I know, I know….draft grades right after the draft comes to its conclusion makes little sense because none of these guys have played a game yet. I get it, but I don’t want to hear it. Every media outlet does Draft Grades, and we will too because it’s fun, and yes, you can logically give out grades after the draft based on a variety of factors.

Do we know which players will turn out to be good or great and who may be a bust? Of course not, and that is not what we are grading. I am grading an overall assessment of what Miami did the past three days from a standpoint of, here is what they were looking at in the moment they were on the clock and was this a logical decision you can defend and make sense of. Were they smart not to trade up? Should they have traded down? Did they address positions of need with their selections? Did they pass on anyone in Round 2 that makes you throw your arms in the air and yell WTF?! This is what we are grading today right now and nothing else.

So, without further ado, here is the Miami Dolphins Draft Report Card.

Round 2, Pick #51 Miami Selects CB Cam Smith

Grade: B+

I know Miami Dolphins fans are really divided over this draft pick, and I understand why. But I really like it and thought this was a home run selection.

Cam Smith had a first-round grade on him from many teams around the league; the fact Miami got him at Pick #51 is a great value. He was a lockdown cornerback in the SEC, meaning he has shown the ability to shut down the very best WRs in the college game, so the transition to the NFL shouldn’t be difficult for him. He is coming from playing in a zone coverage scheme in college, and Vic Fangio plays a zone coverage scheme. Plus, I know this is the part where some fans don’t believe this to be true, but CB is a need on this Dolphins team. Nik Needham and Trill Williams are coming off major ACL injuries, Kader Kohou had a nice rookie year, but we need to see more before we can totally trust him moving forward. In this pass-happy NFL, the Dolphins, in my mind, didn’t have a true #3 CB behind Jalen Ramsey and Xavien Howard.

I think anytime you get a borderline 1st round talent in the middle of the second round, that is a great pick. The only reason I am not giving it an “A” grade is that there are reports of some possible attitude and character issues off the field. I don’t know if they are true or not, but they are out there, and we can’t put our heads in the sand and act like they don’t exist. What gives me hope is that Chris Grier’s son, Landon Grier, is on the South Carolina football team and teammates with Smith, so if anyone has insight into that stuff, it would be our general manager.

So, when Miami was on the clock, it would have made no sense to trade down with this kid falling in your lap. It fills a need, and the pick wasn’t a reach in any way, shape, or form, which is why I give it a B+ grade.

Round 3, Pick #84 Miami Selects RB Devon Achane

Grade: A-

This is one I actually predicted prior to the draft in my final Mock Draft I put out a couple of days before the draft began. I like the pick; I really do. Miami’s running back room is a mess; it really is. I know some fans don’t see it that way, but I don’t like the makeup of it. First, you got four guys all on one-year deals, which is not good in the long term. There is no stability there at all, and they needed to pull the trigger on adding a young running back and getting one in the draft. Miami has ignored the position for many years and kicked the can down the road, and they finally had to address it. I think Round 3 for a running back is a sweet spot these days. They say never take a running back in round 1, I don’t totally agree, but I get why people believe that. And in rounds 2 and 3, it is the ideal spot to take one; Miami did just that.

Why I really love this pick is because Devon Achane is the perfect fit for the Miami Dolphins offense and what Mike McDaniel does. He has elite speed (running a 4.32) and pass-catching ability. No team will be able to cover him out of the backfield with a linebacker, and they will have to account for him any time he is on the field. As a running back, even though he is undersized, he was ALL-SEC last season and a total workhorse running back for the Texas A&M Aggies. He isn’t afraid to run between the tackles, he can bounce off tacklers, and he has that ability to bust a big play at any moment, from anywhere on the field, and take it to the endzone.

The only reason why this isn’t an “A+” grade is because of the size. We can’t ignore it; at only 5’8″ and 188 lbs, that is small by NFL running back standards. Like really small. I don’t believe he will ever be a true RB1 for a team, but he can have a role and be a contributor in a running back-by-committee approach (which Miami has). He is a very experienced kickoff return man and will also be a huge asset on special teams in that area.

Everyone talks about Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle, but after that, Miami’s skill position talent is kind of lacking in some ways.  The addition of a young speedster with big play ability is just what the doctor ordered, and why I am giving this pick an A- grade.

