Wired into a three hour live broadcast on my Finsradio show did nothing to get me sleeping last night. Too many cups of coffee, too many rampant thoughts running through my head and here we are, the morning after round one looking towards rounds two and three. The sleepless night allowed me to run through a myriad of thoughts. Could the Dolphins get a do-over? Could the entire draft be done over. Why the hell did the Cowboys have to take Zach Martin? Why the hell did the Ravens and Steelers take C.J. Mosely and Ryan Shazier. Why did Dennis Hickey draft Ja’Wuan James?
Well, as I finally fell asleep shortly before my morning alarm went off I realized that everything did indeed happen and it didn’t matter why. Ja’Wuan James is a Miami Dolphin.
The biggest issue I had with the pick wasn’t the fact that it was an offensive lineman. It’s no secret that I am not a huge fan of drafting lineman in round one. Tonight, as that case it point will show, round two will carry tackles Morgan Moses and Cyrus Kouandjio and guards Joel Bitonio and Xavier Sua’ Filo. Had the Dolphins gone another direction James could have and likely would have been there as well. The real crux of my inability to embrace fully this selection is what happened after the 19th pick.
Paul Picken, Jr. and myself were discussing the fact that the draft had worked out well enough for the Dolphins to trade down. Two top WR prospects were still on the board. Brandin Cooks and Marqis Lee. As it turns out, Lee is still on the board. The Dolphins entertained trade offers and Dennis Hickey told media that he indeed fielded offers. With the Saints giving up a third rounder and their first and Cleveland doing the same, is it not likely the offers Miami received?
Two things happened here. Either Hickey over-valued the pick slot and was asking for more than what the others were offering or he really, really wanted Ja’Wuan James. While I would love to believe it was the latter I can’t imagine any GM so in love with a tackle that would have slid to 26 or 27 they would have passed. Hickey did. My belief? He asked for more, stood his ground and didn’t cave in. It was his way or no way.
Back to the selection they did make. James could be a very good selection for the Dolphins and he should be. His fills a huge hole on the line of scrimmage. The better news in this selection is that certain higher profile picks were already gone. Eric Ebron, Ryan Shazier, and C.J. Mosely. The Dolphins never really, truly, considered drafting a WR here simply due to other needs on their roster. The team could have gone safety with Ha Ha Clinton-Dix but the need at safety was far less than the need on the offensive line.
After pondering this selection all night as I tried to fall asleep, it was a needed selection. Not a great pick a needed pick. It’s not flashy, it’s not sexy, it fills a hole. A glaring hole. The Dolphins inability to address the right side of the offensive line was the predetermining factor in this selection. It makes the team better because they really had nothing there prior to last night making the selection that more important.
To me Hickey didn’t hit this out of the park. He got a pop-fly single to shallow left field. It’s a safe pick, it’s a smart given the other player options available at that time. It’s just one of those picks he could have made six, eight, maybe even ten picks later. Where he would have had a third to show for it. The good news is that James is solid in pass protection and does well in run blocking. The bad news is that he is going to face a lot of talent from opposing DE’s and tackles that he hasn’t seen in college. At least he will have Cameron Wake lining up across from him in camp. That alone should get him ready for day one.