Miami Dolphins: Bryant McKinnie

Here are the most interesting Miami Dolphins stories Friday from around the Web:
  • Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald believes the Dolphins should sign veteran offensive tackle Bryant McKinnie.
Morning take: For the veteran minimum, this move could make sense to improve depth. Miami may keep McKinnie on the short list in case there is an injury.
  • Chris Perkins of the Sun Sentinel reports the Dolphins have no issues with Mike Pouncey's leadership.
Morning take: Miami’s brass has said it believes in Pouncey. He’s a very good player on the field but needs to show maturity off the field and in the locker room.
  • Alain Poupart of the Dolphins team site writes Dolphins rookie linebacker Marcus Thompson is living out his dream.
Morning take: Miami is looking for depth at linebacker, and Thompson will compete with several others. But Thompson remains a long shot to make the 53-man roster.
  • Bill Beck of the Elkhart Truth writes a feature on Dolphins Director of Player Personnel Joe Schoen.
Morning take: Schoen works closely with Miami first-year general manager Dennis Hickey. The Dolphins’ front office hopes the right moves were made this offseason to get them to the playoffs.
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DAVIE, Fla. -- It was one of the worst-kept secrets in the NFL draft that the Miami Dolphins desperately needed to fix their offensive line this week. Miami’s weakest unit allowed a franchise-record 58 quarterback sacks and could have as many as four new starters next season. Major changes were needed.

But the first pick of the Dennis Hickey era felt like a reach Thursday night when the Dolphins selected right tackle Ja'Wuan James at No. 19 overall. Most draft experts did not rate James as the 19th-best player in this draft. James said himself that some people told him he was projected to go in the second round. There was a solid chance the Dolphins could've landed James later in the first round by trading down to acquire more picks, which seemed like the best scenario.

However, Hickey said James was the best available player on the Dolphins' draft board. (I have yet to see a general manager willing to admit the opposite.) James was a player Miami did extensive homework on and fits many of the characteristics the team is looking for.

But the big question remains: Did Miami get the right value for this pick?

“We had a couple calls [for trades], but we were just excited about picking Ja'Wuan James and adding him to our roster,” Hickey said. “He’s a guy that definitely fits in from a talent aspect as well as a person, and brings what the Dolphins were all about.”

The draft board did not fall in Miami's favor. The Dolphins were put at a disadvantage when top-tier offensive tackles Greg Robinson, Jake Matthews, Taylor Lewan and Zack Martin were all taken off the board in the first 16 picks. That left the Dolphins with the option of picking the fifth-rated offensive tackle, which is their biggest need, or another position. Miami passed on higher-rated players by the general consensus such as safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, receiver Brandin Cooks and cornerback Darqueze Dennard.

On the positive, James could be a Day 1 starter for Miami. The Dolphins' offensive line was ravaged this offseason due to the loss of offensive tackles Bryant McKinnie and Tyson Clabo in free agency and guards Richie Incognito and John Jerry with last year’s bullying scandal. James started 49 career games at Tennessee in the competitive Southeastern Conference and comes to Miami with plenty of college experience.

“I’m a tough, smart offensive lineman,” James said on a conference call with the Miami media. “I pride myself on being smart and not making many mistakes. I bring athleticism to the table, strength and a lot of experience.”

The Dolphins held the No. 19 pick only twice before in their team history. Miami selected two solid players: offensive lineman Vernon Carey (2004) and defensive end Kim Bokamper (1976) with those picks. Perhaps James can join the aforementioned pair as a quality contributor for the franchise. If that's the case, no one will care several years from now where James was taken. But Hickey's first draft pick in Miami lacks sizzle.
One of the worst-kept secrets in this year’s NFL draft is the Miami Dolphins will draft offensive linemen. There is a strong chance Miami will dedicate at least two of its six draft picks this year on fixing the position.

