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NFL draft questions: Miami Dolphins set at wideout?

With the NFL Draft only weeks away, Around the League will examine one big question facing all 32 teams. We've already examined the Buffalo Bills. This time, it's the Miami Dolphins.


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How will the Dolphins' free-agency spending affect their draft plans?


General manager Jeff Ireland went all-in during the first wave of free agency. He devoted over $70 million in guarantees to four players, overpaying for wide receivers Mike Wallace and Brian Hartline, as well as linebackers Dannell Ellerbe and Philip Wheeler.

Ireland wasn't finished there, though. He also landed tight end Dustin Keller, wide receiver Brandon Gibson, cornerback Brent Grimes, defensive lineman Vaughn Martin and guard Lance Louis.

Time will tell if the moves pay off. The Dolphins let some quality veterans go in an effort to get younger and faster on both sides of the ball.

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Before Ireland's spending spree, early mock drafts often had Tennessee wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson or West Virginia's Tavon Austin penciled in to Miami with the 12th overall pick in the 2013 NFL draft.

Even if slot receiver Davone Bess is traded or released, the depth chart at wideout doesn't necessitate early-round attention.

More likely, the Dolphins will concentrate on finding a pass rusher opposite Cameron Wake, or addressing cornerback with Alabama's Dee Milliner or Florida State's Xavier Rhodes. Don't be surprised, however, if the scouting department can't pass up Alabama's Chance Warmack or North Carolina's Jonathan Cooper, two elite guard prospects. The top three offensive tackles likely will be off the board at No. 12.

Ireland is positioned well on the draft's second day, with extra second- and third-round picks from the Vontae Davis and Brandon Marshall trades. The coaching staff reportedly has designs on moving offensive tackle Jonathan Martin to Ryan Tannehill's blind side, which makes finding a right tackle a priority in the second round.

I would look for the Dolphins to come away with two cornerbacks, two offensive linemen and a pass rusher with their draft largesse. Successful NFL franchises aren't built through free agency, so this will be the most important draft of Ireland's six-year run as general manager.

Follow Chris Wesseling on Twitter @ChrisWesseling.

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