For Miami Dolphins fans, tomorrow is a huge day. At this year's NFL Draft, so much is on the line. The team's decisions between Thursday and Sunday could go a long way toward making the Fins contenders rather than annual pretenders.
So what should Fins fans root for to happen over the next few days? Now that the NFL has spread the draft out from Easter to Fourth of July, what will keep our attention most after Thursday night's first round is over?
The prospect of the Dolphins drafting Georgia running back Todd Gurley just got sweeter.
The thought of pairing the dynamic Bulldogs back with Lamar Miller in the Fins backfield is already tantalizing, but Dolphins fans now have an added incentive to hope the team selects Todd Gurley, and that's Gurley Brew. Palm Beach Post Dolphins beat writer Andrew Abramson threw out a question about whom the Fins should draft this week, and the folks at local craft brewery Funky Buddha made it clear they'd love to see Gurley hurdling defenders while wearing a Dolphins uniform next season. They also promised to brew a signature beer in his honor, Gurley Brew. After a little back-and-forth brainstorming with followers on Twitter, Funky settled on a proposed peach-whiskey-stout-monster brew that would have an alcohol content that matches Gurley's jersey number: 20. Wuuuuuut?
If you were on the fence about whom the Dolphins should select in the first round tomorrow, this is a solid tiebreaker to push you firmly onto team Gurley.
Will new president Mike Tannenbaum continue his trend of bold moves?
Tannenbaum has kicked in the Miami Dolphins door and made it very apparent he is not afraid to make a statement move, especially if it means acquiring a player he believes is elite. The Dolphins have revamped their stable of wideouts and paid Ndamukong Suh one of the biggest contracts in NFL history since he arrived. Is moving up in the first round to grab a player nobody expects the Dolphins to be able to get Tannenbaum's next play? It seems as if Dolphins fans can be sure of one thing entering 2015: The team isn't afraid to take chances anymore in the name of playing it safe. While most years, Dolphins fans would expect the team to trade back in the first round of the draft, it seems equally likely they might trade up to the top of this one under Tannenbaum's authority.
Will the Dolphins pick homegrown talent?
Between FSU, Miami, UF, UCF, and USF, there is ample Florida-bred talent on this year's NFL Draft tree for the Dolphins to pluck off and take home. FSU alone has 11 players likely to be taken in this year's draft, and the Hurricanes will probably add a handful more to that total. UCF's WR Breshad Perriman would certainly fill a need for Miami if other options are off the board. If the Dolphins wait until the late rounds to select a running back, they could do much worse than UF's Matt Jones. Of course, Dolphins fans want to see the team take the best players available, but it's always nice to see the team scoop up talent you're accustomed to watching on Saturdays.
Besides the Dolphins selecting these kids, you also should be rooting for them all to do well and at the very least get picked up in the draft. Whether you're a Gator, Seminole, or Cane, it's a good look for the state you call home.
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Can Tannenbaum save Dennis Hickey from outsmarting himself again?
Liberty, North Dakota State, Montana, Coastal Carolina, and Marist — those are the powerhouses GM Dennis Hickey decided to pluck talent from in last year's draft. This is going to shock you, but not one of those picks did a damn thing for the Fins last season. Hickey made what is already a tough job way tougher on himself by choosing players who had played at small schools last year. The fact that the rest of his draft was a complete project gets overlooked, because on his first two picks he took two players from SEC schools — and they were home runs. One or two late-round lottery tickets is normal, but Hickey went overboard last year. This season, Hickey's job is on the line, along with his coaches, so he better stick to kids who can help him now.
Will the Dolphins draft someone to fill Dion Jordan's role?
Yeah, that shouldn't be too hard. Jordan had already been shaping up as a legendary draft bust even before he failed another drug test and is looking at another season-long suspension. Now the Dolphins have a hole where their former third overall pick once sat. Of course, that role was pretty nonexistent anyway, but it will be interesting to see if the Fins must now dedicate a later-round pick to a lineman, a place where they are top heavy with talent but thin depth-wise.
If the Fins do decide to take a lineman later, you can be sure they will ask him to contribute on special teams, a role Dion Jordan will no longer have with the team. The Dolphins might look to just see who gets cut from another team during the preseason, and reinvest the money they will save on Jordan's salary coming off the books this season.