Draft Discussion: Defensive Tackles, Linebackers
We all know the Dolphins biggest needs heading into the offseason: wr, cb, pass rusher, oline. Those are pretty apparent. But part of being a good GM is also looking toward the future, which brings me to these two positions.
Right now linebacker is a strength, at least the starting unit, and it figures to be that way for 2013. Dansby, Burnett and Misi all had good years, although it can be argued that none of them had many difference making plays. Plus, Dansby and Burnett are on the wrong side of 30 and Dansby will have a huge salary cap number in 2014.
Defensive tackle is also a current strength, but could quickly be a weakness in 2014. Solai is signed for one more year and I expect Starks to get the franchise tag. Both could be gone by 2014, however. Teams with playoff aspirations need to be strong on the defensive line so letting that unit slide is not an option.
Now, I'm not suggesting that we use a 1st round pick on a DT or linebacker (and the 2014 draft is an option as well). But, I think it would make sense to find some talent in the middle rounds at both positions. And if the best player available is a DT or linebacker, even at #12, that may not be a bad way to go especially if that player can get to the qb.
I haven't really studied those positions much so I want to open up discussion on middle round prospects and players that you would take at #12.
I'll start with two linebackers I really like: Chase Thomas of Stanford and Khaseem Greene of Rutgers. I think both are in the 2-3 round range. I love the versatility Thomas offers, plus he is very instinctive. Greene has great closing speed and could be a fantastic weakside linebacker.
At DT, I'm clueless on the middle round guys. But, there are a few that I would consider at #12 depending on how free agency plays out. Obviously if a guy like Star Lotulelei somehow made it to #12 I would love to have him. There are a few others I might consider there as well.