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NFL Miami Dolphins

Miami Dolphins: NFL Combine Provides New Targets for 2014 NFL Draft

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Miami Dolphins: NFL Combine Provides New Targets for 2014 NFL Draft

Miami Dolphins: NFL Combine Provides New Targets for 2014 NFL Draft
Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

For a franchise that has been known for building and replenishing their teams in the NFL Draft, the Miami Dolphins have struck out in the past few seasons, and are in a crucial phase of their franchise's history. The Dolphins, coming off an 8-8 season that saw the Dolphins lose a playoff berth, and a scandal that shocked the NFL world, the Dolphins have the 19th pick in the first round and have plenty of major needs to address.

Miami's biggest concern is, without a shadow of a doubt, their offensive line. With both Jonathan Martin and Richie Incognito not likely to return to the Dolphins after the bullying scandal, and the futures of bullying participants John Jerry and Mike Pouncey up in the air, the offensive line needs a total makeover. Another area of concern for the Dolphins is surrounding quarterback Ryan Tannehill with some more playmakers on offense.

Offensively, the Dolphins have plenty of questions surrounding their entire offense outside of Tannehill. Despite the team signing Mike Wallace last offseason, the big-play receiver had a disappointing season, and the running game could not replace the production of Reggie Bush when he left for the Detroit Lions. Finally, the offensive line, who was already one of the worst units in football, doesn't appear to be getting any better this offseason as Jerry and Pouncey are likely to be suspended for a significant amount of time for their roles in the bullying scandal.

Defensively, the Dolphins were a solid unit, but did not make a whole lot of game-changing plays. After adding linebacker Dannell Ellerbe from the Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens and Pro Bowl cornerback Brent Grimes from the Atlanta Falcons, the unit still needs some much needed additions. In free agency, the Dolphins will have to decide whether to keep players like Grimes, Paul Soliai, and Tyson Clabo among a handful of other Dolphins' free agents.

The Dolphins have the most work to do this offseason, including the off-field issues surrounding the organization. In order to get any closer to the New England Patriots in the AFC East, here are five players who performed well at the recent NFL Scouting Combine that should be on Miami's radar.

Brian Kalchik is a writer for rantsports.com. Follow him on Twitter, like him on Facebook and connect with him on Google.

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5. Martavis Bryant, WR, Clemson

Martavis Bryant
Steve Mithcell-USA TODAY Sports

The Dolphins have some decent receivers in Brian Hartline and Wallace, but neither are major red-zone threats for Tannehill and the Dolphins offense. In Clemson receiver Martavis Bryant, the Dolphins would get a tall receiver who can win jump balls in the end-zone, At 6'4", Bryant scored seven times on just 42 catches while being overshadowed by top-five pick Sammy Watkins at Clemson. At the Combine, Bryant ran a solid 4.42 in the 40-yard dash, had a respectable 16 reps on the bench press and posted a 39 inch vertical. The former Tiger had his best season last year, and will only get better.

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4. Jordan Tripp, LB, Montana

Jordan Tripp
Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports

Linebacker is a very underrated need for the Dolphins. Despite having Ellerbe and Koa Misi, the Dolphins could still use another linebacker to complete a good corps. This linebacker who the Dolphins should target is Montana's Jordan Tripp. An unheralded player coming into the tournament, Tripp had a solid Combine showing. In the 40-yard dash, Tripp ran a respectable 4.67, put up 22 reps on the bench press and completed the 20-yard shuttle in just 3.96 seconds. Tripp was a two-time FCS All-American and plays the role of a no non-sense football player.

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3. Jerick McKinnon, RB, Georgia Southern

Jerick McKinnon
John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

The Dolphins' running game was absolutely anemic. The decision to go with Lamar Miller and Daniel Thomas instead of Bush turned out to be a complete disaster as neither would register over 750 yards the entire season. Enter Georgia Southern RB Jerick McKinnon and the running game woes would cease to exist. McKinnon shined brightest at the Scouting Combine, recording a 4.41 40-yard dash, 32 reps on the Bench Press, and a 40 and a half inch vertical. McKinnon also was a standout performer in the vertical jump and the broad jump. Despite being from a small-school, this running back can play in the big leagues.

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2. Stanley Jean-Baptise, DB, Nebraska

Stanley Jean-Baptiste
Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports

While the Dolphins' corners are small in stature, they certainly played bigger than their small framers. Grimes made the Pro Bowl after a tremendous season, but with the league going towards bigger and taller corners, the Dolphins have to adjust. They should look no further than Nebraska's Stanley Jean-Baptiste. Jean-Baptiste had an excellent combine, starting off with a 4.61 40-yard dash, but since he is a bigger corner, the time doesn't hurt too much. The former Cornhusker also had a vertical jump of 41.5 inches along with a 10-foot broad jump. The corner doesn't have much experience, but in only 17 starts, the corner had 21 pass breakups and six interceptions.

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1. Joel Bitonio, OL, Nevada

Joel Bitonio
Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

As mentioned earlier, the Dolphins' offensive line is in complete shambles with no answers coming in the near future. With the potential of all five starters from last year either not returning or under the threat of suspension, this group will be heavily looked at in the draft. I would expect to see multiple picks to be spent on the o-line for the Dolphins, with one being Nevada's Joel Bitonio. Bitonio had a breakout Combine with a 4.97 40-yard dash, a 32-inch vertical and a nine and a half foot broad jump. Bitonio's mean streak and versatility to play all five positions on the line will be one of the first steps in fixing a depleted line.