With the draft a few days behind now it’s time to start rolling out our staff grades for this years Miami Dolphins draft class.
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Over the next few days PhinPhanatic will be releasing our staff grades for this years Dolphins draft. Remember these are the opinions of the writers and the writers only and do not necessarily represent the opinions of the site overall.
Unfortunately, I have to give the Miami Dolphins a B- for their overall draft grade and felt like overall the Dolphins had a very weak draft class. The only reason this team didn’t get a D or worse was because they lassoed the best player in the entire draft in Laremy Tunsil. Holes were not adequately addressed, the Dolphins passed on better players at certain positions when they picked and overall, the talent and tape suggests we should not expect a whole lot from this class immediately or possibly ever. I will go over and grade each pick, including what it costs to snag the player.
Round 1 – Laremy Tunsil, Kiko Alonso AND Byron Maxwell: Grade: A++++
The Dolpins stay put at 13 and get the best player in the draft and get Kiko Alonso and Byron Maxwell! Who had a better pick than us? Tunsil is the best player in the entire draft due to his technique, size, athleticism and skill set. He is the total package. The Dolphins needed O-line help and got it in the best way. He can either play LG or LT from day one (although because of Albert’s paycheck, I bet he will be playing Guard next year). Also, they get the veteran additions in what turned out to be a generous donation from the Eagles.
After Tunsil things start going downhill… quickly.
Round 2 – Xavien Howard: Grade D
Elephant in the room. Dolphins trade a 4th round pick to move up 4 spots in the 2nd round for a player who wasn’t worth a 2nd AND 4th round pick. The Dolphins hit the panick button, seeing their weren’t many height weight corners left and must have really liked this player to make such a lopsided deal. Howard is a prototype for the press coverage Vance Joseph wants to run this year but has plenty of holes in his game. Howard is exceptional within the first 5 yards and uses good technique and size to redirect opposing Wide Receivers.
While I like Howard, I think he is not a day 1 starter and where Howard struggles the most is very concerning. Xavien Howard ran a 4.58 at the combine and corrected it at his pro day with a 4.41 but when you watch the tape Howard is much closer to 4.6 than 4.4. Also he is a very grabby player because of his lack of deep speed, something that may never be corrected at the next level. Add all of this to the fact they passed on Reggie Ragland, Sua Cravens and Deion Jones and it earns this pick a D.
Round 3 – Kenyan Drake: Grade F-
Kenya Drake is supremely athletically talented. A blind person could see how gifted he is. He was a combine star and is blessed with speed as he is with quickness and lateral agility. The problem is the NFL is not the Olympics. Kenyan Drake has an extensive injury history including a dislocated and broken ankle in 2014 and in 2015 a broken rib, sprained ankle, a concussion, quad bruise and a broken arm.
Injuries are concerning, but more worrisome is his play while he’s healthy. He has poor vision and isn’t very patient relying on his physical gifts exclusively. He does not break tackles or make players miss, something good NFL running backs do well. Drake is very poor in pass protection which hurts his ability to be on the field on 3rd down and he is 6’1″ which makes it hard for him to keep his pads down and run with force.
He is a track star but far from an NFL ready back. Also, much more pro ready running backs were passed over in his favor like Kenneth Dixon, Paul Perkins and Devontae Booker. All who would’ve been ready from day one and were selected much later in the draft. Drake can be a KR in the NFL but you don’t draft a KR in the mid 3rd and I honestly thought he was a 6th-7th round player who projected as a WR in the NFL.
Round 3 – Leonte Carroo: Grade F
2nd questionable trade. The Dolphins give up a 2016, 6th rounder, on top of a 3rd and 4th round pick next year for a WR. To make matters worse, the Dolphins didn’t need a WR to make such a desperate move and I didn’t believe Carroo was the best WR left on the board when they picked here. The Dolphins could’ve taken Taj Sharpe, Demarcus Robinson and Malcolm Mitchell who I thought were all better players his position. Trading up, giving away picks for a player they don’t need and wasn’t the BPA at his position when selecting, earns a fat F. No F- for this pick because Carroo is still a talented player but the value was way off.
Round 4 – Traded for Howard – Grade D
Unlike most writers and analysts I wont give Miami a N/A because they traded away this pick. They still utilized it in the form of moving up in the 2nd and for every opportunity you take advantage of you also have to forgo the alternative. Howard is a representation of this pick so it is tied into the 2nd round pick.
Round 5th/6th – Traded for 2 6th’s and a 7th in 2016 – Grade: F-
This part of the draft made my brain hurt. First the Dolphins trade a 5th to the Patriots which the Patriots traded for a 4th in 2017 and a 7th round pick. Ouch. Then Miami decided to trade up in the 6th for Jakeem Grant which made no sense considering how far they moved back from the 5th.
When evaluating the player Miami eventually got out of this insanity (Jakeem Grant) the first and only things that matter is 1) Miami is loaded at WR which makes Grants odds of making the roster slim, and 2) Jakeem Grant is listed at 5’6, 165 pounds. What can we really expect of him in the NFL?
Round 6 – Jordan Lucas – Grade: B+
Jordan Lucas will undoubtedly come in to compete at CB. He has below average instincts for a CB but he is a height weight fit for this team. He is physical at the line and is not afraid to make contact in the run game. I really like this pick especially because Miami didn’t have to make crazy trades to swing it. Lucas will make the roster due to lack of depth and size at CB and I love corners who play with fire and aren’t afraid to sacrifice their bodies for the team.
Round 7 – Brandon Doughty – Grade: F-
Why select a QB in the 7th round? A team that has plenty of needs couldn’t find a guy who could compete for meaningful play time or special teams? This pick makes no sense. Matt Moore is our QB2 and Doughty at most is a 3rd stringer and most likely a practice squad guy. His tape shows no pocket elusiveness, terrible accuracy, a small stature and a guy who gets easily flustered under pressure. Wasted pick.
Round 7 – Thomas Duarte – Grade F
Duarte destroyed the combine so that is certainly a plus when your picking this late to get such a physically gifted player. Duarte is a tweener at 6’3, 231 so blocking will certainly be a concern if he stays at TE. Its not out of the question that he plays WR even though he ran a 4.72 at the combine. (Remember Devin Funchess? 4.7, 40) He will face stiff competition at either position, especially at WR and remember Miami has Jordan Cameron, Dion Sims and they resigned Jake Stonerburner who is more well rounded. Duarte was asked to be a WR and wasn’t expected to block at UCLA and as with all big WR’s his routes need a lot of work. Again, how Miami doesn’t pick a position where a player is more likely to make the roster doesn’t make sense to me.
In summary, if we only look at the first round I think Miami had the best draft out of the entire NFL. If we look at every other round I think Miami may have had the worst draft in the NFL. Fortunately the first round is the money round and Tunsil has All-Pro potential from day 1. Overall this draft nets a B- and it is a very unsatisfying B-.