Spoke to a source familiar with the Dolphins thinking and this is what I'm hearing as the NFL draft continues into the second and third rounds tonight:
Tonight, think more offensive line and wide receiver as the priority needs.
The Dolphins realize they are not done on the offensive line because they definitely could use a guard and the idea that center Mike Pouncey will be available for all 16 games in 2014 is a bit of stretch considering he missed time last year and there is still a harassment scandal sanction possible.
So the team is eyeing Nevada tackle Joel Bitonio and USC center-guard Marcus Martin, among others.
Bitonio is a no-brainer. He's big (6-4 1/4 and 302 pounds), he's nasty, he finishes, durable, and he has excellent personal and character qualities. Yes, he played mostly out of a two-point stance at tackle at Nevada and will have to acclimate to left guard (for the Dolphins) with his hand on the ground. But if he is there at No. 50 in the second round, the Dolphins will run to the podium with his name.
It's more likely Bitonio will not be there. And that's why Martin is a possibility.
He played mostly center at USC. That's where he might be able to serve as a backup to Pouncey.
But the Dolphins also like him at left guard, where he started for the Trojans as a freshman in 2011 and throughout 2012. (He moved to center as a junior and started all 13 games there).
At 6-3 3/8 and 320 pounds, this kid looks the part. Indeed, he has something of a Richie Incognito-type body minus some of the strength. That's his knock. He's not very strong right now for an NFL lineman. He bench pressed 225 pounds a modest 23 times at the Combine.
Martin is said to be a little short on the nastiness and grit factor, as well. But he is very talented in his ability to get on defenders and stay on them. He is a good system fit for the zone-blocking scheme.
The Dolphins are also going to be eyeing the WR position today.
No, they're not replacing Mike Wallace (they're stuck with him is the way it was portrayed to me), Brian Hartline or Brandon Gibson. But Miami would like to upgrade from Rishard Matthews as the No. 4 WR or at least would like to create so much competition for the youngster that he gets things right more often.
It seems Matthews is being held back because he sometimes "loses focus" and is more challenging to teach than others. So he's got to improve that to thus improve his play to thus stay on the roster.
So who might the Dolphins get?
Marqise Lee is available and the Dolphins think highly of him but it is hard to fathom he'll be available at No. 50 (the 18th pick of the second round). The Dolphins have viable wide receiver targets on their radar that should definitely be available at No. 50 and probably later into the third round.
Mississippi's Donte Moncrief, Clemson's Martavis Bryant are two likely targets.
Moncrief is a whopping 6-2 and 221 pounds and he has "stretch the field ability," according to one scout I texted with this morning.
"He's a top 50 pick," the scout added.
Well, the Dolphins have the No. 50 pick so ...
Bryant is 6-3 and 211 pounds.
Are you seeing a trend here with the length of these guys?
The Dolphins on Thursday made Ryan Tannehill's life easier by promising to protect him better. If they add a wide receiver with a big wingspan today they'll make his life easier by helping him complete passes that may not be perfectly placed or accurate.
Bryant is definitely not a second round pick. He's more a third-round possibility in a draft that is deep on receivers. His most troubling aspect is that he has undependable hands (troubling for a receiver). But he has good linear speed and has return ability, which is important to the Dolphins because if he can serve two purposes that makes him more valuable on the game-day 46-man roster.