Much of the Miami Dolphins draft day strategy was dictated by the mid-April trade, which yielded the franchise Brandon Marshall. With their need at receiver filled the Dolphins looked to plug holes on the defensive side of the ball and collect extra picks to make up for those lost in the Marshall deal.
The team made a big move down draft boards after trading with the San Diego Chargers, dropping from the 14th selection of round one to the 28th. In that spot they chose Jared Odrick, which represents excellent value. Many felt Odrick would be drafted earlier in round one based on his ability to play defensive tackle or be used as a two-gap end. The need was created when the team decided to move Randy Starks to the nose tackle position. That move is highly questionable yet there’s no denying Odrick was a bargain in the final stages of round one.
In return for moving down 14 slots the Dolphins acquired the 40th pick of the draft from the Chargers and used that selection to draft Koa Misi. The off season losses of Joey Porter and Jason Taylor created a major void at the rush linebacker position, and Misi is pegged to plug the hole. The Utah defensive end definitely has the athleticism to hold down the spot and to his credit, showed linebacker skills throughout the Senior Bowl. It could be baptism under fire for Misi as Miami must manufacture a pass rush from their front seven.
Offensive lineman John Jerry was moving up draft boards but we still think he was a bit of a reach in round three. He’s a big, plodding blocker better off in confined quarters. Though he’s been listed at the offensive tackle spot we’ve always graded Jerry as a guard, the position where he’s been placed on Miami’s depth chart.
Miami came away with a good player in round four, selecting outside linebacker AJ Edds. The former Hawkeye is well suited for a 34 alignment and his nasty attitude on the field will sit well with Bill Parcells. Round four is right about where we rated Edds, who could develop into a starter in time.
The team looked to the defensive backfield with a pair of picks in round five, initially selecting cornerback Nolan Carroll. The Maryland product has the measurables to play at the next level but has never been anything other than a flash in the pan. He’ll have to elevate every facet of his game to make the roster in September. The team initially targeted Robert Johnson of Utah with their other selection in the frame but turned their attention to Rashad Jones when Johnson came off the board. At the top of his game Jones is a terrific safety, effective in both run support and pass coverage. Problem was Jones seemed lost on the field for most of the ’09 season at Georgia. He could end up as a real steal if he gets his game back on track and plays up to his level of ability.
Two picks in round seven yielded another pair of defensive prospects. Linebacker Chris McCoy was solid value in the last frame. He comes off a terrific season and will be used as a situational pass rusher that can stand up over tackle or line up with his hand on the ground. McCoy’s game is moving north and we would not be surprised at all if he makes the final cut. Austin Spitler was a sleeper we spoke about during Ohio State’s pro-day back on March 12th. He’s a solid inside linebacker prospect that will have to make his mark on special teams.
Overview: When grading this draft one must factor in the acquisition of receiver Brandon Marshall. And though Marshall could implode at any time off the field, there’s no question he’ll be a big asset for Chad Henne and the Miami offense. The Dolphins came away with good players who, for the most part, fill needs. Moving Randy Starks to nose tackle could be risky, especially considering the team bypassed numerous opportunities to select nose tackles throughout the seven rounds. They also passed up a number of good safety prospects along the way- though Jones could be fifth round steal. On paper the Dolphins look like a much better team after the draft and a number of the players selected should produce as rookies, which is the bottom line.