Three Concerns About the Dolphins Draft

Alain Poupart

After the Miami Dolphins landed their potential franchise quarterback with the selection of Tua Tagovailoa at No. 5 overall, the overwhelming majority of draft analysts and national media members commended them for taking the risk of the former Alabama star with the lingering injury and durability questions.

Based in large part on the selection of Tagovailoa, the Dolphins' draft haul of 11 picks earned slightly better than a B grade (3.1 on a GPA scale) in a survey of 10 national draft report cards.

As with every draft, there are plenty of areas where folks can second-guess what the Dolphins — and, don't worry, it's already happened.

Any list of concerns in this Dolphins draft obviously would have to start with Tagovailoa's health because if he doesn't last very long in the NFL, well, it's going to be difficult to view this draft as a success.

But the flip side is that the Dolphins made a bold move to land the quarterback with the highest ceiling once they couldn't pry Joe Burrow away from the Cincinnati Bengals.

So, yeah, there's a concern with Tua, but it's one that the Dolphins accepted based on the potential trade-off.

Instead, let's focus on three other areas of concern with this draft that aren't quite as obvious.

1. Was tackle Austin Jackson worth the 18th overall selection?

The Dolphins absolutely needed an offensive tackle heading into this draft, and they ended up getting two among their first four selections.

Nothing wrong with that thinking.

But the concern here is that the Dolphins valued Jackson apparently way more than most of the scouting community.

An AFC executive told SI Senior NFL Reporter Albert Breer he actually didn't like any of the Dolphins' first-round picks, including Tagovailoa and 30th overall selection Noah Igbinoghene.

Jackson was the fifth tackle taken in the 2020 draft, behind Andrew Thomas, Jedrick Wills, Mekhi Becton and Tristan Wirfs.

NFL.com's draft prospect rankings had Jackson as the seventh-highest-graded tackle behind the previous four, as well as Josh Jones, who somehow lasted until the third round, and Isaiah Wilson, who went 29th to Tennessee.

Jackson was the 48th overall prospect for ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr., though Kiper had Jackson at the sixth-best tackle and projected he could become an All-Pro if he landed in the right situation.

CBSsports.com, meanwhile, had Jackson as its 54th overall prospect and ninth offensive lineman.

Ourlads, though, had Jackson as its 20th-rated prospect and its mock had him going exactly where he went — 18th to the Dolphins.

2. Was not drafting a running back a mistake?

Yes, the Dolphins did end up with a running back in the draft, but it came as the result of a trade of a fifth-round pick to the San Francisco 49ers for speedy Matt Breida.

There is absolutely no questioning this trade from a value standpoint because Breida should be a terrific complement to free agent acquisition Jordan Howard — his lightning to Howard's thunder if you want to use that analogy.

The 49ers only made this trade because they had a surplus of running backs and wanted to free up some cap space, and the Dolphins will have to decide at some point whether to re-sign Breida because he'll be playing in 2020 under the restricted free agent tender the 49ers extended him.

In a short-term view, this was perfect for the Dolphins.

But everything they've done for the past year has been done with a long-range view.

In that sense, they probably would have been better served to get one of the top prospects in what was considered a very good crop of running backs.

When they picked 30th in the first round after trading down from 26th, they could have had either Clyde Edwards-Helaire from LSU or D'Andre Swift from Georgia.

Even after taking Igbinoghene with that 30th selection, the Dolphins could have had Jonathan Taylor, J.K. Dobbins or Cam Akers when they came up at 39 but instead took tackle Robert Hunt from Louisiana-Lafayette.

By the time their turn came up again at 56, Taylor, Dobbins and Akers all were gone. But there were two trades made before that pick came, and the Dolphins had all the draft capital needed to get in position to take, say, Dobbins, who was taken by Baltimore just one pick before the Dolphins selected defensive tackle Raekwon Davis from Alabama.

