With the Dolphins poised to make changes on offense, here's a quick NFL Draft primer on positions other than quarterback, which we addressed previously:
• Running back: Alabama junior Mark Ingram is the only consensus first-rounder (22th overall by ESPN's Mel Kiper). ``Solid finisher but top-end speed is in question,'' Kiper said. An NFC scout said Ingram, if he turns pro, isn't a good value in the midteens, where Miami likely will pick: ``Will be a good back, not great.''
Sporting News analyst/former Browns scout Russ Lande said Virginia Tech third-year sophomore Ryan Williams and Oklahoma senior DeMarco Murray could sneak into the first round. Both would be options if Miami -- which has no second-round pick -- trades down.
Murray ``has the best hands of any back as a receiver; good speed but not a blazer,'' Lande said. Williams, if he turns pro, ``is a legit first-round talent but could fall because he was dinged up. There are not many backs with his explosiveness'' -- a quality that Miami will seek.
If Miami waits until the third round or beyond, senior options could include Oklahoma State's Kendall Hunter (strong, can make defenders miss), Kansas State's Daniel Thomas (5.4-yard average but lacks burst in the open field), Southern California's speedy Allen Bradford (a former safety) and UM's Graig Cooper (``size and speed project well to the NFL,'' Kiper said). One scout said UM's Damien Berry is a midrounder.
• Fullback: Although Lousaka Polite has excelled in short-yardage runs, his blocking is subpar (second-worst among fullbacks, according to Pro Football Focus). The top fullbacks: Stanford's Owen Marecic, USC's Stanley Havili, Georgia's Shaun Chapas and Tulsa's Charles Clay.
• Offensive line: Kiper has no guards or centers rated in his top 25, but he does have four tackles: Colorado's Nate Solder (17th), Boston College's Anthony Castonzo (18), Mississippi State's Derek Sherrod (20) and Wisconsin's Gabe Carimi (21). So if Miami takes any of those four, it could use him at right tackle and move Vernon Carey to guard, if Carey is kept.
Lande said two guard/centers could be first-rounders: Penn State's Stefan Wisniewski (``could become a Pro Bowler at guard or center'') and FSU's Rodney Hudson (``the most dominant offensive lineman I've graded, but he's only 280 to 285 pounds.'') Center will be addressed unless Miami re-signs Richie Incognito to play there.
Lande said UF guard/center Mike Pouncey could be a second-rounder. ``Pouncey can really pull but he hasn't figured out how to do the shotgun snap, so a lot of teams will see him as a guard,'' an NFC scout said. Georgia's Clint Boling and Baylor's Danny Watkins are third-round options at guard, a priority for Miami.
• Tight end: Not a great draft class, but Miami likely will try to find someone to pair with Anthony Fasano. Wisconsin's Lance Kendricks (39 receptions, 16.1-yard average) is a former track athlete and ``a lesser version of the Jets' Dustin Keller,'' Lande said. ``Solid guy but I wouldn't be excited to take him in the first three rounds.'' Arkansas' D.J. Williams and South Carolina's Wesleye Saunders (kicked off the team in September) ``are similar: good blockers, good hands, both third- or fourth-round types.''
Top junior Kyle Rudolph of Notre Dame, out since October after hamstring surgery, is a possible first-rounder if he turns pro.
• Receiver: There are several speedy third- or fourth-round types who would add explosiveness to Miami's offense. Among them: Troy's Jerrel Jernigan, Boise State's Titus Young, Abilene Christian's Edmund Gates, Nebraska's Niles Paul and San Diego State's Vincent Brown. Several of them would help Miami's return game.