Let me begin by saying that draft strategies are as varied as women’s underpants, and likewise, some are more appealing to others, especially given the variety of women that wear them. I have my particular views of what is a strong draft strategy but I do not, in the least, feel it is the one the Dolphins use, nor is it better than another. I do say this, however, to point out that my evaluation is based on how I think they did, and is partially based upon my own beliefs.
Let me describe then, my belief in drafting. I am not a pure BPA person; I also am not a vertical big board person. I like to combine a few aspects of BPA, horizontal big board and player specific targeting approaches. I feel it is a good strategy for getting guys you want, and yet having the flexibility for not over drafting and with preferences towards accumulating picks over sacrificing them unnecessarily.
Now that you have an understanding of my philosophy, let me begin the draft breakdown.
Round 1, pick 13: Mississippi OT Laremy Tunsil 6’5″ 310
Tunsil was my highest rate player and only one really close was Ramsey. Any other draft where QB wasn’t of such desperation would have landed him as the No. 1 overall selection. The pick to me, was BPA, it was a target player (if you lived in the land of make-believe where you really thought this was possible), it was a need position, and it was a gift from the football gods. I can’t see how this is anything other than A+, unless you are a worrier, then you might bump it down to A. Final assessment A+.
Round 2, pick 38: Baylor CB Xavien Howard 6’0″ 201
First let me set things straight, I like the guy we picked. There had been a few CB taken early so there was some sense of urgency in making this selection, though I do not agree that the urgency required a trade up. I can’t really argue if the guy would have been selected between the 4 picks we moved up to get him, because no one really knows, but I feel certain it would have been unlikely we would have been jumped by another team to take him. I also feel pretty certain that players like TJ Green, and Sean Davis offered equally rate CB prospects, same scheme fit, and Green in particular has better measurable like 40 time. I had them all pretty equally graded. Due to this I give the player selection a B+, but what we gave up to get him makes the pick a B- overall.
Round 3, pick 73: Alabama RB Kenyan Drake 6’1″ 210
Kenyan Drake is a beast. I know people think he is a scat back, or a 3rd down guy, but he is going to be a LOT more. He’s pretty comparable to Lamar Miller, but is a better receiver, statements about he cant run between the tackles is not accurate, he wasn’t use that way at Alabama but that’s because Alabama always had Henry and before that, Lacy. Drake was used as a change of pace guy there, but I don’t see that same thing for him in Gase’s system, which is a lot different from Saban’s. I think this is a perfect fit for us, and it was great talent at the right round. I think this is an A+ selection.
Round 3, pick 86: Rutgers WR Leonte Carroo 6’0″ 211
Ah, another trade up. So as I mentioned, not a big fan of giving up picks to get a play, unless it’s really justified. Player we picked is a great selection, so let’s analyze the trade. We gave up a 6th round pick, but more importantly a 3rd and a 4th rounder in 2017 to move up and take Caroo. I had Pharaoh Cooper ranked higher than Caroo, and to be honest with the way they play, there is a really strong comparison to one another. I also had Demarcus Robinson rated pretty close, though I do think Caroo gets the edge as far as play demeanor. Robinson can half ass plays sometimes, and doesn’t play aggressive. His physical skills are better but Caroo is probably the better fit. I give the pick a B+, but with what we gave up in the trade, im dropping the pick to a C+ grade.
Round 6 pick 186: Texas Tech WR/RB Jakeem Grant
Ok so I’m stuck between the nickname jitter bug and tater tot, for Grant, maybe jitter tot? At first glance you look at it and go, WTF 5’6 really but then you turn on the highlights and interviews and you go, wow this kid has spunk, he’s a baller. Quietly I have found myself loving this pick and the player. We did trade up once again to get this pick after previously trading back with NE. We swapped 6ths 196 for 186 and gave up an early 7th to move up to get him. Its hard to bag on late round trades as you are obviously maneuvering around to get a guy who probably adds special teams ability, and maybe if you are lucky becomes a backup/role player. In this guy we got a potential ST ace in the return game and a weapon on offense. Trading up to get a 1st year contributor, is an A+ move. Given the potential of this pick I see it as an A+ grade.
Round 6 pick 204: Penn State S/CB Jordan Lucas 6’0″ 201
I had to go back and watch some film on Lucas to be honest, since I didn’t remember being wow’d by him early on. He is aggressive as hell; he looks to lay a hit on people when they catch it. His zone skills are pretty solid, and I didn’t see him in press much, so kind of hard to say. Guys who play like that however usually are going to be solid press guys though. He played both S and CB, and I think for us he could wind up in either spot. He doesn’t really have elite ball-skills, but he fights through receptions, stripping a lot out and he puts hits on guys that jar’s the ball out. I give this pick a B+, because I like the upside and I think it’s a regime pick and fits our scheme solidly no matter which position he winds up at.
Round 7 pick 223: Western Kentucky QB Brandon Doughty 6’3″ 213
Is this a pick to threaten Tannehill? No not really. Should Tanny feel pressure to improve because of this pick, I think a little. I like the pick because he does represent someone who has shown in CUSA to be a standout player. He seems to have limitations however, that I don’t think you can think of him as a potential franchise guy, but I also wouldn’t count him out of the possibility. I think this selection signifies an approach by our team to always be looking to add talent at any position, even if its one that’s seemingly secure. I think as a 7th round selection the pick was a very solid one, accomplishing 2 things, an current upgrade to the backup QB spot, and an outside chance to develop a guy who eventually starts, either for us or traded to another team. Grade B.
Round 7 pick 231: UCLA TE Thomas Duarte 6’2″ 231
The pick of Duarte is a somewhat rarity in the 7th round. 7th rounders aren’t supposed to be guy who contribute right away, they are at best special-teamers that you kinda hope after a few years can be counted on as a backup, or small contributor. Most 7th rounders have little chance to make it on the team long term. Durate though I think is a guy we see make a contribution first year. It may not be gaudy numbers, but I think he comes in and gets exposure right off. I think there are things they can do with him on the field and packages they can unlock with him they couldn’t without him. I think he and Jitter Tot, are kind of in the same boat, sub package players, ST contributors and mismatch guys in different packages. I give this pick a A+ as well.
I think our draft was a really nice one, I don’t think it was as good as some of the other teams, but it was certainly better than most I think. Overall I give our draft a grade of B+, we filled a lot of holes, we got some talented players, and the only real complaint I have is the trades, which at times didn’t follow good draft strategy to me. The players we got were good talented guys I hope to see on the field next year, if this happen of course then the trades were great moves, so I hope to come back around at some point re-evaluating this draft and giving it a higher score.