The Dolphins enter next week's draft having left the offensive line as the unit clearly in need of an upgrade.

However, it appears General Manager Jeff Ireland might not wait until Thursday to improve that group.

According to league sources, the Dolphins have had extensive talks with Kansas City about acquiring Branden Albert for a second-round pick, and team sources acknowledge a trade could be made.

The Chiefs placed the franchise tag on Albert, a five-year starting left tackle this offseason, but talks on a multi-year deal have stalled. Kansas City apparently plans to use the No. 1 pick on one of two offensive tackles, Texas A&M's Luke Joeckel or Central Michigan's Eric Fisher.

Albert, who won't be participating in Kansas City's offseason program, and is presently training in South Florida, is adamant about remaining a left tackle.

The Dolphins and Chiefs, two franchises that have a good relationship because of Andy Reid's long standing friendship with former team czar Bill Parcells, who is Ireland's mentor, have been discussing this possible trade since last month's NFL owners meeting.

The source said talks have gotten to the point a physical for Albert is expected to occure, which is one of the necessary steps involved in pulling off a trade of this magnitude. Albert must pass the physical, then trade terms must be agreed to, and it is likely that a multi-year deal between Miami and Albert must be worked out.

A team source said "the process has just begun," and admitted it is possible the Dolphins could wait until the first or second day of the draft, weighing all the options before finalizing a deal.

The Dolphins have two second-round picks and Ireland has openly acknowledged they'd be willing to trade one of them to either move up in the draft or acquire a solid veteran.

Most draft analysts expect there will be an early run on offensive lineman this year, one that is reminiscent of the 2008 draft, which featured nine offensive tackles being selected in the first round. Therefore, Miami waiting to take one in the second-round could be risky.

The Dolphins are searching for someone to compete with Jonathan Martin for the starting left tackle spot, or earning the starting right tackle spot.