The Dolphins are in the process of completely making over the offensive line. Miami could have four new starters next season after the departures of tackles Bryant McKinnie and Tyson Clabo in free agency and guards Richie Incognito and John Jerry due to last year’s bullying scandal. Jonathan Martin, who began the 2013 season at left tackle, was traded after leaving the team in late October due to the harassment.

Miami could only do so much in free agency. The Dolphins signed starting left tackle Branden Albert and guard Shelley Smith. But another guard position and right tackle remain wide open entering next week’s draft.

Top prospects such as Greg Robinson, Jake Matthews and Taylor Lewan are expected to be off the board when the Dolphins select at No. 19. Therefore, former NFL head coach and ESPN football analyst Jon Gruden shared his thoughts on this year’s second tier of offensive tackles in a recent conference call:
“Morgan Moses at Virginia is a very interesting guy to me. They've had a history of left tackles come out of Virginia. Moses is a kid that played one year at left tackle. He was a right tackle for a couple years. Joel Bitonio at Nevada is an interesting player. A fifth-year senior, been around, worked hard. I think he has some position flexibility, can play right, left or go inside. I like Zack Martin at Notre Dame. He might be my favorite linemen in this draft – 52-time starter, captain, really excelled at the Senior Bowl, drill work. Cyrus Kouandjio at Alabama, interesting player. Had some knee issues. I believe he's rounding into health. Massive person with experience on the left side. There's a number of interesting big people in this draft. I think last year we had three tackles go in the top five. So we got a lot of good quality offensive linemen coming into pro football here.”

The Dolphins are expected to have interest in all of these prospects. Martin is the top target at No. 19 of this group. But Moses and Bitonio also are possibilities in the second round.

Look for Miami to not only look for offensive linemen in the early rounds, but also in the middle and late rounds, as well.
Here are the most interesting Miami Dolphins stories Thursday from around the Web:
  • Adam Beasley of the Miami Herald reports the Dolphins will ship their seventh-round pick to the Baltimore Ravens to complete last year’s Bryant McKinnie trade.
Morning take: Miami has only six picks remaining in May’s NFL draft. But the team got a starting left tackle for 10 games. It was a quality short-term rental.
  • Richmond Webb and Keith Sims talked to the Dolphins' team site about Miami’s current offensive line.
Morning take: The Dolphins could use both offensive linemen in their prime. Two holes remain at guard and right tackle.
  • Andrew Abramson of the Palm Beach Post reports the Dolphins are hoping to bid for a Super Bowl in 2019.
Morning take: Miami is a destination city but an outdated stadium is hurting its chances. Dolphins owner Stephen Ross is willing to finance stadium renovations in exchange for property-tax relief.
  • Omar Kelly of the Sun Sentinel writes about 10 possible draft picks for the Dolphins, including Alabama safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix.
Morning take: Clinton-Dix would be a solid value at No. 19. However, the Dolphins signed free agent Louis Delmas, which eliminates safety as a major need.
Here are the most interesting Miami Dolphins stories Wednesday from around the web:
  • Andrew Abramson of the Palm Beach Post writes the Dolphins' free-agent options are dwindling.
  • Morning take: The first week of free agency usually is the busiest. The Dolphins made the immediate moves they felt necessary. Now it's time to bargain hunt.

  • Adam Beasley of the Miami Herald reports the Dolphins are in no rush to sign offensive tackle Bryant McKinnie.
  • Morning take: McKinnie says he will play on the left or right side in an effort to gain interest. That probably won't come from Miami unless other options in the draft and free agency don't pan out.

  • ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. discusses draft options for the Dolphins.
  • Morning take: It still looks like the offensive line for Miami. A guard and right tackle spot are wide open. A first-round pick could fill that void.

