The Miami Dolphins have been a mediocre franchise for so long that it’s hard to think back to a time when it felt good to be a Dolphins fan on a yearly basis.
The team hasn’t made the playoffs since 2008. In fact, since 2002, the Dolphins have made the playoffs just one time. It has been 14 long years since the franchise has even won a playoff game. There are many reasons for this string of mediocrity that has taken hold of the franchise over recent years. After franchise QB Dan Marino retired, the Dolphins have yet to find a franchise quarterback in the 14 years since.
A number of bad investments on quarterbacks such as Daunte Culpepper and Chad Henne over the years set the franchise back.
But outside of the obvious problem of not finding a franchise quarterback in 2000, the most glaring reason for why the Dolphins have experienced such mediocrity is the lack of production from their selections in the NFL draft.
The team’s 2013 draft picks have been bad through one season. We’ll cut them some slack because it’s so early in each of those players’ careers, but one needs to look no further than the fact that the Dolphins have been trying to trade Dion Jordan, the No. 3 overall selection in that draft, throughout this offseason.
The second and third-round draft picks of that class were Jamar Taylor, Dallas Thomas and Will Davis. None of them played any more than nine games in their rookie seasons. Their impacts were so minimal that you could have forgotten they were even on the team in 2013.
2012 did produce the Dolphins’ current starting quarterback in Ryan Tannehill. It also produced Jonathan Martin. Martin was traded to the San Francisco 49ers this offseason, while Michael Egnew has produced just seven receptions for 69 yards through two seasons of his NFL career.
When you continue looking down the years of the Dolphins’ draft history, you see much of the same lack of production in their draft classes — Daniel Thomas in 2011 as a second-round draft selection, John Jerry as a third-round draft pick in 2010, Pat White as a second-round draft pick in 2009, and so on.
Even the selection of Jared Odrick in the first round in 2010 was an underwhelming selection. Odrick remains a starter along the Dolphins’ defensive line in 2014, but he has just 15.5 career sacks, hardly the dominating force along the edge that the franchise envisioned four years prior.
This is the reason why the Dolphins need to change their fortunes beginning next week in the 2014 NFL Draft. The franchise will have an opportunity to wipe the slate clean this year by addressing key needs at positions along the offensive line and defensive end. Hopefully the team will also find playmakers at tight end and safety.
For many years, the team has been unable to capitalize on its draft selections. Because of this, the Dolphins have been a franchise mired in mediocrity for many years.
The first step toward ensuring that the Dolphins are no longer a mediocre franchise? Having a draft that actually produces.