The Dolphins or any other team could have had Mike Wallace, a budding star whose 72 receptions for 1,193 yards and eight touchdowns made him the most productive receiver coming out of the 2009 draft class last season, for a first-round pick after the Steelers made him a restricted free agent. Whether or not General Manager Jeff Ireland gave much consideration to that exchange is now moot. But with no Wallace and no Brandon Marshall, this much is clear: Ireland must pursue a quality wideout with one of his four picks in the first three rounds of the upcoming 2012 NFL Draft.
Sports Illustrated draft expert Tony Pauline believes that can be done, but probably not with a No. 1 guy unless Ireland his willing to use his No. 8 pick on either Justin Blackmon of Oklahoma State or Michael Floyd of Notre Dame, which seems highly unlikely.
“I”ve got 41 receivers with draftable grades, and typically you’re only looking at about 31 to 33 that get drafted,” Pauline said. “You’ll be able to get some really good receivers in rounds two, three, even four and five. But the best you’ll get in that range is a No. 2 guy.”