Miami Dolphins general manager Chris Grier entered last weekend’s NFL draft with seven picks and came away with six picks plus a potential franchise quarterback in a trade. For a team rebuilding, it seems underwhelming that Grier didn’t acquire more picks, but he went by his draft board and got good value for the players he selected.
He started in the first round by selecting defensive tackle Christian Wilkins from Clemson. Clemson had three defensive linemen drafted in the first round, but some consider Wilkins the leader of that defense. Time will tell if that’s the case, but Wilkins is productive, a leader, and has a great personality that could rub off on his teammates. The Dolphins had to find someone on the defensive line to build around and Wilkins was the best player available. He is versatile and can play both tackle and end, which suits what the Dolphins want to do. Could the Dolphins have traded out of pick 13 and gotten more picks? They could have and reportedly had some chances, but Grier ultimately decided to pick Wilkins. This was probably a wise move. I remember in 2010, the Dolphins traded out of the number 12 pick for a later first round pick and a second round pick. In the process, the Dolphins passed on talented players, like Jason Pierre Paul, Earl Thomas, Mike Iupati, and Maurkice Pouncey. The Dolphins took Jared Odrick and Koa Misi with the picks they acquired and neither really panned out. All of the players they passed on are good players while Odrick and Misi are out of the league. All that said, Grier might have made the right call here.
A lot has been said about the Dolphins trading for quarterback Josh Rosen in the 2nd round, but I’m not going to spend my time talking about it. All I will say is for Grier to trade out of pick 48 to pick 62 and get Rosen plus get an extra second round pick next year was great value. It’s a win-win for the Dolphins. I know they gave up a fourth round pick this year to get the second rounder next year, but the Dolphins are building for the future and will probably not be ready to compete for the playoffs next year so it’s about setting yourself up for down the road.
The pick I really like is fourth round pick guard Michael Deiter. The guy can play all positions on the interior offensive line and is a mauler, which is something the Dolphins need. Where he plays is up to the coaching staff, but the Dolphins needed a physical presence on the offensive line, especially with the defensive lines the Dolphins go up against in the AFC East. The Dolphins haven’t properly addressed the offensive line over the last few years in the draft other than Laremy Tunsil.
The other offensive lineman taken was tackle Isaiah Prince. I’m not sold on him because I watched him play at Ohio State and he was very underwhelming as a player. He looked like the weak link of the Buckeyes offensive line, but he does have the physical tools to play the position and he needs to be coached up. Our offensive line coach is going to have to work with him on technique and develop him, but who else do the Dolphins have at right tackle? Zach Sterup I know is going to have a chance to compete for the job, but he’s better at left tackle than right so I don’t see him winning that spot unless he really works at his game. Jesse Davis I think would be a mistake to put at right tackle because he has established himself at right guard. The Dolphins could add more players before camp, but Prince is in line to start unless he stinks up the joint.
The Dolphins’ other picks, linebacker Andrew Van Ginkel and running backs Chandler Cox and Myles Gaskin, are all players that will have a chance to come in and compete. My guess is those guys will make the most impact on special teams and work their way up. Cox could be the fullback and get more playing time out of all of them. The Dolphins want to use a fullback and I’m for it because I love watching teams line up in the eye formation and try to pound it with a lead back. The Dolphins haven’t had a decent fullback since Lousaka Polite when they were a tough physical team under then coach Tony Sparano and since then have become soft on offense, so maybe the Dolphins can get back to that.
Overall it was a meat and potatoes draft for the Dolphins, but the team filled some holes in the trenches. Only time will tell if these players pan out. Grier also continued to set the team up for more options next year with adding an extra second round pick that could bring in a total of twelve 2020 draft picks when it’s all said and done. I would have liked to see the Dolphins get more picks this year, but this offseason has been about laying the foundation for the rebuilding process moving forward.