Tuesday, March 4, 2014
Walker's Dolphins Draft Watch: 2.0
By James Walker
The NFL draft is inching closer and the Miami Dolphins hold the No. 19 overall pick.
Last month, ESPN.com’s Dolphins page provided our first list of top prospects for Miami. But it’s time to update the list following the NFL combine.
Here is an updated top five matches for Miami at No. 19:
1. Zack Martin, OL, Notre Dame
Analysis: Martin has shot up from No. 3 on our previous list to No. 1. A strong Senior Bowl and solid NFL combine has solidified Martin’s status as one of the safest picks in the draft. Martin is an effort player with solid leadership and versatility. He has potential to play guard and offensive tackle at the next level. The Dolphins need both, making Martin a natural candidate at No. 19 overall.
2. Ra'Shede Hageman, DT, Minnesota
Analysis: One thing that’s being overlooked in Miami this offseason is Jared Odrick is currently the only proven defensive tackle under contract. Dolphins defensive tackles Paul Soliai and Randy Starks are both unrestricted free agents. Weeks ago, it was assumed Miami would keep one of those players. But we are just a week away from both players hitting the open market, where anything is possible. If Soliai and Starks walk, a player like Hageman could fill in. Miami needs a strong run stuffer in the middle of its 24th-ranked run defense.
3. Cyrus Kouandjio, OT, Alabama
Analysis: Kouandjio has the measurables and dominant game tape at Alabama. But major issues at the combine dropped him two places in our latest Dolphins mock. Kouandjio had multiple knee surgeries during his college career. It turns out he failed physicals at the combine, and health concerns dropped his stock. Still, you can’t fully remove a player as gifted as Kouandjio off Miami’s radar. Kouandjio still has a couple months to calm injury concerns before the draft.
4. Ha Ha Clinton Dix, S, Alabama
Analysis: Clinton Dix is another Alabama prospect who could make an immediate impact. The Dolphins have a hole at safety and could look to the draft to fill it. Clinton Dix is a needed playmaker in the secondary who could add stability and coverage to the back end of Miami’s defense.
5. Louis Nix III
Analysis: Similar to Hageman, Nix III is another run stuffer who could plug into the middle of Miami’s 4-3 defense. It’s questionable whether the Dolphins will re-sign Soliai or Starks before March 11. Nix III would add youth and strength in the middle at a much more affordable rate.