Draft Preview: Defensive Line

With the draft around the corner, let's examine where the Dolphins stand at every position, what they've done in the offseason and what prospects could interest them in the early rounds of the 2013 draft. This installment looks at the defensive line.

On the roster: Randy Starks, Paul Soliai, Jared Odrick, Cameron Wake, Olivier Vernon, Derrick Shelby, Kheeston Randall, Vaughn Martin, Chas Alecxih

Offseason moves: Placed the franchise tag on Randy Starks; signed DT Vaughn Martin (San Diego); lost DT Tony McDaniel (Seattle)

Analysis: The defensive line has been a strength for the Dolphins for the past few years, and it should have surprised no one that they chose to use their franchise tag on Starks, who is still relatively young and has been an impact player. All four starters from last season remain with the team, but it's no secret the Dolphins would like to add a pass-rushing presence to help take some pressure off Cameron Wake. Vaughn Martin played defensive end in San Diego's 3-4 defense and he projects as a solid backup at tackle. The Dolphins are hoping that Olivier Vernon can take a big step in 2013 after showing some promise as a rookie, but taking a pass-rushing defensive end with their first-round pick clearly is an option for the Dolphins, particularly if someone like Oregon's Dion Jordan, BYU's Ezekiel Ansah or LSU's Barkevious Mingo is available — even though it's not likely to happen in any of those cases.

The draft class: The strength of the 2013 draft is on both lines, but the talent along the defensive line is concentrated more toward the middle, where the Dolphins have great depth, particularly given Jared Odrick's ability to line up both inside or outside. Florida's Sharrif Floyd and Utah's Star Lotulelei highlight the tremendous tackle class, while Jordan and Ansah top a defensive end group that doesn't have quite the same kind of top-end talent but perhaps more depth through the first three rounds.


The top prospect: DT Sharrif Floyd, Florida

Potential first-round picks: DT Sharrif Floyd, Florida; DE Ezekiel Ansah, BYU; DT Star Lotulelei, Utah; DE Dion Jordan, Oregon; DE Barkevious Mingo, LSU; DT Sheldon Richardson, Missouri; DT Sylvester Williams, North Carolina; DE Datone Jones, UCLA; DE Tank Carradine, Florida State; DE Bjoern Werner, Florida State;

Under-the-radar prospects: DE Sam Montgomery, LSU; DE Cornelius Washington, Georgia; DT Brandon Williams, Missouri Southern; DT Bennie Logan, LSU; DT Akeem Spence, Illinois

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