Dolphins fans should be excited about this years draft

ORCHARD PARK, NY - DECEMBER 17: Tyrod Taylor /

The Miami Dolphins have not had many good drafts in the last decade. This year could be a lot different. It could be great.

If there is one thing that bothers Dolphins fans is the lack of draft picks making huge impacts on the roster and the lack of development of those players drafted. In years past the Dolphins have managed to draft a lot of duds. In some cases those players don’t even get on the field.

Looking back over eight of the last ten drafts, Miami seems to more or less find contributors instead of stars. In 2008 Miami used their number one overall pick on Jake Long. That draft produced a starting left tackle whose stay in Miami was plagued with injury issues. It also produced no other major players. Only contributors. Chad Henne, Phillip Merlins, Kendall Langford to name a few.

Not much went right a year later when they spent a first round pick on Vontae Davis who would be traded years later to the Colts in what should have been his prime. Sean Smith would leave four years later in free agency. Miami opting not to sign him.

The best players Miami drafted from 2008 to 2015 were Reshad Jones and Mike Pouncey. Pouncey for the first time since his rookie season completed a full 16 game slate. Jones is in the Pro-Bowl. The first time voted in and not as an alternate.

While the verdict still remains out on Ryan Tannehill he is more than a contributor but the fact that Miami currently only has three players still on the roster from 2008 to 2013 is disappointing and points to the fact Miami needed to a better job, a lot better job, at evaluating and developing talent.

From 2014 to 2015 the Dolphins have eight players from their two draft classes. Those eight? Terrence Fede, a 7th round pick, Jarvis Landry, Walt Aikens, Ja’Wuan James who will have his 5th year option rescinded, Jordan Phillips, Tony Lippett, Bobby McCain, and DeVante Parker. So far only Landry has become a star.

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Then things changed and this is where fans should start feeling good about this years draft. While Miami hasn’t had the success fans had hope for this year, albeit after injuries decimated the offense, the draft classes have been solid.

2015’s draft produced three starters in Laremy Tunsil, Xavien Howard, and Kenyan Drake. Howard and Drake both made huge strides in 2017. Tunsil had a lot of up’s and down’s but he is progressing and still should be the anchor on the left side if he can progress. Jakeem Grant finally made plays on the field as a receiver and both Thomas Duarte and Brandon Doughty have spent most of their time developing on the practice squad. Both mind you were 7th round picks.

In 2017’s draft Miami has a lot of potential in first round pick Charles Harris who played well this year. Cordrea Tankersley looked good before being injured and Miami hopes that Raekwon McMillan will return after a pre-season ACL tear.

Miami also got a lot of solid production out of Davon Godchaux who could be in line for starting work in 2018.

So why should Miami fans be excited about this years draft? Because unlike the eight years prior to the promotion of Chris Grier and the hiring of Adam Gase, the Dolphins drafts have been near horrible. Now they are getting better. A lot better. If the coaching staff can develop these players, the Dolphins future could be very good.

2018 will be a pivotal year for the Dolphins personnel department and scouting department. With holes on the offensive line at guard and depth questions, as well as depth issues at quarterback and a need for a legit tight-end, Miami will enter the draft with the ability to draft with a best player available mentality.

This should give the Dolphins more flexibility and they should be able to hit on their draft this year. It’s a good sign of what can come in the future. Overall the last two drafts under Gase, Grier, and Mike Tannenbaum have earned positive grades overall. With a lot more evaluation to come, they at least are getting production from their draft classes. Now they have to improve the development of those players.