I Like What The Dolphins Accomplished In The Draft

The Miami Dolphins had some major holes to fill in the draft the last few days. They had to find players to defense to match up against the tight end, get a play making tight end, and continue to add more depth at certain positions. I think for the Dolphins mission accomplished this weekend.

Their first-round pick Minkah Fitzpatrick was an excellent pick. He was considered the best defensive back in this draft by a lot of draft experts and some mock drafts had him going in the top 5, but with 4 quarterbacks going in the top 10 some players were likely to slip, and Fitzpatrick fell to the Dolphins. The Dolphins were looking at potentially looking at one of the 4 quarterbacks either moving up or one fall to them, but neither happened instead the Dolphins went with best player available. Safety wasn't a huge need, but if you listen to coach Adam Gase and defensive coordinator Matt Burke you could tell they were disappointed in the safety combination of TJ McDonald and Reshad Jones. Both are strong safeties and the Dolphins don't have a true free safety that can play center field. McDonald is big enough to play linebacker and perhaps that's where Miami could move him. Fitzpatrick doesn't just play free safety, he can cover the slot receiver and tight ends, blitz off the side, and play over the top. He was the leader of the Alabama defense the last 3 years and started as a freshman which is amazing considering he plays for Nick Saban, who is as tough as they come, so he adds speed and versatility to the defense and speed was a major problem for the defense. Think about it when was the last time the Dolphins had a real free safety?? Probably Brock Marion. How all of the safeties play that's the coaches job, but it’s hard not to like this pick.

The second round pick the Dolphins finally addressed their tight end position by taking Mike Gesicki. He is a big athletic tight end that Dolphins need. They haven't had a true threat at tight end since Randy McMichael let’s be honest about that. I know he can't block well, but neither does Jimmy Graham nobody cares if he makes plays and if he develops his blocking it's a bonus. The Dolphins haven't addressed the tight end position in the draft since 2014 with Dion Sims. Yes, they drafted Thomas Duarte in 2016, but he hasn't touched the field. They tried free agents Jordan Cameron and Julius Thomas, but neither worked out. Cameron had concussion issues and Thomas had lost a step. The Dolphins have needed a tight end for years. It frustrated me last year they didn't draft a tight end when there were lots of good tight ends in the draft and we passed. This should help open up the passing game more and make us more efficient in the red zone.

In the third round the Dolphins added more depth at linebacker with Jerome Baker. Baker's specialty is his coverage and he can help against the run. He's fast and athletic but isn't very big and like general manager Chris Grier said, "he's the new age linebacker" and he's right. He can help in pass coverage and also help on special teams. I don't expect him to make the impact like Fitzpatrick and Gesicki, but he adds depth at linebacker and more speed and athleticism.

The Dolphins had 2 fourth round picks and they addressed more depth on offense on selecting tight end Durham Smythe and running back Kalen Ballage. Smythe is the opposite of Gesicki and is more of a blocker so he will be used on the line and h-back. He can catch the ball when needed. Basically, he is Anthony Fasano and I love that. Nowadays you both types of tight ends. Ballage adds depth at running back and probably won't play a lot on offense, but more on special teams and work his way into the lineup. The guy scored 8 touchdowns in one game. Can run between the tackles with power, however he was inconsistent with that, has speed to return kicks, and can catch the ball out of the back field good route runner so he'll probably be liked when Kenyan Drake when he was drafted.

The sixth and 7th rounds to cap off the draft, the Dolphins continued to add speed, athleticism, and versatility on defense with defensive back Corrnell Armstrong and linebacker Quentin Poling. Both guys will compete and probably have a chance on special teams. Remember the Dolphins took a couple of losses on special teams with Terrance Fede and Michael Thomas so that will be huge if those guys contribute on special teams. The Dolphins capped off the draft taking kicker Jason Sanders. The Dolphins didn't have a kicker on the roster so well see how he goes drafting a kicker is a roll of the dice I'm sure they will bring someone else in to compete with him.

Overall, I love what the Dolphins did they added more speed and athleticism on defense and they addressed their need to defend the tight end. The Dolphins have gotten crushed over the years by the opposing teams tight ends and they desperately needed to address that. On offense tight end was the biggest need on offense and doubling down on tight end was great. Would it have been nice to get a quarterback? Yes, they need to develop someone, but if you look at the draft after the first round there was no run on quarterbacks until the sixth round. Yes, there was one in the 3rd and 4th, but for a draft class considered a very good class it surprised me wasn't a lot of QBs between round 2-5. Heck the New England Patriots didn't take one until the 7th round. It also would have been nice to add more to the offensive line, but really the Dolphins did a nice job in free agency. I really like the direction the team is going and am excited to see how things work out in training camp and in the preseason. I really feel good about our offense and defense now let’s start putting it together on the field.


Comments

  1. "Grier said, "he's the new age linebacker" and he's right."
    -- He's kind of right. I mean their are plenty of examples of 250 lb linebackers who are hall of famers.... so that is how he was also kind of wrong. Junior Seau, Ray Lewis... and some SAM's like LT and Kevin Greene, etc...

    Last off-season, Burke talked about these 3 interchangeable linebackers in Timmons, Raekwon, and Kiko who could play any position. We basically had 3 middle linebackers, which is not ok. They have never been interchangeable like that.

    You can usually stick an MLB at Strongside linebacker(SAM), where they have more tackle responsibilities and less pass coverage responsibilities. The Sam is typically a big guy.

    The Weakside linebacker, or Will, has more pass coverage responsibilities. This was Alonso who doesn't have the skillset to cover receivers. He played out of position the entire year, and stunk up the joint. Alonso belongs at MLB or SAM, where he doesn't have to cover as much.

    A Will is this light weight "new age" linebacker who can cover the pass. This is exactly what Baker is. Previous examples of "will's" were Jelani Jenkins, Morlon Greenwood... we've had tons of speedy linebackers in the past... it's nothing new, but fills a gaping hole we had last season.

    Go figure, burke was wrong last year when he talked about interchangeable linebackers. A Sam is different from a Will. Who knew?

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    1. You gotta play with the cards you are dealt. Agree with your overall point, but Kiko concerns me anywhere on the field. Great hussle, poor instincts. If he's out there I'd find a way to get him isolated in coverage as well.

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    2. Hopefully Raekwon stays healthy and with Baker they've got a young core developing. This year, given Suh is gone, I expect teams will attack Miami up the middle and test the young DT's and LB's. We'll find out soon enough if they are up to it. Feel a lot better about the secondary and offense though.

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  2. I like most of the dolphins picks but I would have taken RJ Mcintosh over RB Kalen Ballage. I just feel the DT position was more of a need you lost your best player in Suh. Not to mention everytime he out of the game last year the DT's struggled against the run. For me RJ Mcintosh should have been the pick but I hope Kalen Ballage is a great player. As the roster is right now I believe DT and LB are our weakness everywhere else we have talent all around.

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    1. "everywhere else we have talent all around."
      -- Our corners will need to improve. Part of the problem is the secondary coach... he's no Mel Philips. PFF ranks Howard and Tankersley at #92 and #93 corners in the league. I mean there are about 30 #1 corners, 30 #2 corners, and 30 Nickel Corners that start in the league... it doesn't seem good for these guys to rank worse than all 90 of those guys. Part of it has to be the coaching and not the talent.

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    2. Lucky for us, we have a new db coach, with Lou Anarumo out, and Tony Oden in.

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    3. Anarumo came under Philbin, 5 years ago... it seems like our corners have underperformed since, and played better after they left.

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