Three Concerns About the Dolphins Draft
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.
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.
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.
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.