Feb 20, 2014; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Miami Dolphins general manager Dennis Hickey speaks during a press conference during the 2014 NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Dolphins Fans Used To Draft Mediocrity


 

Nowhere have I seen a fan or media member rave about the Miami Dolphins draft selections.  Sure a few guys have the potential to turn out good.  No one ever thought Zach Thomas in round five was going to turn out the way he did and Jason Taylor in round three as an absolute steal.  This years draft crop falls into the category of the more unknown.  Small school kids who need work but have great character and leadership abilities.  No, small school don’t indicate a future of failure but it also doesn’t mean that they will be ready to play at such an elite level.  Consider that none of these small schools faced anything close to the level of the NFL.

That all being said…good for them.

As I perused the various forums and message boards regarding the Dolphins draft, it dawned on me, the fan base is finally starting to accept mediocrity as the norm.  While some fans are saying the draft filled holes (the top of the excitement level by the way), most are saying, “it could be worse”, “it can’t be as bad as last years draft”, “at least Jeff Ireland wasn’t making the decisions”, and my favorite, “Joe Philbin has a lot to work with if they work out”.  Not quite sure exactly what that means.

Regardless the bar for the Dolphins has been set pretty low over the last decade of draft busts, mistakes, and players drafted in the top four rounds that make it one year on the roster.   This year the Dolphins addressed two needs.  Guard and tackle.  They drafted a cornerback that needs to develop and a LB that will play a more important role on special teams than on the inside of the defensive schemes.  Reality however is a different bird and sings a different tune.  We just don’t want to accept it.

The Miami Dolphins did indeed fill a hole on the right side of the offensive line.  Ja’Wuan James is a right tackle but those of you who are thinking he can move to guard needs to think again.  He has never played the position and his style of play isn’t conducive to moving inside where he will need to be able to pull.  He could become a very good RT in this league but he will face a lot of tests in his first NFL season and honestly, of the top tackles taken in the draft, James is probably the least NFL ready.  He will need to put in a lot of work.

While fans want to pencil James in immediately as the starter, and he likely will (a first rounder should be given every opportunity to start unless he is a QB) the same can not be said for Billy Turner.  Sorry.  It’s true.

I have read quite a bit of fan opinions on Turner and most like the selection.  I don’t dislike it but I do caution Turner is not ready to start in the NFL right now.  Not at tackle and not at guard.  He needs work as he is still raw.  Turner in my opinion may become the best player of this draft…in a few years.  From the start he needs to work on acclimating to a faster game pace, a switch to guard, and a myriad of other fundamentals that he lacks.  I would love to see Turner win the starting guard job but make no mistake he will have to “WIN” it.  That is what was troubling the most in the trade up.  Drafting a top round three lineman who likely won’t be ready to play at seasons start. The Dolphins got a great prospect for a 3rd and a 4th.

The rest of the draft class sans Jarvis Landry who I do like is much of the same.  Smallish schools that do not provide the same level of competition as a larger school.  I’m all for finding gems from smaller schools but not half of my draft should be there.  As Dolphins fans wrap their minds around this they can only assume that the Dolphins will be better simply because Ryan Tannehill should spend less time on his back.  The question is will it be enough to get into the playoffs?

The draft simply wasn’t a “wow”.  It was mediocre and judging by the comment of fans it appears the best they can say is, “we have to wait two years to judge it”.  And that’s fair.  It’s just sad that we have to accept mediocrity as the norm.  It was the norm under Dave Wannstedt, the norm under Nick Saban, under Cam Cameron, and under Jeff Ireland.  In Dennis Hickey’s first draft to do something great, he did what was safe, he did what was normal.  He was mediocre.

Tags: Dennis Hickey Miami Dolphins NFL Draft

  • Peter Manchester

    First Brian, I do not agree with your assessment of fans accepting mediocrity. As these forums will attest people where calling for Jeff Irelands head last season. That is not accepting. The fact is not much is known by us as far as the capabilities of our new draftees. We as fans we have never sat down in film room and talked with the coaches and other professionals. No-name draft you bet. But to assume they are mediocre is a knee jerk reaction. Second, we were picking pretty low at #19 all the way down the boards. When it was our turn most of the selections were no name in all the rounds. Who would you have liked for a first pick? Someone who is already gone? Yes would could have gotten some press if we would have picked Manzel or Carlos Hyde, but we don’t need those players! We fullfilled our need which is offensive line, WR, and one more CB. That is exactly what we did.

