As the Dolphins prep for this week’s NFL draft, they have to reflect on the successes and failures of their recent draft history. Let’s take a look back to the successes and failures ourselves, and hope that Dennis Hickey is able to make a splash in his first draft in Miami.
2013- The biggest splash in recent memory for the Dolphins in terms of draft day. They traded up with Oakland to the number three overall pick to take Dion Jordan. Jordan, an athletic freak/ tweener linebacker-defensive end saw minimal playing time in his rookie year. This was due in part to injury and in part to lack of confidence from the coaching staff. Jordan can be an excellent player, he just needs the time and reps to do so. The rest of the 2013 draft was relatively ho-hum in terms of names, and the impact they had on the 2013 season. Dion Sims (4th rd.) had an incredible touchdown catch to win the game in week 3, but did little outside of that. Jamar Taylor (2nd rd.) was limited by injury all season, Will Davis saw some time, but not enough to make an impact, and Caleb Sturgis was ever shaky at kicker. The 2013 draft was somewhat forgettable. Hickey needs to do better than this if the Dolphins are to contend.
2012- The year of Ryan Tannehill. If he will be the savior of the franchise is still to be seen, but it is hard to argue that taking Tannehill 8th overall was a “bad pick.” Tannehill has improved drastically in 2 seasons, and has the makings of a solid NFL quarterback. Jonathan Martin was taken in round 2, I think that’s all that needs to be said about that. Olivier Veron (3rd rd.) has been a very pleasant surprise, while Michael Egnew (3rd rd.) and Lamar Miller (4th rd.) haven’t panned out as Miami would have hoped. Seventh round pick Rishard Matthews stepped up nicely when Brandon Gibson went down for the season. If Dennis Hickey can have this kind of draft, I think Dolphins’ fans would be happy.
2011- The 2011 draft has had a very up and down result. Mike Pouncey might be the best center in the NFL, and should be a Dolphin for the next 10 years. Great pick. Daniel Thomas, traded up for by Ireland, is no longer with the team. Clyde Gates (3rd rd.) is no longer a Dolphin either, while Charles Clay (6th rd.) was one of the league’s biggest surprises in 2013. Hitting on picks like Clay, and also taking a sure thing like Pouncey is key to a good draft, but so is not taking busts like Gates and Thomas. If Hickey can tighten those kind of mistakes up, the Dolphins can have a very solid 2014 draft.
2010- The 2010 draft has to be seen as a very productive draft. Of the 8 picks made by Miami, 5 of those players were starters at some point in 2013. Jared Odrick has turned into a very nice defensive tackle, and Koa Misi is a productive NFL player. Reshad Jones has a chance to be great, and Nolan Carroll, no longer on the team, made leaps and bounds from 2012 to 2013. John Jerry is now a Giant, cast off after Bullygate. Austin Spitler, 7th round pick from 2010, sees time here and there as well. 2010 was a draft that helped provide solid building blocks at key spots.
2009- The 2009 draft was a disaster, simply put. Only 1 player remains on the team from that draft, Brian Hartline. Four players have moved on to other teams, Chris Clemons, Vontae Davis, Sean Smith, and Patrick Turner. Three players are out of the league, including Pat White. A general benchmark for a successful draft pick is whether or not that player is on your roster 5 years later. The fact that Brian Hartline is the only remaining pick on the team, says all that needs to be said about the 2009 draft. If Dennis Hickey has a lemon of a draft like 2009, his tenure in Miami could be a short one.