The Miami Dolphins are almost half way through their draft picks of 2017 with three 5th rounders and a 7th round pick remaining. And it’s going well.
The first thing you should realize is that some in the media are saying Miami’s draft is geared towards the future and not towards making an immediate impact with day one starters. That would be true and false.
It’s difficult to grade a draft pick let alone an entire draft when no one has taken the field but many grades will be handed out. For example, the drafting of Charles Harris may have received a low-grade on Friday by this guy, but by the end of Friday night, that draft pick looked much better and grades differently.
Why? Because you have to look at everything as a bigger picture.
Harris will be a rotational player in his first year and many frown on taking a rotational player in the first round. The thing is Harris doesn’t need to develop. He already has and now needs to be coached at the next level of his career.
While it is true that Harris will not see significant snaps early as he sits behind Cameron Wake and Andre Branch as well as William Hayes his selection is for the now with an eye towards replacing Wake in the near future as he continues to inch towards the end of his career.
That does not mean Harris won’t see a lot of time this year. The fact is that Miami still wants to keep Wake fresh wich means we could see Wake’s snaps begin to reduce. As it pertains to Harris the media is correct, he is a corner piece for the future.
That is not the same case with Raekwon McMillan who was drafted in round three. McMillan could be a day one starter on the outside taking the spot from Koa Misi. First of all Misi hasn’t been cleared to play yet and second of all when he is playing he is inconsistent. McMillan is a tackling machine and that will help the Dolphins against the run. His impact should be felt rather quickly and I will be surprised if he is not starting over Misi by mid-season if not by the end of training camp.
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In the 3rd round Miami once again drafted for depth and while some in the media do not see Cordrea Tankersley as someone who will unseat Byron Maxwell, don’t forget that Maxwell was benched last year in favor of Tony Lippett and returned to the starting job only after Xavien Howard was hurt.
This is not to say that Tankersley will be a day one starter but the Dolphins may get plenty of work for him and truth be told, they just found Maxwell’s replacement in 2018. Why is that important? Again, you have to look at what is being played in Miami by Chris Grier and Mike Tannenbaum.
It’s easy to argue that Reuben Foster would have had a bigger impact this season than Harris but if you view Foster as the player that should have been it changes what Miami would do in round two.
The Dolphins could have gone with Obi Melifonwu in round two but there are some who believe that it was Obi’s Combine and not his tape that moved him up draft boards. Miami could have added a guard as well but Miami doesn’t put the same emphasis on guard that fans tend to do.
Instead they played true to their draft board and eliminated the need of DE next year and LB and CB. They got better for 2017 but may have set themselves up to be great in 2018. And when 2018 rolls around? They have put themselves in a position to really work the draft without major needs at three positions that have been killing them in recent years.
This is not to say that these players will be Hall of Fame types or even Pro-Bowler’s. It’s about the fact that Miami filled three holes with solid players who play hard and tough and fill needs both now and for the future. When you combine them with the one year deals in free agency it starts to make more sense in what direction they are taking. They are building not rebuilding and they are doing it with the present and the future in mind at the same time.
So far the Dolphins seem to have finally abandoned the plan of just drafting players who don’t exactly fit their ideas. That in and of itself is refreshing.