  • Omar Kelly of the Sun Sentinel wonders if Dolphins tailback Lamar Miller can be elite.
  • Morning take: Elite? That's a strong word and it's doubtful Miller will get to that level. But he's young and still has room to grow.
Here are the most interesting Miami Dolphins stories Tuesday from around the Web:
  • Free agent and former Dolphin Bryant McKinnie told WQAM he’s willing to play right tackle.
Morning take: McKinnie has played his entire career on the left side, including last season with the Dolphins. McKinnie is doing whatever it takes to get picked up by another team in 2014. He's an emergency plan for Miami.
  • Andrew Abramson of the Palm Beach Post compares free agent Devin Hester to Dolphins returner Marcus Thigpen.
Morning take: Unless Miami gets Hester on the cheap, the move doesn’t do much for the Dolphins. Thigpen is a solid returner. Hester is better but doesn’t have a natural position.
Morning take: Coyle has a lot of toys to play with this season. He must find a better way to use 2013 No. 3 overall pick Dion Jordan this year.
  • Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald reports why the Dolphins are committed to cornerback Cortland Finnegan.
Morning take: Miami is putting a lot of stock into Finnegan, who had a poor 2013 season with the St. Louis Rams. The Dolphins’ two-year, $11 million contract speaks volumes that they're confident Finnegan can bounce back.
Branden AlbertPeter G. Aiken/Getty ImagesThe Dolphins bolstered their O-line by agreeing to a five-year, $46 million deal with Brandon Albert.
NFL free agency kicked off with a bang Tuesday, and Pro Bowl left tackle Branden Albert was one of the biggest names to switch teams. Albert signed a five-year, $46 million contract with Miami Dolphins. He spent the previous five seasons with the Kansas City Chiefs.

One team’s loss is another team’s gain in free agency. ESPN.com’s Chiefs reporter Adam Teicher and Dolphins reporter James Walker weigh in on both sides of the Albert signing.

James Walker: Adam, the Dolphins are ecstatic to land a player of Albert’s caliber. Pro Bowl left tackles do not grow on trees, and Albert was the highest-rated player at that position on the market. Albert also filled Miami’s biggest need on the offensive line, which was torn apart last season with the bullying controversy. The price tag wasn’t cheap. But the Dolphins feel it was worth the investment, especially after watching their quarterback get sacked a team-record 58 times last season. Albert will protect Ryan Tannehill’s blindside. Adam, how are the Chiefs dealing with the loss of Albert?

Adam Teicher: It’s a loss for the Chiefs for the short term without a doubt. Eventually, the Chiefs should be able to handle his departure. The Chiefs and Albert were so far apart on a long-term contract last year that they knew it was never going to happen. So they began preparing for this day last year by selecting a tackle, Eric Fisher, with the first pick in the draft. Fisher started as a rookie at right tackle but didn’t play well. He was a huge disappointment, but there’s no reason to believe he won’t eventually become the player the Chiefs envision. He needs a year in Kansas City’s weight program. That alone should make him better.

The Chiefs and Dolphins talked about a trade involving Albert last year. How disappointed was Miami they couldn’t acquire Albert then?

Walker: The Dolphins liked Albert last year, but the person calling the shots this year is different. Miami fired former general manager Jeff Ireland and hired new GM Dennis Hickey in January. Ireland liked to acquire picks as opposed to trading them away. So it wasn’t a shock when talks with Kansas City failed. It turned out to be a mistake as Miami’s offensive line was atrocious, which played a factor in Ireland losing his job. Hickey doesn’t want to make the same mistake. It appears he values the perks of a good offensive line and is making it a priority by putting money into Albert.

Adam, the Chiefs’ offensive line appears to be in transition with losses of Albert, Jon Asamoah and Geoff Schwartz. How will they recover?

Teicher: They’ve tried to prepare for this. Over the last four drafts, the Chiefs have used five picks in the first three rounds on offensive linemen. Four of them will start next season. They have three developmental linemen and the Chiefs could slide one of them into a starting spot in the middle of the line. Their depth will definitely take a hit, particularly at tackle. They’ll have to find some backups and perhaps even a starter through free agency or the draft.

