The most exciting three days of the year are over.
Overall it was a solid draft for the Miami Dolphins. They addressed needs and drafted impact players that will have a chance to compete for starting roles. Speed was a theme during the free-agent market and it continued through the draft.
It didn't take long for Miami to get involved in the craziness that is the NFL draft when they traded up to the No. 3 spot and drafted Oregon defensive end Dion Jordan. This was an aggressive move by Jeff Ireland, who is mostly known for drafting safe players.
In a couple of seasons we will know the true impact of this draft class, but Miami hopes that these players can come in and fill the holes they currently have. Not all the picks will work out, but if most of them do, it will be a successful draft.
Now, how will these players fare this coming season?
Let's take a look.
When the Dolphins traded up to the No. 3 spot, I would have bet my house that they would take offensive tackle Lane Johnson.
Every analyst began talking about Johnson's impact in Miami even before they announced the pick.
Weren't we all fooled?
Jeff Ireland sure is the master of deception. The Dolphins surprised everyone when they took DE Dion Jordan in a trade up with the Oakland Raiders. They needed a pass-rusher to help Cameron Wake and they got the best one in the draft.
Jordan will compete for a starting role right away and at worst will be used on passing situations. His speed and ability to rush the passer make him a terror to defend against and gives the Dolphins one of the best pass-rushing duos in the league.
With teams having to focus on Wake, Randy Starks, Paul Soliai and any blitzing linebacker, Jordan will most likely see a lot of one-on-ones, allowing him to get to the quarterback more often than not.
Given the attention the offensive line has to pay to other players, Jordan may finish the season with double digit sacks.
After trading away their first pick in the second round to move up to the No. 3 spot, the Dolphins addressed the cornerback position with the 54th pick.
Even after signing Brent Grimes to a one-year deal, the Dolphins had to add depth at the position.
Grimes is coming off a torn Achilles and Richard Marshall is coming off a season-ending back injury. They needed speed and size in the secondary and they now have that with Jamar Taylor.
Projected as a late first to late second-round pick, the Dolphins got great value when they drafted Taylor. He has great speed—ran a 4.39 at the combine—but he also has the size (5'11") to compete with big receivers on the outside. Taylor doesn't mind getting his hands dirty in the running game, often coming up and making tackles inside the box and setting the edge against receivers.
Taylor also has good ball skills, which the Dolphins desperately need from their defensive backs.
He had six interceptions in his last two seasons at Boise State, but most impressive is his passes defended.
He had 21 passes defended in his last two seasons, showing his ability to locate the football and knock it away from the receiver.
With Grimes projected to be a starter, Taylor will come in and compete with Marshall for the other spot.
With Marshall recovering from injury and Taylor's skill set, the starting duo at cornerback may very well be Grimes and Taylor.
On Wednesday, the Dolphins were trying to sign Branden Albert.
On Thursday morning, they were still trying to work out a trade. On Thursday night, they didn't want to sign him.
On Friday morning, they would resume trade talks.
On Friday night, the Dolphins had used their second-round pick on a CB and had used a third-round pick to draft an offensive lineman. That finally put an end to the Albert trade talk.
Miami came into this draft with a big hole at offensive tackle. When they traded up in the first round, many believed they would select one, but they didn't. They waited until the third round to draft an offensive lineman, which may suggest the Dolphins feel pretty comfortable with Jonathan Martin playing left tackle and may now be in the market (again) to sign either Tyson Clabo or Eric Winston.
The Dolphins selected Dallas Thomas with their first pick of the third round to help them on the offensive line.
Thomas can play either guard or tackle, but Joe Philbin has said he will likely want Thomas to play on the left side. He played left tackle his sophomore and junior seasons at Tennessee, but moved over to left guard his senior season.
If Thomas plays on the left side, Miami may move Richie Incognito to right guard and John Jerry to right tackle. Philbin may think about playing Thomas at left tackle, but at this point, I would feel more comfortable having Martin protect Ryan Tannehill's blindside.
At this point, Thomas can come in and earn a starting job right away.
He played at a high level against SEC competition and can take over either guard spot or even at right tackle. If he has a good training camp, it wouldn't surprise me to see him starting in Miami's first regular season game.
If Miami does sign Clabo or Winston, I would think Jerry's days in Miami are numbered.
After three excellent picks, you were bound to have a head scratcher.
Not that this is a bad pick, but after Miami traded out of the third round to get some extra picks, they gave up the picks right back to move back into the round and select a player that would probably be there early in the fourth round.
Throughout the draft process, I believed the Dolphins should double up on cornerbacks—even after signing Brent Grimes. They needed depth and more talent at the position.
