- James Walker, ESPN Staff Writer
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The 2013 season is in the books for the Miami Dolphins and now it's time to look ahead to 2014. After an 8-8 finish, Miami will have the No. 19 overall pick in the NFL draft.
Here are some early thoughts on Miami's draft slot and where the team could be headed:
Dolphins must consider struggling offensive line in first round. Miami currently has big needs at guard and offensive tackle, so there is flexibility there to take the best available lineman. The Dolphins have a lot of pending free agents on the offensive line. Starting tackles Tyson Clabo and Bryant McKinnie and guards John Jerry and Richie Incognito are no longer under contract and most -- if not all -- are not expected to return. This is a good opportunity for Miami to make a complete overhaul on the offensive line, and drafting a tackle or guard makes sense.
Combination of Lamar Miller, Daniel Thomas proved not to be answer for Miami. The Dolphins were 26th in rushing and neither player stood out. Miami became a one-dimensional team too often last season. The Dolphins need a dynamic tailback to balance things and assist quarterback Ryan Tannehill. It's not a deep draft for first-round running backs. But an early name to keep an eye on for Miami is Ohio State tailback Carlos Hyde.
Free agency can greatly impact Miami's draft plans. The Dolphins have a lot of free-agent starters, particularly on defense, and not everyone will return. Miami has a lot of decisions to make with players such as cornerback Brent Grimes, safety Chris Clemons and defensive tackles Paul Soliai and Randy Starks. Losing one of these key players could create a big void before the draft.