    I think we are waiting till a few games are played till we decide whether or not this draft was “mediocre”, bad, or great. I have been a dolphin fan for over 40 years and I don’t accept mediocricy. I also don’t jump to knee jerk reactions before these guys have given a chance to prove themselves. All I felt we needed was a line this offseason and we definately got on. So lets see what type of team we have now.

    • txmedic5

      This was about fans saying the draft is “great” when it’s average. It’s holding onto hope that change alone will make this team better. No one can predict one way or the other what this draft class will do, including myself but fans in general are accepting everything as a clear sign that things will get better simply because Sherman and Ireland are gone. Let’s not forget we have a GM who was the 8th choice and was hired after three other candidates said no. I will say that I am excited to see what Bill Lazor brings to the offense…he will have a far greater impact on this season than these draft picks.

      • Peter Manchester

        I hear what you are saying. But once again no-one really knows how successful this draft at this juncture. Who are we to say it’s great or bad, at this point everything is pure speculation. There is a major difference between the attitude of leadership from the current regime and that of the long underperforming past: That is since Ross took over, the team at least the team seems to be trying hard to change and compete. Unlike many of our previous sucky years when it seemed like the leadership didn’t give a s***, the feeling is more hope now. The NFL is a very hard legue to win, but at least the dolphins organization SEEMS to be trying hard now. Whether or not we strike out, or how long we have been bad is irrelevant to me. What does matter is they SEEM to be trying, which gives us fans hope again.

        Getting back to the draft: We needed a competely rebuilt line, we got that. We have a fairly good offense (could use some help) with young players and a pretty good defense (minus possible LB’s and backup CB for insurance). We beat some great teams last year. I think a retooled line plus another year for all our young players is exactly what we needed. I don’t need an excuse for my optimism, that is my right as a fan.

        What I do not like is when the people who are supposed to support our dolphins and fuel our excitement (local dolphins blogs and media outlets) squash that hope and optimism with negative articles. Let’s leave that negative press to our competitors (the NY Media) we already have enough negativity from them. If I were a sports writer for our dolphins my articles would be positive and full of hope. Why else is there a reason to be a fan. My 2 cents.

  • Chris H. Borei

    I think you are wrong. This was not a mediocre draft. This was a good, strong draft that say us get the players we needed. Just because there was no “wow” factor and we didn’t get some player that was big in the media doesn’t mean it wasn’t a good draft. I like what Hickey did. I think the draft instantly makes the team better and leads down the right path to the playoffs this year.

    • txmedic5

      Wish I could agree Chris. I don’t think this draft makes us instantly better. That will depend on whether or not James plays well at RT. RG will still be a battle and you can’t rule out Sam Brenner having a better chance to start than Turner. The rest of the draft are projects. That doesn’t make your team better on the field or on paper. The Dolphins will be lucky to have two players start this year outside of special teams from this draft. And that includes James.

      • LostSok

        If Bremmer (or Thomas) wins a guard job, it won’t make the Turner pick a failure. We need as many options as possible, and it doesn’t matter which one works, and long as it does. At that point, Turner develops behind Albert as a candidate for the LT job in 1-2 years.

  • KELLY KLEMETSRUD

    the only thing that is mediocre that fans are used to are writers like you that think they can do a better job than the GM.. please stick your neck out and tell us exactly the different picks you would make and why. but you won’t because you are a coward. Miami had a great draft. could peyton manning have the season he had while being sacked so many times? could Drew Brees or Tom Brady? they would have all wound up on IR or out of football. name one QB that would have had a better season that Tannehill while being sacked almost 60 times? so now you can use all the skills you think you have as a writer and answer my simple questions.. a smart wanna be gm like you should have no problem.. that is unless you are mediocre..

    FEAR THE FINS..!!

    • trinity

      Yikes. Why does the guy have to be a coward? He’s just giving his opinion based on the fact that the dolphins have been an afterthought for quite a while now.

      • KELLY KLEMETSRUD

        all he has to do is some actual writing and answer my simple questions… he presented his statements as fact but had nothing to back it up.. if you aren’t trying to solve the problem then you are part of the problem… tired of reading BS from dolphin writers (like this guy & omar) that just degrade the team because their opinion is all that counts but they never stick out their necks and say how they would go differently.. that is being a coward.. and that is what we as dolphin fans have had to settle for , for a very long time.: bottom of the barrel mediocrity when it comes to reporting on our team. Sure the Dolphins have made a lot of mistakes but damn… not one of these guys could have done a better job. It’s not like the Dolphins enter into any season and said hey let’s tank the season but that how these hacks write their stories.. I’m pissed about the mediocrity of writing we have to settle for.

