On Day 3 of the NFL Draft, the Miami Dolphins‘ General Manager, Jeff Ireland, make some moves that many question. Ireland was clearly taking needs into consideration, while also attacking the “best-player-available” idea.
With his first fourth-round selection to open the day, Ireland decided to take a shot on a once highly touted linebacker from Florida.
Jelani Jenkins – OLB – Florida
Height – 6’0”
Weight – 243 lbs.
Arms – 32 ¼ in.
Hands – 9 ¾ in.
Bench – 27 reps.
Jenkins was once considered one of the nation’s top cover linebackers. Possessing great speed and instincts in the open field, we can clearly see why he was a five-star athlete coming out of high school.
After Jenkins broke his foot, his stock took quite a tumble. Compound that with a crazy injury history and we get a fourth-round pick with some upside to be a starting coverage linebacker.
Jenkins is an athlete at the linebacker position. Clearly his strength is in coverage and pursuit of ball carriers. Sound tackler and is a natural linebacker.
The only weakness I can pinpoint when I see this kid on tape is that he is lacking the ideal linebacker body and he needs to become more explosive when taking on blocks. Jenkins catches on coming blockers rather than attacking them and shedding. But a coach can easily fix this issue.
With his second pick in the fourth-round, Ireland made a great move by selecting my number one blocking tight end in this year’s class.
Dion Sims – TE – Michigan State
Height – 6’5”
Weight – 262 lbs.
Arms – 33 1/8 in.
Hands – 10 ½ in.
40 – 4.75 secs.
Bench – 22 reps.
Dion Sims was my number one rated blocking tight end of this class. Sims is a big and physical tight end who reminds me of former Miami Dolphin, David Martin. Both Martin and Sims were that nitty-gritty kind of tight end who is not overly fast, nor are they overly strong. But they both play with great heart and willingness to do whatever it takes to win.
Obviously Sims’ biggest strength is blocking. But this guy is also a load to tackle. He has the desired size Miami would like at the tight end position. I have spent weeks banging my head on the table screaming for a red-zone target. Well, here he is.
The biggest weakness I can point out in Sims’ game is just his inability to explode out of his stance. While the kid is not extremely fast, he still has great speed for his size. We would like to see him play a bit more on his toes and explode out of his stance – especially when blocking.
Say hello to your best blocking tight end Miami.
Jeff Ireland held two fifth-round selections, and I feel he hit spot on with both – in a way.
With his first fifth-round selection, Ireland went with another Florida Gator who I think is the most under-rated running back in this year’s draft class.
Mike Gillislee – RB – Florida
Height – 5’11”
Weight – 208 lbs.
Arms – 31 1/8 in.
Hands – 9 3/8 in.
40 – 4.55 secs.
This is a solid fifth-round pick and may end up being my second favorite of this draft – the first being Sims right up above.
Gillislee is one of those backs who does everything well but nothing spectacular. He reminds me a bit of a lighter Ronnie Brown. Possessing great hands, great speed between-the-tackles, and runs with a solid amount of tenacity for his size.
One thing that sticks out about Gillislee that Brown never possessed, though, is patience. Gillislee is a very patient runner and takes the runs he is given through the holes made up front. A great fit for a zone blocking team. Hmm…
The biggest strength I see in Gillislee’s game is, well two things. Number one, this kid has a low amount of mileage on him. What I mean is the Gator’s rarely used this kid until his senior year with the squad, which could be a huge reason why Miami was able to snag him in the fifth round. And secondly, he has one heck of a pair of hands on him. Gillislee looks the part of a change-of-pace back for Lamar Miller.
Gillislee’s biggest weakness is his pass protection. He needs to be taught the proper technique. Will throw his shoulder in against on-coming blitzers and that will certainly not fly in the pros.
With Ireland’s second pick of the fifth-round, he decided to reach a bit here in my opinion for a kicker.
Caleb Sturgis – PK – Florida
Height – 5’10”
Weight – 188 lbs.
While I am not really a fan of this pick, I understand it. Miami’s current kicker, Dan Carpenter and his golden locks, was very inconsistent last season on a consistent basis. Although that is not Carpenter’s game – he is normally very accurate from the field – a kicker slated to make well over two-million next season should be making at the very least 90% of his attempts.
Sturgis had a very stellar career with the Florida Gators and was one of the nation’s most accurate kickers.
Sturgis’ biggest strength is, well, his strength. The kid has a very powerful leg which is something that NFL teams covet in kickers.
His biggest weakness, however, is his inconsistency. Similar to Carpenter, Sturgis is a bit shaky. We would like to see him become more consistent and beat out Carpenter this off-season to save Miami some cap space.
Grade: C – We reached for a kicker, man..
With Miami’s only seventh-round selection, Jeff Ireland took the exact player I knew he would at the exact pick.
Don Jones – DB – Arkansas State
Height – 5’11”
Weight – 191 lbs.
40 – 4.41 secs.
Jones was likely an UDFA if Miami had not taken him at 250, but the team was in love with Jones and wanted to ensure they got him.
Jones played CB and S at Arkansas State – played with current Miami Dolphin Kelcie McCray.
We are unsure what position Jeff Ireland drafted Jones to play. Corner? Safety? But his versatility and experience at both positions is valuable.
We are expecting Jones to be played primarily as a special teams guy early on in his career, with upside to become a dime or nickle back.
Personally, I like this kid as either a free safety or a corner. Great speed and has decent ball skills. Will never be a solid man cover guy, but is an excellent zone guy. Good fit.
Overall Draft Grade: B++
I held off from giving Miami an A- for two reasons. First off, the team reached for two players with it’s last two picks. I am not a huge fan of reaching for a kicker, especially in the FIFTH ROUND! I understand that Sturgis is good, but the team could have snagged him in the seventh or even signed an UDFA. Jones would have likely made it through the final picks and Miami could have signed him as an UDFA. I don’t see why the team took him there at 250.
Secondly, where is the wide receiver? I am absolutely astounded the team took not shot with former Tennessee WR Da’Rick Rogers. I understand he has had his fair share of concerns, but he is a big red-zone guy whom would have been worth a risk in the fifth or hell even the seventh round. Heck, Aaron Mellette of Elon would have been a guy I would have looked at in the fifth round.
But, I love the rest of the draft. Although I see Dallas Thomas as a bit of a reach, he was the best lineman on the board and filled a need. Thomas is also incredibly versatile which is something Ireland covets in his linemen.
Jordan was a surprise for many, but I loved it. Some think it was a bit of a reach but I see the value there. Heck, I truly believe this kid has the most upside out of any player in this year’s draft.
Sims and Gillislee are my two favorite picks, though. Sims fills that need of a big, physical in-line blocker – also a red-zone target. While Gillislee gives Miami as reliable, patient running back to pair with Lamar Miller.
Very, very solid Ireland. Very, very solid.