With the draft one week away, PhinPhanatic.com will look back at the past seven Miami Dolphins draft classes. Today we look back at 2015.
Although these players were only drafted two seasons ago, there are some early signs to how each pick is turning out.
Heading into the 2015 NFL Draft, most draft analysts believed the Dolphins were targeting RB Todd Gurley with their first round pick. Unfortunately he came off the board to the St. Louis Rams at pick #10. At that point, Miami was able to select the next highest player on their board and selected with the 14 overall pick WR Devante Parker out of Louisville.
A lingering foot issue preventing Parker from making the kind of impact in his rookie season that he, and the team, had hoped (26 receptions and 3 TDs.) Last year, Parker doubled his reception total (56) and added another 4 TDs.
Considering head coach Adam Gase’s criticism of Parker’s work ethic, combined with his modest production, it fair to wonder who else Miami could have selected in that first round. CB Marcus Peters (18th overall pick), OLB Bud Dupree (22nd), OLB Shane Ray (23rd) and DT Malcolm Butler (32nd pick) have gotten off to better starts early in their NFL careers. Pick Grade: B-
A draft day trade back with the Philadelphia Eagles from pick 47 to pick 52 netted Miami DT Jordan Phillips, Oklahoma and two 5th round picks.
Phillips has started games in his first two seasons, including 11 last year, and has shown signs of being worthy of this selection. Unfortunately, concerns about his stamina and work ethic continue to dog Phillips to this day. Whether he’s able to take the next step that Gase expects from him will define whether Phillips is worth this second round selection. Pick Grade: B
Miami’s third round selection went to the Saints in exchange for WR Kenny Stills. Considering Stills’ breakout season (9 TDs) in 2016 and Miami committing to him long-term this offseason, all indications are that this 3rd round selection was a success. Pick Grade: B+
In the fourth round, the Dolphins continued their three-year trend of choosing disappointing guards in the 3rd/4th round of the draft with the selection of Jamil Douglas, Arizona State. Douglas lasted a little more than a year before being jettisoned by the Dolphins in 2016. Pick Grade: D-
With the earlier trade with Philadelphia, their original 5th round selection, and another acquired from Minnesota for trading away WR Mike Wallace, the Dolphins had four selections in the 5th round of the draft.
With their first selection (145th overall), Miami chose CB Bobby McCain out of Memphis. In two seasons, McCain has made 12 starts, mostly at nickel cornerback, and has one career interception.
Four picks later (149th overall, the Dolphins got a steal with the selection of RB Jay Ajayi, Boise State. Ajayi was originally projected to be a second round pick but concerns about his knees caused him to drop to the 5th round. While being used sparingly in 2015, Ajayi had a breakout season in 2016, rushing for 1272 yards and 8 TDs. He also became the 3rd player in NFL history to rush for 200+ yards in back-to-back games.
At pick #150, Miami selected FS Cedric Thompson, Minnesota. He didn’t make it out of training camp with the Dolphins in 2015.
Finally, Miami used the 156th pick to select WR/CB Tony Lippett out of Michigan State. Lippett played primarily wide receiver in college but the Dolphins, from day one, made it clear that he was brought to Miami to play cornerback. After having a quiet 2015 season, Lippett started 13 games in 2016 and registered 4 INTs for the season. Pick Grade: McCain B-/Ajayi A/Thompson F/Lippett A-
Miami had no selections in the this round. (Part of the second round trade made with the Philadelphia Eagles)
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Miami had no selections in this round. (Traded for T Bryant McKinnie, who started 10 games in 2015.)
After a series of lackluster draft classes from 2010-2014, this draft class can’t be considered anything but a success for the Miami Dolphins. Players from this draft class had their fingerprints all over the 2016 playoff season the Dolphins are coming off of. Overall Grade: A-