To those who'll throw out the notion that running backs are a dime a dozen, special running backs are NOT a dime a dozen.

The Dolphins had the opportunity to pick up any number of running backs who were uber productive in college and would have had them on a rookie contract.

This just looks like a missed opportunity.

3. Not drafting a tight end

By all accounts, this was not a very good draft for tight ends.

That said, it's not like there's not a handful of 2020 prospects at the position who will become good NFL players.

And the Dolphins did have a need at that position, from a depth standpoint.

Mike Gesicki really came on at the end of the 2019 season after a disappointing 2018 as a rookie second-round pick, but the rest of the Dolphins roster at the position heading into the draft consisted of blocking specialist Durham Smythe, Michael Roberts (who was out of football last year because of a shoulder injury) and 2019 practice squad member Chris Myarick.

When the Dolphins went to pick in the third round, only one tight end (Notre Dame's Cole Kmet) had been selected, giving them their choice of any other tight end in the draft.

The Dolphins selected Texas safety Brandon Jones, a good prospect and an impressive person as well, but maybe they would have been better served by going for a tight end given their better depth at safety.

Four tight ends were selected in the third round after the Dolphins took Jones, and then another four were selected in the fourth round after the Dolphins moved up to the 111st overall pick to take Georgia guard Solomon Kindley.

Georgia guard Solomon Kindley
Matt Stamey-USA Today Sports

Kindley was the third offensive lineman drafted by the Dolphins in seven picks, a clear sign the Dolphins are looking to overhaul that unit. But is it really realistic to expect three rookies to play significant roles on an offensive line?

The Dolphins did add a tight end as a rookie free agent after the draft, but that player (Bryce Sterk) was a defensive end at Montana State.

So maybe a tight end in the third or fourth round would have been the right call.

Comments (16)
No. 1-11
Jayk
Jayk

Same as Flowers, Hunt is going to be a solid, run-blocking G, not a T.
We should’ve grabbed Ruiz (a top-ranked Pouncey-like dominant G/C) at 18,
then NO might have taken Isaiah Wilson, and Tenn - Hunt. We would’ve got LT Jackson at 30, Noah at 39, Davis at 56 and RT Josh Jones at 70. We would’ve got RG Kindley (without moving up) at 136, Weaver at 141, Strowbridge at 154, Bradlee Anae at 173, S Geno Stone at 185, Ferguson at 227, Perry at 246 and TE Hunter Bryant at 251. All wishful thinking now.

Listening to Grier, he doesn’t strike me as a smart or clear person.
His responses are always vague, stuttering, evasive.
Coach Flores is a great leader and motivator, but he’s not a wheeler-dealer.
By points, we should’ve got a 3rd rounder from Green Bay, instead of a 4th.
Laugh, joke, but push for it ! Would’ve made a big difference.

But down the road, nothing turns out as predicted.
We'll see what happens. Maybe we'll go 19-0
But, I have a feeling, this is going to be a long, slow process.
Coach is our Ace. Grier is our deuce.

ZeBigrob
ZeBigrob

I thought MIA failed to leverage the volume of picks they had to get quality instead of quantity. Biggest miss was not trading ahead of TB to grab Wirfs once he fell to 13. But there were opportunities in the 2nd and 3rd to get better players in positions of need as well.

At least they avoided going the Herbert route.

marino13
marino13

I agree that Grier had some reaches in this draft. Jackson who I really like would have been there at 30 even after the trade down. My mock had him at 26. That 18th pick should have been Chaisson a total edge rusher that would have changed the Dolphins defense. I couldn’t believe he was still there for I thought he would have been gone before 18. Then we pick Jackson at 30. At 39, then you have a choice of either a RB or the top safety on the board like Delpit, Chinn or Winfield Jr. Hunt would have still been on the board at 56.

Grier didn’t pay attention of how the draft was falling. After he chose Jackson, Wilson was picked in the 20’s. Then no OT was picked except for Hunt until Ezra Cleveland in the bottom of the second round. Josh Jones wasn’t even picked until the 3rd round. Grier panic picked his players instead of getting the BPA as they fell.