With regard to the offensive line, is anything left for the Dolphins to do or are they set?

Walker: The Dolphins are far from set, Adam. Unlike Kansas City, Miami has not invested much in the offensive line in the past year. Pro Bowl center Mike Pouncey is the only starting offensive lineman expected to return. Last year’s starting guards -- Richie Incognito and John Jerry -- will not return due to their involvement in Miami’s high-profile bullying scandal. Offensive tackles Tyson Clabo and Bryant McKinnie are both unrestricted free agents who are long in the tooth. Pouncey and Albert are a solid foundation. But the Dolphins still need two starting guards and a right tackle to play alongside their two Pro Bowlers.

Free-agency primer: Dolphins

March, 7, 2014
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» AFC Free-Agency Primer: East | West | North | South » NFC: East | West | North | South

Key free agents: DT Randy Starks, DT Paul Soliai, S Chris Clemons, G Richie Incognito, G John Jerry, OT Bryant McKinnie, OT Tyson Clabo

Where they stand: The Dolphins are expecting major turnover on their offensive line this offseason. Four starters -- Incognito, Jerry, McKinnie and Clabo -- are unrestricted free agents; most are not expected to return after Miami set a franchise record with 58 quarterback sacks allowed and were 26th in rushing. Incognito and Jerry were both involved in Miami’s high-profile bullying scandal. McKinnie and Clabo are older veterans at the end of their careers. So the Dolphins will look to get younger at offensive tackle. Starks and Soliai are solid defensive tackles who could get interest on the open market. Clemons is an average safety who has starting experience.

What to expect: Incognito and Jerry are as good as gone. Both were cited in the 144-page Ted Wells report. The Dolphins will let them go elsewhere in order to distance the franchise from that ugly scandal. Miami has plenty of cap room and will look to spend it at offensive tackle. Free-agent tackles like Eugene Monroe and Branden Albert could be high priorities. If the Dolphins can land one of them, that rules out a return for McKinnie. The defensive tackle position is interesting. Miami may aim to bring back Starks or Soliai, but nothing is guaranteed if neither player is signed before March 11. There is a chance the Dolphins could lose both players and need a contingency plan.
MIAMI -- NFL free agency is one week away, and the Miami Dolphins have well-defined needs and plenty of cap room to improve their roster.

Perhaps no need is bigger in Miami than left tackle. The Dolphins set a new franchise record in 2013 with 58 quarterbacks sacks. Miami must protect young quarterback Ryan Tannehill in his third year for the team to be successful.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at the current left tackle market for Miami:

Monroe
1. Eugene Monroe

2013 team: Baltimore Ravens

Analysis: In my opinion, Monroe is the best combination of price and quality for the Dolphins. Monroe never made the Pro Bowl, like Branden Albert. But Monroe is a solid, above average left tackle who should be more affordable. The former first-round pick is only 26 and still has room to get better. Expect the Dolphins to be one of several teams in pursuit of Monroe if the Ravens allow him to hit the open market.

2. Branden Albert

2013 team: Kansas City Chiefs

Analysis: Albert, 29, is perhaps the biggest name among left tackles. Albert is coming off the best year of his career with the Kansas City Chiefs and his stock has never been higher. That’s great for Albert, who is ready to cash in, but what does this mean for Miami? There are some red flags that Albert didn’t play to his Pro Bowl potential until his sixth season, which was a contract year. Albert also will be 30 in November. Would the Dolphins get Albert’s best years by signing him to a lucrative, multi-year contract?

3. Jared Veldheer

2013 team: Oakland Raiders

Analysis: It was a rough 2013 for Veldheer. He suffered a left triceps injury in training camp and only returned for Oakland’s final five games. But before the injury Veldheer had been solid at left tackle for the Raiders. The Dolphins or any team interested will be paying for Veldheer’s solid showing from 2011-2012 and also his potential. Veldheer is only 26.

