Usually, the Miami Dolphins have a conservative approach to the NFL draft’s top-rounds.
They like to make safe picks. The picks that lean more to a guaranteed prospect than a player that needs a lot of room left to develop.
But that’s not what general manager Chris Grier and head coach Brian Flores did last Thursday or Friday during Day 1 of the draft.
And what they did is a little worrisome.
The Dolphins drafted some boom or bust prospects, players that are not plug-n-play starters. That goes for quarterback Tua Tagovailoa as well.
Miami changed their draft philosophy, they decided to go for a high ceiling rather than a safe floor. And they better hope their top picks can reach it.
Because Grier is under a lot of pressure to succeed with this draft class. A lot of pressure.
Tua Tagovailoa is coming off a devastating hip injury. The Dolphins drafted him at No. 5, and he is expected to be the next franchise quarterback. They hope Tua doesn’t have a setback whenever he gets hit, but they don’t know. The success of the Grier/Flores regime is tied to Tua’s health.
— DolphinsTalk.com (@DolphinsTalk) April 27, 2020
Miami’s 18th overall selection USC’s Austin Jackson is Miami’s new left tackle. Jackson has all the traits of a left tackle, but he is not a fully developed prospect like his fellow draftees: Andrew Thomas, Jedrick Wills, Mekhi Becton, or Tristan Wirfs. Jackson is so young (20 years old) and raw in many aspects. Dolphins are hoping Jackson gets to where he’s going, but he hasn’t arrived yet.
Now, I don’t have a problem with the Austin Jackson pick. The Dolphins were desperate for offensive tackles. They couldn’t afford to go after another position at that spot and miss out on a quality left tackle prospect in the draft. The Jackson selection may have been a necessary reach, But it doesn’t change where he’s at right now.
The 30th overall selection, after the Dolphins decided to trade down with the Green Bay Packers, I do have a little bit of a problem with. And it drove me nuts until the Dolphins made a trade for running back Matt Breida on Day 3.
Another raw project. Another player with lots of talent, but needs to consistently flash. A former wide receiver who analysts said needs more experience at cornerback but has all the athleticism.
I had an issue with this selection because cornerback was not an immediate need for the Dolphins. It was a position that could’ve waited. The Dolphins are loaded at cornerback. There was no need to rush that area in the 1st round.
And due to being loaded at cornerback, Igbinoghene may become the Dolphins new nickel cornerback over Nik Needham.
And that also means the Dolphins essentially drafted a slot cornerback in the 1st round of the NFL draft. Does that sound like anything NFL teams would normally do?
****NEW**** https://t.co/jTLjtUE3tr Podcast Recapping Day 3 of the NFL Draft and the Dolphins Draft Picks in Rounds 4-7. Plus we talk Matt Breida Trade. All of that and much more! https://t.co/sGVMq2mPut
— DolphinsTalk.com (@DolphinsTalk) April 26, 2020
Running back, on the other hand, was a position that was extremely thin for the Miami Dolphins at the time, but they decided to pass up the drafts best RB prospect— Georgia’s D’Andre Swift.
Safety was another position of need, and the Dolphins decided to pass up another top prospect in favor of Igbinoghene — Alabama’s Xavier McKinney. The Dolphins eventually drafted a safety— Texas’ Brandon Jones— on Day 2. So obviously, they were interested in addressing the safety position which makes the passing on McKinney even more curious.
In the grand picture, the Dolphins passed up virtually plug-n-play Day 1 starters, for a raw highly-talented slot cornerback that may not start right away.
Questionable move to say the least.
This is not to say I don’t understand the Dolphins philosophy. I do.
They want to build from the ground up, fortify the trenches, find versatile players, play tough physical football…
And to their credit, they accomplished all that.
But it doesn’t mean they didn’t pass on value. It doesn’t mean there weren’t safer choices there which could have solved positions of need, and had a greater impact on the team.
It doesn’t mean Flores & Grier aren’t taking a tremendous risk with these choices while banking on the upside.