### If you’re hoping the Dolphins have a wide selection of receiver and cornerback options in their likely first-round draft range, you’ll be disappointed.
With the playoffs highly unlikely, here’s some early buzz on April’s Draft, when Miami likely will pick between eighth and 20th:
### Mel Kiper Jr. rates only one receiver and one cornerback among the top 25 prospects on ESPN.com, including juniors who haven’t declared.
The receiver is Tennessee’s 6-3 Cordarrelle Patterson, who hasn’t said if he’s returning to school. Rated 11th overall by Kiper, he had 46 catches for 778 yards and has “size, speed, body control, hands and go-get it ability and can physically overpower smaller corners,” Kiper said. “Has the ceiling of a very good No. 1.”
The next-best receiver prospect might be his teammate, Tennessee’s Justin Hunter, or California’s Keenan Allen, both rated in the 20s by several analysts.
### There’s one other stretch-the-field option rated as a potential top 20 pick: Notre Dame 6-6 junior tight end Tyler Eifert, rated 17th by Kiper. He’s a converted receiver and “has the pass catching skills of a natural receiver,” Kiper said. “Can be split out and stretch the seams.”
### The only cornerback considered a top 20 pick is Alabama junior Dee Milliner, ranked 15th overall by Kiper. “Not an elite cover corner like [Dallas Cowboys and former LSU standout] Morris Claiborne, but he’s a really good player,” Todd McShay said on ESPN.com.
### Among the other players Kiper has ranked between 5 and 25, five are offensive linemen (hard to justify taking one unless Miami doesn’t keep Jake Long); four are 295-to-360 pound defensive tackles (not a Dolphins need); and three are defensive ends (could be a need, depending on what Miami does with Randy Starks and Jared Odrick).
There are also three linebackers (not a pressing need); one safety (Texas’ Kenny Vaccaro, rated 20th by Kiper); and two quarterbacks (Southern California’s Matt Barkley at 24, West Virginia’s Geno Smith at 25).
### If Miami parts way with Long, the best offensive tackle prospects are juniors: Texas A&M’s Luke Joeckel (ranked No. 5 by Kiper) and Michigan’s Taylor Lewan (No. 9).
Kiper’s other top-20 offensive line prospects are guards: Alabama’s Chance Warmack (seventh) and North Carolina’s Jonathan Cooper (12th). If Jeff Ireland drafted a guard in the first round, Dolphins fans would chase him with pitchforks.
### If Starks signs elsewhere, Miami could move Odrick to tackle and explore drafting an end such as LSU’s Barkevious Mingo (ranked sixth by Kiper/four sacks) or his teammate, Sam Montgomery (19th/seven sacks) or FSU junior Bjoern Werner (ranked eighth by Kiper/13 sacks). Texas A&M’s Damontre Moore (ranked fourth by Kiper/12.5 sacks) could be off the board by Miami’s pick.
McShay includes three other defensive ends among his top 21 prospects: FSU’s Cornellius Carradine (13th/11 sacks), Oregon’s Deon Jordan (14th/five sacks) and Auburn’s Corey Lemonier (21st, 5.5 sacks).
"Werner looked dominant against UF, with 3.5 sacks,” Kiper said. “High ceiling. I worry about how Mingo disappears for stretches. Montgomery is more productive than Mingo but ceiling isn’t as high.”
### The three linebackers that Kiper rates between 5 and 20 are Georgia junior Alec Ogletree (10th), UCLA junior Anthony Barr (13th) and Rutgers’ Khaseem Greene (22nd). The Dolphins like their linebackers, but the 6-4 Barr (11.5 sacks) is intriguing – “a rising star and devastating pass rusher,” Kiper said.
### FYI: Kiper’s top five overall picks are Georgia junior outside linebacker Jarvis Jones and Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o, Utah defensive tackle Star Lotulelei and Texas A&M teammates Moore and Joeckel, both juniors.