Miami Dolphins 2012 NFL Draft Picks: Grades, Results and Analysis

Erik FrenzSenior Writer IApril 26, 2012

Miami Dolphins 2012 NFL Draft Picks: Grades, Results and Analysis

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    Miami Dolphins general manager Jeff Ireland had better hope he hit a home run in the 2012 NFL Draft, because his job may be the on the line.

    With 10 selections, you have to think they hit a bulls-eye on at least one...right? Well, they sure hope that their first selection is the best bulls-eye they've ever hit, because if he is, they could be set at quarterback for the first time since Dan Marino retired in 2000.

    This tracker was updated throughout the draft with grades, analysis and reaction to all of the picks, trades and moves that the Dolphins made over the three day extravaganza.

    Click through for scouting reports, reactions and grades for all of the Dolphins picks and moves in the draft.

First Round, Pick 8: Ryan Tannehill, QB, Texas A&M

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    Whether Tannehill ends up being a success in the NFL or not, at least the Dolphins showed the conviction to take a shot on a quarterback that they have faith in to be a franchise leader.

     

    Scouting Report

    There are enough questions about Ryan Tannehill's future to cause for pause. That being said, the Dolphins did their diligence on Tannehill. The entire crew of Dolphins was in attendance at his Pro Day, they have scouted the Texas A&M quarterback as well as they possibly could have.

    Tannehill is an athlete, and a raw one at quarterback. He played wide receiver his first two years in college, and though he has shown upside to be a starting quarterback in the NFL, it will take some time. But with so little experience, how steep is the bell curve for Tannehill?

    From Greg Cosell of NFL Films:

    Overall, I did not necessarily see the kind of improvement over time I would have liked. In the final analysis, Tannehill is a better prospect than Christian Ponder was a year ago. Tannehill possesses the skill set to be a quality NFL starter. At this point, he would be best in a quick-rhythm, short-to-intermediate passing game that featured play-action and boot-action passes. One thing we know for certain: He likely will be drafted higher than his body of work suggests he should be.

    For more scouting analysis on Tannehill, click here.

     

    Pick Grade: B-

    Despite warning about his developmental nature from several of the league's top draft pundits, the Dolphins have the conviction on Ryan Tannehill to know that he is their quarterback for the future. Whether that future is 2012 or 2013 remains to be seen.

    But at least he might be able to put an end to the 16 different starting quarterbacks the Dolphins have fielded since Dan Marino retired in 2000.

    Who am I to judge at this point? Tannehill may be a developmental quarterback, but if the Dolphins think Tannehill's their guy, they made the right move. They'd just better hope they're right.


Second Round, Pick 42: Jonathan Martin, OT, Stanford

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    Martin protected Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck's blind side for four years in college, and now he'll get to block for a new franchise quarterback in Ryan Tannehill.

    Dolphins' quarterbacks were sacked 52 times last year, so it was no surprise when the team targeted an offensive tackle. The future of Jake Long's contract remains uncertain, so who knows when this could become a need.

     

    Scouting Report

    Wes Bunting of National Football Post likes his athleticism, but doesn't like that he's not incredibly physical. That should be okay in the Miami Dolphins system, as they'll be asking their tackles to do more in space than in a phone booth.

    He's got the NFL size, length and overall athletic skill set. However, he's not a natural anchor player and doesn't strike me as a guy who is ever going to be real physical at the next level. He can mirror in space, but struggles to stick through contact and isn't real heavy handed. Looks like a finesse tackle who will get over drafted because of athletic talent, but is going to have a hard time keeping the edge clean at the next level. 

    In a comparison to Bears tackle Gabe Carimi, Matt Miller says Martin is, "surprisingly athletic, has good strength [and is] really just a sound technician."

    Click here for more scouting analysis on Martin.

     

    Pick Grade: A-

    As mentioned before, if tackle wasn't a need now, it would be in the next few years.

    Martin was the third-ranked offensive tackle on several boards, so to get him at the beginning of the first round should be considered solid value.

Third Round, Pick 72: Olivier Vernon, DE, Miami

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    The Miami Dolphins take their first defensive player, and a local product at that.

    With a quarterback and a tackle taken with the first and second picks, it was time to address a defensive line that is in a state of flux at the moment.

     

    Scouting Report

    Vernon has the build of a natural 4-3 defensive end at 6'2" and 261 pounds with 33" long arms.

    But virtually everything that I've read on him shares one word: "raw."

