Miami Dolphins Draft Analysis: Grades For Each Pick

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Miami Dolphins 2013 NFL Draft

NFL
Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Dolphins introduced their new team with a 7-9 season in 2012. If not for a missed field goal here or there, the record could easily be 9-7. Either way, further improvements needed to be made. The team changed philosophies on both sides of the ball. On offense, new offensive coordinator Mike Sherman brought in a pass heavy zone blocking system. On defence, Kevin Coyle implemented the 4-3 to replace the 3-4 the team played under departed defensive coordinator Mike Nolan. Changes like this lead to changes in the roster and it began in a big way this offseason.

The organization focused on youth, athleticism and speed. Gone were Jake Long, Reggie Bush, Sean Smith and Anthony Fasano and in came Mike Wallace, Dustin Keller, Danelle Ellerbe and some other intriguing pieces. It was an explosive way to use the over $40M in created cap space. It also drew a lot of attention to the team that was both positive and negative.

Part two of this overhaul would take place in the 2013 Draft. The team entered this past weekends event still having holes to fill in multiple areas. Questions at LT, not yet answered by a veteran aquisition, still remained. The signing of Brent Grimes was a risky start, but the team still needed at least two other cornerbacks. Miami entered the draft with 11 picks and through a few maneuvers ended up with nine selections. The success or failure of this draft won't be fully know for a few seasons, but we can use these player's college careers, scouting and combine performances for speculation on their NFL future. I graded each pick based on what you can reasonably expect out of the particular selection compared to the team's need at the position. Let's begin.

Tony Graham is an NFL writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @tonyphintalk, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google

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Round 1, Pick 3 - Dion Jordan OLB

NFL
Jim Z. Rider-USA TODAY Sports

Right off the bat, I was fundamentally against the Miami Dolphins trading up. I wanted to see 11 new Dolphins on the roster due to the 11 picks they had accumulated. I also thought that if they did trade up it would be for a left tackle. I actually think that the team thought that either Luke Joeckel or Eric Fisher would be there at three seeing that the Jacksonville Jaguars appeared to be set at the position with Eugene Monroe. Anyway, what’s done is done and Jordan is an extremely talented and athletic Dolphin. If his talents are used correctly, this should be a no brainer. He is a linebacker that can rush and cover with quickness and speed. He’s 248lb and would be better served if he was 258lb - 265lb. He will need that weight gain and coaching so I give the selection a grade of solid B ... I don’t think you trade up to take a player 3rd over all if he needs to gain weight to play in your scheme.

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Round 2, Pick 54 - Jamar Taylor CB

NFL
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Any DB under the coaching of defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle is a better DB than he would be if he wasn’t. So this pick is even more exciting when you consider the fact that Jamar Taylor’s skill set is already a fit with Coyle’s defensive philosophy. With the departure of Sean Smith via free agency and the pre 2012 season trade of Vontae Davis, Taylor should combine with a hopefully-healthy Brent Grimes to be an upgrade to the defensive backfield. Also, nobody had him dropping to 54. So not only was this an excellent pick, it was at great value. I give the selection an A+ grade.

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Round 3, Pick 77 - Dallas Thomas OT

NFL
Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

Thomas will probably be camp competition with Jonathan Martin at LT. If he loses, he will be depth at one of the guard spots. He shouldn't have any trouble getting time at right guard if John Jerry doesn't come into camp in better shape than last year. If Thomas wins, Martin will compete at RT. I wanted to see Terron Armstead taken here, but he went two picks earlier to the New Orleans Saints. I don't know how this will turn out. He has the athleticism and strength to play in the scheme, but his value will be in his versatility. I can't give that an A+ grade in the 3rd round. So B- it is.

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Round 3, Pick 93 - Will Davis CB

NFL
Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

He pretty much has everything but physicality. He's not going to get matched up with the other team's focal point WR. It's rare that someone with his long frame still has the fluid hips. So I guess he's rare. If the coaching staff can get in his head and make him a willing tackler, he'll be a good one. I saw him as a 5th round pick only because the draft was strong at corner. This pick is a winner if he can get playing time in dime packages. He will have to show value in other areas. That sounds like I'm describing a 5th round pick doesn't it? But it's the 3rd round so I'm giving this pick a C.

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Round 4, Pick 104 - Jelani Jenkins ILB

NFL
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Jenkins identifies the ball real well and he does not fall for the banana in the tailpipe when hunting the ball carrier. An explosive tackler, but he needs to be able to see when he's about to get swallowed up by large blockers. Depth at LB was on the list of team's areas of need. So this is an understandable pick. I had him 6th in the nation at his position. This is a B selection.

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Round 4, Pick 106 - Dion Sims TE

NFL
Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

A need pick. Recently signed FA Dustin Keller is not a blocking TE and with the departure of Anthony Fasano, one was definitely needed. The only surprise here is the fact that the new Dolphins regime seems to chase good citizens and Sims missed the 2010 season due to felony charges. His only concerns would be durability at this point. When he's healthy, he's an excellent fit. This selection is an A.

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Round 5, Pick 164 - Mike Gillislee RB

NFL
John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

He's probably my 2nd favorite pick in the draft. I'm not big on running backs to begin with. However, Gillislee is the cutback running back that can really make the most of the Dolphin's implemented blocking scheme. I expect him to take over as the #2 back behind Lamar Miller. If he can pass protect and/or catch out of the backfield in the pros, he may go higher than that. But at this point, with Miller and Daniel Thomas on the roster, Gillislee is a depth pick. Not bad at all for the 5th round. The Grade is B+

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Round 5, Pick 166 - Caleb Sturgis K

NFL
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Goodbye Daniel Carpenter and take your bloated contract with you. Anyone who knows anything about the Dolphins had that same salary-cap-saving thought when this pick was made. Add to that, the facts about Sturgis' strong leg, accuracy and the Dolphins having no 6th round picks. I co-sign this move. I can't give kicker selections any higher than a B-

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Round 7, Pick 250 - Don Jones S

NFL
Crystal LoGiudice-USA TODAY Sports

He should try to make a lane for himself on special teams while he takes the time to gain 15 pounds. He has the speed to make a difference on special teams and learn the safety position in the NFL. This pick doesn't hurt. You could do a lot worse in the 7th round. Grade B


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