2009 Draft Countdown: Offensive tackles

With the 2009 NFL draft only days away, we offer our extensive position-by-position breakdown. Each report includes an analysis of the Dolphins' status at the position, the likelihood of a draft pick being spent at the position, a look at which prospects the Dolphins have worked out or visited with, a list of the top prospects, and the sleepers. We continue with the offensive tackles.

Where the Dolphins stand: One of the Dolphins' biggest moves of the offseason was making sure they hung on to former first-round pick Vernon Carey to continue lining up opposite 2008 first overall pick Jake Long. This two should bookend the Dolphins offensive line for several years to come. If there's any issue on the roster at offensive tackle, it's the lack of proven depth. The only tackles on the roster behind Long and Carey are Nate Garner and Brandon Frye.

Likelihood of the Dolphins using a pick at the position: The Dolphins have a lot more pressing needs to address, but there's no question that adding a young offensive tackle would make sense. We would expect a pick or two to be spent on that position, and perhaps earlier in the draft than some might think.

The top prospects: 1. Eugene Monroe, Virginia; 2. Jason Smith, Baylor; 3. Andre Smith, Alabama; 4. Michael Oher, Mississippi; 5. Eben Britton, Arizona; 6. Will Beatty, UConn; 7. Jamon Meredith, South Carolina; 8. Phil Loadholt, Oklahoma; 9. Fenuki Tupou, Oregon; 10. Troy Kropog, Tulane

Summary: There's been a lot of talk about this position heading into the draft, and a lot of it has centered around the bad spring turned in by Alabama's Andre Smith. On pure talent alone, he just might be the best tackle available, but he's not likely to be drafted first because of questions about his dedication. There's been a lot of debate as well as to whether Smith or Monroe is the best tackle in this draft, but while Smith might have more upside, we think Monroe will be the better NFL player. Overall, it's another deep group of prospects at the position.

Sleepers: Joel Bell, Furman; Augustus Parrish, Kent State; Cornelius Lewis, Tennessee State

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