    B/R NFL draft lead blogger Sigmund Bloom compares his game to another player already on the Dolphins roster in Jamaal Westerman, using the R word and saying he, "has a great first step and quickness that could make him a top pass rusher in the NFL."

    He's ultra athletic, but it will take some time before he's ready to contribute on a frequent basis.

    Rob Rang of NFLDraftScout.com, however, points out that Vernon's versatility will help him earn opportunities to get on the field.

    Vernon has an explosive burst off the snap but still needs a lot of technical work to earn consistent playing time at the pro level. He is viewed as a prospect potentially capable of making the switch to outside linebacker in the 3-4 scheme, which does help his cause.

    For more scouting analysis of Vernon, click here.

     

    Pick Grade: B+

    The Dolphins sorely needed someone who they could put opposite Wake, and in a year or two, Vernon could be that guy. You can't expect to get many plug-and-play prospects in the third round and beyond.

Third Round, Pick 73: Traded to Chargers for 78th and 183rd Overall Picks

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    Throw out your draft pick value charts, everyone, because they're quickly becoming obsolete.

    At least this trade was moderately close: The Dolphins gave up a pick valued at 225 points for two picks combining for 218.2 points.

    The Dolphins don't move down too far, and get to add another player who can possibly crack their roster and they now have five picks on the draft's final day.

    Trade Grade: B+ 

Third Round, Pick 78: Michael Egnew, TE, Missouri

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    First the quarterback, then his protector, then his weapon.

    Something gives me the feeling that the Dolphins are dedicated to improving their offense in this year's draft.

    Scouting Report

    Egnew is a receiving tight end through and through, but he's a great prospect in that respect. B/R NFL editor Michael Schottey compares his game to tight end Tony Scheffler, who is also a heralded pass-catching tight end.

    His production—140 receptions for 1,285 yards and eight touchdowns—speaks for itself, but his 6'5" 252-pound frame and 33-inch long arms should seal the deal on him as a fit in the NFL.

    He may not be a great blocking tight end, but Wes Bunting of National Football Post says he can contribute heavily in the passing game.

    He doesn't play as a traditional tight end, and for the most part lines-up in the slot on a regular basis from a two-point stance and is asked to work nearly exclusively as an "off the line Y." He possesses impressive coordination and body control for his size, gets into his route well for his size, has a nice feel for zone coverage in the pass game and works himself well into soft spots underneath. Is a massive target to throw at, extends his arms well when covered up and can pluck routinely off his frame. He possesses average speed down the field and has the ability to run away from backers across the field, but there isn't a real explosive element to his game. 

     

    Pick Grade: B-

    Clearly, the team doesn't like the prospects of Charles Clay as their joker tight end, having drafted Egnew to do virtually the same thing. That being said, tight end wasn't a big need for the Dolphins.

    He's also not incredibly versatile, but spending a third round pick on him makes it a bit easier to swallow.

Fourth Round, Pick No. 97: Lamar Miller, RB, Miami

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    The Dolphins went with another home town pick in the fourth round, trading up seven spots to land Miami running back Lamar Miller.

     

    Scouting Report

    In drawing comparison to Lesean McCoy, Matt Miller says Lamar Miller is, "one of the most agile running backs in this year's class and really in recent memory," and adds, "his flexibility in his hips, and that ability to swivel in space, get out on the edge and make defenders miss—that's what Miller does best."

    In a separate scouting report, Matt Miller writes, "We love Miller's game-breaking speed and quickness, but he will have to learn to accumulate yards when the path to the corner is blocked off. If he can become a better between-the-tackles runner, Miller has the athleticism to become a feature back and Pro Bowl-caliber player."

     

    Pick Grade: C+

    On talent alone, the pick is solid value in the fourth round. Miller had 1,357 yards from scrimmage and 10 total touchdowns in 2011. 

    That being said, this is a curious pick; Miller's skill set is almost identical to that of current Dolphins running back Reggie Bush. Unless the new Dolphins coaching staff is intent on giving him less carries, Miller might have a hard time supplanting him in that role.

    Plus, the Dolphins traded up for him, and gave up two extra picks including one in next year's draft. This just a year after trading up for Daniel Thomas in the second round in 2011.

Fifth Round, Pick 145: Traded to Titans for 155th and 227th Overall Picks

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    For the second time in the draft, the Dolphins traded down and acquired more picks to add depth.

    The Dolphins need to find quality depth, but the draft is a lottery, and the difference between 10 picks in the fifth round won't likely be great enough to come back and bite them.

