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2015 Dolphins Draft Picks
Even with the 2016 NFL Draft ending yesterday, the acqusition of talent to add to the roster continued while the draft was going on and immediately after the draft ended. The following players were added after the draft ended.
Lafatyette Pitts, CB, Pittsburgh, 5'11, 195 lbs
Marshall Koehn, P, Iowa, 6'0, 200 lbs
Tyler Gray, OLB, Boise State, 6'3, 238 lbs
Akil Blount, ILB, 6'2, 243 lbs. Akil is the son of Hall of Famer Mel Blount
Rueben Carter, OG, Toledo, 6'3, 305 lbs. Started his career at Florida State
Brandon Shippen, WR, Temple, 5'11, 195 lbs
AJ Hendy, S, Maryland, 6'1, 207 lbs
Gabe Hughes, TE, Florida Tech, 6'4, 240 lbs
Rashawn Scott, WR, Miami, 6'2, 205 lbs
Farrington Huguenin, DE, Kentucky, 6'4, 282 lbs
James Burgess, OLB, Louisville, 5'11, 227 lbs
Ryan DaSalvo, LS, San Jose State, 6'4, 253 lbs
The 2016 NFL Draft has come and gone, and as usual, teams will leave feeling good about what they accomplished, and Miami is no different. Time will tell how well the teams drafted. Teams tend to attack the draft the same, some will attack it in a different manner. It's apparent that Miami went into the draft looking to attack the offensive side of the field, with 6 of the 8 picks being on the offensive side.
Any time you have a new Head Coach, they want to come in and change the culture of an organization, and while it will not happen in one year, you begin to lay the ground work in Year 1. Adam Gase has come in and is attempting to change the culture of the Miami Dolphins. One change that you saw was how the Dolphins looked at players, as they drafted very scheme specific players.
One example of that was the drafting of CB Xavien Howard, the CB out of Baylor. DC Vance Joseph, who will also coach the defensive backs, wants cornerbacks that are physical, bump and run players that can also play off coverage as well. He wants bigger cornerbacks, and Howard fits at 6'0, 201 lbs. The Dolphins traded up 4 spots to get him in the 2nd round, and some question the wisdom of this move, as it cost them a 4th round pick, but the Dolphins identified Howard as their guy and did not want to lose him. Now, I do believe losing that 4th round pick probably cost them Clemson ILB B.J Goodson, a kid they brought in to Miami for a private workout. This is probably a lesson that will stick with new GM Chris Grier going into the 2017 Draft.
Switching back to the offensive side of the ball, Adam Gase is a coach that believes in creating mismatches, and the players that were drafted will help create those mismatches. One example of this is RB Kenyan Drake of Alabama. He is an ideal fit for a coach that wants to use RB by committee, and he also is tremendously versatile and explosive. In the passing game, he is good enough that you can swing him out and line him up as a WR, which means you will likely have a LB or safety swinging out to cover him. WR Leonte Carroo, TE Thomas Duarte, WR/KR Jakeem Grant all can be matchup nightmares for a defense.
Some have raised the question of Miami doing more on the defensive side of the ball, as I mentioned earlier, they only drafted the 2 cornerbacks. It has been reported that Miami would have taken UCLA OLB Myles Jack at #13, but no one could see Ole Miss OLT Laremy Tunsil dropping the way he did. Once it became apparent that Tunsil would indeed be there at #13, Miami grabbed the best OLT and Top 3 player in the draft. Miami desperately wanted to move up to get Jack in the 2nd round, and thought they had put together a strong enough package to get it done, but in the end, the Jaguars offered more and Miami missed out on Jack. As I mentioned earlier, I believe that 4th round pick that was used to trade up to get Howard probably would have been used on Clemson ILB B.J Goodson. I do also know from reading reports from Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald that the Dolphins look at CB Byron Maxwell and ILB Kiko Alonso, acquired in a trade with Philadelphia earlier this year as part of this draft class.
I do believe that the Dolphins will add Detroit DE Jason Jones, as they had been in talks with him heading into the draft, and recently, it was reported that the Dolphins will also look to sign CB Leon Hall, formerly of the Cincinnati Bengals. Adding those players would help bolster the additional signings in free agency of DE Mario Williams and DE Andre Branch, S Abdul-Quddus Isa among others that were added.
Another concern raised was the trading of future picks in the 2017 Draft. The one thing that I had read and believe the Dolphins took into account when making those moves was the fact that Miami is expecting to get a 3rd, 5th and 7th round compensatory picks in 2017. That said, I am want that likes having as many picks as possible, so while they will probably have their full allotment of picks in 2017, I am always one that wants MORE PICKS.
Overall, I thought Miami added talent on this team that will help them move forward and help them establish a new identity, a new culture for an organization that badly needs a change in culture. Miami took chances on kids, very talented kids, as GM Chris Grier refered to the kids, Alphas. How well did the Dolphins do? Let's talk in a couple of years.
In a draft that has been heavy on the offensive side of the ball and certainly has Coach Adam Gase stamp all over it, the Dolphins take UCLA TE Thomas Duarte with the 2nd 7th round pick and last pick for the Dolphins. Thomas is a tweener that played some wide receiver and has been compared to Jordan Reed, the talented TE with the Washington Redskins. He will certainly be used in a simlar manner to former Dolphin TE Charles Clay, although he is not close to being the blocker Clay turned into. Will certainly help create mismatches for Miami.
Here is the summary from NFL.Com.
NFL scouts don't care one bit about the ethnicity of college football prospects; it's the ultimate color-blind evaluation because either guys can play, have the potential to become players in time, or just dont have the necessary skill set. Duarte's growing up in a household with Mexican and Japanese influences give him a unique background, but scouting his outstanding skill set as a playmaking receiver is what interests general managers across the league. The four-star wide receiver recruit from successful Mater Dei High School (where his number was retired) jumped into the fray as a true freshman, playing in 13 games with four starts and garnering honorable mention All-Pac-12 (16-214, four TD). Duarte was picked as honorable mention all-conference selection again in 2014, leading the conference with an average 19.3 yards per reception from the tight end position (28-540, four TD). Joining forces with freshman phenom quarterback Josh Rosen last season, Duarte became a second-team all-conference pick by catching 10 touchdowns among his 53 catches that covered 872 yards (16.5 per).
Glider. Able to create early defender leans with his route work. Has hips to swerve into change of direction creating separation inside red area and can sink into breaks and make razor-sharp cuts inside his routes. Has burst out of break points to uncover against safeties and slot corners. Able and willing to work the middle. Doesnt scare easily.
'Tweener size. Scouts worry he cant get big enough to become matchup/move tight end. Routes can be disrupted by contact in space. Production bolstered by unguarded looks and catches on air. Didn't have to face dedicated coverage he'll see in pros. Needs to catch over corral. Disinterested as blocker.
Rounds 6 or 7
Duarte is an interesting study as his draft value and overall grade could be tied directly to whether or not a team believes they can make him work as move tight end. Duarte has the athleticism, size and play speed to make a roster as a wide receiver, but his draft value may not be as high if teams see him as a receiver only. Matchup tight ends are all the rage and Duarte can play with more weight and a little more willingness as a run blocker, hes got a shot to become a productive NFL player.
ESPN INSIDER ANALYSIS **