2024 NFL Draft: The Miami Dolphins are planning for the future

The Miami Dolphins have one hand on the wheel of the future of the Miami Dolphins during a win-now season.
Rutgers v Penn State
Rutgers v Penn State / Scott Taetsch/GettyImages

The NFL Draft is two rounds in and the Miami Dolphins have made a statement. That statement is that although they are trying to win this year, that they are painfully obviously looking to the future.

The Miami Dolphins, under the Mike McDaniel regime, have their first go around of having a 1st round pick on Thursday. There was tons of speculation of whether they would try and trade down or keep the #21 pick. There were good arguments for both scenarios. Personally, I wanted to trade back but that means you find a dance partner willing to offer you something worth the squeeze. That didn't happen and Miami stayed at #21.

They ended up taking Chop Robinson who is an extremely athletic edge-rusher out of Penn State.I and many others wanted Chris Grier to finally address the offensive line like a serious person instead of thinking that he can simply just go out and sign guys other teams let go.

I understand the argument for taking Chop Robinson. Troy Fautanu, my favorite realistic offensive lineman, just got selected by the Steelers as one pick before Miami, which is very similar to the Miami Dolphins. There were also five other offensive tackles taken before Fautanu, so if Miami were to take maybe a Graham Barton, Jordan Morgan, or Tyler Guyton, you'd be drafting around the second tier of offensive linemen when, with Chop Robinson, you're drafting the 2-3rd best edge rushing prospect.

The other hopefully obvious reason to draft Chop Robinson is that Bradley Chubb and Jaelan Phillips are currently rehabbing major leg injuries. We have no idea if either will be ready for week one. I really hope that neither comes back until they are 120% ready.

This all means that the edge-rusher was in an absolute position of need. I know the best player available crowd will hate this but it's possible that Chop Robinson was a hybrid for the Dolphins where he does fill a position of need while also being their, keyword THIER, best player available. We'll never know unless you get McDaniel or Grier loaded or give them some form of truth serum.

I keep saying, as a Penn State alumni, mainly because I am one but because I feel it gives me some form of credential or added weight when talking about Penn State players. Sure, it's a little vain but it's happening. As a Penn State alumni, I have watched a lot of Chop Robinson and the guy was a very impactful player.

I know the stats don't bore that out but the amount of plays that didn't happen because of Chop's effort and pursuit is very high.

But there is no guarantee that if Chubb and Phillips are out, Chop Robinson will be anything more than a situational pass-rusher at the beginning of the year. He is raw and not so polished or "rawlished" as Mike McDaniel put it. It's nice to see that Mike McDaniel hasn't lost that Wade Wilson-like quick-wit.

Robinson, through his own admission, said he needs to work on his technique such as hand placement. He's not wrong, and good for him to admit that out loud.

But the probable fact is that there is a very good chance that Chop Robinson see about 15 snaps a game to start the season. I can see that reality being our reality and it's one that most of us fans didn't want to come to pass with the #21 picks.

Okay, moving on to the 2nd round.

There were still a good amount of offensive linemen out there that you could draft and would more than likely be the day-one starter at right guard. You remember the right guard position right? It's between the center and the right tackle, one of five on the offensive line. Well, the Miami Dolphins currently don't have a real, viable starting guy on the team that would make anyone feel good about the idea of them being the starter.

Don't give me Liam Eichenberg or Jack Driscoll and tell me we're good.

We do know that the Miami Dolphins have spoken to at least one veteran guard, who has not been named, as a possible guy to bring in to be that starter. Perhaps, they know they're signing him, and we simply do not.

Still, the right guard and even the interior line of the Miami Dolphins need another player. Christian Haynes and Cooper Beebe were right there. Haynes, especially, would come in and, unless something unforeseen happened, would be the day one starter at right guard.

Instead, the Miami Dolphins went Patrick Paul who is an enormous tackle from Houston.

