A few thoughts about the Miami Dolphins for you to consider:
1. Central Florida wide receiver Breshad Perriman is visiting on Wednesday and that seems to mean the team is doing all kinds of homework on every wide receiver possibility available and worthy of the No. 14 overall selection. The team has also visited with Louisville's DeVante Parker and USC's Nelson Agholor. Amari Cooper and Kevin White are just a dream. Indeed, as I've reported, some NFL people are convinced Parker won't be available at No. 14, either. It is all an unknown. This much is known: The Dolphins must emerge from this draft not only with a good wide receiver, but one that is ready to compete for significant playing time on Day 1. If that is not the case, if the Dolphins fail to land a young, promising, close-to-NFL-ready WR in this draft, they've failed in their grand retooling of the wide receiver room. The team blew out three experienced and productive players this offseason and so far has added only Kenny Stills to replace them. That is not enough. And a back-end free agent such as Greg Jennings or Wes Welker is not going to pick up that slack. The pressure is on Miami to address a hole of its own making.
2. I'm not buying any of these prospects coming out are going to be certain stars -- not even the ones at the top of the draft. We don't know. The NFL guys whose job is on the line over the decision do not know. Nobody knows, least of all so-called draft experts who say they know. Those are the same experts that said Tavon Austin was going to tear up the league. Those are the same guys who said Cordarrelle Patterson was the next Randy Moss. I remind you that the first four picks of the 2013 draft are all bordering on bust status now. Robert Griffin III, Justin Blackmon and Trent Richardson were prized picks in 2012. How's that turning out so far? The point is there are no sure bets. It takes a good marriage of talent (from the player) and development (from the organization) and circumstance (from sheer opportunity) for a draft pick to turn into a player. Consider this: Todd Gurley, reconstructed knee and all, is considered by many experts the best running back in this class. And so hypothetically, the Dolphins draft him at No. 14. And then, even if he's healthy enough to start the season on the roster, he gets only five carries a game early in the year. And the coaching staff becomes convinced that is his role because when they look on their practice field, they aren't seeing the explosive kid from Georgia two years out from surgery or the player Gurley was prior to surgery. They see a player working to regain his form and worthy of only a handful of carries a game. Suddenly, Gurley is a role player drafted out of a slot that is supposed to deliver an impact player. It takes more than talent for a player to succeed. It takes development, vision and the right circumstances. Which leads me to ...
3. Dion Jordan has become a resounding disappointment. The fact he was not present the first day of the Dolphins conditioning program suggests one of multiple things ... He was possibly told to stay away because the team is working to trade him, despite obvious negative cap ramifications ... He stayed away on his own because he simply does not get that he needs to be around a football atmosphere more than just about anyone on the Miami roster ... Or he stayed away for personal reasons -- again. In any case, Jordan has personally failed to muster his endless potential and turn it into production. The Dolphins coaching staff, struggling to handle players with no issues much less those with issues, has been unable to rally Jordan to a defined role and ability level. It doesn't hurt now that Miami has Cameron Wake and Olivier Vernon and Derrick Shelby taking snaps. But what happens next year when Wake is 34 years old and Vernon is expecting a new contract paying at or over $10 million per season, and Shelby is gone in free agency because someone gives him $4-$5 million per season? That's when the No. 3 overall pick from four years prior is supposed to be hitting his stride. That's when he's supposed to be taking over. That's when a team that had a plan and executed it with a player who produces, cycles excellent players onto free agency and replaces them with a cheaper but nonetheless excellent younger, cheaper player. That's the dividend the investment on a No. 3 overall pick in a draft is supposed to pay. Way it looks now, it probably will not pay off that way.
4. Trae Waynes. Cornerback. Just saying.
5. Just as finding a receiver who can contribute immediately is a must for the Dolphins in this draft, finding a guard is equally important. The difference is I don't know that the team agrees on that. I know they know about their WR need. But the team was giddy with excitement about the prospect of left guard Dallas Thomas and right guard Billy Turner starting at the spots when everyone spoke at the NFL annual meeting last month. I understand the need to give Turner a chance. But, again, Thomas has had his chance. And it did not work to any degree that merits any confidence he can get the job done in the future. The Dolphins desperately need a fallback plan if Thomas turns out to be, well, Thomas. The hope is the Dolphins, in this apparent guard-needy draft, can find a tackle that can move to guard relatively seamlessly and compete for playing time. Yes, I know I've preached not moving players to new positions after drafting them. But these are desperate times, in my mind. The idea of Dallas Thomas starting has done that for me. If that does not happen, the alternative is for quarterback Ryan Tannehill to get used to evading onrushing defenders because his left guard is a turnstile.