Recap and Analysis on the Dolphins Draft Selections

Round 6, Pick #197 WR/TE Miami Selects Elijah Higgins

Grade: C-

This is my least favorite pick of the draft, and I think Miami could have gotten more value if they looked elsewhere with this pick. The Dolphins have tried on four different occasions in recent years to move a player from one position to TE; it has failed every time. So, I am not holding out a lot of hope here that it will work this time. Higgins is an oversized WR, and looking at Miami’s current WR room, there isn’t a spot for him there. But the Dolphins’ tight end room is so thin and lacking talent the powers that be in Miami think they can convert Higgins to an athletic pass-catching tight end and someone who can block in space as well. I have my doubts. He has had issues catching the ball, and drops are an issue, which scares me a lot. He also has issues creating separation, so whether he lines up at WR or TE, that will be an issue at either position.

I know it’s Round 6, and guys in Round 6 are typically project players who you don’t count on in year one, and you hope a year from now can be a backup; I totally get that, but to me, in this Miami offense where tight ends are rarely thrown the football, I didn’t see a need to get an oversized WR, now have him change positions, and hope a year from now he can contribute in a limited role. You look who was picked after him in Round 6, and there was a center who would have made some sense for Miami in Jarrett Patterson and a safety in Jerrick Reed II who could have been a fit for this Vic Fangio defense. Obviously, Higgins deserves a chance, and we hope for the best, but I think there were better alternatives for the Dolphins.

I see why Miami likes Higgins, a big WR who can block from the WR spot, filling the role that Trent Sherfield had last season as he was Miami’s best blocking WR. And also a TE with pass-catching ability, more pass-catching ability than Durham Smythe and Eric Saubert. But there is a lot of moving parts here with Higgins, and “hope” is involved that this works and that he can adapt to a new position while also transitioning to the NFL, which is why I give this a C- grade.

Round 7, Pick #238 Miami Selects OT Ryan Hayes

Grade: B-

This is a pick I really like for the Dolphins in Round 7. For one, they address the offensive line with one of their four picks. Two, this is a guy who played at a major college in big games, going up against NFL talent most weeks. While he isn’t a finished product, and he most likely has to move inside to guard, there are a lot of traits here to build off of. He is a better run blocker than pass blocker, which is exactly what you want for a guard. With his run blocking, he has a mean streak to him that is exactly what is needed in the NFL. He is a violent run-blocker and plays with a nasty temperament. As a pass blocker, he needs work, which is why he isn’t an NFL offensive tackle. He gives up a lot of quarterback hurries. With that said, he is good at blocking in space and is very athletic, which are the two most important traits for a Mike McDaniel offensive lineman, as they must be able to move and block on the move.

The downside with Hayes is he needs a full year in an NFL weight room to put on some muscle, get stronger, and get his body to where it needs to be. But I think there is a good foundation in place with Hayes to build off of. I was shocked he fell to Round 7 and wasn’t selected earlier on Saturday. Miami got a total steal here, and while I don’t think he will contribute much in 2023, I think in 2024, he is someone who should have no problem finding a home on Miami’s depth chart and 53-man roster as a backup offensive lineman.



I know this draft will be remembered for what Miami did in Rd 2 with Cam Smith, and I like what they did there with that pick. I applaud Chris Grier for not trading up and giving away any 2024 draft capital; this was not the year to do that. And, honestly, in rounds 2 and 3, two very good players fell in their lap, and Miami added two players who I think will contribute a lot this year in 2023.

Miami’s secondary looks very good now when at CB; you can line up Xavien Howard, Jalen Ramsey, Cam Smith, and Nik Needham as your top 4 CBs. Good depth there for the Fins. And on offense, as I said earlier, I know Dolphins fans get blinded by Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle, but if you do a deep dive behind them, there isn’t a lot of depth and big play ability on this offense. I know people will point to Mostert, and yes, to a point, but he never really broke a “big” play last season. Devon Achane brings another explosive player to this offense that I think Miami really needed.

With the draft, we will know within a season or two if any of these guys end up being great players or if any are Austin Jackson and Noah Igbinoghene and total busts of a pick. But as of today, right after the draft, it is safe to say I like what Miami did the past few days and I understand the logic behind the draft picks, which hasn’t always been the case in recent years with Chris Grier at the helm.