After Grimes and Richard Marshall, the Dolphins have Dimitri Patterson, Nolan Carrol and R.J. Stanford. Not exactly a talented group.
Will Davis began playing football during his senior year in high school. He is a raw player with limited experience, but his talent is obvious.
He improved in every category during his two years at Utah State and will likely keep improving in the professional ranks. After recording no interceptions and six passes defended during his junior year, Davis recorded five interceptions and 22 passes defended during his senior season.
Davis also had a great showing at the combine, where he placed as the top performer in the three-cone drill and was one of the top performers in the 20-yard shuttle.
Davis will most likely be used a lot on special teams as he begins his career, but he may be able to crack the rotation towards the end of the season. He will be competing with Carrol and Patterson for the fourth cornerback spot on the roster.
The Dolphins had a linebacker overhaul this offseason when they brought in Dannell Ellerbe and Phillip Wheeler, and released Kevin Burnett and Karlos Dansby.
They wanted to get younger, faster and more aggressive and they certainly did that with those acquisitions.
Miami didn't stop adding to its linebacker group. They added former University of Florida linebacker Jelani Jenkins with their first pick in the fourth round.
Jenkins was rated as one of the nation's top linebackers before being plagued with injuries.
He will come into Miami and contribute right away on special teams. He has great speed and athletic ability and will certainly find a spot on the roster. As a linebacker, he has the ability to blitz, but is at his best in coverage. This surely enticed Miami as they have to deal with Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez twice a year.
As of now, Jenkins will most likely take a backseat to Koa Misi as a starting linebacker, but he has the possibility to see some time on passing downs. Jenkins will most likely be the replacement to Misi, it just won't be this year.
This was one of the best picks for Miami. After losing Anthony Fasano to free agency and adding Dustin Keller, the Dolphins still needed a tight end that could block.
Keller, Charles Clay and Michael Egnew are all pass-catching tight ends, but don't stand much of a chance trying to block a defensive end.
With the need for a blocking tight end evident, the Dolphins waited until early in the fourth round and drafted the best one in the draft. Dion Sims is a physical specimen at 6'5", 265 pounds who has underrated mobility.
He wasn't used much as a pass-catcher at Michigan State, but he does have some ability to catch the ball. He gives Miami a player that can be used in two tight end sets or in the run game. He also gives Miami a red-zone threat, which they didn't have even with all the free agent signings.
Sims will be able to come in and contribute right away as a blocker while he develops his pass-catching abilities.
With the addition of Sims, Egnew will have a lot more pressure to develop and contribute.
For the second year in a row, Miami may have one of the steals in the draft at running back.
Last year, the Dolphins drafted Lamar Miller in the fourth round when he was projected to be a late first to early second-round pick.
This year, Miami was able to pick up Mike Gillislee early in the fifth round.
All arrows point to Miller being the starter for Miami, but Gillislee will come in and compete right away with Daniel Thomas for the second roster spot. He is a very good blocker and has the ability to catch the ball out of the backfield, which allows him to play on passing downs.
He has good vision, power and speed, which makes him a threat to Thomas and will allow him to push Miller for the starting spot. Thomas is still the bigger of the two backs and will likely be used in short-yardage situations, but if he doesn't show any improvement, his job security is at risk.
I don't expect Gillislee to beat Miller for the starting job, but he has the ability to be Miller's complement when the regular season begins.
A lot of people are questioning this pick. It is a bit high for a kicker, but Miami's only other selection was their compensatory pick in the seventh round, which you can't trade.
There was no way that either Caleb Sturgis or Dustin Hopkins—the only draftable kickers—would make it that far.
Miami decided to go with Sturgis with their second pick of the fifth round.
With Dan Carpenter making about $2.5 million next season, the Dolphins feel like they can move on from him. That is way too much money for a kicker who has been inconsistent at best.
Sturgis was brought in to compete with Carpenter, but given that they used a fifth-round pick to get him, I don't think the Dolphins will be cutting him. They will most likely be moving on from Carpenter and use Sturgis as their kicker beginning next season.
Seventh-round picks are usually developmental, and this one is no different.
Miami had been interested in safety Don Jones throughout the pre-draft process as they were present at his pro day and apparently, came away very impressed.
Jones played strong safety at Arkansas State, but will most likely transition to a nickel corner at the next level. He's a speedy player (ran a 4.41 40-yard dash at his pro day) with good size that will allow him to contribute on special teams early in his career.
The Dolphins had to add some depth at cornerback and came away with three players.
This may cause Dimitri Patterson to be a victim of cap casualty, allowing the Dolphins to get rid of his contract. Jones will be Kevin Coyle's and Joe Philbin's project in the secondary and may find a role on this team in the future if he can continue developing.