May 5, 2013

2013 NFL Draft Review & Season Outlook: Miami Dolphins

#17 Ryan Tannehill, QB, Dolphins

*Click on a team's logo to go to their draft recap and season outlook page. A few will be posted each day in alphabetical order.

Miami Dolphins
Division: AFC East | Last Season Record: 7-9

What Needed to be addressed in the Draft: The Dolphins have their quarterback in Ryan Tannehill. They added some weapons this off-season, but they definitely need to draft a tackle at some point, because if they stay at 12, they will miss out on the left tackles.

Another pass rusher to pair with Cameron Wake should be a very high priority as well. Brent Grimes replaces Sean Smith, but the Dolphins could use another starting cornerback.

2013 NFL Draft Individual Grades:

Round 1

3. Dion Jordan, OLB
Experience: Senior | School: Oregon
Height: 6-6 | Weight: 248 lbs.

Analysis: No one expected this. With so many picks available, I give the Dolphins a ton of credit for jumping ahead of the Eagles to select Dion Jordan. He is versatile enough to do a ton of things for the Dolphins. They needed a pass rusher, and they got one. Not bad. They may see him as a Jason Taylor type.

Grade: A-

Round 2

54. Jamar Taylor, CB
Experience: Senior | School: Boise State
Height: 5-11 | Weight: 193 lbs.

Analysis: Jamar Taylor was my top ranked senior corner, and I thought he should have been a late first round pick. He's an absolute steal late in the second round. He fills a major hole at the cornerback spot opposite Brent Grimes.

Grade: A+

Round 3

77. Dallas Thomas, OT/OG
Experience: Senior | School: Tennessee
Height: 6-5 | Weight: 306 lbs.

Analysis: Before people start bashing the Dolphins because Dallas Thomas is "not a left tackle" this is a great pick. The value is really good in the third round, and Thomas is versatile enough to play all five positions on the offensive line. He is best suited starting at guard, but could actually play left tackle for them.

Grade: A-

93. Will Davis, CB
Experience: Senior | School: Utah State
Height: 6-0 | Weight: 184 lbs.

Analysis: Slight reach, but there were not too many corners on the board better than Davis. He struggled at the Senior Bowl, but Davis could be one of the better corners from this class a few years from now. Another nice addition to the secondary.

Grade: B

Round 4

104. Jelani Jenkins*, OLB
Experience: Junior | School: Florida
Height: 6-1 | Weight: 237 lbs.

Analysis: Based on their needs, of lack thereof, Miami has the luxury of taking a guy like Jelani Jenkins in the fourth round. Jenkins may be the best cover linebacker in the draft. He was viewed by many as a first round talent going into the 2012 college season. He just needs to stay healthy.

Grade: A-

106. Dion Sims*, TE
Experience: Junior | School: Michigan State
Height: 6-5 | Weight: 262 lbs.

Analysis: Another nice pick for the Dolphins. Dustin Keller only signed a one year deal, and no one knows if Michael Egnew will be any good this year. Dion Sims is one of the better blocking tight ends in this class, and should contribute in the passing game as well.

Grade: A-

Round 5

164. Mike Gillislee, RB
Experience: Senior | School: Florida
Height: 5-11 | Weight: 210 lbs.

Analysis: Another good value pick for the Dolphins. Mike Gillislee is a very talented runner who could have gone in the 3rd or 4th round. They need a reliable back behind Lamar Miller since they don't have confidence in Daniel Thomas.

Grade: A

166. Caleb Sturgis, K
Experience: Senior | School: Florida
Height: 5-10 | Weight: 188 lbs.

Analysis: Kickers should not be drafted until the 6th round at least. Plus, Dustin Hopkins is by far the best kicker in the class. However, Caleb Sturgis is really good as well, and they have good reason to not have faith in Dan Carpenter.

