Dolphins Target List

It seems likely the Dolphins will be picking a cornerback, wide receiver or outside linebacker with the 25th overall selection in Saturday's NFL draft. But which prospects at those positions should the Dolphins go for? We asked draft analyst Chris Steuber for his take on the prospects who could or should be available at No. 25 and who would make the most sense for the Dolphins.

Steuber ranked the players in order of how well they would fit in with the Dolphins, as opposed to ability or potential.

Keep in mind some of the prospects listed below might not be available at No. 25.


1. Darrius Heyward-Bey, Maryland

Steuber's take: "Heyward-Bey is an explosive playmaker who can change the momentum of a game on any play. He gets a quick release off the line and uses his game breaking speed to get downfield. He's doesn't shy away from going over the middle and makes tough receptions in traffic. He has to improve his route running and must develop more as a receiver. He has good hands, but tends to drop easy passes. He's a very gifted player, but his production didn't match his talent."

2. Kenny Britt, Rutgers

Steuber's take: "Britt is a physically gifted receiver with tremendous upside. He has great size, good strength and is a dynamic playmaker downfield. He's versatile; he can play inside or outside, he runs good routes and uses his long strides to his advantage. He's not afraid of contact and makes a lot of receptions over the middle. He's outstanding after the catch and runs with purpose. He has to improve his blocking downfield and be more disciplined. He's an emotional player who's had issues with his attitude."

3. Hakeem Nicks, North Carolina

Steuber's take: "Nicks is a consistent pass catcher who has reliable hands. He lacks elite speed, but is quick and makes plays downfield. He gets a fluid release off the line, is physical through routes and has the ability to make a difficult reception. He offers the quarterback a nice target and comes back to the ball consistently. He's a tough runner after the catch and doesn't go down easily. He's a complete receiver."

4. Percy Harvin, Florida

Steuber's take: "Harvin is a dynamic game-breaker who has tremendous versatility on offense and special teams. He has a quick first step and gets separation from the opposition instantly. He runs solid routes, comes back to the ball and flashes excellent hands. He gets vertical, tracks down deep passes and positions himself against defenders to come away with the ball. He comes from a program that hasn't produced an elite WR in recent memory. Durability is a concern."


1. Brian Cushing, USC

Steuber's take: "Cushing is likely to be selected higher, but if he fell to the Dolphins, he would draw a lot of attention. Cushing is a physical defender who presents the complete package. He has a nose for the ball and makes plays at the line of scrimmage. He breaks down well and plays with leverage. He's aggressive and unleashes big hits against the opposition. He flows well to the action and uses his speed in pursuit of the ball carrier. He gets good depth on his drops in coverage. Durability is a concern."

2. Clay Matthews, USC

Steuber's take: "Matthews is a versatile linebacker who can play all three LB positions. He has great size and quickness and can impact a game in many ways. He's an instinctive player who has great range and anticipation skills. He's disruptive off the edge and makes a lot of plays in the backfield. He's an outstanding blitzer and is aggressive at the point of attack. He's an opportunistic defender who's always around the ball. He's an outstanding special teams player and gives maximum effort. He doesn't have much game experience and some consider him a one-year wonder."

3. Clint Sintim, Virginia

Steuber's take: "The 25th pick is a little high for Sintim, but he's the kind of LB they need on the outside. Sintim is a strong defender who's the most NFL-ready 3-4 linebacker in the draft. He has great size, strength and quickness. He's physical at the line of scrimmage, gets off blocks cleanly and is excellent in pursuit. He's a good blitzer who's quick off the edge and has the ability to get to the quarterback. He lacks fluidity in his hips and plays a bit stiff. He has to get better depth on his drops and improve his coverage skills."

4. Larry English, Northern Illinois

Steuber's take: "A borderline first-rounder, English is a relentless defender who plays with a nonstop motor. He's a tweener who has the talent to be a special DE, but lacks the size. He flashes a quick first step, good strength off the edge and blinding closing speed that abruptly hits the quarterback. He moves well in space, showing good awareness and tackling ability. He has strong hands and is able to defend against the pass. He has to improve his coverage skills, as he's a little stiff in the hips."

5. Connor Barwin, Cincinnati

Steuber's take: "Barwin is a versatile player who has experience playing on both sides of the ball. He has a great frame; a bit undersized, but has a strong upper-body and is aggressive at the point of attack. He initiates contact off the snap and plays with great leverage. He has quick feet, savvy moves and is relentless off the edge. He has to shed blocks cleanly and be consistent defending the run. He's a tweener who doesn't have a natural position and that will affect his chances of being a first-rounder."


1. Vontae Davis, Illinois

Steuber's take: "Davis is a physical cornerback with lock-down ability. He has excellent footwork, fluid hips and the tenacious attitude to deliver a devastating hit. He's strong at the point of attack, aggressive throughout routes and has success against small and tall receivers. He has a great sense of timing, possesses a quick burst and flashes great ball skills that turn defense into offense instantly. He has to be more consistent and be more disciplined in coverage."

2. Darius Butler, UConn

Steuber's take: "Butler is a tremendously versatile player who's a quality defender and return specialist. He has good ball skills and is extremely instinctive in the secondary. He's physical and fluid in coverage and positions himself well to break up the throw. He has great vision and is elusive with the ball in his hands. He has good size, but struggles against taller, physical receivers. He has to improve his initial quickness and not allow the opposition to gain positioning on routes."

3. Sean Smith, Utah

Steuber's take: "Smith is a skilled defensive back who possesses great size and playmaking ability. He has good straight-line speed and matches up well against tall, physical receivers. He doesn't possess a fluid backpedal, but transitions with receivers vertically, locates the ball and uses his athleticism to make a play. He has good awareness, but isn't a physical player who defends the run well. He's still learning the position and has a lot of upside, but he's viewed as a tweener who could be converted into a safety at the next level."

4. Alphonso Smith, Wake Forest

Steuber's take: Smith is an undersized, but productive cornerback who is an outstanding playmaker. He displays good route recognition and is a determined defender. He's effective facing the action, locates the ball quickly and possesses excellent closing speed and ball skills that allow him to turn defense into offense. He is a very instinctive defender who has a great sense of timing. He struggles against taller receivers and takes chances in coverage."

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