2014 NFL Draft: C.J. Mosley May Be Miami Dolphins' Most Likely Choice In 1st Round

By Cody Strahm
Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Almost unanimously, NFL draft experts have tabbed Notre Dame offensive lineman Zack Martin as the Miami Dolphins‘ most likely pick during the first round of May’s draft.

This potential scenario certainly adds up on paper. Miami’s much-maligned offensive line gave up the most sacks in team history and paved the way for the league’s 26th ranked rushing attack in 2013. Martin, meanwhile, projects to be the best available lineman when the Dolphins are on the clock. He has the versatility to play tackle or guard, which both remain needs for the Dolphins.

With that said, I believe the Dolphins’ most probable first-round pick is another prospect. Mocking Martin to the Dolphins seems obvious on the surface and requires little research outside of the consensus perception that Miami’s offensive line was horrible in 2013 and still needs work after free agency. But delving a little deeper reveals an arguably better suitor for the No. 19 overall selection.

Alabama linebacker C.J. Mosley would be a coup for the Dolphins in the first round. Mosley possess the instincts and physicality to become a tackling machine, the range to stuff outside runs in the flats, the coverage ability to play on every down and the leadership attributes every team covets. Few inside linebackers are the complete package in today’s NFL, where situational substitutions can help mask the shortcomings of those who are more adept at filling running lanes than covering receivers and vice versa, but Mosley has the tools to be one of the few.

Right tackle may be the Dolphins’ most pressing need, but nabbing a new middle linebacker isn’t far off after Dannell Ellerbe struggled to live up to the $35 million contract he signed last spring. The Dolphins conceded as much when they pursued former free agent linebacker D’Qwell Jackson earlier this offseason before he was signed by the Indianapolis Colts.

The Dolphins showed little interest in any other free agent linebacker, but the market wasn’t exactly booming with talent at the position after Jackson. Former free agents like Brandon Spikes and Daryl Smith possessed some alluring qualities but also some repulsive deficiencies.

As a result, the Dolphins have reportedly been considering moving Koa Misi inside. While Misi is a stout run defender and could potentially help improve Miami’s 24th ranked run defense in the middle, he’s never played inside linebacker collegiality or professionally.

Thus, the Dolphins will likely turn to the draft to find an answer. And there isn’t a better fit for what Miami needs than Mosley.

If Mosley is such a polished prospect, why will he be for the taking when the Dolphins are on the clock? For obvious reasons, there’s no guarantee he will be. But contrary to initial rankings and mock drafts, the probability of Mosley still being available is greater than him being gone — at least according to draft “experts.”

Former NFL player turned Bleacher Report featured columnist Ryan Riddle recently composed a mock draft roundup of nine of the country’s most publicized draft gurus — included in the group were ESPN.com’s Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay. Of the nine, only three have Mosley being swooped up within the top 18 picks, meaning the remaining six have Mosley still on the board when the Dolphins select.

The predictions of the various talking heads will prove moot when the 79th annual NFL Draft commences at Radio City Music Hall on May 8. But six prominent draft analysts forecasting that Mosely can be had at pick No. 19 suggests Mosely to the Dolphins is far from an unlikelihood.

It should be noted that none of the experts mocked Mosley to the Dolphins; instead siding with the obvious offensive line selection in seven of the nine cases. But those same predictions may be underestimating rookie GM Dennis Hickey, who should seek value during the first round.

The Dolphins will obviously select an offensive lineman at some point during the draft, but there will be quality tackles available during the second and third rounds. Value will be hard to come by if Hickey snags a right tackle in round round. It’s an immensely deep draft at the tackle position. It’s not a deep class at inside linebacker, however, where less than a handful of prospects are realistically capable of starting from day one in Miami.

Mosley is one of the few who could instantly improve the Dolphins’ defense. If he’s still on the board, I believe he’ll be the pick.

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