    Trade Grade: A- 

Fifth Round, Pick 155: Josh Kaddu, LB, Oregon

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    Well, linebacker wasn't a terrible position of need for the Dolphins, but they picked up a player who can give them another option at linebacker in certain packages where he fits. He'll need some work, but he's a good addition to a defense in flux.

     

    Scouting Report

    Kaddu's athleticism draws comparisons to Michael Boley, who has been a stud in the NFL for various teams that have been able to best utilize that athleticism.

    B/R NFL editor Michael Schottey says of Kaddu, "He's long, he's lean, he's got decent coverage skills, and because of those long arms, he's going to get his hands on a lot of balls that other linebackers wouldn't."

    This from Dane Brugler of CBS Sports:

    Kaddu had his most productive season in 2011 as a senior (14 starts)...earning First Team All-Pac 12 honors. Kaddu is a gifted athlete with an impressive frame and a lot of raw ability—offers a lot of value as a rangy and athletic tackler with the footwork to hold up in space. He needs to get stronger to do more damage at the point of attack and is very unpolished with the mental aspect of the position—streaky instincts and anticipation. Kaddu is an impressive physical specimen with ideal size and athleticism for the position, but needs to develop the rest of his game.

    For more scouting analysis on Kaddu, click here.

     

    Pick Grade: A-

    While linebacker wasn't a big position of need for the Dolphins at this time, they did right by their defense to add someone who might, potentially, possibly, one day be able to cover Aaron Hernandez or Rob Gronkowski, both of whom have victimized the Dolphins defense for years.

    And if the Dolphins are truly planning on being a hybrid defense, you can never have too many linebackers; they allow more flexibility in the front seven. His special teams abilities help his grade.

Sixth Round, Pick No. 183: B.J. Cunningham, WR, Michigan State

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    The Dolphins added their franchise quarterback in the first round, but waited until the sixth round to give him a target on the outside (not including Egnew, a tight end).

     

    Scouting Report

    Cunningham will not be an elite outside-the-numbers target because he doesn't have the size or the speed to force defenses to respect his presence. What he can do, though, is fight for the ball and create yards after the catch.

    He draws comparison to Texans receiver Kevin Walter, who has been solid but unspectacular and has stuck around the NFL in his role for going on a decade. Sigmund Bloom says, "he'll lay out for the ball, and he's very stubborn after the catch. He can also create separation with a little bit of wiggle in his routes."

    And Wes Bunting writes:

    Isn't real dynamic of an athlete and it takes him a bit to build speed. However, he can box out defenders, go get the football and break tackles after the catch.

    For more scouting analysis on Cunningham, click here.

     

    Pick Grade: B-

    Cunningham's skill set may not scream starting NFL wide receiver, but he has some of the skills that will be necessary for him to make an mpact in the West Coast offense, including his ability to create yards after the catch. He gets thrown into the mix for a roster spot with plenty of wide receivers with whom his skills should be on par.

Seventh Round, Pick 215: Kheeston Randall, DT, Texas

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    Of the Dolphins eight picks to this point, only three of them were defenders. None, though, were nearly as big as Randall.

     

    Scouting Report

    Randall may be just a seventh-round draft pick, but he bears comparison to a former first-round pick, Chiefs defensive linemen Tyson Jackson. 

    Schottey says, "He could play either 1-technique in the 4-3 or 5-technique in the 3-4. Either way, he's going to set the point of attack and stop the run for you all day."

    That being said, he does look like more or a two-gapper according to Wes Bunting.

    Can bend for his size, but isn't a natrual pass rusher and struggles to disengage. Best chance to start looks as a 34 DE. Reserve at best inside.

    He doesn't have quite the frame to play nose tackle, but he was listed as one at the combine and his skill set seems most conducive to that position. If that's the case, he should probably add some weight. From Dane Brugler of CBS Sports:

    Randall is a model citizen in the classroom and off the field, where he dedicates appreciable time and energy to community needs. But dress him in a uniform and put him on the football field and he becomes a troublemaker the very instant the ball is snapped.

    For more scouting analysis on Randall, click here.

     

    Pick Grade: B-

    Scheme versatility seems to be a key focal point for the Dolphins in this draft as they transition to a hybrid front for 2012. While Randall has some, he may be little more than a reserve on the inside of the Dolphins defensive line. As a seventh round pick, though, you can't expect much more than that.

Seventh Round, Pick 227: Rishard Matthews, WR, Nevada

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    The Dolphins are clearly trying to put the pieces together to run Joe Philbin's offense. This is the second wide receiver (not counting Ryan Tannehill), third pass-catching threat and fifth offensive player they've drafted.

