NEEDS RATING KEY
5.0 - High priority. This is a position that is a glaring weakness and there is the likelihood that this team cannot compete next year without making a major addition here.
4.0 - Medium Priority. This is an area that is an obvious weakness, but the team isn't quite desperate to make a major move here possibly because they have some young potential. But this is an area that if the team cannot fix via free agency, will definitely use one of their picks in the first three or four rounds to supplement.
3.0 - Upgrade Potential. This is a position that isn't a weakness per se, but there is significant room for an upgrade. If the right player comes along they will certainly snag him, but if they don't fix this position with a major free agent addition or early round pick, then it's not the end of the world.
2.0 - Depth Need. An area where there is a need to add depth. Perhaps there is an aging veteran and they might want to start to look at grooming his heir apparent or replacement. Not likely to be a high priority and a position that more than likely will be address in the middle and late rounds rather than with a top pick.
1.0 - Future Need. This is an area that is not a priority, and doesn't initially appear as a need. But there is some room to develop some depth for perhaps two or more years down the line. This is usually an area that a team will look at in the late rounds if at all.
0.0 - Non-need. This is a position that is a strength of their team, they have a solid starter, capable depth, and/or a young player at the position that they like and want to develop. Very little possibility this area is addressed and would be the equivalent of a wasted draft pick.
Top 7 Needs
1. RB - 4.0
2. QB - 3.0
3. S - 3.0
4. LB - 2.5
5. TE - 2.5
6. CB - 2.0
7. DT - 2.0
Position by Position Breakdown
Quarterback - Their confidence in Henne is practically non-existent, but Henne has flashed ability and is still pretty young. So it probably makes the most sense to add a veteran to fortify the spot rather than dipping back into the draft pool. Although even if they were to go out and get a veteran, drafting an insurance policy in the draft makes a lot of sense as well. Pennington and Thigpen are free agents, and probably should seek greener pastures elsewhere. NEED: 3.0
Running Back - Ronnie Brown is probably done in Miami. He's had his moments, but has not been able to sustain it for 16 games. Ricky Williams is also a free agent, but should be back for at least one more year. But the Dolphins will need to find another young back, preferably at the top of the draft to be the rock here for years to come. NEED: 4.0
Fullback - Polite is a capable fullback because he can block, run, and catch. He should be able to land a role regardless of any changes in their offensive scheme this season. NEED: 0.5
Wide Receiver - Marshall didn't have the big plays they hoped to see this year, but he and Bess are a solid pair of receivers. Hartline is a nice No. 3 option that can stretch the field somewhat. They could use more depth and a fourth option that can help stretch the field, but they have a nice stable of players here. NEED: 1.5
Tight End - Fasano is a solid option because he can block and catch. But with a new OC coming in, he may want a more explosive option down the seam that can be a bigger factor in the passing game. But regardless, the team needs to address their depth. NEED: 2.5
Offensive Tackle - Jake Long is one of the top young LTs in the game. Vernon Carey is solid on the other side, but nothing special. Lydon Murtha was marginal as a replacement for him at the end of the season, so the team will probably look for a backup behind Carey to develop further. NEED: 1.5
Offensive Guard - Jerry didn't have a great season, but good enough to think he'll enter next year as the incumbent. But they'd like to add someone that can push him. Incognito is the other starter, but they want to bring him back as a center next year. That means they need to add at least one starter on the left side, if not two. NEED: 3.0
Center - Incognito is a free agent and they want to bring him back to compete with Berger as the center next year. If they do get Incognito back, the competition should settle their worries here. Otherwise, they will bring in a rookie to push Berger. NEED: 1.0
Defensive Tackle - Soliai was solid at the nose tackle, and Starks ability to work here also means that depth is fine. But Soliai is a free agent, and the Dolphins probably won't get into a bidding war for him. If they lose Soliai, then this becomes an area that they could use an early to mid round pick on. Otherwise, it's not a major concern. NEED: 2.0
Defensive End - Odrick and Merling missed most of the year with injuries, but are good developmental options behind starters Starks and Langford. They are solid at this position going forward if they can keep guys healthy. NEED: 0.5
Linebacker - Misi had a nice rookie year, and Wake is a top pass rusher on the other side. But they will continue to try and improve depth here with more pass rushers on the outside. Dansby was solid in the middle. Dobbins is a nice backup, but they might look to replace Crowder in the middle since he doesn't make a ton of impact plays. NEED: 2.5
Cornerback - Vontae Davis and Steve Smith are a good pair of young starters. Benny Sapp did a nice job in the nickel role, but they can get better there. Will Allen has another year left on his contract, but has been limited by injuries the past two years and probably isn't worth bringing back for another year at his age and price tag. NEED: 2.0
Safety - Yeremiah Bell is solid at strong safety, and Chris Clemons showed some promise at free safety. But he isn't the caliber of ballhawk that can excel at the position and there is room to get better. Reshad Jones is a nice developmental option behind Bell. NEED: 3.0
Kicker - Carpenter has had better years, but he's got a monster leg and is only 25, so he has a bright future in Miami. NEED: 0.0
Punter - Fields is one of the best young punters in the league with a big leg. He should be a Dolphin for a long time too. NEED: 0.0
"Vincere scis, Hannibal, victoria uti nescis" -- Maharbal, 216 B.C.E.