The Next Targets?

Now that the Dolphins have addressed their need for a left tackle, it's time to focus on other positions the team still needs to improve and look at some of the players who might be able to fill those needs.

Quarterback: This, of course, remains a major issue for the team. John Beck remains an unproven commodity at this time, and it would be nice to come out of this draft with a potential quarterback of the future. There's been speculation the Dolphins are interested in jumping back into Round 1, possibly to be able to take Michigan's Chad Henne, whose stock has been on the rise in recent weeks. It's not impossible that Henne will be there at No. 32, but there's no guarantee. The Dolphins had him in for a visit a few weeks ago, so there's obviously some interest there. We've also heard Joe Flacco's name, and GM Jeff Ireland said on Tuesday he liked Flacco as a quarterback. But, big arm and great size aside, just remember this is a guy who transferred from Pitt to Delaware because he couldn't beat out Tyler Palko. Maybe a long shot in this whole thing is Louisville's Brian Brohm, who some scouts think is a better prospect than BC's Matt Ryan. It's not likely, though, the Dolphins could get him at the top of the second round.

Tight end: The Dolphins obviously badly need a playmaking tight end after David Martin flopped last year, and the hot name right now is Purdue's Dustin Keller. But here's why you shouldn't expect to see Keller drafted by the Dolphins: Keller is 6-2 and barely over 240 pounds. Now think back to the tight end that Bill Parcells used or drafted, and two names that quickly come to mind are Mark Bavaro with the Giants and Dallas draft pick Anthony Fasano. Both of them were big guys. Parcells likes big guys. So you can forget about Dustin Keller, just like you can forget about USC's Fred Davis. The guy who fits the Parcells mold is Notre Dame's John Carlson, Tennessee's Brad Cottam or Michigan State's Kellen Davis. But neither of those guys figures to be drafted before the third round.

Guard: After the selection of Long, the Dolphins now have four-fifths of their offensive line in place, with the only missing piece being the left guard. Don't be surprised if the Dolphins spend their second second-round pick or their third-round pick on that position, with possible targets including USC's Chilo Rachal, Toledo's John Greco and Oregon State's Roy Schuening.

Inside linebacker: The plan right now would be to start Channing Crowder and Reggie Torbor inside, but Torbor probably is better suited for outside linebacker and Crowder has yet to really make an impact. So let's say Penn State's Dan Connor is available at No. 32, he'd clearly be someone the Dolphins would consider. Although he doesn't have the great size you want in a 3-4 inside linebacker, Connor possesses two qualities Parcells likes: he's tough and he played in the Big Ten.

Outside linebacker: The Dolphins have two accomplished veteran edge pass rushers in Jason Taylor and Joey Porter, but Taylor won't be around for much longer and Porter is coming off a season where he started very slowly before coming on. If the Dolphins do wind up trading Taylor for, say, a late-first-round pick one target clearly could be a quarterback (Henne), but it also could be a pass-rushing outside linebacker to replace Taylor. Among players who would fit that mold are Auburn's Quentin Groves, an undersized college defensive end who figures to switch to OLB in the NFL or USC's Lawrence Jackson. Other speed rushers who might be of interest in the second round and beyond include Purdue's Cliff Avril and UCLA's Bruce Davis.

Cornerback: The Dolphins have three capable cornerbacks in Will Allen, Andre' Goodman and Michael Lehan, but they clearly don't have that elite, shut-down guy. Going for that kind of player could be a possibility at No. 32 if someone like Brandon Flowers or Antoine Cason is still available. But remember that Parcells and Company like size, so they're likely to draft linemen and linebackers before going for a cornerback.


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