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Updating Dolphins draft needs: Linebacker

The NFL draft is finally here, and ESPN.com’s Miami Dolphins page is examining updated team needs before it’s time to make their selections.

Next we take a look at Miami’s linebacker position and how it could be fixed in this year’s draft.

Updated need: Middle linebacker

Analysis: On paper, the Dolphins thought they fixed their linebacker position last season. They got rid of aging veterans Kevin Burnett and Karlos Dansby for younger, more athletic replacements Dannell Ellerbe and Philip Wheeler. But Miami’s linebackers failed to come together in 2013. The trio of Ellerbe, Wheeler and Koa Misi were sloppy at times in coverage and consistently failed to stop the run. The Dolphins were 24th in run defense last season. Ellerbe is the best of the trio but looked out of place in the middle of a 4-3 defense. If Miami can find a true middle linebacker in the draft, for example C.J. Mosley of Alabama, the pick would make sense because it could help two positions and move Ellerbe outside. The tricky part is Miami has long-term contracts with all three starting linebackers and may have to eventually cut Wheeler or Misi if this scenario plays out on Thursday.

Need-O-Meter: 7