If the Miami Dolphins are to be a serious playoff contender, Miami's 2013 draft class must play a huge part.
Jeff Ireland, the Dolphins' general manager, practically married Ryan Tannehill when he made the Texas A&M quarterback the eighth overall selection of the 2012 draft. Tannehill's progression earned Ireland a contract extension, through at least the 2014 season, according to The Miami Herald.
Dion Jordan and the rest of the Dolphins' 2013 draft class will have to step up if Ireland is going to have a future in South Florida beyond 2014. So far, the group has produced very little outside of Caleb Sturgis and Jordan.
I will now assign two grades to all nine members of the 2013 class. One grade will be for performance to date, based on expectation, and the other for potential impact.
Dion Jordan is making an impact. In last week's loss to the Baltimore Ravens, the Oregon standout almost intercepted a pass deep in Baltimore territory and, on the following play, deflected the pass, leading to an interception and defensive touchdown by Reshad Jones.
According to Pro Football Focus (PFF), Jordan has played in 101 of Miami's 376 defensive snaps and has accumulated a sack, two quarterback hits and eight hurries.
Based on PFF's rating system (subscription required), the first sixteen players drafted in 2013 are having a difficult time through the NFL's first six weeks. All but Dion Jordan, D.J. Fluker, Sheldon Richardson and Star Lotulelei have a negative rating.
The bottom line is that Jordan has been productive, and his role will expand during the latter part of the season. As far as potential, NFL.com's Mike Mayock compared him to Jason Taylor, Aldon Smith and DeMarcus Ware.
2013 Performance: B
No one doubts Jamar Taylor's speed and athletic ability, but his health is a growing concern.
The Boise State star dropped in the draft because of issues with his kidneys. After it was assured that the kidney problems could be controlled, a groin injury came into play for Taylor, not allowing the cornerback to debut for the Dolphins until Week 4.
According to PFF, Taylor has only played 44 snaps for Miami and has garnered a -1.3 rating.
After the Dolphins' bye week, Taylor will have ample opportunity to make an impact.
2013 Performance: F
Thomas has been the biggest disappointment of Miami's newest draft class.
The allegedly versatile lineman has not shown that he can supplant John Jerry or Tyson Clabo. This is frightening.
Both of Ireland's attempts to improve the offensive line this offseason, Thomas and Clabo, have been disastrous.
The best case scenario for Thomas is an undisclosed injury.
2013 Performance: F
Many draft pundits, to include NFL.com's Mike Mayock, believed Miami reached for Will Davis.
Injuries prevented the Utah State product from playing before Week 3, and once he was deemed healthy, he only saw the field as a special-teamer. After his debut, Davis did not suit up for the next two games.
This is not a good sign for Davis as the Dolphins have been hobbled at the cornerback position.
2013 Performance: F
Ireland hopes he netted an overachiever in the fourth round, but so far, the Florida product has been the special-teamer he was brought in to be.
2013 Production: C
All Dion Sims does is catch touchdowns. Well, sort of.
According to PFF, Sims has played 79 snaps and earned a rating of -1.8. Sims was expected to be Dustin Keller's partner in crime, but even with Keller's injury, he has not seen many targets with the emergence of Charles Clay.
The Michigan State product still has plenty of red-zone potential.
2013 Production: D
Mike Gillislee has not played for the Dolphins as of yet but the Florida tailback may be given an opportunity soon.
Miami's offensive line has been subpar, but both Lamar Miller and Daniel Thomas have exhibited an inability to gain yards after contact. According to PFF, Thomas ranks 22nd in the league with an average of 2.1 yards gained after contact, while Miller is 51st with an average of 1.4 yards after contact.
Gillislee will have an opportunity to showcase his skills in 2013.
2013 Production: F
Caleb Sturgis is a powerful and accurate kicker.
So far, he has made 10 of 11 field goals, missing only a 57-yard attempt against the Baltimore Ravens.
Even as a rookie, Sturgis is one of the best kickers in the league.
2013 Performance: A
As a seventh rounder, Don Jones made the team and has played on special teams in every regular season game for Miami. Jones has accumulated four tackles.
The strong safety has also made a game-altering, fumble-causing hit against the Atlanta Falcons.
2013 Production: B