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Signing of Branden Albert doesn't mean Dolphins out of OT hunt

The signing of free-agent offensive tackle Brandon Albert on Tuesday should change the Miami Dolphins' draft board.

Offensive tackle might have been the team's biggest need, but Albert's signing alleviates the necessity to take a tackle in the first round -- although it doesn't mean they will rule out a first-round pass protector. Taking one in the later rounds remains a strong possibility, though.

So, with Albert in the fold, what does Miami's draft board look like at the top now? They definitely need a defensive tackle, a guard and an every-down back, but do the Dolphins use the 19th overall pick on a guard or running back?

In truth, Notre Dame offensive tackle Zack Martin remains a potential pick because there are some teams who think his best NFL fit is at guard. If the Dolphins are one of those teams, using the 19th pick on the versatile Martin makes some sense. Albert at tackle and Martin at guard would represent an upgrade -- and potentially a big one -- over last season's mess along the line. And while Martin played left tackle for the Irish, he could play outside on the right side for Miami and give the Dolphins what likely would be a solid pair of bookend tackles.

Even with the signing of free-agent DT Earl Mitchell, defensive tackle remains a possibility in the first round, as the Dolphins have lost starter Paul Soliai to the Falcons and could lose starter Randy Starks. While undersized, Pitt's Aaron Donald could be in play at No. 19. He is supremely quick and athletic, was ultra-productive in college and had strong performances at the Reese's Senior Bowl, NFL Scouting Combine and at his pro day. Florida State's Timmy Jernigan, Notre Dame's Louis Nix III and Minnesota's Ra'Shede Hageman also could be in the mix.

Nix, though, is better-suited to play nose tackle in a 3-4, while Hageman seems to be a boom-or-bust kind of guy. He is freakishly athletic for a 6-foot-6, 310-pounder, but he was inconsistent with the Gophers. He might be seen as a reach by some at No. 19 -- sort of like defensive end Dion Jordan was when he was taken third overall by the Dolphins in 2013.

Wide receiver is another possibility. Mike Wallace underwhelmed in his first season on the team last fall, and while productive, Brian Hartline isn't necessarily a top-line No. 2 receiver. This draft has an insanely deep group of receivers. Among those who potentially could be there at No. 19 are LSU's Odell Beckham Jr., Oregon State's Brandin Cooks and USC's Marqise Lee. All three could develop into a No. 1 receiver in the NFL. Then again, the draft is so deep at the position that a receiver taken in the second or even third round would have good potential. In addition, if the Dolphins think Wallace will re-gain his form, waiting to take a receiver later in the draft makes sense.

Depth and/or upgrades at tight end and linebacker are possible, too; still, it seems as if Miami would be better off seeking help at those positions in later rounds unless North Carolina tight end Eric Ebron remains on the board. If he's there at No. 19, the Dolphins should grab him. The likelihood of that seems negligible. Alabama inside linebacker C.J. Mosley could be there at No. 19, but the need at defensive tackle outweighs the need for a linebacker.

The Dolphins re-signed corner Brent Grimes and signed free-agent free safety Louis Delmas, a Miami native, so those spots don't cry out "first-round need" anymore.

Mike Huguenin can be reached at You also can follow him on Twitter @MikeHuguenin.

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