeting at 29 and a big need and fit for us.

texas dolfan,

Eifert and Taylor would be a huge coup... I've thought of this trade down and trade back in scenario myself. If cb then Taylor would be my choice too but I would go after John Cyprien first if he's still there.

How is it that wide receiver was a need in Jan 2012 when we HAD Brandon Marshall, another top guy to play opposite of him...yet now it is not a need when all we have done is replace Marshall with Wallace?

Dansby and Burnett were good players so this remains to be seen if those positions were upgraded, the real question would be if Star was an impact player for this year ,if not than pick someone else who is , someone who scores touchdowns or sacks the QB

Wanna build a bad team.....draft need.

Wanna build a good team....draft best player available.

Star was top 4 player on most draft lists. This will be Stark's last year. Star would be a great pick and a 2014 need.


I agree with you. Star would be a huge value pick at #12. People seem to overlook that our two starting DT are only signed through next year!

Personally though, Im routing for Eifert. Ive warmed up to the idea of drafting Eifert and I think the fan base would be mostly happy with that selection. I also like Vaccaro. I think CB after Milliner is a reach. OG is too high for #12, even though Cooper and Warmack are legit. After the big three tackles are gone, and they will be by #12, the team has to draft BPA not for need. I can see that philosophy with Eifert, Vaccaro, Star, and even Patterson (but I dont hink the Dolphins are considering him).

Tackle problem solved?

Omar reports that the Dolphins are in heavy negotiations with KC to acquire Brandon Albert. Most likely the compensation will be a second round pick. The issue here though is the money- Albert probably wants $8 million per year. I wasnt crazy about them giving Long that kind of money either. That being said, I would rather this scenario than a trade up and giving up too many picks for Johnson or Fisher.

Selecting Star with the 12th pick would be an absolute steal. Scout has him as the third best player in the draft. There are good corners to be found in the second and third rounds. Trading for Branden Albert also makes sense, assuming the trade involves a 3rd and 7th instead of a 2nd.

I doubt Star or Shariff will be there at 12...if it's not OL or DB....if we don't trade up i'm thinking Eifert might actually be the pick but we might even trade up for Miliner/Fisher/Johnson/Joeckel/Warmack...And taking Austin at #12 is a huge reach and mistake for our team. We already have 5 viable WR's(don't Forget about Jeff Fuller a big 6'4" WR that played with Tannehill at A&M & was very productive in Sherman's system)on the roster. We can still target Swope or someone else in the 3rd-4th rounds. All these armchair savants say you need dynamaic players on offense to win...Well Pit won (2)SB's with only 1 dynamic player(Wallace)& a good TE(Miller)...Ravens have Ray Rice and Torrey Smith...Pats have ?(Gronk when he's healthy maybe Hernandez) And the Giants had nobody on the Superbowl team that beat the Pats the 1st time they met except Burress and an old Amani Toomer..Teams are still built from the indside out...You got to build the vehicle before you spray on the racing stripes...

In response to Bud's comment we didn't loose 10 starters in FA... more or less we let 6 starters go for upgrades and resigned the guys that could actually play ball. I can't honeslty think of one guy that i wish we would have kept if anything i wish we let Chris Clemons go he's suspect and a liability. Jake Long was disinfranchised....well, with the franchise and had to go, plus it helps cuts our ties from the ParHells era..Jake probably still wanted to play with his buddy Chad Henne and was all depressed last year. Sean Smith is a petulant child that is inconsistant, overpaid and overated...we want good character guys...image that!!! actually wanting people to work for you that actually respect there job and co-workers, not guys that slap there wifes like Ocho-Stinko, or a player with a wife that stabs people in clubs like B.Marshall, or whine & are lazy in practice like Vonte Davis. People gave Philbin crap for getting rid of those guys well he sent a strong message last year...no morons.

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