Miami Dolphins Draft Picks 2017: Results, Grades and Analysis for Each Selection
This season the Dolphins have the 22nd pick, their lowest first-round pick since 2009, to go along with seven other selections.
The hope with this year's draft is that Miami can continue to build on the success of a surprising and satisfying 2016 season. One could say the success started in the draft, as the Dolphins saw offensive lineman Laremy Tunsil fall to them at 13 due to unfortunate circumstances. Then in Round 2, the team drafted Xavien Howard, who showed promise at corner in his rookie season.
Can the Dolphins continue what has been a yearlong run of good luck fostered by good decisions? We'll find out throughout the course of the weekend.
Keep it here as we track Miami's draft from the glitz and glamour of Thursday night's first round to the marathon that is Saturday's final four rounds. We'll provide analysis and a grade for each player as well as where they fit in what Miami is trying to accomplish in 2017 and beyond.
Round 1, Pick 22
Round 1, Pick 22: EDGE Charles Harris, Missouri
The Dolphins spent the offseason fortifying their defense, signing Lawrence Timmons while retaining Kiko Alonso and Andre Branch and signing Reshad Jones to an extension.
Despite these moves, a pass-rusher was needed, and Miami chose Missouri defensive end Charles Harris.
Harris, who didn't begin playing football until his junior year of high school, per Omar Kelly of the Sun-Sentinel, was a two-time second-team All-SEC selection. In 2015, he led the conference in tackles for loss with 18.5 and had seven sacks. In 2016, Harris had nine sacks to go along with 12 tackles for a loss.
Explosive, athletic and quick, Harris' spin move is reminiscent of Dwight Freeney's, and his speed allows him to hit gaps quickly.
It's likely that Harris will be productive in his first season, especially if he's used mainly as a pass-rusher and not an every-down starter. He will need to work on shedding blocks and improve his play against the run, where he's not as aggressive as he is against the pass. All of these are correctable, and he will be learning from, while playing with, one of the best defensive ends in the league in Cameron Wake.
Harris perfectly fits one of Miami's biggest needs, and he fits in well with the 4-3 scheme. It's unlikely he'll beat out Andre Branch as the starter in year one. However, he will have plenty of opportunities to get on the field, and there will be plenty of packages that revolve around him.
His speed and athleticism are too much for the Dolphins to not use.
Round 2, Pick 54
Round 2, Pick 54: ILB Raekwon McMillan, Ohio State
Miami continues to build its defense in the 2017 NFL draft, selecting Ohio State linebacker Raekwon McMillan.
McMillan comes in at 6'2", 240 pounds, and he led the Buckeyes in tackles in 2015 with 119. He then followed that up in 2016 with 102, earning second-team all-America honors and first-team all-Big Ten.
McMillan doesn't get fooled by misdirection or counter plays and can read plays very well. His football smarts are very high, and he is a solid run defender.
While McMillan might have the size to keep up with tight ends, he won't solve the tight end coverage problem Miami has struggled with. He also tends to struggle against blocks if he doesn't beat them on the first attack. While his football intelligence is off the charts, he doesn't have elite speed at the position.
Needing a strong-side linebacker, the McMillan selection makes sense as Miami will have to move on from Koa Misi at some point. His upside and intelligence is a lot to salivate over, and he could be a starter come Week 1.
Round 3, Pick 97
Round 3, Pick 97: CB Cordrea Tankersley, Clemson
Defense remains the theme of the draft, with Miami selecting Clemson's Cordrea Tankersley.
Tankersley gives Miami some much-needed size in the backfield, coming in at 6'1" and 199 pounds. Speed is another attribute possessed by Tankersley, as he ran a 4.44-second 40-yard dash at the combine in February.
He's coming off a successful season in which he had four interceptions, 11 pass breakups, third-team All-America honors, first-team All-ACC honors and a national championship.
Tankersley is an aggressive corner with great length and the ability to bother receivers for the entire duration of the play. The statistics show this just as much as his film does, as per Pro Football Focus, Tankersley allowed a passer rating of 41.2 in his two years as a starter at Clemson. He gave up only one touchdown and only one pass over 30 yards in 2016 while playing on both sides of the field.
One issue that Tankersley might have early on is in picking up penalties, as his aggressiveness could get him into trouble. He had eight pass interference penalties in two years at Clemson, and it would not be a surprise if he matched that number in his first year in the league as he grows and develops. It will especially be an issue as he learns to play a bit more in off-man coverage.
Tankersley should be able to give Byron Maxwell a legitimate challenge for the starting job in training camp, if not beat him outright.
