However, if there's one thing I hate about NFL draft time it's NFL draft report cards. The day after the draft is over and the dust has settled really isn't the time to look at that year's draft class. At the very least, we should see them over the course of a season.
However, we do live in an instant gratification society. We want to know what grade our team got and how the experts think the team improved.
So what did the experts around the interwebz say about the Miami Dolphins draft performance? What did I say about the Miami Dolphins draft performance? Come along on this fantastic voyage and let's take a look, followed by my grades as well as the average grade Miami got in the draft.
First Round pick Dion Jordan of Oregon
The missing left tackle talk will become a meme for the Dolphins even if they wind up signing Eric Winston to play right tackle at some point this offseason. Not a lot of hope for Jonathan Martin.
Dolphins: If the Dolphins don’t pry LT Brandon Albert away from the Chiefs, they may regret their decision to take DE Dion Jordan over OT Lane Johnson after trading up from 12 to 3. Jordan needs to put on weight, but has premier pass-rush potential.
The entire grade was based off of the missing left tackle meme as the Jordan pick was the only one mentioned in the piece. From the looks of it, it was the only one graded here.
Despite the fact that it doesn't look like this draft is being graded as a whole, B-plus seems like a pretty fair grade to give the Dolphins. It's low if if it's only based on the Round 1 pick. I'd just like to see more analysis on the whole draft Miami had then just left tackle talk and the first-round pick.
Second Round Pick Jamar Taylor of Boise State
For Miami's second B-plus of the list, we turn to Vinnie Iyer of The Sporting News, who again brought up the missing left tackle meme:
They didn't find their left tackle, either, whether drafting him or trading for Kansas City's Branden Albert. But the Dolphins get a break for how much they upgraded their pass defense. Moving up for Oregon defensive end Dion Jordan got them a daunting edge pass rusher to play off Cameron Wake. Speedy Boise State second-round corner Jamar Taylor can make big plays on the ball. Tennessee third-rounder Dallas Thomas can compete to start on the offensive line. Michigan State tight end Dion Sims and Florida running back Mike Gillislee are good complementary skill players.
I don't even have a rebuttal for this because this almost sums up how I feel about this draft, save for the missing left tackle meme being brought up.
Third Round Pick Dallas Thomas of Tennessee
Let's start with Floyd Engel, who gave Miami a B-minus:
Check out the big lower guts on Dolphins GM Jeff Fireland. Let others rip into what came next, moving up to No. 3 to get pass-rusher Dion Jordan makes this a winner for me.
So, I take it Engel wasn't a fan of the rest of Miami's draft. I'd really like to know how he thought Dion Jordan was a winner but the Dolphins still received a B- instead of a higher grade.
Next up, Peter Schrager, who gave Miami a C:
I didn't like the trade for Jordan very much, viewing that as a desperate move from Ireland to make a splash. Well, he got his man. I think they reached on Dallas Thomas, the tackle out of Tennessee, and think he's actually more of a guard than tackle.
Odds are Miami will use Thomas as a guard anyways, so at least to me, the last statement is a mixture of irrelevant and redundant (I did have concerns about Miami's guards considering that John Jerry is better suited for right tackle while Richie Incognito, while still an integral piece, isn't exactly getting younger). But at least there was some analysis of a pick other than Jordan, although again, I'd like to see what he thought of the rest of the draft.
Finally, Alex Marvez, who gave Miami an A:
By moving up nine spots to No. 3 in the first round via a trade with Oakland, Miami secured a player they hope is the second coming of Jason Taylor in Oregon outside linebacker/defensive end Jordan. Although there are still questions surrounding the left tackle position after the Dolphins chose Jordan instead of Oklahoma’s Lane Johnson, Miami boosted its thin secondary by drafting cornerbacks Jamar Taylor (second round) and Utah State’s Will Davis (third).
Marvez seemed to know the Dolphins' goal and graded the draft based off of that said goal (improve the pass defense, which going into the draft was more important than the missing left tackle meme). Yes, Miami accomplished their goal in improving the pass defense, if for no other reason then the fact that they went heavy on a combination of defensive backs, pass-rushers, and linebackers that can cover tight ends.
In fact, one of those players is a pass-rusher that can also cover the tight end and even lined up as a defensive back a few times. How often do you find a Swiss army knife player on defense?
Third Round Pick Will Davis of Utah State
I’m very much on the Dion Jordan bandwagon, but he told me himself that he fit better on a 3-4 defense than at 4-3 end. So, either Miami needs to adjust or Jordan has to prove himself wrong to avoid the Dolphins busting out on their big Round 1 trade. Elsewhere, there might be four or five legitimate starters here, including T/G Dallas Thomas. CB Jamar Taylor was a favorite of mine at that position. Grade: B-plus
Such are the words of Sports Illustrated's Chris Burke, who seems to think that Dallas Thomas is a potential NFL starter, which is a view that hasn't really been shared too often by some of the graders.
