With the draft one 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 2012.
With the top two quarterbacks going 1-2 in the draft, the Dolphins selected QB Ryan Tannehill from Texas A&M with the 8th overall pick. Tannehill is perhaps the most “polarizing” player selected by the Dolphins in the last 10 years. There are two ‘camps’ in Dolphins Nation: Those that believe Ryan Tannehill is a ‘franchise QB’ and those that believe he stinks; there seems to be no in between.
As for the stats? In his five years as a starter, Tannehill has thrown for 18, 455 yards, completed 62.7% of his passes and has a 106-66 TD/INT ratio and has improved pretty much every year of his career. Where the QB takes a hit is in the win/loss column where he is 37-40 as a starter.
As for who might Miami have taken instead? LB Luke Kueckly, CB Stephon Gillmore, DT Dontari Poe, and DT Fletcher Cox were the next four picks taken after Tannehill. In the end, if you believe that Tannehill is good, then QB trumps all other positions. If you don’t, then you probably wish Miami had selected one of these four players. Pick Grade: B+
While the success of the Dolphins first round pick is up for debate, there is no debate over their second round pick. At pick #42, Miami thought they were drafting their right tackle of the future when they selected T Jonathan Martin out of Stanford.
By now, most fans know how this story goes. Martin played one-and-a-half disappointing seasons for Miami before walking out on the team midway through the 2013 season. The ensuing drama, “Bullygate”, ripped apart the fragile chemistry of the team and led to the suspension of G Richie Incognito and the firing of offensive line coach Jim Turner.
The failed selection of Martin cost Miami a chance to draft players such as WR Alshon Jeffrey (45th pick) and LBs Bobby Wagner (47th) and Levonte David (58th). Pick Grade: F
Thanks to the trade that sent WR Brandon Marshall to Chicago, Miami had back-to-back 3rd round selections. With their original pick (72nd overall), Miami drafted DE/OLB Olivier Vernon, U of Miami (FL).
Vernon got off to a slow start in his rookie season (making zero starts but registering 3.5 sacks) but put together 25.5 sacks over the next three seasons before leaving Miami for the New York Giants in free agency.
As for the second pick in round 3, Miami traded back six spots with the San Diego Chargers and pick TE Michael Egnew, Missouri with the 78th pick. Egnew was touted as an excellent target in the passing game with zero interest/ability in blocking. As it turns out, the second part was correct. Unfortunately for the Dolphins, Egnew turned out to not be a good pass-catching TE either. He caught a total of 7 passes for 69 yards in two years with the Dolphins before being released.
As fate would have it, the Dolphins’ move back from the 73rd selection cost them a chance to consider drafting QB Russell Wilson who went 75th overall. (It should be noted though that Miami was unlikely to have considered Wilson after selecting Tannehill 8th overall.)
Other players passed up for Egnew included WRs Mohammed Sanu (83rd) and T.Y. Hilton (92nd). Pick Grade: Vernon (A)/Egnew (F)
The Dolphins traded up in round 4 for RB Lamar Miller, Miami (FL) with the 97th pick. In four years, Miller averaged nearly 4.6 yards/carry and scored 19 TDs, despite being used sparingly by then-head coach Joe Philbin.
The only truly notable player selected after Miller in round 4 was QB Kirk Cousins but, like Wilson in the previous round, was probably not a true consideration for Miami after selecting a QB in round 1. Pick Grade: A
Miami traded back 10 spots in round 5 and selected LB Josh Kaddu, Oregon with pick #155. Kaddu was a productive special teams player for two years before being released by Miami.
As for notable players? Unless you count PKs, the only productive player Miami passed on was FS George Iloka (167). Pick Grade: C
WR B.J. Cunningham was selected by the Dolphins at 183rd overall. Cunningham had a non-eventful two year stint with Miami.
With the selection of Cunningham, Miami passed on LB Danny Trevathan selected with the 188th pick. Pick Grade: D
With their first selection in round 7 (pick 225), the Dolphins selected DT Kheeston Randall, Texas. He accumulated 8 tackles in his lone year in Miami.
With the 227th overall selection, the Dolphins selected WR Rishard Matthews, Nevada. For a 7th round pick, the four years Matthews put together as Miami’s 3rd/4th WR made his selection perhaps the best late round pick in the draft. Pick Grade: Randall (F)/Matthews (A-)
Overall, Miami came out of the 2012 Draft with their current starting quarterback, a starting running back, productive defensive end and a reliable 4th wide receiver. Not bad for one draft.
If it wasn’t for the colossal busts of Martin and Egnew, this would be a top-notch draft class. Also, the fact that Ryan Tannehill is the only player from this draft class still on the team drops the overall grade. Overall Draft Grade: B