Breakdown: The Dolphins have decent depth at cornerback with the addition of Grimes, and some intriguing projects in Stanford, Posey and Presley to work with. But the position lacks a cornerback who can cover the Brandon Marshall, Calvin Johnson types of the league. Carroll, the tallest member of this unit, has struggled in his two-years as a fill-in starter. Marshall and Patterson are both more suited to play the nickel spot than on the boundary. The Dolphins need to have three reliable cornerback, and the unit must get younger, taller and more athletic.
What now: Before signing Grimes, who is still rehabbing an Achilles injury, to a one-year deal Saturday morning the Dolphins planned to double-down on the position in the draft, selecting two cornerback early just like the team did in 2009 when Miami took Vontae Davis and Sean Smith in the same draft class. FSU cornerback Xavier Rhodes and Washington's Desmond Trufant are two realistic options for the No. 12 pick. Miami would have to trade up for Alabama's Dee Milliner. Houston's D.J. Hayden, LSU's Tharold Simon, North Carolina State's David Amerson, Boise State's Jamar Taylor, Oregon State's Jordan Poyer, Mississippi State's Darius Slay and Johnthan Banks, and Connecticut's Blidi Wreh-Wilson and Dwayne Gratz are option in the later rounds, so the Dolphins might not be in a rush to take a cornerback on day one. Cornerback is one of this draft's few deep positions by Ireland's standards.
Breakdown: This will be the second time in a decade the Dolphins will have the same starting safety duo if Clemons holds off his competitors and retains the starting spot opposite Jones, who had a breakout season last year. The Dolphins would like their starting safeties to produce more turnovers, and game-changing plays, so it is not wise to predict what happens in the back-end of the secondary this offseason. Wilson, a rookie sensation in 2011, could rebound from a sophomore slump. And McCray, an undrafted rookie out of Arkansas State, flashed plenty in his one week of practice during training camp before breaking his foot and being placed on injured reserve.
What now: Since Clemons only signed a one-year deal, and Jones is playing on the final year of his rookie contract, don't be surprised if the Dolphins address this position early in the draft. Miami's coaches are looking for a ball-hawk who can cover a decent amount of range. Clemons gets the job done, but he's not very instinctive. Texas' Kenny Vaccaro, Florida's Matt Elam, FIU's Jonathan Cyprien, LSU's Eric Reid and Fresno State's Phillip Thomas are the top shelf safeties in this draft. At least three safeties will be taken in the draft's first two rounds. The earliest the Dolphins have addressed that position in the draft since 2007 was the fifth round. The last time the Dolphins used a first-round pick on a safety, which isn't viewed as a premiere position, the franchise ended up with Jason Allen.
Breakdown: Carpenter had an average season in 2012 before going on injured reserve with a groin injury. Fields has a breakout year, one that was worthy of Pro Bowl recognition.
What now: Carpenter will likely have competition in camp, and will need to perform to keep his job considering a rookie would earn less than 1/5th his salary, which is $2.7 million in 2013. FSU's Dustin Hopkins, Florida's Caleb Sturgis and Nebraska's Brett Maher are the kickers with draft grades. But there are a couple others who could be decent rookie free agent signings, which is exactly how the Dolphins found Carpenter back in 2008.