With the 2012 regular season in the books, the focus has swung to the 2013 NFL draft for the teams that won't be playing January football. The first twenty picks of the draft have been finalized with the remaining twelve to be revealed over the course of the next month. Following their 7-9 finish to the season, the Miami Dolphins will own the 12th overall pick and assuming the front office makes the selection it will be the first time in franchise history that the team does so.
If there's one thing that this past season taught us it's that although the Dolphins have several core pieces in place, they are not yet close to being a contender. However, that can change in a hurry as Miami will have nine picks to work with in attempts to improve the roster not to mention the surplus of cap space. In order to accomplish this the right decisions will have to be made starting with the twelfth overall selection. There are many directions in which the organization can go with this pick either trading up, trading back or standing pat and addressing one of the team's several needs including wide reciever, linebacker and cornerback.
Here's a look at a few promising prospects likely to be available when the Dolphins are on the clock that they would be wise to consider.
Keenan Allen, WR, California
Considering that the Dolphins biggest need is at wide reciever, selecting Allen who is easily the best pass catcher on the board would be a logical choice. Allen has great size at 6'3" 210 pounds and has had success making plays in the open field after the catch. He is a physical reciever, excellent route runner and has the ability to return punts. Despite a midseason injury, Allen will wrap up his college career with a school record of 205 receptions for 2,570 yards along with 17 touchdowns. Depending on what the Dolphins do in free agency, he could emerge as the team's top option in the passing game and become a go to target for Ryan Tannehill.
Barkevious Mingo, DE, LSU
If the Dolphins address their need for a top wide reciever in free agency, they can turn their attention to adding a pass rusher to compliment Cameron Wake with this pick. The addition of Mingo would make the Dolphins front seven one of the most feared in the league and will be a nightmare for any opposing quarterback. Mingo's elite speed is a large part of his game as he is extremely quick off the ball and relentless in pursuit. Mingo began his career at LSU as an unsually small defensive end but since then he has put on 30 pounds and now measures out at 6'5" 240 pounds with room for his frame to grow. He has a high boom or bust potential but his raw ability has drawn comparisions to Von Miller.
Chance Warmack, OG, Alabama
The Dolphins will likely select the best player on the board that is also a need, well Chance Warmack fits both those criteria. Warmack is thought to be a cant-miss prospect and is one of the safest picks that can be made. Again, depending on what is done in free agency, Miami has to solidify the offensive line and protect the face of the franchise. It shouldn't take long for Warmack to become a top guard in the NFL making him a great addition alongside a rebuilt o-line consisting of Mike Pouncey and Jonathan Martin.
A lot will change from now to April but it's worth following these prospects as one of them could very well be dawning aqua and orange come draft day. My prefered scenario would be to bolster the defense with a player like Mingo in the first round and to target pass catchers, both wide recievers and tight ends in the second round. Free agency should be dedicated to landing a big name wide reciever and shoring up the offensive line.