With the draft less than a week away, PhinPhanatic.com will look back at the past seven Miami Dolphins draft classes. Each article will examine who the Dolphins selected in the draft and, when noteworthy, players they passed on. Today we look back at 2011.
A middling/average 7-9 record in 2010 lead to a middling selection for the 2011 draft. With the 15th pick in the first round, Miami selected C/G Mike Pouncey, Florida.
Mike was considered one of the safer picks in the draft. What wasn’t considered a safe decision was the Dolphins declaration that Pouncey was drafted to play center in Miami. His brother Maurkice had started at center for the Gators before entering the 2010 draft so Mike only had one year’s experience at center. NFL experts also had questions about his accuracy snapping the football.
Fast forward to today and Mike Pouncey is considered one of the best centers in the game, when healthy. Unfortunately, the “when healthy” part has been a problem for Pouncey, who hasn’t played a full season for the Dolphins since 2012.
Who did Miami pass on to select Pouncey? DE Ryan Kerrigan (16th pick) and QB Andy Dalton (35th) are the only two players that could come close to causing “buyer’s remorse”. Pick Grade: B+
Miami traded away their original 2nd round selection as part of the 2010 Brandon Marshall trade. GM Jeff Ireland, however, made a trade to get back into the second round by trading Miami’s 3rd, 5th and 7th round selections. With that pick (#62), Miami selected RB Daniel Thomas out of Kansas State.
Considering that WR Randall Cobb (64th), LB Justin Houston (70th) and RB DeMarco Murray (71st) all were available when Miami selected, Thomas’ 3.6 yards/carry and 10 TDs in four years has to be considered a major disappointment. Pick Grade: D-
As stated above, Miami traded away their 3rd round pick to move up to the 62nd selection.
Miami entered the 2010 NFL Draft looking to bolster their WR corp by acquiring a speedster to pair with Brandon Marshall. Therefore, when Miami’s 4th round selection (pick #111) came around, Miami thought they were getting a major threat with the selection of WR Edmund “Clyde” Gates, who clocked a 4.3 at the Combine.
Gates, unfortunately, fell out-of-favor in Miami very quickly, catching two passes in his only season with the Dolphins.
While there were no ‘marquee’ players that Miami passed on with this pick, WR Cecil Shorts was selected three picks later (114th) as was TE Julius Thomas (#129), who Miami acquired in a trade from Jacksonville earlier this offseason. Pick Grade: F
No selection in the round. (See Round 2)
The Dolphins made another draft day move by trading with Green Bay to move up 5 spots (from pick 179 to 174) and selected H-back/TE Charles Clay out of Tulsa.
The selection of Clay turned out to be the only other significant draft pick from the 2011 class. Clay spent four seasons in Miami and contributed 161 receptions for 1809 yards and 14 TDs which are very good numbers for his position.
Considering the success of Clay, his 6 round draft status, and no other notable picks made in the round, Clay has to be considered a major draft success. Pick Grade: A
Miami’s selection of DT Frank Kearse, Alabama A&M (231st pick) is barely worth mentioning considering he never suited up for Miami but he has played sparingly for 3 teams in his five year NFL career.
However, the compensatory pick (#235) used on DB Jimmy Wilson, Montana, was well spent. Wilson played four years with Miami, primarily as a back-up safety and special teams player but was a major contributor in 2014, starting 13 games for the Dolphins that season. Not bad for one of the final selection in the entire 2011 NFL Draft. Pick Grade: C+
Overall, Miami hit on two selections (Pouncey and Clay) and got a decent contribution from another (Wilson) but bombed on the selection of Daniel Thomas, which cost Miami three picks in all.
Overall Draft Grade: C