The Miami Dolphins entered the draft with multiple picks and plenty of ammunition to maneuver throughout the seven rounds. They broached the possibility of a trade before the draft with the hopes acquiring Kansas City Chiefs offensive tackle Branden Albert. That transaction never took place so the Dolphins decided to make a big move up draft boards. Then they surprised a lot of people.
Dion Jordan/DE/Oregon (Round 1, pick #3): When the Dolphins moved up nine slots after trading with the Oakland Raiders most everyone figured they would select offensive tackle Lane Johnson. They were wrong as Miami chose the draft’s best defensive player, Dion Jordan. The selection of Jordan was a bit unusual as most project the 6-foot, 6.5-inch/250-pound defender to outside linebacker in a 3-4 alignment. While the Dolphins will surely use Jordan in a variety of roles, his primary position will be defensive end in the team’s four man line. I have no doubt Jordan will eventually develop into the pass rushing threat Miami needs yet I have concerns on how he will stand up against the run out of a three point stance. If Jordan bulks up, which will eventually happen, does it come at the expense of speed and quickness? There’s a lot to like about this pick yet at the same time there’s also reason to be cautious moving forward.
Jamar Taylor/CB/Boise State (Round 2, pick #54): Unlike the Dion Jordan selection, the choice of Taylor late in round two was pure genius. He’s a scheme diverse corner with a large degree of upside and a rookie who comes with starting potential. Taylor was projected as a potential first round pick by many, including myself, and his drop of almost a round was surprising. The Dolphins were benefactors and they filled a need at cornerback with a terrific player.
Dallas Thomas/OL/Tennessee (Round 3, pick #77): Likewise, the selection of Dallas Thomas in the middle of round three was also terrific value for Miami. Thomas is a polished prospect who can line up at guard as well as the all important left tackle spot. He needs only to improve his run blocking strength but possesses definite starting potential. This choice offers Miami so many options. The best case scenario has Thomas winning the left tackle job which enables Miami to keep second year pro Jonathan Martin on the right side. At the very least Thomas could be an invaluable back-up at three separate offensive line spots.
Will Davis/CB/Utah State (Round 3, pick #93): The choice of Davis late in the third round was a bit of a stretch but it comes with a good degree of upside. At one point we thought the developing corner was second round material but a poor Senior Bowl coupled with an average combine workout (except for the shuttle times) pushed Davis down our board. He’ll see the field in nickel/dime packages next season and if Davis polishes his game, he could be a future starter.
Jelani Jenkins/LB/Florida (Round 4, pick #104): Jenkins was a solid addition to the Dolphins linebacker unit in round four. He possesses a versatile skill set and needs only to improve the details of his position to round out his game. Jenkins’ ability to line-up at middle linebacker or on the weak-side is enticing.
Dion Sims/TE/Michigan State (Round 4, pick #106): Sims in round four was more great value for Miami. He comes with an all-around game and really looks like a tight end in the body of an offensive tackle. Sims does it all on film; he dominates as a blocker, looks natural catching the ball and plays faster than his forty time (4.70), getting down the field and into the secondary with ease. With free agent Dustin Keller signed for just one year, Sims could be Miami’s tight end of the future.
Mike Gillislee/RB/Florida (Round 5, pick #164): Gillislee in the fifth round fits the category of “best player unavailable” and offers the Dolphins depth at the running back position. In the weeks leading up to the draft I was lead to believe Gillislee would be a top 75 choice, something which never came close to fruition. He has limitations but the ability to be a change of pace ball carrier/pass catcher out of the backfield makes Gillislee a solid third back on the roster.
Caleb Sturgis/PK/Florida (Round 5, pick #166): Sturgis was one of three kickers we rated as draftable. He’s a solid field goal kicker with an adequate kick-off leg. In the end he should offer the Dolphins competition at the position.
Don Jones/DB/Arkansas State (Round 7, #250): In the weeks leading up to the draft we continually reported on Miami’s interest in Jones, so it was no surprise when they selected him in the final frame. The athletic defensive back offers the skills to line-up at cornerback, safety and can play special teams. Looking at the state of the Dolphins secondary Jones is more than a warm camp body, rather he’s a seventh round pick who could make the final roster as the teams eighth defensive back.
Grade: B+. The Dolphins made nine selections during the 2013 NFL Draft and its difficult to see how all the players chosen won’t end up on an NFL roster. Whether it be an active roster, practice squad or even on the depth chart of another team, there’s a real chance all nine picks will be receiving NFL paychecks come September. Miami filled needs with quality players from start to finish. We count four potential starters from this group with an additional four players lining up as situational specialists. Our concern over Dion Jordan being an every down defensive end holds us back from giving this effort a grade of A, but rest assured, the Dolphins leave the draft a much better team.