Analyzing Potential 2014 Season Impact of Miami Dolphins' Draft Picks
The Miami Dolphins had a solid 2014 NFL Draft, but all of that is now meaningless as the players are simply part of the organization and will be fighting for their lives all summer.
Last season, the Dolphins relied very little on their rookies, and it became relatively clear that coach Joe Philbin is not the kind of head coach who likes to throw his rookies out there.
With all of that in mind, let's predict and analyze this year's rookie class's potential impact on the 2014 season, with zero being "no impact" and 10 being "major impact".
Ja'Wuan James, RT
Why he will make an impact: As long as he stays healthy and looks competent on the field, James will be relatively unchallenged as the team's starting right tackle. As a four-year starter at Tennessee, he's got the experience that should let him transition well to NFL speed. There will be some bumps along the way, but James is in a great position to be an impact player in 2014.
Why he won't: An injury would really be the only thing that could hold James back.
Jarvis Landry, WR
Why he will make an impact: Landry is a really talented receiver who already has some of the best hands in the entire league, let alone on the Dolphins. At LSU he made his living in the slot, and he could be a great safety valve for Ryan Tannehill over the middle. His physicality and toughness, along with those great hands, give him a great foundation to be an NFL player.
Why he won't: Landry does have a ton of competition for targets, and that No. 3 receiver job is up in the air. Brandon Gibson will not relinquish his position easily, and Rishard Matthews is not a bad player either. Landry is not a physical marvel at all, and he will have to make his impression doing the little things, which can be tough.
Billy Turner, OT/G
Why he will make an impact: Turner was dominant in college, and he has shown the ability to play multiple positions on the line, which dramatically helps his chances to get playing time.
Why he won't: Dallas Thomas is probably the front-runner for the remaining guard spot on the offensive line, and one has to think that Turner's learning curve coming from the FCS will be pretty steep.
Walt Aikens, CB
Why he will make an impact: The Dolphins are lacking depth at the position, and Aikens has a lot of raw ability.
Why he won't: At best, right now he is no higher than fifth on the depth chart. If Philbin wouldn't play Jamar Taylor and Will Davis last year, he definitely will not play Aikens, who is much more raw (and less talented) than either of those guys.
Arthur Lynch, TE
Why he will make an impact: Lynch is a physical, polished player who will not be overmatched from that standpoint in the NFL. He is a good blocker and that always helps guys get on the field.
Why he won't: He lacks speed, and his hands are not great. That lack of playmaking ability will relegate him to mostly running-down situations.
Jordan Tripp, OLB
Why he will make an impact: This one is tough to predict. As a linebacker, Tripp will either be prominently featured if he breaks the lineup or hardly at all if he doesn't. There is a chance he can get in on sub-packages because of his athleticism, even if he isn't a starter. He will also undoubtedly be a great special teams player right away.
Why he won't: He might be a bit overmatched physically, and the NFL is a whole lot bigger and faster than his opponents at Montana. It would also be tough to justify sitting the pricey Philip Wheeler in favor of a fifth-round rookie.
Matt Hazel, WR
Why he will make an impact: There is really no opportunity for him to make an impact this season, barring extreme unforeseen circumstances.
Why he won't: Hazel was a fine player at college and a bit of a "sleeper" for the draft, but the Dolphins have at least six receivers who are clearly better than him at this point. He is likely headed for the practice squad.
Terrence Fede, DE
Why he will make an impact: If there is one unit that does not need any help, it is the defensive line.
Why he won't: Fede as kind of a late "flier" pick, and the Dolphins will likely stick him on the practice squad and hope he develops. The defensive line is just way too crowded for him to have a shot, even as a reserve.