4. Anthony Collins

2013 team: Cincinnati Bengals

Analysis: Collins in an interesting prospect to hit the free-agent market. Collins has good size, is versatile and can play both left and right tackle. Collins also is just 28 and still in the prime. However, Collins only has 25 career starts in seven years with the Bengals. He’s been a part-time starter for a long time in Cincinnati and is looking for his chance to be a full-time starter in free agency. Collins could be a good value for a team willing to take a chance on his small sample size.

5. Bryant McKinnie

2013 team: Dolphins

Analysis: McKinnie is a potential fallback option for Miami if all else doesn’t work. The Dolphins acquired him in a midseason trade last October and he played decent football. But McKinnie, 34, is past his prime. Look for the Dolphins to go after top-shelf left tackles such as Monroe, Albert or Veldheer first. If Miami whiffs, the team could turn back to McKinnie on a short-term contract.

Poll Friday: Dolphins mock draft

February, 21, 2014
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With the NFL combine underway in Indianapolis, this is a good time to focus on May’s NFL draft.

So here is our latest “Poll Friday” question on the Miami Dolphins: Who should the team draft at No. 19 overall? Stocks will rise and fall in the next few months, but teams have a good handle on needs and which prospects should go in the first round.

SportsNation

Who should the Dolphins draft at No. 19 overall?

  •  
    53%
  •  
    30%
  •  
    4%
  •  
    13%

Discuss (Total votes: 2,104)

Will the Dolphins draft Notre Dame offensive tackle Zack Martin? He’s a smart, hard-nosed player with good leadership. These are all qualities the Dolphins will be looking for in the draft. Martin also has the versatility to potentially play guard at the next level.

What about Alabama offensive tackle Cyrus Kouandjio? The Crimson Tide’s offensive line has been dominant the past several years, and Kouandjio was a big part of that. The Dolphins certainly need offensive tackles. Miami starters Bryant McKinnie and Tyson Clabo are unrestricted free agents.

Or should the Dolphins select Virginia offensive tackle Morgan Moses? He’s not considered as stout a prospect as Martin or Kouandjio. But Moses fills a major need at offensive tackle if others are taken off the board. You can also vote whether the Dolphins should draft another player not listed.

Share your thoughts in the comment section below. Or you can send me a message via Twitter @JamesWalkerNFL.

Miami Dolphins combine preview

February, 18, 2014
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The Miami Dolphins have been "team turmoil" as of late. They have been dealing with the aftermath of the Ted Wells report, but there are some other things on the way in terms of free agency and the NFL draft.

With that in mind, the NFL combine kicks off later this week. The Dolphins hold the No. 19 overall pick.

Here are some key questions and answers:

1. How will the new GM handle the combine?

This is the first NFL combine as the top guy for Dolphins general manager Dennis Hickey. He worked in both college and pro scouting for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for 18 years before getting the GM job in Miami in January.

Hickey was not Miami’s first choice, but he has an opportunity to begin proving his worth at the combine. Scouting is his specialty and one of the primary reasons he got the job. The Dolphins have some holes to fill.

Hickey will address the media on Thursday in Indianapolis. Unfortunately for the Dolphins, Hickey most likely will have to spend a good amount of time addressing the fallout from the Ted Wells report, which was released last week and detailed Miami’s bullying scandal involving Dolphins offensive linemen Richie Incognito and Jonathan Martin.

2. Who are some players to watch for Miami?

The Dolphins were 8-8 in 2013. So they are not a rebuilding team with a bare cupboard. However, Miami does have some well-defined needs that must be addressed if the Dolphins want to get to the next level.

For starters, Miami must rebuild nearly its entire offensive line. It was the weakest part of the team last year, allowing a franchise-record 58 sacks to go with an inconsistent running game. The Dolphins have four starters about to become unrestricted free agents: offensive tackles Tyson Clabo and Bryant McKinnie, as well as guards Incognito and John Jerry. Incognito and Jerry were two parties involved in the Ted Wells investigation for Miami’s bullying scandal and won’t return. Clabo and McKinnie are older players and the Dolphins will look to get younger at the position.

