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Top 11 picks will likely force Dolphins' hand

Miami DolphinsFootballNFLJonathan MartinCleveland BrownsJake Long

It is virtually impossible to predict what will happen in any NFL draft.

All it takes is one team, one left-field pick, one wild card inserted into the deck, and then the entire draft has been altered.

We know that's going to happen this year. We just don't know by who, and for what. The key to successful drafts is to be prepared for that wild card, and to be able to predict the runs on positions, and be in position to pounce.

The Miami Dolphins will spend all week mocking the 2013 draft, and working the phones for information, and possibly lining up a trade (up and down).

I'm told a Branden Albert deal remains in a holding pattern for two reasons.

First, the Dolphins aren't comfortable with the amount of money Albert is demanding, which is not surprising considering he wants Jake Long money, which the Dolphins weren't willing to pay Long, a four-time Pro Bowler.

The second is the Dolphins are hopeful (not optimistic) one of the three elite left tackles falls into a range where they might be able to trade that No. 54 pick to move up to get someone better than Jonathan Martin to protect Ryan Tannehill's blindside.

Based on this NFL beat writer's mock draft, which was done by LA Times' NFL writer Sam Farmer and featured my participation, we can get a more accurate picture of the draft's landscape.

As you can see, Oklahoma left tackle Lane Johnson is staring the Dolphins right in the face, and it might be possible that Miami moves up a couple of spots to take him. I'm told the Browns desperately want to get a second-round pick so they can acquire one of the draft's top tight ends.

Either way you look at it - trade up for Johnson, Joeckel or Fisher, trade the No. 54 for Albert, or simply keep the picks and use them - the Dolphins are in a great spot to make the best of the 2013 draft.

Here's my breakdown explaining Ireland's approach, and what the landscape looks like at Miami's five positions of need. Understanding where there's depth in this draft hints at what Miami's approach will be.

The key to this draft in my opinion is what the Dolphins do with their second-round picks? Second-round picks are nuggets of gold in this deep draft because they are upper echelon players that come at a cheaper price.

The Dolphins are one of the power players in the 2013 draft because of those two second round picks (No. 42 and No. 54) they possess.

Coincidentally, or not, the Dolphins have been haunted by poor use of second and third round picks the past decade. Read about it here.

In my opinion this draft will tell us whether Ireland has learned from his mistakes or not, and will likely determine is future.

G.G.G.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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