With the draft over and grades now being handed out everywhere, here is another look at the Miami Dolphins 2016 draft grades.
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Throughout the week we will post all of the staff’s grades for this years draft. Today, is mine, the editor of PhinPhanatic.com.
Laremy Tunsil – Round 1
There is little doubt that this grade is an A. Tunsil’s fall to 13 may turn out to be a blessing or it may not but on paper, this is an excellent draft pick. It was only a month and a half ago that Tunsil was regarded as the top player in this years draft. Tunsil is a strong physical offensive lineman who is well rounded in both run and pass blocking. What makes this draft pick even better is the fact that Miami’s move from the 8th spot to the 13th spot netted the team two starters on defense. Byron Maxwell at corner and Kiko Alonso at linebacker.
Grade – A+
Xavien Howard – Round 2
The Dolphins couldn’t pass up a stellar offensive lineman in round one which left them looking at what was left in round two. Kendall Fuller and Mackenzie Alexander rounded out the top three corners at the top of round two. The Dolphins however needed to move up to get Howard and it cost them a 4th round pick. That trade cost the value of this pick slightly. Howard is a physical football player who will need to be coached up. He attacks the rush but needs to work on his open field tackling in that area of the defense.
Grade – B
Kenyan Drake – Round 3
Miami went into the draft hoping that Ezekiel Elliot would fall but the drama ended with the 4th overall pick. The Dolphins didn’t have a shot to draft Derrick Henry in round two but his back-up Drake has a lot of potential and upside. Drake doesn’t view himself as a back-up and has said he plans to become the starter. Those are the characteristics Miami is looking for in players. Tough attitudes with a desire to succeed. While there were other options and some believed that the Dolphins could have waited another round to address the position, Drake fits what the Dolphins are looking for with speed and agility.
Grade – B-
Leonte Carroo – Round 3
Miami must have loved what they saw in Carroo because they traded two picks in 2017 to move back into round three to get him. Giving up a 3rd and 4th in 2017 plus another pick in 2016 drops the value of this pick. Carroo is, like the other selections, a physical player. Miami appears to be looking at Carroo as an outside Jarvis Landry. Carroo has very good hands but struggles to get off the line against stronger press corners. The Dolphins didn’t need to draft wide-receiver this year which makes this a small surprise pick but Carroo could be a big part of Adam Gase’s offense and will likely replace, eventually, Kenny Stills.
Grade – C
Jakeem Grant – Round 6
The Dolphins traded away their 4th and 5th round selections and then came back in round six to take another wide-receiver. A small receiver at that. Grant has world class speed and should make an immediate impact on special teams but outside of that, he will likely play a small role on offense. Miami still had not addressed linebacker and there were linebackers on the board that could have a much larger impact as well other offensive lineman to provide solid depth. This selection simply didn’t make much sense given the Dolphins current receiver roster and the selection of Carroo three rounds earlier.
Grade – D
Jordan Lucas – Round 6
Lucas could be a solid back-up safety and can play the slot as well and because of that, I’m not opposed to this pick at all. I think that Lucas has as much chance to make the roster as Michael Thomas or Walt Aikens and possibly have a better career with the Dolphins. Lucas is going to have to fight for a roster spot however and the Dolphins need that kind of competition. Lucas is a likely candidate however for the practice squad.
Grade – C-
Brandon Doughty – Round 7
Taking a late round quarterback isn’t a big deal and Doughty, a local kid, makes for a good story. Doughty however will not make an impact in 2016 and may not make one in 2017 either. The Dolphins drafted him to give the back-ups to Matt Moore competition and likely could have signed him as an undrafted free agent. Miami traded up to get Doughty swapping 7th round picks with the Browns. In return the Browns received corner back Jamar Taylor. With Taylor now gone, the Dolphins have traded two of their draft picks from the 2013 draft. Taylor from the 2nd round and Will Davis who was sent to the Redskins last year. Davis was a 3rd rounder.
Grade – C
Thomas Duarte – Round 7
Miami added yet another wide-receiver who actually is more suited to play tight end. This late in the draft it really didn’t matter who they took but there were still offensive line options for the team and they could have added a project linebacker instead. What drags this pick down is the fact that the Dolphins didn’t need a tight-end and they didn’t need another wide-receiver.
Grade – D
Miami did well at the top but they faded in the mid-rounds. Arguments can be made for players like Lucas, Carroo, and Grant but the fact Miami put so much emphasis on the offensive side of the ball was surprising and the fact they didn’t add more than one pure corner was surprising as well. What surprised the most however is that the Dolphins did not address the linebacker position which was a problem last year adding only injury prone linebacker Kiko Alonso.
The Dolphins still had a pretty decent draft and while it may not grade out well on the surface for some players, Carroo could easily see more time by seasons end instead of Stills. Grant should impact the return game, and Drake could be a solid steal in the 3rd round.
Miami doesn’t earn an overall grade of A but they don’t deserve a D either. C is probably a solid average for this draft class but there is potential there and the Dolphins addressed the need for players who want to win and are physical thus starting a makeover on the team. It’s for that reason, and the fact that Miami turned the 8th overall into Laremy, Alonso, and Maxwell, plus a physical vision that may or may not come to fruition that Miami earns a higher grade than a C.
Initial grade – B-
Like the 2013 draft, this draft class will be judged in four years when teams start talking about 5th year options and re-signing their own players.