With the 2013 NFL draft less than two weeks away, I wanted to research Miami’s first round selections since the new millennium. This research will not necessarily aid us in predicting who the Dolphins will select with the 12th overall pick in the draft, but it will give us a good idea of how successful the organization has been with its first round selections in the past decade or so. I’ve graded each selection as either a bust or a stud, depending on their production as a Dolphin. Keep in mind that some years Miami did not have a first round pick, whether due to trades or other reasons. All statistics were taken from Pro-Football-Reference. Let’s take a look:
2000: No first round selection.
2001: Jamar Fletcher, DB Wisconsin, 26th overall: Fletcher only started in six games in three seasons for the Fins, totaling a measly two interceptions. Grade: BUST
2002: No first (or second) round selection.
2003: No first round selection. Notable selection – Yeremiah Bell, 6th Round, 213 overall.
2004: Vernon Carey, T Miami (FL), 19th overall: Carey spent eight seasons with the Dolphins on their OL, and did not miss a game from 2006-2009. Carey was a solid rock for an above average O-line during his career in Miami. Grade: STUD
2005: Ronnie Brown, RB Auburn, 2nd overall: Even though many argued Brown’s fellow Auburn Tiger running back Cadillac Williams was the smarter pick, the Dolphins chose Brown before Williams with the 2nd overall pick in the 2005 draft. When healthy, Brown put up impressive numbers, including a 5 touchdown performance during the unveiling of the Wildcat as Miami rolled over New England during the 2008 season. Brown’s biggest problem was staying healthy and producing outside of the Wildcat. Although he was a good running back, the question most frequently asked is did Brown live up to being drafted second overall? With only one season over 1,000 yds, I’m not so sure. Grade: BUST (with some studly moments).
2006: Jason Allen, DB Tennessee, 16th overall: In five seasons with the Fins, Allen only started in 19 games, and totaled 8 interceptions. He was projected to do much more. Grade: BUST
2007: Ted Ginn Jr., WR Ohio State, 9th overall: The pick that shocked the world! Well, at least the NFL draft room. I remember watching this pick on live TV, and hearing the groans of Miami fans in the background, all while watching multiple flies fly into Brady Quinn’s flabbergasted mouth. Turns out the fans had the right to groan. While Ginn did beat the Jets by himself (back to back kick returns for TD’s), he failed to be anything more than an electric returner, and was no where near worthy of his 9th overall status. Grade: BUST
2008: Jake Long, T Michigan, 1st overall: Long was the no-brainer, the anchor pick, way more proven than that skinny QB out of Boston College right? Eh, maybe not. While Long was everything he was supposed to be in his first four seasons with the Dolphins (4 straight Pro Bowls), his performance last season greatly declined. The Fins decided not to pay to have Long back, and he was grabbed by the Rams in this year’s Free Agency. The debate on whether he is considered a Miami stud or bust depends on how much you value Long’s first four years. Miami did make the playoffs in one of those years, but seeing that Long only lasted four years for the Fins after being taken number one overall over Matt Ryan, I can’t bring myself to do it. Grade: BUST
2009: Vontae Davis, DB Illinois, 25th overall: Miami was hoping that with drafting Davis and Sean Smith they had found the next Sam Madison and Patrick Surtain duo. They didn’t. After just three seasons with the Fins, Miami traded Davis to the Colts, and are looking for two new cornerbacks in this year’s draft. Grade: BUST
2010: Jared Odrick, DE Penn St, 28th overall: Odrick is still young, and many believe his lack of production comes from him playing DE, instead of DT. We can expect to see Odrick play both this year for the Fins. Until Odrick fails at DT as well, I want to hold off on grading him for now. Grade: N/A
2011: Mike Pouncey, C Florida, 15th overall: Just like his brother, Pouncey has already established himself as one of the best centers in the AFC, if not the whole league. Earlier this month, Jeff Ireland stated, “I wish I had a whole team of Mike Pounceys and Jake Longs.” Enough said. Pouncey is the real deal, Miami hit a home run when drafting him. Grade: STUD
2012: Ryan Tannehill, QB Texas A&M, 8th overall: Though overshadowed by Andrew Luck and RG3, Tannehill quietly had a great rookie season given the lack of firepower around him. He took control of the offense and stepped in as the first leader at QB (aside from Chad Pennington) since Dan Marino. Only time will tell if Tannehill is truly the next great QB in South Florida, but given his leadership skills and skill set, I am all in for RT 17. Grade: STUD
If you add up the grades, since 2000 Miami has drafted 3 “STUDS” and 6 “BUSTS”. Again, these grades our my opinion, but I think fans can agree on some if not most. I hope that in this year’s draft, Miami chooses another STUD. After conducting this research, I noticed that the majority of the great Dolphins of the decade did not come in the first round (Yeremiah Bell, Zach Thomas, Brandon Fields), but rather in the later rounds. Miami may or may not strike gold with their 12th overall pick, but have many chances in the later rounds to do so.