As for Miami adjusting or Jordan proving himself wrong, I can see the Dolphins playing more of a hybrid defensive scheme in 2013, even incorporating some of the New York Giants' pass-rushing philosophy. Don't forget, Olivier Vernon can still be a factor rushing the passer either as an outside linebacker or defensive end, while Jared Odrick will likely see some time in the interior defensive line and tends to get to the quarterback better from there.
It will be fun to watch Miami's defense this season.
Fourth Round Pick Jelani Jenkins of Florida
Former Dolphins beat writer and Yahoo! Sports AFC East expert Jason Cole felt Miami deserved the only A out of the AFC East (it's even in the headline).
GM Jeff Ireland takes a lot of heat from Miami fans and some of it is deserved. But his past two drafts have been strong despite being very different. Last year, Ireland was in a much more desperate situation to get a quarterback, but stayed put at No. 8 and still got Ryan Tannehill. This year, Ireland wasn't as desperate, but was aggressive in getting Jordan, the consensus pick as the top pass rusher in the draft. The price to move up was cheap (only a second-rounder) and Ireland still came up with a couple of young cornerbacks to help his depleted secondary. Between this draft and free agency (WR Mike Wallace, CB Brent Grimes), the Dolphins have brought in a serious amount of talent, particularly on defense.
I do think Ireland was a bit desperate this year, but that doesn't mean the trade up to get Jordan was out of desperation. Desperate guys don't give up one second-rounder (when they had two) and no future draft picks to move up nine spots—the desperate team is the one willing to drop nine spots in the first round (from three to 12) for only one second-round pick (I'd require at least a second-rounder this year plus next year's first-round pick).
Ireland got the better end of that deal value-wise, and Jason Cole was one of the few who acknowledged that.
Fourth Round Pick TE Dion Sims from Michigan State
Saying that Miami lost from a value perspective is an incorrect statement when it comes to Dion Jordan, but Bleacher Report's own Ty Schalter uses that to make the claim that the Dolphins didn't get great value.
The Miami Dolphins are going for it this year. The top of their draft was all about instant help. Outside linebacker Dion Jordan, cornerback Jamar Taylor and guard/tackle Dallas Thomas all represent instant upgrades to their starting lineup.
The Dolphins didn't kill it from a value perspective. They traded up to secure Jordan, got Taylor a little later than expected and reached a bit for Thomas. Then they really reached for third-round pick Will Davis, who was a consensus late-fourth to fifth-round guy.
Dion Sims was the best combination of size, speed and athleticism at the tight end spot. If he establishes a rapport with Ryan Tannehill, he'll be a fourth-round steal. Taking a specialist when you need a special teams upgrade always gets a thumbs-up from this grader.
Once again, in regards to Jordan, Miami absolutely killed it from a value perspective, seeing that they only gave up a second-round pick to move up nine spots in Round 1 from 12 to three. A trade like that should at least require a second-rounder and next year's first-rounder.
However, Schalter is correct with his assessment on Utah State's Will Davis. I would've instead either picked Louisiana Tech's Quinton Patton at the spot they drafted Davis, or not make the trade with Green Bay and stand pat, taking Patton with the Round 4 pick traded to Green Bay (109). Then if he was still available, pick Davis with the 146th pick in Round 5 traded to Green Bay.
Other than the Jordan nitpick though, the analysis was fairly spot on, and Schalter did seem to see Dallas Thomas as an instant upgrade.
I also couldn't agree with him more on the Dion Sims pick.
Fifth Round Pick Mike Gillislee of the Florida
By far, this is the worst grade Miami got.
Why did Silva give the Dolphins this grade? I'll let him explain:
GM Jeff Ireland was pick-rich after unloading Brandon Marshall and Vontae Davis -- two premier NFL starters -- for pennies on the dollar. Those bad trades are factored into Miami's grade. After more trades, the Fins wound up turning the two Marshall third-rounders into Michael Egnew, B.J. Cunningham, blocking tight end Sims, and part of the deal that brought underwhelming corner prospect Davis. For Vontae, they got Taylor straight up. Jordan has a chance to be the best player in this draft class. I like Taylor. Gillislee could be a year-one upgrade on Daniel Thomas if he demonstrates consistency in pass protection. Jones has starter measurables and offered value at the tail end of day three. But Ireland can't be let off the hook for his past talent-shaving trades just because he snuck them into last offseason. The Fins are still paying the piper, and after nauseatingly producing four consecutive losing seasons Ireland has cost himself all possible benefit of the doubt.
There is so much I have to say about this grade. Now calling Brandon Marshall and Vontae Davis premier NFL starters sounds like a stretch. Last I checked, premier NFL Starters should help get their teams to the playoffs and shouldn't have any issues hustling or staying on the field (looking directly at Vontae Davis here since Marshall, for all of his warts, did at least hustle to drop those passes).
