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NFL Miami Dolphins

2013 NFL Draft: Miami Dolphins’ Top 5 Draft Needs

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2013 NFL Draft: Top 5 Priorities for the Miami Dolphins

Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Dolphins have made the most of their off-season so far. They went out and made an impact to their roster at the start of free agency, and now are in position to make the most out of the 2013 NFL Draft. The Dolphins are in need of talent upgrades at several positions, and the draft is the perfect place to address these needs.

The Dolphins currently hold the 12th spot in the Draft, and rumors have them looking to trade their way up into the first round. Then again, rumors also have them trading back into the draft to gain an extra pick or two. As it stands, the Dolphins own 11 picks in this year’s draft, including five picks in the first three rounds.

This slideshow is intended to look at the top five priorities the Dolphins will be looking to address when the draft starts on April 5th. Each position is one Miami could use their first pick on. Whether they trade up to get their man, stay at 12 or drop further back, the needs are going to be the same. The difference will be in which need they decide to address first.

If Miami does move up in the draft, it will be with a purpose. They will not pay the price to get into the top 10 just for the sake of saying they did it. This changes the priority of the need they are aiming to fill.

The same cannot be said of staying at 12 and moving further back. If the Dolphins move back, they miss out on specific individuals, but they will be able to secure similar talent. This is due to the make up of this draft class. It is not exactly top-heavy with franchise-type talent, but it runs deep in quality starting talent. Because of this, the Dolphins are in position to build one of the ore talented rosters in the NFL.

With that, let’s get started. Click the “Next” tab and take a look. If you disagree, have something to add or would otherwise like to comment, please feel free to use the comment section below. You can also reach out to us using the hash tag #RML, for Rant My Life.

Jeff Everette is a Miami Dolphins writer for Follow him on twitter @jeverettesports, “Like” his page on FaceBook, or add him to your network on Google+.

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Number Five: The Safety Position

Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

The Dolphins actually have a decent safety combination in Chris Clemons and Reshad Jones. Pro Football Focus (PFF) ranks both in the top 25, and Clemons was actually re-signed just over a month ago. They are in need of some depth at the position, but you don’t add depth with your first round selection.

The reason safety starts our list is, if the Dolphins have an opportunity to select a starting safety-a game-changing safety-like Kenny Vaccaro, then the Dolphins could chose to pull the trigger. Jones was ranked 3rd in the NFL by PFF, if you added another top five-type talent, Miami would have one of the strongest safety combinations in the league.

This is not the likeliest of scenarios, but is a definite possibility. Especially if Jeff Ireland thinks he can drop back, gain another pick, and grab Vaccaro from a later position.

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Number Four: Pass Rushing Defensive End

Josh D. Weiss-USA TODAY Sports

The Dolphins want a pass rushing defensive end to play opposite of Cameron Wake. If they get an opportunity to draft a player like Ezekiel Ansah, they may decide it is worth addressing some of the areas of greater need in the second round.

It is likely that the defensive end position will only be addressed if they feel the player available is a game changer. The needs at some of the other positions are definitely more pressing, and upgrading the defensive end only makes sense if the talent available is too good to pass up.

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Number Three: Defensive Tackle

Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports

Defensive tackle may not seem like an area of great need, since the Dolphins have Paul Soliai and Randy Starks, but both are currently only under contract for the 2013 season. Starks, who represented the Dolphins in the Pro Bowl last season, is signed under the franchise tender and a long-term contract does not seem to be a priority for the Dolphins at this point. Soliai signed a two-year deal in 2012 and will be a free agent again in 2014.

If Ireland feels like he will not be able to bring them back at the price he wants, or if they decide to go younger at the position, a player like Sheldon Richardson would make perfect sense.

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Number Two: Top-Tier Offensive Tackle

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This would be the number one need in many of the “experts” opinion, but sophomore tackle Jonathan Martin is already penciled into the left side of the line, a position he was forced to play several times as a rookie. Ireland has stated repeatedly that he believes Martin has the physical ability and the size to be a successful left tackle.

Still, Ireland has also left the door wide open, and said that they would look to improve talent all the way across the offensive line. With so many rumors surfacing about the Dolphins moving up in the draft, one has to wonder if there is more to this than just plain speculation.

Going after a lineman is not a hot pick, and it is a position Miami has paid attention to repeatedly over the last several years. Moving up to take a lineman would not make everyone happy, but if they are able to secure the talents of Luke Joekel, Eric Fisher or Lane Johnson, no one will be able to argue with the results.

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Number One: The Cornerback Position

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It is here, at cornerback, where the Dolphins are in the most desperate need of an upgrade. Losing Sean Smith to free agency may not be seen by the fans as a huge loss, but it still made a miserable group even worse. Miami has curbed that by signing Brent Grimes in free agency, but with him coming off of an Achilles injury, he may not be the top-tier corner he was in 2011.

Ireland may feel he can select a cornerback or two later in the draft due to the depth of the position in this year’s draft. This is true, but to get a true number one corner, Miami will need to make the move right away. There is all of this talk about moving up for an offensive lineman, but cornerback Dee Milliner is expect to be a top five pick. Moving up for the clear-cut best player at the position could be a possibility here.

More realistically, corner Xavier Rhodes is expected to go in the area of the 12th pick, which would be perfect for Miami. They would get a guy with number one potential, and could still draft a quality starter in later rounds.

They could also see an opportunity to drop back, gain a draft pick and select Desmond Trufant. Trufant has been climbing the draft boards in recent days, but if he looked like he could be picked up with an extra pick as an extra, the Dolphins General Manager would be quick to make the move.

Regardless, of which direction the Dolphins go, they are just a few pieces away from being talented enough to compete at the highest levels of the NFL. Talent alone will not do the trick, though. They will all need to play as though they have the talent, and the brains, to be called a top-tier team, and that may take more than simply adding personnel.