Adam Gase is banking on his draft picks to turn the team into winners
By Brian Miller
The Miami Dolphins hired Adam Gase to win football games. Adam Gase is banking on his draft picks to make that happen.
If the Miami Dolphins are going to win under head coach Adam Gase it will be the draft picks that he, Mike Tannenbaum, and Chris Grier take in April that will have the biggest impact. In three drafts, only one player, seventh round quarterback Brandon Doughty is no longer with the team.
Doughty was drafted in 2016 eight picks before tight-end Thomas Duarte. This could be the final camp for Duarte as the Dolphins are looking at two younger tight-ends for their rosters future.
This article though isn’t about 7th round draft picks. It’s about the fact that 22 players on this years 53 man roster could very well have been drafted under the watch of Adam Gase. Of those 22 some are certainly on the bubble. Duarte, kicker Jason Sanders, Isaiah Ford to name a few and some are likely heading to the practice squad as well.
What is important is how that is compared to previous drafts. It has been a long time since the Miami Dolphins won anything in the post-season. In fact you have to go all the way back to 2000 for the last time Miami won a playoff game. Part of the Dolphins problems dating back to the Dave Wannstedt era is the missed opportunities in the draft. The lack of developing young players and of course missing entirely on recognizing team needs.
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In 2015, Dennis Hickey made his final draft for the Dolphins. In his two seasons as the Dolphins general manager, six players remain of the 15 selected. DeVante Parker, Jordan Phillips, Bobby McCain, Tony Lippett, Ja’Wuan James, and Walt Aikens.
In 2013, the final year of Jeff Ireland’s run as general manager, no players remain. In fact, looking back at the drafts from both Ireland and Bill Parcells, only Ryan Tannehill from the 2012 class and 2010’s Reshad Jones remain on the Dolphins roster. Kendall Langford returned to the Dolphins a week ago but he doesn’t count.
Players drafted from 2012 to 2015 should be veteran leaders and core players for the Dolphins but they simply are not and in fact, many of those picks didn’t last long with the team.
Looking at the years before Gase’s arrival we get an interesting picture drawn for us. The fact that as of today all but one of Gase’s draft picks remain on the team is impressive when compared to how long the other draft picks actually lasted.
Here is a look at the previous drafts and how long they lasted with the Dolphins and the NFL for comparison. Players that are still on the roster are not included.
Jamil Douglas – 4th round – lasted two seasons – out of the NFL
Jay Ajayi – 5th round – two and one half seasons – traded to the Eagles
Cedric Thompson – 5th round – never played a regular season game in the NFL
Jarvis Landry – 2nd round – 4 years – traded to Cleveland this off-season
Billy Turner – 3rd round – two and a half seasons – released in Gase’s first season
Arthur Lynch – 5th round – Never played an NFL game
Jordan Tripp – 5th round – one season with Miami – still hanging around NFL
Matt Hazel – 6th round – two seasons with Miami – 5 games no receptions
Terrence Fede – 7th round – 4 season with Miami – not re-signed this off-season signed by Bills.
Dion Jordan – 1st round – 2 seasons with Miami most of which he was suspended – now with Seattle
Jamar Taylor – 2nd round – 3 seasons with Miami – playing better in Cleveland last 2 seasons
Dallas Thomas – 3rd round -3 and 1/2 seasons with Miami – out of the league
Will Davis – 3rd round – two seasons with Miami – two with Baltimore
Jelani Jenkins – 4th round – four seasons with Miami – last season with Raiders
Dion Sims – 4th round – 4 seasons with Miami – last season with Chicago
Mike Gillislee – 5th round – 2 seasons with Miami – last year with Patriots
Caleb Sturgis – 5th round – Two years with Miami – last three with Eagles
Don Jones – 7th round – 1 1/2 year with Miami – last played in 2016
Continuing is rather depressing. The point is that in many cases the Dolphins simply haven’t drafted well and the above sampling is only for the three years immediately prior to Gase’s arrival. Many of those players didn’t even make it to Gase’s first season.
Of course it gets far worse when you look beyond 2013’s class.
Previous drafts have almost no relevance to what is going on now but it is clear that Gase is trying to make certain that the core of his players remain players that he had a hand in drafting. Will it help him build a team for the future or will it be the reason for him leaving? We won’t know that until after the 2018 season.