Who will be the impact rookie for Dolphins?


The Miami Dolphins have their draft picks selected and they have held their rookie camp. With a few more players left to sign, the build towards the 2016 season has started.

Despite what will be a long three month wait for training camp, the Dolphins are working towards getting the team dynamics in place before they begin that period before the season. The Dolphins will hold OTA’s, mini-camps, and workout sessions but it’s the rookies who have eyes staring at them.

More from Dolphins Draft

The question of what Miami has drafted won’t be known, realistically for another three years at the earliest. Grades are a fun way of passing the time but nothing more. A more natural question is who will impact the team more in year one?

The Dolphins made eight selections in April’s draft. Here is a look at the top five draft picks who should have the biggest impacts on the team this season.

Number 5: Leonte Carroo

This 3rd round wide-receiver has all the physical tools that Miami wants at the position. He plays far more like Jarvis Landry than any other player Miami selected. The problem he is facing is that Miami is stacked at wide-recevier and playing time may be hard for him to find. At least initially. Carroo will likely open the season as the 4th receiver on the club behind De’Vante Parker, Landry, and Kenny Stills. I expect Carroo to take reps from Stills depending on the game situations. Carroo does not have Still’s speed and it’s also likely that he is the number 4 receiver in 4 wide sets lining up inside.

Number 4: Jakeem Grant

Short, fast, and explosive, Grant is likely to see a lot of playing time this year and could be the main return specialist for the team. His time on special teams could set him up for having a top three impact of all rookies. Size is no detriment to Grant who while listed as a wide-receiver will rely on the special teams action to make his mark in 2016.

Number 3: Xavien Howard

Howard is going to compete for the starting job in Miami but there is no guarantee that he will start from day one. The lack of depth at the position will help Howard but his indoctrination into the NFL level could be a tough one. How well Howard picks up the coverage schemes will be the tell-all for his impact in his rookie season. The Dolphins are rumored to be looking at other corners that are available as street free agents and those names include Leon Hall and Antonio Cromartie.

Number 2: Kenyan Drake

Drake could have the most visible impact on the roster in 2016 as he will split carries with Jay Ajayi. If Ajayi gets hurt, Drake would likely be the top back-up to assume the starting role. Drake is fast and elusive with a good amount of power. Ball watcher fans will see his name far more than anyone else in all likelihood and Drake could have the biggest ceiling of all this years rookie class.

Number 1: Laremy Tunsil

Tunsil will start at either guard or one of the tackle positions and his addition could make the Dolphins offensive line one of the best in the NFL. What a change that would be. Tunsil is going to make a huge impact on the Dolphins offense regardless of whether that impact is good or bad. A lot of eyes will be stationed on his performance every week. Tunsil however will not touch the ball and that will shield him from the casual fan but the better he plays, the better the line plays, and the better the line plays the better the offense will run. Tunsil’s is a potentially great football player for the Dolphins and he should easily make the biggest week to week impact on the team from this crop of draft picks.