That means Miami will have a long look at guards and tackles in the draft. The Dolphins are fortunate that this is an area of great depth this year. Some offensive tackles to keep an eye on are Notre Dame’s Zack Martin, Alabama’s Cyrus Kouandjio and Virginia's Morgan Moses. All three should be in range for Miami at No. 19. Potential second-round selections could come at running back, where players like Carlos Hyde from Ohio State or Wisconsin’s James White could be available.

3. What is Jonathan Martin’s future?

Scouting rookies isn’t the only business that happens at the combine. Team executives also meet with agents in Indianapolis to discuss current NFL players, potential trades and contracts. One major issue for Miami is what to do with Martin.

The 2012 second-round pick has two years left on his rookie contract. But it’s clear after the Wells report that a mutual parting of ways is best for both parties. Both sides are expected to meet in Indianapolis to figure out where to go from here.

Walker's Fab 40: Nos. 17-20

February, 11, 2014
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We're ranking the top 40 players on the Miami Dolphins.

Next up, we take a look at Nos. 17-20.

No. 20: Dimitri Patterson

Position: Cornerback

2013 stats: Four interceptions

Analysis: Patterson is an interesting player to rank. He is productive on the field and led the team with four interceptions. However, Patterson only played in six games due to a nagging groin injury. Durability has long been an issue for Patterson. He has a high salary next season and it is questionable the Dolphins will pay that much.

No. 19: Bryant McKinnie

Position: Offensive tackle

2013 stats: 10 starts

Analysis: McKinnie was a pleasant surprise for Miami. The Dolphins’ offensive line was struggling mightily in the first half of the season -- particularly offensive tackles Tyson Clabo and Jonathan Martin. Former general manager Jeff Ireland made an in-season trade for McKinnie in hopes that he could solidify the left-tackle position. McKinnie would up starting 10 games and was an upgrade over Martin. McKinnie will be an unrestricted free agent and is questionable to return.

No. 18: Philip Wheeler

Position: Linebacker

2013 stats: 118 tackles, .5 sacks

Analysis: Wheeler was expected to bring speed and playmaking ability to Miami’s defense as a free-agent addition in 2013. But Wheeler struggled with missed tackles and inconsistency most of the year. Miami’s run defense was mediocre and Wheeler also struggled in coverage. Wheeler still led the Dolphins in tackles.

No. 17: Reshad Jones

Position: Safety

2013 stats: 105 tackles, one INT, one TD

Analysis: Perhaps it was just a down year for Jones. But despite a lot of tackles, he was pretty much a non-factor throughout last season. Jones didn’t make the big plays in the secondary the Dolphins were accustomed to. Miami’s pass coverage against tight ends and slot receivers also lagged because the safeties struggled. Jones has the ability to make more plays and needs to get back to form in 2014.
It's no secret the Miami Dolphins have a major need on the offensive line. The Dolphins set the franchise record for sacks allowed with 58 and were 26th in rushing last year.

With that in mind, should the Dolphins have interest in recently released offensive tackle Gabe Carimi? There is evidence to suggest Miami could kick tires on Carimi.

For starters, Carimi was acquired in a trade last offseason by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers when new Dolphins general manager Dennis Hickey played a prominent role. Carimi was a draft bust as a former first-round pick of the Chicago Bears. But just last year Hickey and Tampa Bay believed they could jump-start his career.

It did not work out in Tampa, but Hickey may still believe Carimi's best football is ahead of him. Carimi played in 14 games for the Buccaneers in 2013, starting three.

Miami has four starting offensive linemen about to become free agents. Two are starting tackles: Tyson Clabo and Bryant McKinnie. Fellow tackle Jonathan Martin also is not expected back due to the high-profile bullying scandal.

