Miami Dolphins' draft needs: More protection for Ryan Tannehill

Roster weaknesses: Every team has them, and the draft is often the best way to address them. With the 2014 NFL Draft fast approaching, NFL Media's Daniel Jeremiah will be taking an up-close look at the main areas of weakness -- and the prospects who could fix them -- for all 32 squads in the league. Be sure to catch "Path to the Draft" on NFL Network at 7 p.m. ET Monday through Friday for more in-depth analysis.

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The Miami Dolphins' offensive line was in disarray last year, surrendering a league-worst 58 sacks. New line coach John Benton will have his hands full in his first campaign in Miami, with the team set to face Mario Williams and Chandler Jones at least four times.

To ease some of the pressure on his group (and quarterback Ryan Tannehill), the Dolphins signed left tackle Branden Albert to a five-year, $47 million contract in free agency. They also brought in veteran running back Knowshon Moreno, whose effectiveness in the running game should help Tannehill take the next step in his young career.

Even with these two additions, I expect Miami to focus on retooling the offensive line in the 2014 NFL Draft. The Dolphins' next priority will be adding competition in the secondary, to get the most out of the young talent they already have on the roster.

Here are four positions of need for Miami -- and some prospects who could fill them:

1) Right tackle

Albert's arrival secured Tannehill's blind spot, but I think the Dolphins still need an upgrade at right tackle. I expect them to address the position early in the draft, even though they signed Jason Fox in free agency. The top three tackles -- Auburn's Greg Robinson, Texas A&M's Jake Matthews and Michigan's Taylor Lewan -- will be gone by the 19th overall pick, but Notre Dame's Zack Martin should be available, and he'd be a great fit. One of the more consistent players in this year's group -- he started 52 games for Notre Dame -- Martin also has the versatility to play guard if needed.

If Martin isn't available when the Dolphins pick, Cyrus Kouandjio or Morgan Moses could be suitable alternatives. However, neither are worthy of the No. 19 pick, so I could see Miami sliding back in the draft to grab one of them later.

2) Offensive guard

The Dolphins also could use an upgrade at guard, to improve their 26th-ranked run offense and help keep Tannehill upright. With so much talent in this year's class, Miami should be able to find a solid player, such as Brandon Thomas, on Day 2. The Clemson lineman would be a tremendous value pick in the middle rounds -- he had been viewed as one of the top talents at his position prior to his recent ACL injury.

Mississippi State's Gabe Jackson and Nevada's Joel Bitonio are two other possible value picks. Both linemen are talented enough to be second-round selections but could fall to Round 3 or lower simply because of the quality and depth of this year's draft. Jackson is a more physical player than Bitonio, but the latter is more athletic and a better pass protector.

3) Cornerback

The Dolphinsre-signed Brent Grimes and brought in veteran defenderCortland Finnegan this offseason. They also have second-year corners Jamar Taylor and Will Davis, but the jury is still out on these two youngsters. With all of that in mind, I think they need to add more competition to this position group on Days 2 and 3.

The large quantity of quality corners in this year's draft works in Miami's favor, as the team could land either Lindenwood's Pierre Desir or Liberty's Walt Aikens in the middle rounds. The two small-school defensive backs have great size and length, and both gained momentum after solid performances at the Senior Bowl.

4) Safety

Free-agent signing Louis Delmas is coming off a lackluster season with the Detroit Lions, but he can still be an impact player in this league. Although the Dolphins don't have a pressing need at the position, I do think they'll bring in some competition sometime in the second half of the draft. An interesting player to keep an eye on is USC's Dion Bailey, who probably will be available in the fifth or sixth round. He picked off five passes last season at safety, after playing linebacker during the previous two years. With Bailey's versatility, I expect him to be an outstanding special teams player at the next level.


So what will the Dolphins do with their first-round pick (No. 19 overall)? Here's what NFL Media's analysts see happening, according to their mock draft projections (click here for Mock Draft Central):

Follow Daniel Jeremiah on Twitter @MoveTheSticks.

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