Who Will It Be?

There isn't a lot of suspense at the very top of the 2012 NFL draft because everyone knows that Indy will take Andrew Luck and Washington will grab Robert Griffin III. But there is a whole lot of uncertainty after those two picks, and that includes what the Dolphins will do with the eighth overall selection.

Not surprisingly, Dolphins GM Jeff Ireland didn't tip his hand when he held his annual pre-draft press conference last week.

That hasn't stopped the speculation, which has centered mostly around Texas A&M quarterback Ryan Tannehill.

Everyone by now probably knows all the stories of Stephen Ross supposedly pushing Ireland to draft Tannehill, other reports saying that's not true, yet another report saying it is true, so on and so on.

Ireland also said last week he was open to the possibility of trading up or trading down, saying anything was possible. That also wasn't a great revelation because no GM is going to close the door on anything.

That said, it would highly unlikely for the Dolphins to give up picks to move up if for no other reason than there isn't anyone out there worth trading up from the eighth spot for other than Luck and Griffin, and we're thinking the Colts and Redskins aren't giving up either of those players.

The possibility of trading down, however, most definitely is in play because there are some prospects that teams supposedly covet who aren't likely to last until their spot.

Most specifically, the Dallas Cowboys are said to be very interested in Alabama safety Mark Barron, but he's a rising star in the draft and likely won't last until pick No. 14.

The Philadelphia Eagles have the next selection at No. 15 and are said to really like Mississippi State defensive lineman Fletcher Cox. But he also isn't likely to last that long.

So don't be shocked to see the Dolphins trading down with either of those teams to pick up an additional, say, second-round pick.

Now, what will the Dolphins do in the first round? Tannehill clearly is an option, even though he wouldn't help the team very much as a rookie.

The Dolphins' other major needs are a pass rusher, a safety, a wide receiver and a right tackle.

That said, the names to consider, either at No. 8 or 14 or 15 would include South Carolina DE/OLB Melvin Ingram, North Carolina DE Quinton Coples, Iowa T Riley Reiff, the aforementioned Barron, and Oklahoma State WR Justin Blackmon.

Blackmon only figures to be an option at No. 8 and that might be too high for a wide receiver. Still, he would give the Dolphins a legitimate No. 1 receiver, something they don't have since the trade of Brandon Marshall to Chicago.

It's also possible that Blackmon could be gone before pick No. 8.

Ingram is a nonstop pass rusher, but the one problem with him is that he's only 6-1 and projects more as a 3-4 outside linebacker than a 4-3 defensive end. Remember, the Dolphins have said they'll play a combination defense in 2012 but it's likely to feature more 4-3 than 3-4.

Reiff was a favorite pick for the Dolphins among draft analysts early in the process, but that has cooled down in part because offseason measurements showed he had very short arms for a tackle.

He could still be a possibility if the Dolphins trade down, but the eighth pick likely is too early for him.

That brings us to Coples, who has taken some shots for a questionable work ethic and not making enough plays for North Carolina in 2011.

But then there are those who will tell you it wasn't that Coples didn't play hard last season, he was just trying to avoid getting injured.

The bottom line with Coples is that he's a very good athlete and he simply toyed with offensive linemen at times in the Senior Bowl.

No, he's not the perfect prospect, but then again he wouldn't be available at No. 8 if he were.

But he's a very good prospect, and that's why we're thinking he'll end up being the Dolphins' first-round pick if they can't pull off a trade to move down.

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