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2017 NFL mock draft: Who will the Miami Dolphins pick?

By Howard Balzer, NFLDraftScout.com
2017 NFL mock draft: Who will the Miami Dolphins pick?
Miami Dolphins head coach Adam Gase will be looking to continue last season's success with a good draft. File photo by Archie Carpenter/UPI | License Photo

The Miami Dolphins have seven picks in the NFL Draft, including No. 22 in the first round April 27 in Philadelphia.

In Adam Gase's first season as head coach, the Dolphins broke through and qualified for the playoffs. Now, they have to continue the ascent and figure out a way to keep improving, hoping to close the gap with the perennial division-champ Patriots.

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Most notably, the Dolphins were able to re-sign wide receiver Kenny Stills and also acquired tight end Julius Thomas in a trade from Jacksonville. Gase hopes Thomas can play to the level he did with the Broncos when Gase was the offensive coordinator there.

In the draft, the Dolphins are expected to try and strengthen the offensive line, especially inside, while also adding depth to the pass rush at defensive end.

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Here is a look at the Dolphins' five-year draft record with roster tallies reflecting totals as of the end of the 2016 season. Below that are key personnel moves made this year and the team's current needs heading into this draft and our projection for all their 2017 picks.

DOLPHINS FIVE-YEAR DRAFT BREAKDOWN

2012 2013 2014 2015 2016

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TOTAL PICKS 9 9 8 7 8

STARTERS 1 2 2 5 1

BACKUPS 0 0 2 0 6

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OTHER TEAMS 3 3 3 1 0

OUT OF LEAGUE 5 4 1 1 1

TOP 3 NEEDS IN 2017 DRAFT
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1. Strong-side linebacker: Head coach Adam Gase wasn't specific on the linebacker alignment at the NFL league meetings, but conventional wisdom suggests Lawrence Timmons in the middle and Kiko Alonso on the weak side. That would leave an opening for a strong-side linebacker. Miami has a few candidates among Koa Misi, Spencer Paysinger and Donald Butler, to name a few. But there's a general feeling an upgrade is needed.

2. Pass rusher/defensive end: This remains a priority. General manager Chris Grier, speaking at the NFL Scouting Combine, said this area would likely be addressed both in free agency and the draft. Look for the Dolphins to acquire such a player in the first three rounds. The group of returnees is led by Cameron Wake and Andre Branch, but among Terrence Fede, William Hayes, Nick Williams and others, more is required to form a reliable rotation.

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3. Guard/center: Although the Dolphins re-signed right guard Jermon Bushrod, acquired Ted Larsen and still have players such as Kraig Urbik and Anthony Steen on the roster, they want to build a long-lasting unit. That was part of the reason they traded veteran left tackle Branden Albert to Jacksonville. Given that logic, it would be reasonable to think the Dolphins might want to upgrade at guard while grooming someone at center because Mike Pouncey (back, hip) has been bothered by injuries recently.

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MOCK DRAFT

Below is list of all seven of the Dolphins' picks, with players suggested by NFLDrafTScout.com.

Whom would you take? Let us know in comments.

DOLPHINS 2017 Draft (Seven picks)

Rd./overall pick: Player selected (*indicates compensatory pick)

1/22: LB Tyus Bowser, Houston (6-3, 247, 4.65)

2/54: DE Jordan Willis, Kansas State (6-4, 255, 4.53)

3/*97: CB Rasul Douglas, West Virginia (6-2, 209, 4.57)

5/166: G Jessamen Dunker, Tennessee State (6-4, 318, 4.98)

5/*178: RB Brian Hill, Wyoming (6-1, 219, 4.48)

5/*184: DT Davon Godchaux, LSU (6-3, 310, 5.27)

7/223: FS Fish Smithson, Kansas (5-10, 201, 4.52)

Now it's your turn. Check out NFLDraftScout.com for a list of the top 1,000 prospects in this draft.

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Frank Cooney and TSX NFL team insiders contributed to this analysis.

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