Miami Dolphins' Day 2 2014 NFL Draft Primer
By selecting the 6'6", 311-pound tackle, the Dolphins addressed what was easily their top need on the roster, and they can now focus on the second day of the draft, where the best talent evaluators separate themselves from the pack.
With this day two primer guide, we'll recap what happened on Thursday night and preview what Miami will do Friday night.
Don't forget to leave your comments about how the first round played out.
Day 1 Recap and Analysis
The Miami Dolphins addressed an issue that has plagued them for years by selecting right tackle Ja’Wuan James with the No. 19 overall pick.
James projects as an instant starter for the Miami offensive line, as he provides a major upgrade to the pass protection scheme and high potential as a run-blocker. This was a necessary move, despite not being a sexy pick. James instantly brings stability and upside to the formerly problematic right side of the line.
The Dolphins might’ve been able to trade down a few spots, specifically with the New Orleans Saints, but they were able to get their guy without chancing over-maneuvering. With the Green Bay Packers, Cleveland Browns, Kansas City Chiefs and Carolina Panthers all needing offensive tackle help, the Dolphins didn’t want to risk missing the top tackle left on the board.
Now, with two picks at 50 and 81, Miami should be able to take the best available talents to bolster this roster.
Updated Needs for the Dolphins
By filling the offensive tackle position with James, the Dolphins don’t have a need that will force any of the upcoming picks. Flexibility is a great asset to have, and general manager Dennis Hickey now has flexibility with his selections.
The Dolphins have to address the receiver core sooner rather than later. Successful teams have been able to surround their young quarterbacks with other young pieces that impact their teams early on the field. Miami should look to replicate that strategy.
Even though the team spent massively on the position in 2013, each contract can be voided within the next year or two, giving Miami a chance to push the veteran receivers. We also cannot forget that three receivers are coming off injuries at the end of 2013, so there is room for a quality, young receiver on the roster.
With recent draft picks Michael Egnew and Dion Sims failing to be productive on the field, and some talented tight ends potentially being available at the Dolphins' second-round pick, consideration should be given to tight end.
Getting a big target at tight end would allow Charles Clay to be moved around, instead of being a predictable route runner at the position.
The first-round options weren’t available at pick No. 19, and the Dolphins wisely stayed put, but now Miami needs to acquire a young linebacker it can mold into a future starter. The inner linebacker class is weak, but players that fit into the system can be had. With incumbents Dannell Ellerbe and Philip Wheeler on team-friendly deals at this point of their contract, their jobs shouldn’t be safe.
Miami needs to add a cornerback with size in this draft, as they currently have cornerbacks that emphasize speed and agility over size. With a deep cornerback class, value can be had later on day two. Giving defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle a new toy to play with is also a wise idea.
Interior Offensive Line
Despite adding James, the guard position is still unsettled. Former third-round pick Dallas Thomas could sway this to becoming a very minor need, but as of right now, he is unproven and a question mark. Adding a physical, nasty guard is very possible on day two.
Top Day 2 Targets
Pick No. 50
Marqise Lee, WR, USC
An ideal fit in Miami’s west-coast-type offense; Lee makes dynamic plays seem routine using extreme quickness and acceleration. At USC, he was able to impact the game on offense as a No. 1 wide receiver and as a return man, both areas where the Dolphins need help. If Lee is on the board at pick No. 50, this is an easy decision.
Allen Robinson, WR, Penn St
Robinson was able to produce huge numbers at Penn State, despite very little talent around to take pressure off him. Robinson has an impressive blend of speed, size and hands to ascend the Dolphins' depth chart early in his career. He creates well after the catch because he’s a smooth runner in space and is tough to bring down.
Ra’Shede Hageman, DL, Minnesota
Although defensive line isn’t a major need, it is a position that always can use a great talent. I’m shocked Hageman wasn’t drafted in Round 1. He’s one of the best pure athletes in this draft, and now needs proper coaching to become an elite player at his position. With Kacy Rodgers being an expert defensive line coach, Hageman would be a great investment.
