Draft Preview: Defensive Backs

CB Brent Grimes

With the draft around the corner, let's examine where the Dolphins stand at every position, what they've done in the offseason and what prospects could interest them in the early rounds of the 2013 draft. This installment looks at the secondary.

On the roster: CB Nolan Carroll, CB Brent Grimes, CB Richard Marshall, CB Dimitri Patterson, CB Julian Posey, CB De'Andre Pressley, CB R.J. Stanford, S Chris Clemons, S Reshad Jones, S Kelcie McCray, S Jimmy Wilson

Offseason moves: Signed CB Brent Grimes (Atlanta), re-signed S Chris Clemons, lost CB Sean Smith (Kansas City), declined to tender CB Bryan McCann as a RFA (signed with Arizona), declined to tender S Jonathon Amaya as a RFA (signed with Arizona)

Analysis: The big move here was the swap of Sean Smith for Brent Grimes. It's clearly an upgrade if Grimes, who made the Pro Bowl in 2010, can bounce back from the Achilles injury he sustained in the 2012 opener. The Dolphins also did well to re-sign Chris Clemons, who started all 16 games last season. The Dolphins also should get a boost from the return of veteran Richard Marshall, who missed more than half of last season because of a back injury. The wild card in the group is Dimitri Patterson, whom the Dolphins claimed off waivers from Cleveland late last season. There is some talent at this spot, but also a lot of question marks at cornerbacks, such as whether the Dolphins are going to keep Patterson at his contract number and whether Marshall, Grimes and even Kelcie McCray can bounce back from season-ending injuries. That's why there are many draft analysts anticipating the Dolphins taking a cornerback in the first round. The truth is the Dolphins could use a difference-maker at either cornerback or safety.

The draft class: As much depth as there is on the defensive line in this draft, the secondary isn't far behind. While not everyone is convinced there's an elite prospect at either position — although cornerback Dee Milliner from Alabama sure looks like the real thing — there are plenty of good prospects who should get drafted in the first or second round.

BREAKING DOWN THE DB PROSPECTS:

The top prospect: CB Dee Milliner, Alabama

Potential first-round picks: CB Dee Milliner, Alabama; CB Xavier Rhodes, Florida State; CB Desmond Trufant, Washington; CB Johnthan Banks, Mississippi State; CB D.J. Hayden, Houston; S Kenny Vaccaro, Texas; S Eric Reid, LSU; S Matt Elam, Florida; S Jonathan Cyprien, Florida International

Under-the-radar prospects: CB David Amerson, N.C. State; CB Jordan Poyer, Oregon State; CB Robert Alford, SE Louisiana; CB Tharold Simon, LSU; S Tony Jefferson, Oklahoma; S Bacarri Rambo, Georgia; S Duke Williams, Nevada; S Cooper Taylor, Richmond

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