Secondly, you can't factor in those trades into the grade. Yes, two of those picks Miami had in the draft are from those trades, but the way I see it is if any of the players drafted make it to the Pro Bowl and help get the Dolphins to the playoffs, they aren't a bad trade. I'm counting Dion Jordan as a player acquired in the Vontae Davis trade due to the fact that had Miami not had that second-round two pick, they likely don't trade up.
Thirdly, this grade seems to be written more about the sins of Ireland's past, not the here and now. I understand not giving Ireland the benefit of the doubt, but it feels more like an Ireland hit piece than an actual draft grade.
Fifth Round Pick Caleb Sturgis from Florida
I liked reading CBSSports.com's Pete Prisco's grades simply because there was an explanation for it.
I knew exactly why he was skeptical of trading up for Jordan, not because of the value, but because of the truth: Dion Jordan, for all the upside he has, is raw.
Trading up to go get first-round pick Dion Jordan. He has pass-rush ability, but he's raw. Was he worth the move up? If he's a double-digit sack guy the answer will be yes.
Prisco also sees cornerback Jamar Taylor as the best pick of the draft, stating:
I like second-round pick Jamar Taylor, the corner from Boise State. He will be a starter soon.
Is Week 1 soon enough?
Meanwhile, Prisco loves Dion Sims, stating:
I like tight end Dion Sims, their second fourth-round pick, to step in and become their blocking tight end. He's good at it.
He can catch the ball too, so see you later Michael Egnew!
Wrapping it all up, Prisco would say:
Jeff Ireland made a bold move to go up and snag Jordan. Since he liked him that much, he deserves credit for that. Taylor and third-round pick Dallas Thomas address major needs.
Despite not saying anything about Will Davis or any of the Gators chosen in the draft, Prisco analyzed everything and explained his grade. Very informative.
Seventh Round pick Don Jones from Arkansas State (wearing black)
Finally we get to Kiper's grade, which of course is an ESPN Insider article (I won't link it because it's an insider article however if you are an insider subscriber, feel free to check it out yourself).
Kiper gave Miami a B-, with his explanation being:
“They could get three good players from those first three picks, but they did give up value for Jordan, so the onus is on them to make that pick become a success.”
Once again, the value argument, even though by all value measurements, the trade was a rip-off. That's likely the reason why Miami got a B-.
One person who shares my sentiments on the trade, ESPN's AFC East blogger James Walker (the source for Kiper's grade), who's response to the grade was this:
The biggest thing I learned from the Dolphins this weekend is the team wanted playmakers. I thought Miami fleeced Oakland by just giving up a second-round pick to move up to No. 3. First-round defensive end Dion Jordan has the potential to eventually become a Pro Bowl player. He is a difference-maker who can be a disruptive force and cause turnovers. Second-round cornerback Jamar Taylor of Boise State is polished and could be a starter or nickel cornerback in Week 1. I also liked the late run of Florida players in linebacker Jelani Jenkins, running back Mike Gillislee and kicker Caleb Sturgis. All three have the potential to make the 53-man roster.
Would be nice to see what Walker would grade the Dolphins out at.
Not counting my grade, the experts around the internet gave the Dolphins an average grade of a B.
I gave the Dolphins an A-minus. Here's why.
The trade for Dion Jordan was highway robbery, it's as simple as that. In getting Jordan, they wound up with the player that had the most upside at a position of great need.
Jamar Taylor gives Miami exactly what they need at cornerback, but on my nitpick scale, I can't say the same thing about third-round pick Will Davis from Utah State.
The Dallas Thomas pick will be a good one as he will likely see a lot of playing time at guard in 2013, then become a starter in 2014 and eventual replacement for Richie Incognito.
The three Gators all filled needs. Kicker Caleb Sturgis will be Miami's starting kicker come Week 1. Linebacker Jelani Jenkins will be great as a situational linebacker covering tight ends (which Jordan will be able to do as well). Jenkins could take Koa Misi's place as starter in 2014. Running back Mike Gillislee is a great complement to Lamar Miller, and has great pass-blocking abilities.
The two most important picks though aren't in the secondary or offensive line, but are the Dions, Jordan and Sims. Dion Jordan is a Swiss Army Knife defensive player and while he won't start in 2013, will see plenty of time on the field and make a big impact. Jordan should be worth at least six touchdowns for the Dolphins via forcing turnovers, three-and-outs with big sacks, and he'll even score one or two touchdowns.
Dion Sims gives Miami the tight end they have needed: a brute blocking tight end with the ability and athleticism to catch the ball and be a huge red-zone threat.
Great draft for Miami, but with one regret: passing up on Quinton Patton. That will hurt the Dolphins for a while, however what could soften the blow will not only be good play from Will Davis in the defensive backfield, but also undrafted free agent wide receiver Chad Bumphis.
I'll be writing about Bumphis later this week.
Overall, it was a very good draft for Miami, as they attempted to build a defense that could stop the New England Patriots offense, and could possibly lead Miami into the playoffs.