Draft Winners Rounds 1-3: Miami Dolphins
The Miami Dolphins weren’t fast and loose with spending this offseason. The obvious focus was not getting into bidding wars for overvalued free agents. They brought in players who could bridge the gap and stop the bleeding at positions of need. Miami needed immediate impact players who could give them more flexibility in the draft.
Fast forward to the NFL Draft.
Miami found themselves in a unique situation. After free agency, every position player on offense was already in place. The defense had some second guesses but they could’ve rolled with who they had. Placing near the bottom in rushing defense last season, the Dolphins needed help at linebacker, defensive end, and cornerback.
Miami’s first three selections? A defensive end in round 1(Charles Harris). A linebacker in round 2(Raekwon McMillian). Corner in round 3(Cordrea Tankersley).
There’s a lot of buzz floating around that the Dolphins haven’t drafted players who won’t start. Ignore it. The Dolphins have openly stated they want to be a draft-and-develop team. Anyone knocking their draft decisions must’ve forgotten about the win streak they went on last season. While impressive as it was, it wasn’t enough to prevent them from getting blown out by New England and Pittsburg their final two games.
Just how different is this draft from previous bonehead moves?
There’s writing on the walls of this years Miami Dolphins draft. While the team might not be making picks that are setting off fireworks with fans, they’re drafting wisely.
The nail in the coffin for the Miami Dolphins last year was depth. Once injuries hit at key positions, the team fell apart. With stop gap players in the offseason and depth in the draft, the Dolphins will be in much better shape later in the season’s cold weather games. Their remarkable run last season came to a screeching halt. No less than 7 starters missed their final two games On top of depth, the Dolphins have finally transitioned to drafting replacements.
One of the key factors that lead to their demise was not drafting their next man up. Miami never had a gameplay in place for their aging superstars. When it came time to move on to life after football, the Dolphins forgot to draft guys a couple seasons early. Instead, they threw rookies to the wolves of the NFL season after season. The result was almost two decades of failure. If you want to know why the Miami Dolphins are winning this draft through the first 3 rounds, there it is.
Harris will be Wake’s successor. Lawrence Timmons may have a couple good seasons left in him and McMillian could step right in. Byron Maxwell is approaching 30 and the team missed him after injuries last year. Tankersley could be insurance as well as his successor. The Dolphins don’t want to alienate their current class of stars, but age is a factor Miami must consider for the future.
Fans might have wanted flashy picks like Reuben Foster or Forrest Lamp but Miami is going a different route. Year after year the Dolphins took the player they were supposed to and year after year it failed them. This regime seems to be going against the grain and picking players that might fit underlying needs. Maybe they’re drafting for depth or maybe their drafting for things the average fan doesn’t see on tape. One thing’s for sure, this isn’t the typical Dolphins draft. Welcome to the new Miami.