Grade: C+

Round 7

250. Don Jones, S
Experience: Senior | School: Arkansas State
Height: 5-11 | Weight: 191 lbs.

Analysis: Miami needed depth at safety, so this pick made sense. Don Jones was viewed as a sleeper prospect who could have gone in the 5th or 6th round, so it's another good value pick. He should be an early special teams contributor.

Grade: A

2013 NFL Draft Overall Review:

Analysis: The Dolphins had a great draft. Everyone will ridicule them for trading up for Dion Jordan instead of Lane Johnson. They will also point to the fact that they failed to draft one at all.

That does have to be taken into consideration, and I would have liked to see them add another receiver. However, they filled their need for a pass rusher with Dion Jordan (could be the next Jason Taylor), got excellent value in corner Jamar Taylor, and got some mid-round studs in Mike Gillislee and Jelani Jenkins.

Overall Grade: B+

Undrafted Free Agent Signings:

Most Notable

Jasper Collins, WR
Experience: Senior | School: Mount Union
Height: 5-10 | Weight: 183 lbs.

Analysis: Jasper Collins could be the next receiver out of Mount Union to burst onto the NFL seen. After trading Davone Bess, Collins could make the roster and fulfill the slot role.

Other Free Agent Signings

Clay Belton, QB, Findlay
Chad Bumphis, WR, Mississippi State
Chris Burnette, DL, Old Dominion
Michael Clay, LB, Oregon
Chris Denton, WR, Mount Union
A.J. Francis, DT, Maryland
Jordan Kovacs, SS, Michigan
Cameron Marshall, RB, Arizona State
Rob McCabe, LB, Georgetown
Brandon Ogletree, LB, BYU
Taylor Stockemer, WR, Arkansas State

2013 Season Outlook:

Analysis: The Dolphins are the only serious threat to New England in the AFC East. They look like a borderline playoff team, and I love some of the moves they've made this off-season.

My biggest concern is, who will protect Ryan Tannehill's blindside? Aside from center Mike Pouncey, the rest of the offensive line is shaky, so Tannehill may not have all the time he needs to make plays with his arm.

Going out and getting guys like Mike Wallace, Dustin Keller, and Brandon Gibson should help Tannehill improve in year 2. Many refer to Wallace as a "one trick pony," but he is a high upside number one receiver nonetheless.

Lamar Miller will be the lead back for the Dolphins. With Daniel Thomas falling out of favor with the team, expect 5th round pick Mike Gillislee to be his immediate backup. If they can run the ball well, this offense could be really impressive in 2013.

One of their biggest needs on defense was a pass rusher to pair with Cameron Wake. They may have gotten their guy when they traded up to #3 to select Dion Jordan. Even if they run a 4-3, he's best suited to play outside linebacker rather than put his hand in the dirt, but we will see. Randy Starks and Paul Soliai are very stout against the run, and both return this season.

They were already fine at linebacker, with Karlos Dansby and Kevin Burnett, but chose to let both go in favor of former Ravens inside linebacker Dannell Ellerbe, and former Raiders outside linebacker Philip Wheeler. It wasn't a necessary move, and neither is really an upgrade, but both are just as good. Add rookie Jelani Jenkins and Koa Misi to the mix, and this is a strong unit.

I love the improvements the Dolphins made in the secondary. They already have two stud safeties in Reshad Jones and Chris Clemons. They lost starting corner Sean Smith to Kansas City, but got an upgrade in Brent Grimes (he could pay off if he can stay healthy). They also added Jamar Taylor and Will Davis via the draft, and have a decent corner in Richard Marshall on the roster. The secondary should be a strength of this defense.

2013 Season Projection:

Analysis: Miami is currently picking 14th overall in my 2014 NFL Mock Draft. They chose 12th in this year's draft. The Dolphins are almost certain to improve their record from last year. Ryan Tannehill has the weapons now, but will he be able to stay healthy? If so, this offense should be formidable, and the defense will definitely complement them.

Projected Record: 7-9 (Worst Case) | 9-7 (Best Case)

Projected Finish: 2nd in the AFC East; Result: Miss the Playoffs