Overview: The Dolphins struck out in their attempt to land a franchise quarterback in free agency, failing to sign Peyton Manning or Matt Flynn. All eyes are on that position heading into the draft for a Dolphins team that has fallen out of favor with its fan base after three consecutive losing seasons and, more recently, a disappointing start to free agency. Jeff Ireland fared well last April in his first draft without his mentor, Bill Parcells, and the team has eight picks, starting with the eighth overall selection. Miami also has back-to-back picks in the third round. They won’t say they're rebuilding, but the Dolphins have an opportunity to do so with ample picks in the draft.
Need No. 1: Quarterback
Matt Moore played well last season, and David Garrard, though he missed last season, is a fine backup, but this team is still desperate to find a franchise quarterback. Even if it means spending their first pick on someone who will initially be the third-string quarterback, the Dolphins need to address the position. Ryan Tannehill, who played for current Miami offensive coordinator Mike Sherman in college, is their best chance at a quarterback in the top 10 picks. Miami could also trade down and pick Brandon Weeden or Kirk Cousins. Joe Philbin will be looking for a good decision maker for his West Coast system.
Need No. 2: Safety
Safety was a big need for the Dolphins heading into the offseason, and cutting SS Yeremiah Bell makes it an even bigger priority. Bell had lost some range as he has become older, and the Dolphins didn’t want to pay him what he was due to make, but he had been a leader in the back end, vocally and in tackles. Reshad Jones has shown potential but is still young, and Chris Clemons battled injuries last season. The team also has Tyrone Culver and CB-S Jimmy Wilson, but having to play the high-octane Patriots attack with the two tight ends twice a year, Miami needs to upgrade the safety position with some playmakers. A big problem last year was making plays in the secondary, whether it was interceptions or simply batted balls.
Need No. 3: Wide receiver
With Brandon Marshall now a Bear, the team is without a No. 1 wide receiver. Brian Hartline, Davone Bess and Clyde Gates are fine as complementary receivers, and each has a solid skill set, but the Dolphins need a big outside receiver who can stretch the field. Philbin’s offense may be able to survive without a true No. 1 wideout, and it’s possible that the Dolphins have high hopes for either Marlon Moore or Roberto Wallace, a pair of special-teamers, but more depth certainly is needed. Marshall put up more than 1,000 receiving yards the last two seasons in an inconsistent offense, and that production needs to get replaced.