Ryan Hayes is a Miami Dolphins football player. Drafted in the 7th round with their final selection of the 2023 NFL Draft, he could be more than just a last minute flyer.
There was a time that NFL franchise believed a player that is drafted in the 7th round should become a very good football player. There were years when that was the thinking for 9th, 10th, and even 15th round selections. Rare as it was, it happened.
Now, 7th round picks are not expected to make an impact in their first year and they are applauded when they do. 7th round players are throw away draft picks that are used on players that if they succeed it's a bonus.
For Ryan Hayes, being drafted is nothing different that being undrafted. He is still going to go out and play football the exact same way and he has a real chance to make an impact on the Dolphins roster.
Hayes was well-coached at Michigan by a former NFL head coach and quarterback, Jim Harbaugh. He had a good line coach and was in a system that won football games. He also played in a lot of games.
Hayes is smart. He played as a graduate student and lettered for four years. He started almost every game since his sophomore season. But here is the thing, the thing that makes him potentially special. Hayes likes to study other tackles and learn from them.
Hayes told media members that he likes to watch the top guys play. He also said that he will play anywhere the Dolphins think he should. He has played guard and both tackle position. He understands what the job of a TE is because he came to Michigan as a TE.
Is there work to do? Of course there is. If he were perfect he would have been off the board in round one or two. He has to develop at the next level but he comes in with an attitude that he wants to succeed not just get a paycheck. He doesn't seem like a guy that wants to just provide depth.
Some say that he is another Liam Eichenberg type and there isn't anything wrong with that if he is used the right way. Eichenberg is at guard, he should be at right tackle.
Personally, I don't think Hayes stays quiet when pads come on in late July. I think he impresses the coaching staff and I think he will move up. He just seems to have an idea of who he is. When asked about his film and what those who view it would see, Hayes responded perfectly.
"“I think I’m a smart player. I know where I’m going at all times. That allows me to know my angles, so I think I play fast. It allows me to play extremely fast and use my athleticism to an advantage. And every play I’m out there, I’m going to finish as hard as I can to the whistle. So you’re going to get a hard-working guy that flies around the field.”"- Ryan Hayes via Dolphins transcripts
Being smart isn't enough but it is a good start and given the fact Miami has issues on the offensive line, Hayes is in a position to help fix it with not as much scrutiny as an early draft pick might deal with.