By Cody Strahm @CodyJStrahm on April 18, 2014
By now most Miami Dolphins fans are well aware of the favorites to become the club's first-round pick. Notre Dame's Zack Martin, Alabama's C.J. Mosley, North Carolina tight end Eric Ebron, Michigan tackle Taylor Lewan and UCLA guard Xavier Su’a-Filo have all been discussed as possibilities. But the draft is always full of surprises. Here are five dark horse candidates Miami might consider.
The Dolphins appear set at defensive tackle with Randy Starks, Jared Odrick and the newly-signed Earl Mitchell. However, Starks turns 31 in 2014 and only inked a two-year deal to return to Miami while Mitchell was held back by playing out of position with the Texans but has yet to erase all doubt about his abilities in a 4-3. Minnesota's Ra'Shede Hageman, a high upside defensive tackle, would provide Miami with an asset to develop.
If the Dolphins address their mediocre and overpaid linebacker corps in the first round, most expect Alabama's C.J. Mosley to be the pick. Don't rule out GM Dennis Hickey targeting the outside linebacker position, though, in order to replace the much-maligned Philip Wheeler. Ohio State's Ryan Shazier is a physical freak who could be an upgrade at the "Will" spot in Miami. Concerns about his ability to shed blocks shouldn't be overlooked, however.
While it remains unlikely that UCLA's Anthony Barr is bypassed by the 18 teams selecting ahead of the Dolphins, he's polarizing enough not to rule it out. He was a productive edge rusher in the Pac-12, but at the next level, his best position in a 4-3 scheme is arguably outside linebacker. With the rare athleticism to thrive at multiple positions, Barr would equip the Dolphins with yet another supremely talented front seven member.
Morgan Moses potentially being the tackle-needy Dolphins' pick in the first-round isn't quite the shock it used to be, but it would still surprise most pundits. The Dolphins might not feel they can wait until the second round to address their biggest void and there is no guarantee Zack Martin or Taylor Lewan will still be on the board. Moses would be a good fit in Miami's zone blocking scheme and his long arms project to keep edge rushers at bay.
It may surprise most draft analysts, but the Dolphins have shown significant interest in selecting a wide receiver early come May. Mike Wallace didn't live up to his billing in 2013, and Brian Hartline is limited as a starter. Thus, a dynamic playmaker like Odell Beckham Jr., who is capable of producing on the perimeter or from the slot, should at least tempt Hickey with the No. 19 overall choice.
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