Pick No. 81
Telvin Smith, LB, Florida State
Since Miami missed out on a similar weak-side linebacker in Ryan Shazier, why not look at a player who is similar, at a much-reduced cost. Smith could become the next Lavonte David, whom Dennis Hickey helped select in Tampa Bay. Smith allows Miami to have a solid coverage linebacker who compliments the current group and doesn’t interfere with Miami’s plans with former first-round pick Dion Jordan.
Phillip Gaines, CB, Rice
Gaines is a solid athlete who uses his length to be terrific cover cornerback in zone defense. With great ball skills and anticipation, Gaines could be the steal of the draft. He may not last this long, but it is a deep cornerback class, so a talented player will be available at No. 81.
Billy Turner, OG, North Dakota St
Billy “the bully” Turner is a nasty, run-blocking guard that can impact Miami as a rookie. He is fearless when blocking and has the athleticism to match his motor. If developing a deep, talented offensive line is a priority, Turner needs to be considered here.
What Are the Experts Saying?
Pick No. 50
Cyrus Kouandjio, OT, Alabama
Rang said: "Questions about his medical could push Kouandjio out of the top 50 picks but his tape and upside certainly argue otherwise," while Kiper's analysis was:
The value at offensive tackle simply wasn't there in Round 1 at No. 19, but to get Kouandjio this late is hard to pass up, given the need. This is a player we really thought could be a top-10 pick 10 months ago, and he is still only 20. If he's healthy, he's could be a major steal.
Obviously, with the Dolphins selecting James in the first round, Kouandjio is likely not a target for Miami. Regardless, Cyrus is a player with major flaws that caused him to fall of the first round, so Miami likely got the best tackle available at No. 19.
Matt Miller’s pick:
David Yankey, OG, Stanford
Yankey isn’t a schematic fit for the Dolphins, so this would be a head-scratching decision. With pick No. 50, the Dolphins need to add a playmaker that will help the team either score or force more turnovers.
Pick No. 81
Matt Miller’s pick:
Andre Williams, RB, Boston College
The Dolphins don’t have a huge need for running back, but they could be looking to add a player that falls to No. 81, unexpectedly. However, I don’t expect Williams to be that player. Bill Lazor likes more complete, agile backs that can impact the game on every down. Williams is more of a power, short yardage back.
4 Predictions for Day 2
Miami will start selecting the best player available
In the first round, Miami grabbed the best offensive tackle available because it was the biggest need, and not necessarily because he was the best overall talent on the board. Expect that to change. With the sheer depth of the draft class, talent will fall into Miami’s hands on Day 2. The Dolphins won’t hesitate to take advantage.
Miami will package a late-round pick to move up for an offensive playmaker
With Dolphins target Marqise Lee on the board, Miami will move up to grab him. After using one of their predraft visits on Lee, Miami showed their interest in the dynamic receiver and return man. A move into the low forties could be enough to land the former USC star.
The Dolphins will not trade Dion Jordan
Despite the rumors a few months back, Dion Jordan was never close to being traded. Miami didn’t select a pass-rusher in the first round, and the Eagles selected Marcus Smith from Louisville, which puts an end to the ridiculous rumors that were afloat.
No defensive player will be taken on Day 2
Although I named some targets on the previous slide, Miami has to fill the offense with talent, because their AFC East foes aren’t going to stop loading up on defensive pieces, and Miami struggled to score on each last season. Wide receiver, tight end and running back are all in the mix.
Updated Dolphins Mock Draft
Round 2, Pick No. 50: Marqise Lee, WR, USC
It’s surprising the explosive receiver is still on the board, and the Dolphins fill two important needs with one pick; receiver and return man. He’s an instant impact player who just has to stay healthy to become a feared weapon throughout the league.
Round 3, Pick No. 81: Billy Turner, OG, North Dakota State
The pick stays the same as the last mock because Turner is just that good of a fit for Miami. Being able to run the ball needs to be a priority and with this physical, nasty guard, Miami will be able to impose its will on its opponents, which is something the Dolphins lacked in 2013.