The Miami Dolphins had a disappointing 2013. After finishing the year 8-8, which was their fifth consecutive non-playoff and non-winning season, the media had a field day with the franchise.
The franchise received a lot of criticism throughout the 2013 season and following the conclusion of it. One of the many low points of the season was the Richie Incognito–Jonathan Martin bullying scandal that engulfed the Dolphins’ season for the last two months. It wouldn’t end there, however, as the Dolphins had a chance to clinch their first playoff berth in five years by winning one of their remaining two games against two sub .500 teams in the Buffalo Bills and the New York Jets, only to lose both of those games.
The Dolphins had an offensive line that gave up 58 sacks (an NFL high and franchise record) and a running game that ranked 26th in the NFL in total rushing yards. Following the conclusion of the season, blame for the disastrous end to the season was thrown everywhere from quarterback Ryan Tannehill, head coach Joe Philbin, ex-general manager Jeff Ireland and ex-offensive coordinator Mike Sherman. Ireland and Sherman were fired, while Philbin was retained.
The Dolphins encountered many low points throughout the 2013 season. When one looks at their final record, it’s astonishing the team even finished one game within clinching a playoff berth. But one underwhelming part of the 2013 season for the team was the lack of production from their draft class. No one is saying that of the Dolphins’ nine draft selections from last season, that at least a few of them should have had great rookie seasons. Not every player is going to have the impact of an Alfred Morris or Andrew Luck.
However, some contribution or production is expected out of the players you draft, especially the ones drafted in the earlier rounds. The issue is that the Dolphins received almost zero contribution from their rookies, with the exception of kicker Caleb Sturgis, who was drafted in the fifth round. First-round pick DE Dion Jordan, second-round pick CB Jamar Taylor and third-round picks OT/G Dallas Thomas and CB Will Davis were non-factors in the Dolphins’ 2013 season.
Jordan was a member of the defensive line rotation, but he contributed just two sacks as the third overall pick. The Dolphins gave away a second-round draft selection in order to move up in last year’s draft to select Jordan. He contributed very little in the pass rushing department. Taylor made just nine appearances on the season and contributed just three tackles in a special teams role. Thomas, who was expected to replace former franchise left tackle Jake Long, made just six appearances with zero starts in his rookie season. Davis had five appearances with eight tackles in 2013.
Basically, only one out of the Dolphins’ top four draft selections were a key part of the team in 2013. The other three were inactive for at least half of the season and didn’t make a single start combined. Those are terrible results from the top members of your draft class.
However, 2014 may be a different story, and the 2013 draft class may finally have an impact on the Dolphins’ fortunes. Having said that, the 2013 draft class of the Dolphins was a huge reason for their lack of success. If 2014 is a repeat of what we saw in 2013 from these players, all four of these guys may not even be with the team in 2015.