     

    Scouting Report

    In comparing Matthews to Lions wide receiver Nate Burleson, Schottey says he, "runs crisp routes, and has good athleticism, however he lacks the elite size and elite 'it' factor to be a No. 1 wide receiver in the NFL."

    In much the same mold as B.J. Cunningham, Matthews isn't a receiver that's going to burn past defensive backs with great long speed at the NFL level. But Wes Bunting points out some redeeming qualities to his game.

    Possesses a strong looking frame for his size and is a compactly built receiver. Showcases good body control and hand eye coordination when asked to extend and pluck the football and isn't afraid to work the middle of the field. Isn't a real explosive kid however. Lacks a great first step to eat up the cushion and isn't a guy who is going to run by anyone at the next level.

    He knows how to use his size and he's a savvy route-runner. That should help him go places in the NFL despite a lack of deep play potential.

    Also, here's a nice Q & A with Matthews as written by up-and-coming draft blogger Kyle Casey.

     

    Pick Grade: B+

    With two of their late-round picks, the Dolphins have at least attempted to equip their offense with the firepower necessary to run Joe Philbin's offense. We knew he didn't like spending high picks on receivers, but we didn't realize the affinity for late-round value at the position ran so strongly through his veins.

    While Matthews may not be an elite No. 1 receiver in the NFL, he can at least add to the competition, and he comes with 

Miami Dolphins 2012 NFL Draft Report Card

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    Dolphins pre-draft needs: QB, WR, OT, DE, S, CB

    First Round, Pick 8: Ryan Tannehill, QB, Texas A&M

    Grade: B-

    If it pans out, this is a LeBron James slam dunk. If it falls flat, Jeff Ireland is going to be swimming with the fishes in the dunk tank. Tannehill has the potential to be the Dolphins next quarterback of the future, but he comes with warning labels from draft pundits across the Web regarding his developmental nature.

    Second Round, Pick 42: Jonathan Martin, OT, Stanford

    Grade: A-

    Offensive tackle was a need, though not the biggest one, but Jonathan Martin gives the Dolphins a player they can plug in and start from Week 1. He'll have the fate of the franchise in his hands protecting Tannehill (at some point, we think) but he has plenty of experience protecting highly valuable quarterbacks (see: Luck, Andrew).

    Third Round, Pick 72: Olivier Vernon, DE, Miami

    Grade: B+

    Put Vernon opposite Cameron Wake and let the two get after the quarterback. He needs some work on the fundamentals, but he's explosive off the snap, has quickness around the edge and has a good ceiling.

    Third Round, Pick 78: Michael Egnew, TE, Missouri

    Grade: B-

    Pass-catching tight ends are more valuable than ever with the emergence of Aaron Hernandez and Jermichael Finley. Egnew is in a similar mold to those two, but the Dolphins already had Charles Clay on the roster. Egnew is an upgrade there, but the Dolphins could have targeted one of the many available wide receivers here.

    Fourth Round, Pick No. 97: Lamar Miller, RB, Miami

    Grade: C+

    The Dolphins could use the depth at running back, but Lamar Miller is far too similar to Reggie Bush for my taste. I understand the positional target, but the prospect is a bit of a head scratcher. Why would you willingly take snaps away from Reggie Bush, after the season he had last year?

    Fifth Round, Pick 155: Josh Kaddu, LB, Oregon

    Grade: A-

    A physical specimen and a versatile linebacker for depth in the fifth round. Can't knock this pick.

    Sixth Round, Pick 183: B.J. Cunningham, WR, Michigan State

    Grade: B-

    Would have liked to see wide receiver come out as a higher priority, but at least they took a guy with height. Perhaps he can find a role in the Dolphins new offense.

    Seventh Round, Pick 215: Kheeston Randall, DT, Texas

    Grade: B-

    A defensive tackle without a true position in a defense without a true alignment. The Dolphins probably don't care how they get him on the field, just that they get him on the field.

    Seventh Round, Pick 227: Rishard Matthews, WR, Nevada

    Grade: B+

    Another big target for whoever the Dolphins quarterback may be

     

    Overall Draft Grade: B-

    Almost all the needs were addressed at one point or another, and although many of them may seem unspectacular now, remember that this is a new coaching staff looking for fits in their scheme. All in all, this was a good start in my book, but this draft class will only go as far as Ryan Tannehill takes them.