After analyzing the draft needs of all 32 teams, PFT will review how well each team addressed those needs. Up next: The Miami Dolphins.
What they needed: Offensive line, defensive end, cornerback, safety
Who they got:
Round 1: Dion Jordan, DE, Oregon
Round 2: Jamar Taylor, CB, Boise State
Round 3: Dallas Thomas, G, Tennessee; Will Davis, CB, Utah State
Round 4: Jelani Jenkins, LB, Florida; Dion Sims, TE, Michigan State
Round 5: Mike Gillislee, RB, Florida, Caleb Sturgis, K, Florida
Round 7: Don Jones, S, Arkansas State
Where they hit: The Dolphins came into the draft with a ton of picks and they leveraged them well to move up and get Jordan. Giving up one of their two second-round picks for a player who is potentially special coming off the edge was a bold move and it is one that can really pay off for the Dolphins in the short, medium and long term. There’s some concern about how he’ll hold up against the run, but it’s gotta be fun for the Dolphins to think about him attacking opposite from Cameron Wake.
Taylor was a very solid pick at No. 54 from both a need and value standpoint. The Dolphins need a starter and he should be at the top of the list of players in the mix for that role. Davis is ticketed for sub packages, another place where the Dolphins need a boost after last season’s misadventures in the secondary.
Where they missed: Thomas played left tackle in 2011, but he moved to left guard last season and seems a longshot to kick back outside at the NFL level. The Dolphins could stand to get better at guard than they’ve been with John Jerry and Richie Incognito, but it would have been nice to see them get better competition for Jonathan Martin at left tackle. The same goes for safety, where the need isn’t acute but a possible chance to add quality competition to the mix went by the wayside to add depth at tight end and running back.
Impact rookies: Jordan and Taylor will be expected to start and play well at two pivotal spots in the Dolphins defense. Jordan will likely get spotted a bit more as the team tries to bring him along against the run, but both guys will have plenty to do with how well the Dolphins stop the pass. Thomas should challenge for a starting job somewhere on the line, Jenkins excels in coverage so should see a fair amount of time in sub packages and Sturgis will try to push Dan Carpenter out of the kicking job.
Long-term prospects: This was something of an odd draft for the Dolphins since there’s a sense that General Manager Jeff Ireland’s job could hang on this year’s results. Jordan isn’t a developmental pick by any means, but he’s not a perfect fit for the Miami defense and may not be developed enough to immediately become the force Ireland clearly thinks he can be. That’s not a bad thing at all, but there’s some disconnect from the rest of the draft where the Dolphins went with safer picks that filled some obvious needs with players that should help right away. There’s a lot of reason to think this draft will help the Dolphins for years to come. Ireland just has to hope it starts helping right away.