Round 5, Pick 164
Round 5, Pick 164: G Isaac Asiata, Utah
After focusing on defense in the first two days of the draft, Miami decided to fortify their offensive line in round five by trading up with the Philadelphia Eagles and selecting Utah guard Isaac Asiata.
Miami sent Philadelphia two fifth rounders (pick 166 and 184) and in exchange got this selection and a sixth round selection (pick 194).
Asiata is a powerful run blocker, who scored the highest Pro Football Focus run-blocking grade of the 2016 season against UCLA, grading out at 91.0. He usually gets the edge early in his blocks, and can be even better when asked to pull.
Asiata's "weakness" may be in pass protection, but he's no slouch in that either. Even when he doesn't have an assignment on a play, he's quick to clean up and take other pass rushers out of the play. Asiata also has great quickness which allows him to pick up on blitzes quickly. While he wasn't tested out much against the most athletic pass rushers, this shouldn't be an issue with him at guard as he'll likely be lined up next to Laremy Tunsil.
Per Omar Kelly of the Sun-Sentinel, a knee injury is the reason for his slide into the fifth round. Despite this, Asiata has started every game at Utah since the 2013 season all along the offensive line. Miami might need the versatility with the volitile health of Mike Pouncey, and if needed, Asiata can play center too.
Power, athleticism, versatility and durability. These are features you want in an offensive lineman, features possessed by Asiata. Perhaps the best pick thus far of Miami's draft, which has already been a good one.
Round 5, Pick 178
Round 5, Pick 178: DT Davon Godchaux, LSU
After a brief respite to pick an offensive player, Miami went back to work on its defense by selecting LSU defensive tackle Davon Godchaux.
Godchaux, much like first-rounder Charles Harris, is someone meant to get to the quarterback. While his numbers aren't as prolific as Harris (owing in part to the different positions as Harris is an edge-rusher, while Godchaux is a 5-tech interior lineman), he did amass 12.5 sacks in his final two seasons with the Tigers.
This comes from Godchaux's ability to get into the backfield thanks to his fluid movement. He can take on double-teams very well, which could also help linebackers get into the backfield and shows tremendous awareness of where the ball is, allowing him to not only get to the quarterback but any ball-carrier in the back.
He is still a bit raw and isn't very well-suited against the run at this time. He can work well as a situational pass-rusher at the start of his career, being used primarily in obvious passing downs. Being on the same line as Ndamukong Suh and Cameron Wake should help, and packages featuring those two, Godchaux and Harris should be scary for any quarterback.
At this point in the draft, you can gamble and take situational players like Godchaux, and this is a gamble that should work for the Dolphins.
Round 6, Pick 194
Round 6, Pick 194: DT Vincent Taylor, Oklahoma State
Miami keeps adding to the defense, and after choosing Davon Godchaux with their second fifth-rounder, the Dolphins use their sixth-round selection on Oklahoma State's Vincent Taylor.
Taylor looks like a nose tackle, but looks is all there really is to it, as he comes in at 6'3", 304 pounds. He has very good upper-body technique and has shown great ability to collapse the pocket.
Against the run is a bit of a different story, as he has shown problems moving with lateral ability. He also doesn't do a very good job of shedding blocks in run situations.
As an interior pass-rusher, Taylor looks tremendous. Problem is, Miami already selected a player who could do the same thing (only better) who has his own issues against the run game. He should work as a special teams player, though, as he blocked four kicks in 2016, which was the most in D-I FBS.
Round 7, Pick 237
Round 7, Pick 237: WR Isaiah Ford, Virginia Tech
Adam Beasley of the Miami Herald reports that the Dolphins traded down. Miami sent the Tampa Bay Buccaneers their seventh-rounder, which was the 223rd pick in the draft (used to select defensive tackle Stevie Tu'ikolovatu out of USC), in exchange for the 237th pick in the draft as well as a seventh-rounder next year.
With the 237th selection, the final one for the Dolphins in the 2017 draft (provided they don't trade back into the draft), Miami has selected Virginia Tech wide receiver Isaiah Ford.
Coming in at 6'1", 194 pounds, Ford has great length to be able to play on the outside but could bulk up some. He was productive with the Hokies in 2016, nabbing 79 receptions for 1,094 yards and seven touchdowns.
Ford has very good hands but will have to get bigger in order to be an effective pro. His speed is decent but not out of this world, and he can get knocked off routes very easily by stronger corners. However, he can also make up for this with his good hands and ability to control his body very well.
This is a player who seems to scream "New England Patriots," which means the Dolphins made a good pick. They will now have to develop him and ensure he's not snagged from the practice squad while down here, which is never a guarantee.