Dolphins Fail To Add Offensive Firepower In Draft
By Brian Miller
September 29, 2012; East Lansing, MI, USA; Michigan State Spartans tight end Dion Sims (80) runs after catch against Ohio State Buckeyes defensive back Christian Bryant (2) during the second half of a game at Spartan Stadium. Ohio State won 17-16. Mandatory Credit: Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports
Mike Wallace, Brian Hartline, Dustin Keller, and to some degree Brandon Gibson. All added to give Ryan Tannehill the best opportunity to win football games. While that seems like a pretty fair group of additions, they also lost LT Jake Long, RB Reggie Bush, and traded WR Davone Bess to the Browns.
It was a foregone conclusion that the Dolphins would add a few more weapons to their arsenal during the draft. They failed to do so.
The Dolphins went heavy on defense early and often. The additions of a pass rusher opposite Cameron Wake was a huge surprise and could be a major steal for only a 2nd round additional pick. The Miami Dolphins opted for a CB with their 2nd round selection and while Jamar Taylor could be an immediate starter the third round seemed ripe for an offensive swing.
The Dolphins opted to use their first 3rd round selection on an offensive tackle, Dallas Thomas. Thomas grades well but he will be a stretch to start this year. Leaving the left side of Ryan Tannehill unprotected. The fact that a trade for Branden Albert never happened, there is legitimate concern about who exactly will play that position.
Miami then traded their next third round pick for two 4th round picks before moving back into the end of round 3 for a CB. Will Davis. Davis is physical but has a lot of growing to do. He will not start but will see playing time. Kevin Coyle works wonders with corners and he will need to set Davis on the path of growth. To move up, the Dolphins gave back a 4th rounder and a 5th rounder.
With two 4th rounders many fans thought that the Dolphins would turn to the other side of the ball and yet they chose another LB who will primarily be a special teams player behind new LB additions Phillip Wheeler and Dannelle Ellerbe. The Dolphins finally added a TE with the 106th pick in the draft. Dion Sims became only the 2nd offensive player taken.
On the surface, it would seem that the addition of a TE would help Tannehill however Sims is almost completely a blocking TE with minimal receiving skills. Sims is not a seam threat TE and will not force opposing teams to game plan for him. He does provide the Dolphins with a need. Questions however will continue to linger at the position and Jeff Ireland needs to think about addressing this need before the season starts.
While Dustin Keller is an upgrade to the passing game, he is only playing on a one year deal and coming off an injury that saw him miss considerable time last season while with the Jets. Behind Keller is Kyle Miller and Michael Egnew with a combined zero experience and HB/TE hybrid Charles Clay. If Keller goes down, the Dolphins have no legitimate pass catching TE.
The Dolphins found a replacement for their vacant RB spot drafting Mike Gillislee from Florida. Gillislee will provide the Dolphins a mean spirited blocking RB and goal line options. He is well rounded in all aspects but not great in any. He will be a solid addition but likely is not going to give Tannehill a major option as he won’t be an every down back.
The Dolphins wrapped up the rest of their draft with a kicker (more on that in another article) and a 7th round strong safety. They left the draft on Saturday night facing in my opinion, remaining holes at LT, TE, and slot WR. Did the Dolphins do enough to give Ryan Tannehill the weapons to take this team to the next level? Perhaps they gave him enough in free agency but they did not do so in the draft. And it could be argued that the additions made on offense are negated by the holes that still exist.