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Miami Dolphins Prep for 2011 NFL Draft

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It's almost that time of year, when owners, coaches, general managers, and the rest of the front office lock themselves in a room and heavily debate which players to draft to improve the team. This room is called the "War Room" for a reason. Everyone in this room is heavily opinionated and has become attached to a prospect that they don't believe the team can do without.

In this segment, we will put ourselves in the war room and go over the picks we believe teams need to make when they're on the clock. We'll cover all 32 teams, but today's segment is dedicated to the: Miami Dolphins.

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Miami's biggest needs are at two of the most important positions on the field: quarterback and running back. Chad Henne does not seem to be the answer in Miami as the search for a field general continues for the Dolphins. The running game averaged just over 100 yards per game last season, down from 139.4 yards per game in 2009. Some of that may be due to a poor passing game, but with Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams both free agents this offseason, the time seems right to look at a featured back early in this year's draft. Other areas of need on the offense include the interior offensive line and tight end.

Defensively, Miami was strong last season and the unit was clearly the strength of the team. Miami ranked sixth defensively last season, giving up 309.3 yards per game. The front seven is strong, but I wouldn't be surprised to see Miami look at a defensive lineman or linebacker later in the draft if they find value in any of the available prospects. The one area of the defense that clearly needs help is at safety. Yeremiah Bell is a tough strong safety, but upgrading the free safety spot is a concern I expect Miami to address this April.

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The Dolphins are a team that could be on the move this April. They could look to trade up or down or any which way they can. The absence of a second round pick (due to the Brandon Marshall trade) will likely see Miami trade out of the 15th overall spot in the first round to move down and pick up some extra selections. Outside of Cam Newton and Blaine Gabbert, no other quarterbacks are expected to be taken until later in the round (unless another team moves ahead), so Miami could be content to trade back and pick up a quarterback later in the round or in the second. That said, we have only the current draft order to go by.

Miami Dolphins Mock Draft

Round 1 (#15): Mark Ingram, RB - Alabama Crimson Tide: Ok, so Jayson Braddock and I have had a quarterback plugged into this spot in our mock drafts for a while now. While that could very well be the case if other teams are looking to move ahead to draft a quarterback, I expect Miami to upgrade the running back spot if they stay put at the 15th pick. If they trade down, however, I expect this to be a quarterback.

Round 3 (#79): Orlando Franklin, G - Miami Hurricanes: The hometown pick worked out last time the Dolphins made it. They took Vernon Carey in the first round of the 2004 draft and while he may not have turned into a dominant left tackle, he's been a solid right tackle for the Dolphins opposite Pro Bowl left tackle Jake Long. Franklin is a versatile lineman, having also played tackle for the 'Canes.

Round 4 (#110): Deunta Williams, FS -  North Carolina Tar Heels: The Dolphins need to find a free safety and Williams fits the bill. He missed a few games due to a suspension that affected several Tar Heels players, but before that he was considered a possible high-round draft pick. He did not come away with any interceptions in 2010, but picked off six in 2009 and three in each of the previous two seasons.

Round 5 (#143) Rob Housler, TE - Florida Atlantic Owls: Houlser was a star at the Combine and given that he's bulked up significantly from the 215 lbs at which he was listed at on the FAU official athletic site, he seems ready to handle the physicality that he'll face at the next level. He's more than just a workout warrior and given the Dolphins' need for a tight end, he should have the opportunity to compete and contribute.

Round 6 (#174): Ricky Stanzi, QB - Iowa Hawkeyes: Stanzi could go before this, but he showed little at the Combine to warrant a high-round grade. Miami may not find the answer in the later rounds of the draft, but if they don't maneuver in the earlier rounds to take one of this year's top prospects, they could look at a quarterback later on to at least push Henne until they find his replacement. That is provided they do not acquire a quarterback via trade of free agency if a new CBA is reached.

Round 7 (#207): Wayne Daniels, OLB - TCU Horned Frogs: Daniels would be a steal this late in the draft process. He's projected as a third day pick and could fall anywhere from the fifth to seventh rounds. If he's available when Miami is on the clock in the seventh, expect them to nab him as a potential complement to Cameron Wake.

Round 7 (#208): Chase Beeler, C/G - Stanford: Miami needs help on the interior offensive line. Beeler was a first team All-Pac 10 selection and was named a consensus All-American by the AP in 2010. The Cardinal O-line gave up just six sacks in 2010 and Beeler was a big reason for that success.

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  • Danny Hobrock, is our College Football Editor and On-Air Personality. Danny's writing on NCAA Football has garnered national attention and has been critically acclaimed. You may email Danny directly @ [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @ DannyHobrock

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