DAVIE (CBSMiami/AP) — We’re just days away from the 2014 NFL draft. The 2014 draft class appears to be one of the deepest in a long time with depth and talent at almost every position across the board.
The draft is serious business for the Miami Dolphins and their new General Manager Dennis Hickey.
The team has a spotty draft record in recent years, which was one reason for the departure in January of Hickey’s predecessor, Jeff Ireland.
And the Dolphins will be in the market for plenty of help when the three-day draft begins Thursday. They went 8-8 last year and haven’t finished above .500 since 2008.
The Dolphins have the 19th pick in the first round. Their biggest need is in the offensive line, where four of the five starters have departed. That includes tackle Jonathan Martin and guard Richie Incognito, who were at the center of last year’s bullying scandal.
But Hickey also might devote his top choice to a linebacker or receiver. A lot will hinge on what the teams picking ahead of them do, as always.
“We are exploring all avenues — trading up, trading down — throughout the draft,” he said. “We’ll be prepared for that.”
Miami likely will need for at least one rookie to start in the offensive line, but Hickey’s not making predictions on that front.
“We want to get good players, and the starting element plays itself out,” the former Tampa Bay Buccaneers director of player personnel said. “We want to build a competitive environment.”
Early reviews are favorable regarding Hickey’s moves in free agency. Left tackle Branden Albert signed a $47 million, five-year deal, and other additions included running back Knowshon Moreno, safety Louis Delmas and defensive tackle Earl Mitchell.
Hickey said much of the preparation for the draft has been completed.
“The board is set up for the most part, especially in the early rounds,” he said. “We are still working for later in the draft and with college free agency. We’ll keep working at it. There may be minor tweaks here and there.”
Hickey, who spent the past 18 seasons with the Buccaneers, is still in the process of moving from Tampa while preparing for his first draft day as a GM.
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