So we could have had Tua, Chaisson and Jackson in the first round and one of those guys I mentioned and Hunt in the second round. So Grier would have gotten his OL targets plus big name playmakers to boot. If we picked say Delpit at 39 then at 70 we could have picked Cushenberry for center at 70 instead of moving up to get Kindley in the 4th. Where I wanted to get NT-Leki Fotu. Now we have the same positions that Grier drafted yet better players.

markdo
markdo

Miami has a bunch of picks next year and if rb and te are the only holes on this team this will hzve been a great draft.

JohnD1
JohnD1

We’ll see how it all turns out, but I was surprised that the Dolphins didn’t move around a little more with all of the draft picks at their disposal. TE doesn’t concern me, especially with the lack of talent in this draft class at the position, but watching all of the top RB’s and safeties go by was missed opportunities in my opinion. Josh Jones also would have been a good value pick where they could have selected him. I still feel really good about their draft as a whole, there’s just a couple of things I wish they would have done differently.

Kelly k
Kelly k

I guess drafting a TE would have improved the OL so they didn't allow so many sack. what great reasoning to draft a TE.. Our OL sucked last year and the reason why Tua isn't starting this year is to give the new unit some seasoning and gel time.. We really don't want Tua to take any needless hit do to inexperience OL. We got 2 Rb in the fdraft.. one by trade and a pick.. these guys are fast.. speed kills and super speed kills even faster.. and the guy from navy was a Qb and we can have fun with a sweep and throw or even a lateral back to fitzzy. the possibilities are endless. were those other rb's as fast as who we have.,.?? I don't think so..

baby bear
baby bear

Phins will regret not picking Dobbins

FishNerd42
FishNerd42

You can gamble or you can play poker, rarely are the two the same activity. I like these guys with the Dolphins, Greer and Flores. They are playing poker, they aren't gambling. Gambling is taking a small school Tackle in the first round, Poker is taking a 20 year old from USC. Gambling is taking a 3000+ yard college RB in the 2nd round, Poker is trading a 5th round pick for a RB who knows how not to get hit in the NFL. Gambling is doubling down on two TE's in the same round, hoping one of your chips will hit on Black. Poker is signing a undrafted DE from a small school in Montana and seeing his potential as a weapon. I like this draft, and I like these guys. We haven't had folks around playing poker since Jimmy was run off by the garbage man.

Bizzmoneyb
Bizzmoneyb

I wasn’t a fan of the Igbinoghene pick either. Would’ve much rather seen them take D’Andre Swift as you said. Plus they’d have him for 5 years instead of 4 since he would’ve been a rd 1 pick. Swift or a pass rusher would’ve been a wiser pick. and using a pick on a LONG SNAPPER?!! yuck.

Alain Poupart
Alain Poupart

Editor

I personally have no issue with the Jackson pick. I do like the Breida trade, but I do believe that Swift and/or Dobbins are going to have the kind of impact that's going to make the Dolphins regret not taking them. As for TE, yes, bigger needs on OL and DL, but did the Dolphins need three OL and three DL?

Dolphan_B
Dolphan_B

The media draft gurus were not able to glean team evaluations at the various pro days this year and GMs took a couple dozen players at substantially different levels than the gurus had them projected.

OT: Jackson was the best LT left on the board - raw with elite physical ability. GMs obviously did not evaluate Jones as highly as the gurus. Wilson is a RT and I suspect MIA liked the mauler Hunt better at that position.

RB: This position is relentlessly falling in value. Large supply with falling demand in a passing league. Trading a 5th for Breida was perfect. Also, keep an eye on Perry making this squad as a multi-function scat back.

TE: Awful draft class this year with bigger needs on the OL and DL.

The rebuilding process is hardly over. MIA has another big draft class next year.


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