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Friday, November 18, 2011
Dolphins: No Luck, now what?

By James Walker

The Miami Dolphins have won two in a row and have played themselves out of being front-runners in the Andrew Luck sweepstakes.

So where do the Dolphins go from here?

Miami (2-7) is in a four-way tie with the Carolina Panthers, Minnesota Vikings and St. Louis Rams for the second-worst record in the NFL. If the season ended today, the Dolphins would draft anywhere between the No. 2 and No. 5 picks next April.

Andrew Luck
After winning back-to-back games, the Dolphins may not get a chance to draft quarterback Andrew Luck.
That can certainly change as the season progresses. For example, the Dolphins are playing their best football of the season and seem to be relishing the spoiler role in November and December. Still, Miami seems destined for a top-10 pick.

With that said, here is a look at the top of ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper's Big Board:
A few things stand out. For starters, the Dolphins do not have needs at several of these positions.

There are three left tackles -- Kalil, Martin and Rieff -- in the top 10 that Miami would surely pass on. Miami already has one of the NFL's top left tackles in Jake Long, who was the No. 1 overall pick just three years ago.

Running back also isn't a need. Miami's Reggie Bush is playing well and rookie tailback Daniel Thomas is a prospect for the future the Dolphins really like. That rules out Trent Richardson.

Quarterback seems to be the most likely option. Luck seems to be out for now, and there are mixed reviews on Jones and Barkley. Kiper seems very high on Jones, deeming him the fourth-best prospect in the draft. If Miami wins a few more games and falls out of the top five, perhaps Barkley becomes an option.

Miami quarterback Chad Henne is coming off season-ending shoulder surgery and his contract is up after the season. He probably won't return. Backup Matt Moore has played well and has one year left on his contract. Depending on what happens the rest of the year, Moore could compete with Miami's top pick or buy time for the rookie to eventually take over long term.

But so much can change between now and April, especially if the Dolphins clean house after the season. The new people in charge may have their own blueprint on how to fix the team.