Miami Dolphins' Rookie Class Shaping Up to Be a Massive Disappointment

Garrett BakerSenior Analyst INovember 18, 2013

Sep 22, 2013; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Miami Dolphins tight end Dion Sims (80) catches a touchdown pass as Atlanta Falcons outside linebacker Stephen Nicholas (54) looks on in the second half at Sun Life Stadium. Miami won 27-23. Mandatory Credit: Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports
Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

After a big free-agent spending spree in the offseason, the Miami Dolphins picked six of the first 106 players in the 2013 NFL draft. 

I know I was not the only one who was really excited after that draft.

Dion Jordan and Jamar Taylor were both very highly regarded prospects who I thought would come in and make big impacts right away. Dallas Thomas, Will Davis, Jelani Jenkins and Dion Sims were all regarded as players with talent and upside as well, and I thought they would play occasionally and show glimpses of promise.

Ten games into the 2013 season, things are not looking good for this rookie class.

Let's start with Thomas, who has still yet to play a single snap despite all of the issues Miami has had along their offensive line. 

It speaks volumes about Thomas' incompetence that Nate Garner was moved to center yesterday and Sam Brenner, an undrafted rookie out of Utah, got called up from the practice squad to make the start at guard. 

We're not in the locker room or in meetings, and it's pretty difficult to gauge anything from the limited amounts of practice which are made public, but something is clearly going wrong with Thomas' development

Jordan has been perhaps the most frustrating rookie, because he has been somewhat productive when given the chance. He's looked good rushing the passer and has even been asked to cover opposing tight ends at times. 

But for some unknown reason, Miami's coaches have refused to give Jordan any significant amount of playing time. He played on just nine defensive snaps in the team's devastating loss to Tampa Bay, and heading into this Sunday's contest against San Diego, he had only played on 26 percent of the defensive snaps this season.

Aug 9, 2013; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Miami Dolphins defensive end Dion Jordan (95) during the game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Everbank Field. Mandatory Credit: Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports
Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports

Miami traded up from the No. 12 spot in the first round in order to take Jordan with the third overall pick. Why would they trade up for a guy who is only playing on 26 percent of the snaps? Even if he isn't great against the run, there is no way he should be behind Derrick Shelby in the rotation.

Jenkins has been extremely underwhelming, and similar to the situation along the offensive line, the Dolphins are very much in need of depth at linebacker. However, Jenkins has not really been able to crack the lineup, and he was not chosen to start over a very limited Jason Trusnik, the primary backup option, when Koa Misi went down with an injury.

As for Sims, he has primarily only played as a blocker in running situations and has been targeted just four times in the passing game this year.

That brings us to the cornerbacks, who have both been massively disappointing but also partially disadvantaged by the solid play of Dimitri Patterson.

Davis was looked at as a bit of a project when he was taken with the 93rd pick, but he literally has not been on the field at all for the defense this season. Taylor underwent hernia surgery in the offseason and was inactive through Week 3 and then made virtually no impact when he returned. As a result, he made inactive again in Week 8 and was relegated mostly to special teams against San Diego.

I was very excited to get Taylor in the middle of the second round because I thought there was a chance he would go at the end of the first or very early in the second. However, he had played exactly one snap before Sunday's contest.

The fact that the Dolphins find Jimmy Wilson and Nolan Carroll to be better options than Taylor at this point is troubling to say the least.

So, that's what Miami has gotten thus far out of their top rookies—not a pretty picture at all.

It's hard to know who to blame here. Maybe management just picked the wrong guys. Maybe they are struggling to learn the playbook. Maybe the coaches are just stubborn about playing rookies. Maybe they just stink.

Unfortunately, none of those options would hurt less than the others. Hopefully, the rookies get more chances and show some more promise down the stretch. 


All snap count information courtesy of Football Outsiders.