The Highs And Lows of the Dolphins Draft
The Miami Dolphins were among the busiest teams in the NFL over the past three days, making 11 picks in the 2020 NFL draft along with five trades.
Let's break down all the moves and see which ones stand out as the best.
We'll do this in chronological order:
5th overall pick: The Dolphins select Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa : After all the speculation — trade up for Tua, trade up for Herbert, they prefer Herbert, they prefer Tua, trade up for a tackle, stay put for a tackle — the Dolphins went for it and took Tua. There's obviously a gamble involved here because of Tua's injury history and durability concerns. But this is a franchise that has been starving for a franchise quarterback and Tua could be that guy if he stays healthy. It was almost a move the Dolphins had to make once they weren't able to pry Joe Burrow away from the Cincinnati Bengals.
18th overall pick: The Dolphins select USC offensive tackle Austin Jackson — Make no mistake, the Dolphins absolutely had to have a tackle out of this draft, so getting Jackson here was fine when you consider the consensus top four of Thomas, Wirfs, Becton and Wills was gone. By all accounts, Jackson will need some time to refine his game, but the Dolphins drafted him for the long term. Still would have preferred having Minkah Fitzpatrick on the roster instead of that pick, but the Dolphins found themselves in a tricky situation once Fitzpatrick asked for a trade.
26th overall pick: The Dolphins trade down to 30th with the Green Bay Packers and pick up a fourth-round pick (136th overall) — This was a pick obtained from Houston in the Laremy Tunsil trade, and getting a fourth-round choice to move down only four spots is a pretty good deal.
30th overall pick: The Dolphins select Auburn cornerback Noah Igbinoghene — Draft analysts weren't keen on this pick because the feeling is Igbinoghene needs polish. The initial reaction maybe was to question the need for a cornerback that early, but never forget the Dolphins will have at least five defensive backs on the field most of the time. Besides, never forget that the New England defense of 2018 — when Brian Flores was the de facto defensive coordinator — was anchored by a great secondary.
39th overall pick: The Dolphins select Louisiana tackle Robert Hunt — This one was interesting because the Dolphins had their shot at any running back in the draft other than Clyde Edwards-Helaire and D'Andre Swift and also because they took Jackson in the first round. But there's a lot to like about Hunt's game, even if draftniks thought he was selected too early. And this pick told you the Dolphins are serious about revamping their offensive line.
56th overall pick: The Dolphins select Alabama defensive tackle Raekwon Davis — Like Hunt, Davis was expected by many to go later in the draft. This has the look of a high-risk, high-reward pick because Davis once was regarded as a potential first-round pick before he faded a bit the past two seasons. It's also fair to wonder why the Dolphins didn't use one of their many extra picks in later rounds to try to jump Baltimore to get running back J.K Dobbins before the Ravens took him at 55. Yes, the Dolphins ultimately did get a running back, but will they regret not having made a move to get Dobbins?
70th overall pick: The Dolphins select safety Brandon Jones — This look like a solid, if unspectacular pick, for a player who likely will contribute on special teams right away.
111st overall pick: The Dolphins trade picks 136 and 141 in the fourth round to move up to pick 111 and select Georgia guard Solomon Kindley — Now, we know the Dolphins mean business about their offensive line. We also know that 2019 third-round pick Michael Deiter has been put on notice that he's going to have to fight to be a starter again in his second season. Kindley is a huge offensive lineman with the same kind of nastiness and the hope is he teams with Hunt to get the Dolphins more physical up front. We should note that 111st pick initially belonged to the Dolphins but went to Houston as part of the big Tunsil trade. Given the Dolphins' surplus of picks, sacrificing one of their fourth-rounders to move up won't be a big deal if Kindley pans out. The 136th pick was the one the Dolphins got from Green Bay in the first-round trade-down and the 141st was a compensatory pick.
153rd overall pick: The Dolphins trade the pick to San Francisco for running back Matt Breida — The Dolphins get their running back to complement free agent pick-up Jordan Howard. In terms of value, it's hard to argue with this trade. The one potential drawback to the trade is that Breida will be playing in 2020 under his restricted free agent tender and he'll need to be re-signed or he could be one-and-done in Miami. As a player, Breida is a speedy back who'll form a great combo with Howard. Of course, Breida will be compared with how Dobbins ends up doing with Baltimore or maybe even fourth-round pick Anthony McFarland with the Steelers.
154th overall pick: The Dolphins select North Carolina DE Jason Strowbridge — This is a solid, no-frills pick for a player who will complete for playing time as a rookie and could help on special teams with his kick-blocking ability. This pick came from Pittsburgh as part of the Minkah Fitzpatrick deal (the Dolphins gave the Steelers the fourth-round pick they got from Tennessee as part of the Ryan Tannehill trade).
164th overall pick: The Dolphins give up the 173rd pick, which they had obtained from the Rams in the trade involving Aqib Talib, plus a seventh-round pick to move up and select Boise State DE/LB Curtis Weaver — This is an interesting deal and it was equally interesting to hear NFL Network Daniel Jeremiah describe Weaver as basically someone who's not much of an athlete but somehow always finds a way to get to the quarterback. It is pretty remarkable to think that Weaver is the all-time sack leader in the Mountain West Conference considering he played only three seasons at BSU. This has the makings of a boom-or-bust pick, but just know that many draft analysts had Weaver pegged as a second- or third-round pick.
185th overall pick: The Dolphins select LSU long-snapper Blake Ferguson — This one raised a lot of eyebrows because snappers don't often get drafted and there seemingly wasn't anything that Taybor Pepper did wrong last season after replacing longtime Dolphins snapper John Denney. It should be noted that New England took a snapper in the fifth round in 2015 (Joe Cordova) when Flores was an assistant with the Patriots. Ferguson was a two-time captain at LSU, so he's got leadership qualities, but this was an interesting pick regardless.
246th overall pick: The Dolphins select Navy QB Malcolm Perry — This was a pick the Dolphins obtained from Kansas City for DB Jordan Lucas in a 2018 trade. Perry was an option quarterback at Navy and rushed for more than 2,000 yards last year. He was listed as a running back on the official NFL craft list, though the thought is he'll line up as a slot receiver for the Dolphins. He also gives the Dolphins the option of running gadget plays with his behind center. As 246th picks go, there was nothing wrong with this one.
251st overall pick: The Dolphins trade the pick to Seattle for a 2021 sixth-round selection — Having already made 11 selections, the Dolphins added another pick to their 2021 haul, one in one round earlier. The Dolphins now have extra picks in the first and second rounds next years and two additional picks in the sixth, though they currently don't have a seventh-round selection.
So there you have it, 11 picks, six trades, one busy draft for the Dolphins.