When Miami Dolphins general manager Chris Grier and assistant general manager Marvin Allen addressed the media last week, Allen said something about last year’s class that they were players that were going to sit for a year and learn and not get contributions barring injury. The Dolphins last year didn’t have a first or second round, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find a contributor. However, the Dolphins were pretty set with their lineup through free agency. The Dolphins drafted linebacker Channing Tindell with their first pick, and with the Dolphins resigning their linebackers to 1-year deals, it seemed unlikely for him to sniff the field. The Dolphins’ fourth-round pick wide receiver Erik Ezukanma had a good preseason and was probably the star of the preseason, but when the season got going, he never saw the field. The Dolphins coaches said he was still learning the different roles at his position, and that’s probably true.
That brings me to this year, as the Dolphins don’t have a first-round pick, so they probably won’t get a high-end talent barring a player sliding in the draft for whatever reason. The Dolphins’ roster seems set at their starting positions, but depth is needed for injuries. The Dolphins only have four picks, which is the fewest of any team in the draft, and that’s the price the Dolphins pay for going into win-now mode. This doesn’t mean the Dolphins can’t find anybody, but their options could be limited. They could also find some gems as undrafted free agents as they did with Nik Needham and last year Kadar Kohu.
The consensus is that the Dolphins need a tight end, and people feel it’s their most glaring need on the roster. I don’t believe it’s a glaring need, but the Dolphins do have to get another tight end with Mike Gesicki leaving and trading Hunter Long. Durham Smythe is more than capable of being the tight end. He might not be the flashiest player in the world, but he gets the job done in the trenches and can be a threat in the red zone like Anthony Fasano was back in the day. Plus, this draft is considered one of the deepest at the position in years. Due to this, the Dolphins don’t necessarily have to take a tight end right away. Even if they take a tight end, there is no guarantee that the player will see the field immediately with Smythe, Eric Saubert, and Tanner Conner on the roster.
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The Dolphins could go offensive line to add more depth. I know Grier’s track record with offensive linemen hasn’t been very good in the draft. However, that doesn’t mean the Dolphins shouldn’t consider the position. They need another tackle for when Terron Armstead goes down or if Austin Jackson doesn’t play better. It would be good insurance for that reason. The Dolphins could also look for an interior lineman at guard or center. Connor Williams is a free agent next year, and with the Dolphins being tight against the cap, it’s not the worst idea to pick someone that they could groom at some point in the draft and have a plan if they can’t come to a new deal with Williams. Plus, left guard Liam Eichenberg has struggled since coming into the league. The thing that would make me be ok with taking a lineman either in the 2nd or 3rd round is this coaching staff did a good job coaching up this line last year and have mostly everybody back, and they have a structure on offense. Unlike when Brian Flores was head coach when he changed his offensive coaches like you change your underwear. Mike McDaniel and their staff are also still trying to bring in their personnel.
An area the Dolphins should consider if certain players fall in the 2nd round is the defensive line. I know people will say the Dolphins have a lot of talent on the defensive front, and that is true. However, you can never have enough defensive linemen. The Dolphins have three players at defensive tackle whose contracts expire after the season in Christian Wilkins, Zach Seiler, and Raekwon Davis. The odds are the Dolphins will lose one or two of them because of the salary cap. Plus, the Dolphins lost John Jenkins in free agency, so grooming someone for the future is a good idea to protect yourself, just like the offensive line. The Dolphins have an edge rusher in Emmanuel Ogbah, who is coming off an injury and was having a disappointing season prior to the injury after the Dolphins gave him a new contract last year. If he has another disappointing season, the Dolphins can get out of the contract next year. Grooming another pass rusher to compliment Jalen Phillips and Bradley Chubb is a good idea to protect themselves.
The Dolphins will have some options when it’s their turn to pick at 51, but they will also have a long wait from the 3rd round pick at 84 to the 6th round because they don’t have a pick in the 4th or 5th round at this time, barring a trade. The Dolphins could try to trade a player like Cedric Wilson to get a pick. If the Dolphins stand pat, they will have four picks, and with the roster pretty much set with their starters, this draft class could be like last year and won’t see the development for another year. There are always surprises in the draft, and maybe there will be one with the Dolphins at a certain position, but I think this is going to be a wait-and-see class in terms of getting them on the field.