If it’s April, it must be time to pay taxes and renew the hunt for the Miami Dolphins’ next franchise quarterback. The Dolphins brought in a new coach in Joe Philbin this offseason, but Jeff Ireland remained as general manager and the team struck out in its pursuit of Peyton Manning and Matt Flynn as free agents. They aren’t going to get one of the top two quarterbacks on the board later this month and that will make this draft a loser in some eyes before the eighth pick even rolls around.
Quarterback: It would be nice to come up with another position to put at the top of the list for Miami, just so we didn’t have to take another depressing look at names like Cleo Lemon, Joey Harrington and A.J. Feeley while remind ourselves how long it has been since the Dolphins had a long-term answer at the position. As much as we’d like to do it, Matt Moore didn’t look all that bad last season, we just can’t because the Dolphins need to find their guy once and for all.
Is that guy Ryan Tannehill? They might have to trade up to get him, taking away a chance to shore up other spots for a player that has gotten some mixed appraisals as to whether or not he’s a big-time talent at the position. They could go with Brandon Weeden a little later, but trying second-round talents hasn’t worked out for them in the past.
Wide Receiver: When the Dolphins traded Brandon Marshall, it felt like a precursor to some other move. No such move followed, though, and now the team is left without playmakers on the outside. Whether they take a quarterback or not, they need someone dynamic to catch passes. Justin Blackmon or Michael Floyd could be possibilities if they make it to the Dolphins in the first round, while Reuben Randle could still be around at the top of the second round.
Pass Rushing End/Linebacker: The Dolphins haven’t made it totally clear what kind of scheme they’re going to run on defense next season, but they are going to need someone to help Cameron Wake rush the passer regardless of how they line up. A hybrid end/backer like Melvin Ingram could make the most sense for a team that is looking like a bit of a hybrid itself or they could look at Andre Branch of Clemson if they go in another direction in the first round.
Right Tackle/Right Guard: They went with Marc Colombo last year, which did not work out, and right now they don’t have a clear starter at either position. Riley Rieff of Iowa would be able to step right in as a starter at right tackle. He might not represent quite as much upside as you’d like to get from the eigth pick of the draft, though, and taking an interior lineman like Kevin Zeitler in round two could bring more value.
Safety: The Dolphins cut Yeremiah Bell and have Reshad Jones and Tyrell Johnson looking like their starters. That’s a place they can certainly stand to upgrade, although this isn’t a draft with a ton of safety talent.
With four picks in the first 73 selections, the Dolphins will have plenty of chances to add players who can help fill some of these holes. The quarterback issue looms over everything they do, though, and an aggrieved fan base won’t be placated until they address it.