The Miami Dolphins decision makers aren't shy about admitting that South Florida's NFL franchise isn't one player away from being a title contender. They have several glaring holes on the roster, and while every position isn't an area of need, here's a glance at how they likely will address each position in the NFL draft.
QUARTERBACK: Ryan Tannehill is entering a make-or-break season with Miami because he's owed $18 million in 2017, and the Dolphins must opt into the deal or release him. The Dolphins would benefit from drafting a developmental quarterback late in the draft.
RUNNING BACK: The Dolphins are in the market for a starter to replace Lamar Miller, who left the Dolphins as a free agent, signing a $26 million deal with the Texans, so don't be surprised if Miami selects a back or two early. Jay Ajayi will be the draft picks primary competition for the vacant starting spot. Whoever gets selected needs to be an accomplished pass catcher, decent pass blocker because coach Adam Gase uses a one-back set that leans heavily on the tailbacks in the passing game.
WIDE RECEIVER: The Dolphins have three receivers in Jarvis Landry, DeVante Parker and Kenny Stills who are capable of producing 1,000-yard receiving seasons. Landry is emerging as one of the NFL's best slot receivers. Parker has the potential to be a dangerous red-zone weapon, and Stills can space the field with his speed. If this trio remains healthy for an entire season, the Dolphins have a dangerous receiver unit. But depth behind the starters remains a concern because Matt Hazel is unproven, and Griff Whalen is nothing more than a journeyman. If a quality receiver with return skills is on the board in the later rounds, the Dolphins should pull the trigger and select him.
TIGHT END: Both Jordan Cameron and Dion Sims are entering the final year of their deals, which means this is a make or break season for Miami's two frontline tight ends. Neither player impressed last season, but Adam Gase's offense should feature the position more. The Dolphins have decent depth at the position courtesy of Jake Stoneburner and MarQueis Gray, so selecting a tight end in this weak crop of talent would be a wasted pick.
OFFENSIVE LINE: In games Branden Albert, Mike Pouncey and Ja'Wuan James have started and finished over the past two seasons, Miami has gone 6-1, averaged 30.5 points per game and paved the way for a rushing attack that averages 147 yards. The problem is, those three have each struggled to stay healthy, so the Dolphins need to continue fortifying this unit's depth. Finding someone to challenge Dallas Thomas and Billy Turner for the starting guard spots should be one of Miami's draft goals.
DEFENSIVE LINE: The average age of the Dolphins' defensive line is 30.5, and that could become an issue if Cameron Wake, Mario Williams and Ndamukong Suh fall short of dominating. The Dolphins need to fortify depth in this unit, which features a couple of raw players in Jordan Phillips, Chris McCain, Terrence Fede and Damontre Moore who have some upside. The Dolphins would benefit from finding a defensive tackle who could push Earl Mitchell for his starting spot.
EDGE RUSHER: The Dolphins have a pair of accomplished but aging pass rushers in Cameron Wake and Mario Williams. Their snaps will likely be limited to 500-600 per season to preserve their legs for December, which means their backups will have plenty of opportunities to make an impact. The Dolphins have a few young and promising pass rushers in Andre Branch, Chris McCain, Damontre Moore and Terrence Fede, but none have proven they can wreck a game consistently. That said, there's no guarantee a pass rusher drafted this year could beat out any those youngsters.
CORNERBACK: The Dolphins would benefit from doubling down at cornerback like the franchise did by selecting Vontae Davis and Sean Smith in back-to-back rounds in the 2009 draft, and Jamar Taylor and Will Davis in back-to-back rounds in 2013. The only proven starter the Dolphins have on the roster is Byron Maxwell, so a talent upgrade is needed just to play the nickel package.
SAFETY: Safety play was a major issue last season for the Dolphins, considering the number of big plays the defense allowed. Reshad Jones is a ball hawk whose risky style creates turnovers, but his gambler mentality also leads to defensive breakdowns. The Dolphins need a free safety who can cover up for when Jones breaks assignment. Isa Abdul-Quddus was signed this offseason to be that center fielder, but he's started just 16 games in his five-year NFL career. Depth at this position is an issue, so Miami could use some reinforcements.