The 2013 NFL Draft is less than 24 hours away and we are still left seraching for answers as to what direction the Miami Dolphins will go with the 12th overall pick. Unlike the previous two drafts, there is no clear first round target for the Dolphins as they have addressed two of their most prominent needs in the past year; quarterback and wide reciever. The 2012 selection of Ryan Tannehill and the 2011 selection of Mike Pouncey came as a surprise to no one, however this will not be the case come draft day. This year, there is no clear consensus pick and fans and media alike can't seem to agree on which prospect will dawn the new logo tomorrow. There are five positions of need that the 12th pick will likely be used to address - offensive tackle, offensive guard, cornerback, defensive end, or tight end - and numerous players the team is interested in.
Assuming the Dolphins don't trade up or down in the first round, here is my attempt at narrowing down their options with the 12th overall pick. Keep in mind that only prospects with a chance to fall to Miami will be included.
Tyler Eifert, TE, Notre Dame
The Dolphins signed Dustin Keller to a one year contract in the free agency, however the selection of Tyler Eifert would give the team a long term upgrade at the position if Keller does not re-sign and a dynamic combination if he does. Eifert is by far the best tight end in this draft class as he excels in the passing game and in the red zone due to his fluid pass catching skills and hand-eye cordination. The one negative against him is his below average run blocking but there is potential to improve in this aspect.
Jonathan Cooper, OG, North Carolina
This is early for a guard however Cooper is one of the safest picks in this draft and the Dolphins can use an upgrade at guard over John Jerry. Cooper is a versatile and athletic prospect that would be a perfect fit in the Dolphins blocking scheme. His most evident weakness is bulk, which should continue to improve, and is height is average for the position. This selection adds another long term piece on the offensive line along with Mike Pouncey and potentially Jonathan Martin if meets expectations this season.
Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama
Milliner is viewed by many as the best cornerback in the draft and he will likely be the first defensive back off the board however there is a chance that Milliner will be available when the Dolphins are on the clock. Despite signing Brent Grimes, cornerback is one of the Dolphins biggest needs and selecting a player of Milliner's calibre would have an immediate impact. He can make plays in the air and force turnovers, something that the Dolphins have lacked in recent years.
D.J Fluker, OT, Alabama
The Dolphins have interest in Eric Fisher, Luke Joeckel, and Lane Johnson but they will be long gone by the time the 12th pick comes around. Offensive line is a huge position of need for the Dolphins and their top priority should be to protect the quarterback. Fluker is great in the run game and instantly makes the offensive line better while giving Miami the option to use Jonathan Martin at right tackle instead of left. This pick is only an option if the Dolphins don't trade for Brandon Albert.
Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia
Austin is one of the most explosive yet one of the most intriguing players in this draft. The Dolphins spent a lot of money on the wide reciever position in free agency however the front office has made it clear that they want a dynamic offense in 2013. Tavon Austin accomplishes just that while working out of the slot. Davone Bess, who currently fills that role on the roster, is a likely candidate to be traded on draft day. This would be more of a luxury pick or selecting the best player available rather than drafting for need.