        • txmedic5

          Again…read my draft grades. The draft was mediocre.

    • txmedic5

      actually I did read my draft review. Unlike many in the media I call it like I see it and what I believe. Sorry if that isn’t to your liking. I hope Miami’s draft turns out great but relying on 5 kids from small schools to suddenly burst into the NFL is a big gamble. If you’re lucky, one of them will be on the roster in four years.

    • txmedic5

      This had nothing to do with Ryan Tannehill…my article that is.

  • trinity

    Look on the bright side writer. Ryan tannehill looks solid under center. Where good quarterbacks go, success usually follows. Plus, the patriots are slowly starting to regress. Things seem to be looking up.

    • txmedic5

      Patriots had a pretty non-significant draft as well. In fact since Pioli left the Pats their drafts have been pretty “mediocre”…LOL. As for Tannehill…I’m a big fan. Love his poise in the pocket and hope that James will work out immediately to block that side.

  • Roger Peart

    Honestly this is the best draft the Dolphins have had in years. No more of those WTF picks in rounds 2 and 3 like under previous years. No Pat White or Michael Egnew. We got talented players at RT and WR and a talented OL who will most likely be a starter. And then in the later rounds we took some risks on smaller school guys. But they all seem to have some talent, leadership and durability. I like what I see so far. You can tell the front office has a clear vision for the team.

    • txmedic5

      The best part of this draft is the character that each player has. It’s high and I agree with the leadership of each of them as well. As for starters, this year? Two tops and that is if Turner can beat someone out at Guard.

  • Gary C. Grimes

    Dolphins draft picks were awful, I give them an “F”. Here are the BPA to fill a position of need
    that I would have selected, (and who were available when the Dolphins made
    their picks):

    Lee, Marquise, WR; USC (6.2)

    Hyde, Carlos; RB: Ohio State (6.1)

    Nix, Louis; NT; Notre Dame
    (5.9)

    Yankey, David; OG; Stanford (5.5)

    McCarron, AJ; QB; Alabama (5.7)

    N/A – no trade down in 2nd round

    Henderson, Seantrel; OT; Miami (5.5)

    Sam, Michael; DE; Missouri (5.1)

    I believe my selections are light years ahead of the Dolphins selections, and would have given the Dolphins some real playmakers and talent on a team that is stock full of mediocre talent.

    • dolphinmofo

      So another stanford lineman and a tackle that couldn’t finish his pro day and failed his drug test at the combine answer our biggest need entering the draft. I give that an f as in f that.

    • KELLY KLEMETSRUD

      I guess McCarron would fair better than Tanehill with the offensive line you’ve given him… not we don’t need a RB or NT. and we shouldn’t have taken a WR in the first round..I like the michael sam pick but I don’t think Miami is ready for that circus yet. We have an offensive line that will protect the qb better and open holes for our rb’s. we have a te that can actually block and get open for a 5 yard gain.. this was a great draft for miami.. your draft would have been great.. last year.. or the year before.. stop living in the past and teleport to the present and enjoy this team.. they will do us proud..

      • txmedic5

        Could have had James at 22 or 26 in a trade down and if not, you could have had Xavier Sua’Filo or Cyrus Koundjio PLUS a third round pick.

        • LostSok

          You do NOT know we could have had James. You are speculating. There is strong evidence Arizona would have taken him instead of trading down. Otherwise we end up with a LT who played half as many games as James moving to a new position…or a G.

          WE. NEEDED. A. RIGHT. TACKLE.

          How hard is that to understand???

    • LostSok

      A phone-booth G and a fat, lazy T? That’s an awful draft! You’re fired!!!

  • Marshall summerlin

    I wish they would just let me draft one time I guarantee you I could do better than anyone in the last 15 to 20 years haswho is this defense in NFL picks in the seventh round we don’t even need a defensive end we could sure use Max Bullough of Michigan State though…but I’m going to give this drive to see gears be 4i George it like I try to do all other years go dolphins

  • http://phinphanatics.com Andrew

    No need to criticize for a man’s opinions, calling him a “coward”. That can go beyond writing for someone and really damper someone’s day. Everyone has their own opinion, and it doesn’t entitle them to being inferior to anyone. Beyond that, I do agree that the Dolphins held a pretty good draft, one of the better ones I have seen lately. I would have liked to see them draft a late round guard, however I have faith in our management to put someone there. Overall, we have quite a bit to look forward to as Dolphins fans.