This is the part of the article where I need to emphasize that none of us have a crystal ball and that none of us can peer into the future. If you are a person that can do this, kindly message me. None of us know how which players will pan out and which ones won't. I do think that everyone's basic instinct is to be optimistic about every single player in the draft.

It's why when Patrick Paul was drafted, many of the self-entitled "draft guys, film junkies, and film shamers" like they were the comic book guy from The Simpson stood up to say stuff like "I actually mentioned Paul's name a few weeks ago on my podcast as a guy the Dolphins might draft. He has long arms, and you can't teach him his size. Trust me, I watched his tape." The film junkie who needs to tell you that they said something positive about every player and some point in the last four months is a fascinating specimen to me.

I am not a film junkie and never will be. If that's your thing, more power to you. My suggestion is you don't need to be so smug and elite about it. Do you know how many people win NCAA pools who only pick their favorite mascots? A lot is the answer. My point is none of us know exactly what's going to happen.

End rant.

Patrick Paul very well may be a very good tackle for the Miami Dolphins. He's 6'8, 331LBs and you can't teach that. This size also suggests that he will not be one of those kick-them-inside-to-guard types of guys.

The book on Paul is that he needs a lot of work and there is no way that he is a starter this year unless something, like injuries which is a big part of being an offensive lineman for the Miami Dolphins, happens. Depending on where you look, Patrick Paul was somewhere from the 13th-20th best tackle prospect. Again, who knows right? Obviously, McDaniel and Grier were very taken with him at the senior bowl and subsequent meetings.

The point of the last 1118 words.

If you've come this far, maybe you're willing to go a little further.

The word that is getting thrown around the most about the drafting of Chop Robinson and Patrick Paul is the word project. It's a word that gets associated with players that have that high ceiling but also need a lot of coaching and refining of skills. It's a word that Chris Grier loves because he drafts so many projects. Noah Igbinoghene, Channing Tindall, Austin Jackson, Cam Smith, Erik Ezukanma, and Hunter Long are guys who were thought of as projects that never panned out besides Austin Jackson. The jury is still out on Cam Smith and maybe Channing Tindall.

This is how Chop Robinson and Patrick Paul are being viewed. That can change in a few months if they're on the field a ton but right now there is nothing saying they are day-one starters and day-one starters are what fans want in the 2nd round and especially the 1st round.

However, the Miami Dolphins' management has one eye on this year's team and one eye on the future. It's good to always be thinking ahead but does that help the current team whose best players are high-priced veterans in a division that is coming back to the Dolphins due to the Bill's issues?

The drafting of Chop Robinson and Patrick Paul, to me, shows that some of the best talent will be gone next year.

Bradley Chubb or Jaelan Phillips will most likely be gone next year. Call it a bold prediction but that's how I see it happening. Terron Armstead, well we think he's retiring after this year. Drafting his replacement is fine but it would have been better if it were a person that can start somewhere on the line and then next year go to left tackle for the next six seasons or so.

That's not what Grier thought was the way to go. He went with Robinson getting on the field but who knows how much and Paul being a guy who in a perfect world doesn't see the field at all this season.

The issue how does this help the 2024 Miami Dolphins? The answer is not as much as we want.

Cameron Wolfe said a month or so ago that the Miami Dolphins are going to try and pull off a "transition year" in the midst of playing to win now. That's a delicate balance that no one has ever really pulled off. But, it is what the Dolphins are attempting to do.

Fans should try and wrap their heads around this reality because it appears that is the one we're living in. The 2024 Miami Dolphins will have talent at the top of the team and may even get a shot in the arm a month or so into the season when Chubb and Phillips come back. But like most years, they will be paper thin in terms of depth.

And the rookies that are coming in, thus far, will only be adding a little bit to this season which if you're keeping score at home is how the last two drafts have gone for the Miami Dolphins. Yes, I know the picks they traded for Tyreek Hill and Jalen Ramsey but look where that's got them. First-round exits.

Perhaps this year will be different. Yeah, this year will be different because....

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