Evaluating Every Miami Dolphins Pick from the 2014 NFL Draft
There were some significant themes running throughout the draft, with Miami taking five small-school players and five captains. It's no stretch to say that leadership and tenacity were the focus of GM Dennis Hickey and his staff.
Without further ado, let's look at each of Miami's moves and selections from the draft.
Round 1 (19): Ju'Wuan James, OT, Tennessee
Some people disliked this pick because of it being considered a reach, but here's my opinion: if a player is good, nobody cares where they got drafted.
So if James is a solid starter, which I fully expect he will be, then this will be looked at as one of those good picks that helps build the foundation of an organization.
Of course, there's a chance that he is bad and we look back on this as yet another reach and poor early-round draft decision by Miami, but overall I really like this pick.
James will start right away.
Round 2 (63): Jarvis Landry, WR, LSU
This grade has to do with two things: the shrewd trades that Miami made to move back twice and still grab Landry, and my own personal feelings toward Landry as a prospect.
In this scouting report I did on Landry and LSU teammate Odell Beckham Jr. back in February, I actually concluded that I preferred Landry to Beckham. His unbelievable hands, physicality and reliable production all being the main reasons.
Landry is a heck of a football player, as he's a great blocker and competes hard on every down. I have all the confidence in the world that he will excel as a slot guy right away for Miami.
Round 3 (67): Billy Turner, OT, North Dakota State
To round out Miami's solid first two days of the draft, they made an excellent decision sliding up from 81 to 67 and nabbing Turner at a solid value.
Turner was a standout left tackle in college at North Dakota State. His combination of athleticism and strength helped him dominate at the FCS level and excel at the Senior Bowl and combine.
He has the possibility to play guard because of his shorter arms and sturdy frame, but clearly also has the ability to stay at either tackle position as well. At the very least, he should push Sam Brenner and Dallas Thomas for the final starting spot at guard.
Round 4 (125): Walt Aikens, CB, Liberty
I admittedly did not know much about Aikens other than his position and school, as he must have slipped through the cracks during the pre-draft process in a deep cornerback class. He was not invited to the combine and was the first non-combine player selected in the draft.
Aikens was kicked out of Illinois after being charged with possession of stolen property, a situation which he cleared up in talking to the media after being drafted, according to Andrew Abramson of the Palm Beach Post.
His combination of length, quickness and aggressiveness reminds me of 2013 third-round pick Will Davis, and at the very least Aikens should push both Davis and Jamar Taylor.
But the pick is still a bit curious, especially with other corners like Pierre Desir on the board, as well as offensive line talents like David Yankey, Dakota Dozier and Cyril Richardson still available.
Round 5 (15): Arthur Lynch, TE, Georgia
An old-school type of tight end, Lynch will bring a physicality to the group that they sorely need. Dion Sims is the only good blocker on the roster right now, and he didn't show much as a rookie.
Lynch is a beast of a man, a physical player who packs a punch at a jacked 258 pounds. He isn't an elite athlete and won't stretch the field, but has average ball skills as well.
He will compete for time with Sims right away, and the fact that he's already a polished player will help him adjust from the start. He doesn't have a high ceiling, but as a fifth-round pick and eighth tight end selected, he represents solid value.
Round 5 (171): Jordan Tripp, OLB, Montana
This is a great pick for Miami. Tripp was one of my favorite linebackers in the class, and he will surprise some people in camp with his athleticism and talent.
He is an athletic, hyperactive player who flies all around the field and seems to get his nose on the ball almost every play.
Tripp was also a team captain and plays like a real leader on the field. He isn't the biggest guy, but his quickness and tackling ability will let him compete with Jelani Jenkins and Philip Wheeler for that weak-side linebacker spot, and he will excel on special teams right away.
Round 6 (190): Matt Hazel, WR, Coastal Carolina
The new logjam at wide receiver is the only reason this pick didn't get a higher grade, because I do like Hazel as a prospect and I'm also a fan of Miami taking chances on skill players with late picks.
Hazel is a sneaky player, he's deceptively fast and will fight for the ball while displaying solid toughness. He has dealt with some injuries in college and needs to adjust to everything in the NFL.
With at least five or six names ahead of him on the depth chart, Hazel will likely stay on the practice squad in 2014.
Round 7 (234): Terrence Fede, DE, Marist
I don't feel too bad saying that I had never heard of Fede until Miami selected him. He has good size at 6'4" and 278 pounds, and DraftInsider.net discusses his strength and ability to work to the inside.
It seems like he may have some upside, but there isn't all that much to discuss here. This article at the Poughkeepsie Journal looks back on the Marist standout's college career and talks a bit about his background as a person and football player.