    • txmedic5

      I’ve been called a lot, LOT worse…LOL. IF you stick your neck out you better have thick enough skin to handle the axe blade. 7 years and over 4,000 articles…this isn’t the first time I pissed off fans…beside, I supported Jeff Ireland 100%..well maybe more like 95%…imagine how those comments went.

  • Fraziel

    Could not agree more Brian. Awful draft from start to finish. Would give
    it a D except for the fact we actually did address our o line needs to an extent and
    the CB could turn out to be good. James was a reacg and we should have traded down. Even if he wasnt there when we picked we could have taken Cyrus or Moses.
    Passing up on Hyde, a potential franchise back and an elite talent, in
    favour of a slot receiver arguably no better than what we have was an
    awful decision. Taking Turner iat the top of the 3rd was a joke. He cost us a 3rd and 4th round pick when we could
    have taken Yankey. Why did we take another TE whose main ability is
    blocking? Didnt we take Simms last year for that? A DE in the 7th? wtf? I
    dont think our draft was as bad as some but its definitely in the
    bottom 5.

  • Guest

    Could not agree more Brian. Awful draft from start to finish. Would give
    it a D except for the fact we actually did address our o line needs and
    the CB could turn out to be good. Taking Turner in the 3rd was a joke.
    Passing up on Hyde, a potential franchise back and an elite talent, in
    favour of a slot receiver arguably no better than what we have was an
    awful decision. Turner He cost us a 3rd and 4th round pick when we could
    have taken Yankey. Why did we take another TE whose main ability is
    blocking? Didnt we take Simms last year for that? A DE in the 7th? wtf? I
    dont think our draft was as bad as some but its definitely in the
    bottom 5.

  • Fraziel

    Could not agree more Brian. Awful draft from start to finish. Would give
    it a D except for the fact we actually did address our o line needs and
    the CB could turn out to be good. Passing up on Hyde, a potential franchise back and an elite talent, in
    favour of a slot receiver arguably no better than what we have was an
    awful decision. Taking Turner at the top of the 3rd was a joke. He cost us a 3rd and 4th round pick when we could
    have taken Yankey. Why did we take another TE whose main ability is
    blocking? Didnt we take Simms last year for that? A DE in the 7th? wtf? I
    dont think our draft was as bad as some but its definitely in the
    bottom 5.

  • Miami Jules (Julian)

    I always seem to get 1 pick out of the 7 or more the Phins get, yet I was convinced this was the year I was going to nail at least 3… frustratingly for me, it was not to be and again, I only got 1… Ja’Wuan James. I applaud the Dolphins for zeroing in on their player, and making sure they got him. Trading down to 30 might’ve still been good enough to reel James in, especially when one considers there were no more OTs or OGs selected between 19 and 30 BUT, had James still been on the board, who’s to say another team would’ve gone for him instead of whatever they got. I understand the smaller school argument, but after the college season ended, most of these players faced each other in the SR Bowl and had the opportunity to be individually evaluated during the NFL Combine.
    I am writing a post draft article so I don’t want to be the spoiler, and render my future article/post irrelevant, but I will share some of my notes… in the area of “Projected to actual pick” category, which is a category I use as one of several evaluating tools, the Dolphins reached a lot less than the overwhelming majority of teams… Want to feel better about your Dolphins draft effort? OK, in the 6th round, New Orleans picked a player ranked 979 using their 202 pick, giving them a net loss of 777 ranking places (not actual trade value points), in the 3rd round… want to talk about overreaching? The NY football Giants used their 80th place pick to drat Dexter McDougle, a player ranked fairly low at 307. Finfans will love the fact New England had one of the worst drafts according to most analysts including the armchair Internet variety like yours truly.
    The Jets and Seattle had the worst drafts this year while the Raiders, and Titans were among the best. I have Miami scoring in the low 90′s… not going to share exactly where I have them, but let’s just say Miami is much closer to Oakland than Seattle… and not just geographically

  • Buckeye Finfan

    The writer has very strong opinions and thinks very highly of his opinions for someone who does not work in the NFL in any capacity. You say he’s not ready for the NFL because he’s from a small school. People said Zach Thomas wouldn’t be able to play in the NFL “He’s too small”. It’s not the size of the dog in the fight it’s the size of the fight in the dog. Never under estimate a driven underdog with a chip on his shoulders. Nearly every athletic champion is fueled by this kind of motivation.