By Cody Strahm @CodyJStrahm on May 12, 2014
Now that the Miami Dolphins' 2014 NFL Draft is over, it's time to do fun things like rank their picks from worst to first. It should be noted that these rankings aren't composed based on talent versus talent, but rather by comparing factors like value and fit.
Georgia's Arthur Lynch could become an ideal inline complement to No. 1 tight end Charles Clay. His college tape doesn't indicate that he excels at anything, though. He's not a bad blocker or receiver, but doesn't do either well enough to enter training camp solidified as Clay's sidekick. He'll need to earn that role by outperforming Dion Sims, who was a fourth-round choice last April.
Walt Aikens, no doubt, has NFL measurables -- he's 6-foot-1 and ran a sub-4.5 40-yard dash at his pro day. He was devalued some entering the draft as a small-school prospect who couldn't stay out of trouble at a bigger program (Illinois). Cornerback is one of the most difficult positions to play as a rookie, but Aikens could potentially challenge Will Davis for the club's No. 4 corner spot with a seamless jump to the pros.
This was a low-risk/high-reward pick for the Dolphins. Marist product Terrence Fede looks the part, especially from a size and speed perspective. But there is no way to know if his impressive pass rushing production in college will translate to the NFL where everyone is substantially bigger and more athletic than the competition he abused at Marist. If it doesn't, no real harm done. Fede was only a seventh-round pick.
The Dolphins didn't acquire much value by making Ja'Wuan James the No. 19 overall pick. Starting-caliber right tackles are had in the middle rounds on an annual basis and James could have been nabbed later in the first, if not the second. Still, he fills the club's biggest need and he's a relatively surefire option to provide dependable pass protection. He makes the offensive line better. He makes Ryan Tannehill better. Is value that important?
Matt Hazel isn't your typical sixth-round receiver. A deep receiver class and the small-school label pushed him down draft boards. On film, Hazel resembles a middle-round selection. He possesses decent size, fluidity and hands, offering an all-around skill set that could benefit Miami from the slot or outside. He'll be stiff competition for Armon Binns, Damian Williams, Rishard Matthews and Brandon Gibson in the fight to make the 53-man roster.
Montana's Jordan Tripp, another small-school prospect, may have also been devalued by the competition he faced. Few linebackers from prominent programs play faster, as instinctive or with as much passion, though. Everything about Tripp's game suggests he'll be a handful for Philip Wheeler if there is an open competition for the starting weakside outside linebacker spot. After Wheeler's dreadful performance in 2013, there should be.
Jarvis Landry brings almost everything to the table scouts look for in starting-caliber receivers. He makes contested catches, he high-points the football, he runs crisp routes and he rarely drops passes. I only say almost, though, because his 40 time is considered slow and his size is considered just adequate. Teams may regret passing on him for those reasons, however. He's just too natural of a receiver not to continue to make plays in the NFL.
I would not be the least bit surprised if North Dakota State's Billy Turner is regarded as the Dolphins' best pick of the 2014 draft in time. Turner absolutely loves the game of football. He loves to hit. He loves to compete. And it's all evident on tape. If he can clean up some technique issues and add some lower-body bulk, he has the potential to become one of the most complete and dominant linemen in football.
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