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Miami Dolphins 2003 Draft Preview

By Bryan McGovern, NFL Editor

(Sports Network) - The Miami Dolphins will have to get by without a first- round draft pick for the fourth time in five years. This yearís top selection belongs to New Orleans as part of the Ricky Williams trade, which turned out to be great for both teams. Dave Wannstedt will have to wait until the second round to make his presence felt on draft day.

The Dolphins are a solid, veteran team with few major holes. Left tackle is one of the teamís most pressing needs, however, and Wannstedt could find a solid prospect to add to his offensive line at pick 49. Potential targets include Jon Stinchcomb (Georgia), George Foster (Georgia) and Brett Williams (Florida State). However, the team could fill the void with a veteran free agent since Wannstedt might not want to force a rookie into action right off the bat at such a critical position. Signing a free agent would allow the team to use its second-round pick on another area.

Miami could simply jump for the best player still on the board at 49, whether heís a quarterback, wide receiver, center or linebacker. The club wants to develop a young QB prospect behind Jay Fiedler and Ray Lucas and likely will draft one on day two. However, if a player like Rex Grossman (Florida) or Chris Simms (Texas) slides into the second round then the club could secure its future QB. Second-day QB options include Kliff Kingsbury (Texas Tech), Jason Gesser (Washington State), Bret Engemann (BYU) and Tony Romo (Eastern Illinois).

The clubís situation at wide receiver is unstable. Chris Chambers has the ability to dominate downfield, but the team needs to add some complementary players around him. Ex-Redskin Derrius Thompson was signed during the first phase of free agency, but Cris Carterís future is uncertain. The Dolphins could find a WR to their liking at 49. Potential targets include Kelley Washington (Tennessee), Bryant Johnson (Penn State), Anquan Boldin (Florida State) and Brandon Lloyd (Illinois). The club could look for a king-sized receiver in the middle rounds like Kassim Osgood (San Diego State) or Justin Gage (Missouri).

Outside linebacker isnít a pressing need, but the team wants to get younger at the position. The Dolphins landed ex-Charger Junior Seau and will put him in the mix with Derrick Rodgers and Morlon Greenwood on the outside. Still, the team will look to add an OLB at some point in the draft.

The Dolphins would be presented with an interesting dilemma if Notre Dame center Jeff Faine is still on the board at 49. Faine, who is a blue-collar player in the mold of a Tim Ruddy, would be a great value in the second round and the team has a need for a young center. Again, the club could be faced with a myriad of options with its first pick. Wisconsin's Al Johnson is a second-round option, but it remains to be seen if the team is willing to use its first pick on a center. Wannstedt might wait until day two to address the need.

Watch for Miami to select a safety with one of its six selections on day two. The Dolphins lack depth behind starters Brock Marion and Arturo Freeman and need to add a prospect via the draft.

DRAFT NEEDS: Offensive tackle, wide receiver, outside linebacker, safety, quarterback, center.

DRAFT PICKS: 2nd round (#49 overall); 3rd round (#82); 5th round (#156); 5th round (#169); 6th round (#209); 6th round (#213); 7th round (#247 from Tampa Bay); 7th round (#248).

RECENT FIRST ROUND HISTORY: 2002 - none; 2001 - Jamar Fletcher (CB, Wisconsin); 2000 - none; 1999 - none; 1998 - John Avery (RB, Mississippi); 1997 - Yatil Green (WR, Miami); 1996 - Daryl Gardener (DT, Baylor); 1995 - Billy Milner (OT, Houston); 1994 - Tim Bowens (DT, Mississippi); 1993 - O.J. McDuffie (WR, Penn State); 1992 - Troy Vincent (CB, Wisconsin), Marco Coleman (DL, Georgia Tech); 1991 - Randall Hill (WR, Miami); 1990 - Richmond Webb (OT, Texas A&M;).

04/22 14:52:18 ET

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