The Miami Dolphins’ 2012 4th round selection, Lamar Miller, made me giddy. Finally, a pick to excite the fan base! Ryan Tannehill is not expected to provide an immediate return on investment but Miller is the type of player that can score everytime he touches the football. Few would argue against the premise that Dolphins’ GM Jeff Ireland had a good first four rounds in the 2012 NFL Draft.
But what happened after that?
In the fifth round, the Phins drafted Oregon Outside Linebacker Josh Kaddu. He was projected to be selected in rounds 3-4, after impressing in the East-West Shrine game and accruing 6.5 sacks as a senior. Kaddu is 6’3″, 239, with 4.6 speed. He is athletic but raw. Hopefully, he can become what 2010 fourth-rounder, A.J. Edds, was supposed to be, and excel in the nickel. His immediate impact will likely be on special teams.
In the sixth round, the Phins took Michigan State Receiver B.J. Cunningham, who is 6’1′, 211. NFL.com stated he was a “solid third-round value” as a strong, physical, possession receiver. He doesn’t have amazing speed (4.59) but gains separation with good footwork. He is the Spartans’ all time leader in receptions (218) and receiving yards (3086).
In the seventh round, Miami chose Texas Defensive Tackle Kheeston Randall and Nevada Receiver Rishard Matthews. Randall, 6’5″, 300, was drafted in line with his projection. He is expected to add depth to all d-line positions, with his versatility.
Matthews, 6’1″, 215, had a very productive senior year, hauling in 91 receptions for 1364 yards. This team captain has soft hands and is regarded as someone who can make contested catches. His only negative is lack of elite top end speed (4.57). Matthews was a value pick as he was expected to be drafted in the middle rounds (3-4) after leading the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) in receptions and yards.
A pattern developed in the recruiting of receiving talent this year. The Phins horded tall, strong, physical players, with good hands, who run good routes. Speed was not essential. Is this the new Joe Philbin philosophy? Third rounder Michael Egnew, Cunningham and Matthews meet this description. The trend continued with undrafted players.
Because of his connection to Mike Sherman and Tannehill, arguably the best undrafted player, Texas A&M pass-catcher Jeff Fuller signed with the Dolphins, immediately after the draft. Fuller is 6’4″, 223, has average speed (4.58), runs good routes, and is a physical possession receiver. In his senior year, he had a case of the “drops” and played with nagging injuries, dropping his stock, to a fifth-sixth round level.
The Phins also added Penn State Receiver Derek Moye. Moye, 6’5″, 204, is a physical possession receiver, that led the Nittany Lions in receiving yardage three years in a row. The fact that he went undrafted was not a surprise but Moye dealt with underwhelming quarterback support, thus he could be a sleeper.
Keeping score, we added Egnew, Cunningham, Matthews, Fuller, Moye, and Les Brown. Don’t forget Les, Bonus Draft Pick: Les Brown
Again, they are all tall, strong, and physical but lack high-end speed. Isn’t that what Brandon Marshall was? Welcome to the Joe Philbin Era and the West Coast Offense. The Dolphins may be better off than we thought.
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