It makes sense for Miami to consider taking a flier on Carimi. He is a low-risk player who won't cost much. Carimi also is young and plays offensive tackle, which is a major position of need for the Dolphins.

With Hickey now running Miami's front office, the ball is in his court.
With the 2013 season officially in the books, it’s time to shift our focus to 2014. ESPN draft experts Mel Kiper and Todd McShay both produced their post-Super Bowl mock drafts on Thursday.

Here is how they view the Miami Dolphins with the No. 19 overall pick:
Interestingly, both Kiper and McShay projected the same position and player for Miami in May’s draft. It’s no secret that offensive line is a huge need for the Dolphins after allowing a franchise-record 58 sacks last season. Miami's running game also was rated 26th in the league. Starting offensive linemen Bryant McKinnie, Tyson Clabo, John Jerry and Richie Incognito will all become free agents in March and most -- if not all -- are expected to leave.

Martin would be a solid addition with the 19th pick. He was a very productive player at Notre Dame and is coming off a productive Senior Bowl. He is a three-year starter and team captain, which shows leadership.

The only question I have about Martin is his physical tools. He's not as naturally gifted as other left tackle prospects in the draft. But Martin is a high-motor player who gets the most out of what he has.

Martin would be a safe pick for the Dolphins, albeit not a spectacular one.

Walker's Dolphins Draft Watch: 1.0

January, 23, 2014
Jan 23
1:30
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The NFL draft is months away. But it's never too early to discuss how the Miami Dolphins must improve their roster.

There will be months of evaluations, workouts and stocks going up and down among college players. But here are ESPN.com's Dolphins page's early top five matches for Miami with the No. 19 overall pick.

1. Cyrus Kouandjio, OT, Alabama

Analysis: Miami starting offensive tackles Tyson Clabo and Bryant McKinnie are both free agents. Jonathan Martin, a 2012 second-round pick, also is not expected back following Miami's recent bullying scandal. That makes a first-round tackle like Kouandjio a target for Miami. It's hard to go wrong with an Alabama offensive lineman. Alabama's run blocking and pass protection has been arguably the nation's best for the past three years, and Kouandjio was part of that.

2. Carlos Hyde, RB, Ohio State

Analysis: Miami's running game was 26th in the NFL last year. Hyde is the top running back prospect in the draft. It's a natural link. Hyde was productive for Ohio State last season with 1,521 yards and 15 touchdowns. He is a big, physical runner, which Miami lacked last year. Lamar Miller and Daniel Thomas were not the answer for the Dolphins last year.

3. Zack Martin, OT, Notre Dame

Analysis: Martin doesn't have the physical gifts of Kouandjio. But Martin gets the most of his ability and fits the mold of a "Joe Philbin guy." He's a hard worker and former team captain at Notre Dame. Martin may have position versatility to play guard at the NFL level, as well. The Dolphins' coaching staff values players who are good at multiple positions.

4. Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, S, Alabama

Analysis: Miami starting safety Chris Clemons is an unrestricted free agent and replaceable. The Dolphins need a playmaker on the back end to pair with Reshad Jones, and Clinton-Dix has that potential. Clinton-Dix has good instincts, awareness and also can cover well, which the Dolphins lacked at safety last season. Re-signing corner Brent Grimes and drafting Clinton-Dix would make for a stronger secondary for Miami in 2014.

5. Morgan Moses, OT, Virginia

Analysis: If you can't tell by now, the Dolphins need offensive tackles. Moses is another prospect with potential, but he's more of an unfinished product than Kouandjio and Martin. Moses may be better suited at right tackle than left tackle. But it doesn't hurt that Miami offensive coordinator Bill Lazor was part of the coaching staff that recruited Moses to the University of Virginia.

Periodically, we will update this with our 2.0 list as we continue to get closer to the NFL draft.

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