Analysis of Player – When doing research on his ability via highlight films, it didn’t take long at all to see that Ju’Wuan James is a man in the pass protection game; his incredibly quick feet and arm length/strength provides James with noteworthy pass blocking abilities. Along with those quick feet is a 6’6”, 320 pound monstrous frame allowing him the size to dominate down blocks and base blocks in the run game. He tends to have issues with playing high and giving away his leverage when doing so (especially when he gets tired and loses composure), but an offseason of intense conditioning and proper coaching and this natural mistake will become a thing of the college football past.
Breakdown and Rating of Pick – As of the beginning of the draft, James was on the radar, but not my top choice for the 19th overall pick. Once the draft had unfolded and the Dolphins were on the clock, I fully expected Cyrus Kouandjio from Alabama to be the pick; my only issue with selecting either of these offensive tackles as the first rounder is that neither of them are guaranteed a starting position, and a first round pick needs to fulfill a starting role for sure. I feel like serious playmakers left on the board such as Brandon Cooks, Marquis Lee, and even a stretch in Johnny Manziel was too much talent to resist for Dennis Hickey and staff. I think if we would have waited for a second or third round pick for tackle, even possibly trading up for Cyrus Kouandjio or Morgan Moses in the early second round we would have been able to capitalize on the remaining playmaker-caliber talent that still remained. But nevertheless, James is a solid offensive tackle that fulfills a seriously depleted offensive linemen need (be it immediate backup or starter by regular season game one) for Miami. Overall rating for pick – B/B-
Analysis of Player – Landry is a man of a slot receiver and can even make it work at the wide receiver position if necessary. At 5’11”, 205 pounds, he is a bit undersized for a wide receiver position, so I see him being a much more successful at slot. The unique quality about having Landry at slot is that he’s a great jump ball receiver; for his size he comes down with the ball in one on one and even two on one situations because he uses all 205 pounds to toughly box out defenders and catch all of his balls at the highest point. He doesn’t have the top speed to evade from any good safeties or corners, but he is a phenomenal route runner using cuts and double moves frequently to help separate from defenders for just long enough to make a solid catch.
Breakdown and Rating of Pick – With the available talent still on the board at this point, I think Miami would have possibly been better off snagging a solid running back or tight end such as Tre Mason of Auburn and C.J. Fiedorowicz of Iowa. But as far as receivers left on the board, Landry was a phenomenal pickup to compliment Mike Wallace and Brian Hartline who will probably both be out wide in normal passing situations. Overall rating for pick – A-/B+
Analysis of Player – Turner is a big boy at 6’5” and 315 pounds, but the fact that competition wasn’t at its best at North Dakota State University makes me skeptic of his true ability. He is very light on his feet and has strong hands, but he has the potential to slide off blocks pretty quickly (which is the last thing the Dolphins need after that dreaded 58 sack stat from last season). With a season or two as a backup, he might be able to establish himself as a starting guard for Miami; he needs to work on blocking at the second level during the running game, but he shows promise with good size and athleticism at the combine.
Breakdown and Rating of Pick – Great pickup for a third rounder for the Fins; securing depth at OL is a necessity for the organization and he certainly was the best guard available on the board. I really liked the pick because depth at tight end and receiver at this point was going to continue into the later picks, but good linemen were becoming more scarce than any other offensive position. Overall rating – B+/B
Analysis of Player – Aikens is a very big corner at 6’1”, 203 pounds, and his size helps him to be a very physical corner; his size improves his chance of knocking a receiver off his route initially in press coverage, but he is limited in speed and has the potential to get burned deep in one-on-one situations against speedy receivers. He is a very aggressive tackler and proves fairly well in open-field situations, but his competition as Liberty University is average at best. He will have to work very hard in the offseason to pick up all the fundamentals he might have lacked at a smaller school; but with some coaching up and his confidence, he has the potential to have some solid upside in the secondary.
Breakdown and Rating of Pick – I wasn’t crazy about this pick because I didn’t feel like Aikens was worth using a 4th round pick; we need depth at cornerback, but I would’ve predicted he would go undrafted or in a very late round simply because he went to a small college, saw limited competition, and carries the potential to be an issue off the field (he was dismissed from the University of Illinois for being arrested for a felony of theft). In my opinion, I didn’t like the choice, but at the very basis we covered a need of depth at the corner position. He intends to make a run at starting for next season, although I don’t see that being the case; I do however like his confidence that he believes he has a true chance to prove himself. Overall rating – B-/C+
Analysis of Player – Lynch is a large-bodied, sure-handed tight end with large upside form the University of Georgia. He doesn’t have the blow away speed of a Ladarius Green of the Chargers, but he’ll be dependable in the red zone with sure hands and solid route running ability. He was notably impressive at helping Aaron Murray (UGA’s QB) out by adjusting his route when Murray was scrambling or forced out of the pocket, especially in the red zone. He will prove to be a solid #2 tight end most likely replacing Sims in the depth chart; he will definitely prove to be one of our best blocking tight ends; this pickup will prove to be a very solid draft choice for a fifth rounder.
Breakdown and Rating of Pick – This choice is one of my favorite pickups by the Dolphins, and I think he will prove to be one of the most beneficial draft choices. For a fifth rounder, I think he was a steal; I expected him to be 3rd-4th round material by draft day. He will take quite a few snaps this upcoming season and I expect somewhere around 5 TDs for him. His value will only increase the more dependable he becomes to Tannehill and the more snaps he gets. Overall rating – A/A-
Analysis of Player – A 6’3”, 235 pound linebacker that runs a 4.67 40 yard dash is at the very least a fantastic pickup for special teams. Tripp is a brute of a linebacker that has a nose for the ball and is always flying around making plays, especially in the run. He isn’t the best in coverage because his size slightly limits his agility and quick cuts to cover solid slot receivers and running backs out of the backfield, but he could very easily become an inside linebacker if he works hard enough in the weight room and puts on a few more pounds. With his instinct for the ball, I think he’d be better at inside linebacker rather than his original position of OLB, but Tripp should definitely make the roster as a stud special teams player with the potential to get some decent reps at linebacker this season (especially if our inside linebacker duo has as pathetic of a showing as they did last season).
Breakdown and Rating of Pick – Hands down, my favorite pick of this draft; this guy was a steal and a half as a late fifth rounder with the upside that he has for our organization. I love his attitude and his character is that of a true leader (a necessary attribute of a strong inside linebacker). He creates competition at the linebacker position this offseason, which will also encourage the other linebackers to step it up in order to keep their starting positions. Overall rating – A+/A
Analysis of Player – With this pick, I honestly feel like Miami just felt like WR was a position that could use some insurance; yet another small-school, small-bodied guy with upside basically due to toughness and a little quickness. Hazel faired decently against tougher competition (played well against South Carolina), but he has small hands and can occasionally get bullied in press coverage when not prepared for contact off the line of scrimmage. He makes very good catches sometimes, so he has a chance to make the roster, but he would be competing against Rishard Matthews and Armon Binns for a spot on the squad. Put up impressive number last season with 990 receiving yards and 9 TDs in his senior year, so he has shown he can be the go-to guy; let’s hope his leadership and skill is enough to help him be successful at the next level.
Breakdown and Rating of Pick – I’m in favor of this pick simply because Dennis Hickey has it right in going for more than one receiver in the draft, and a solid sixth rounder following a huge pickup in Landry in the second round looks to be a fair spot to have gone after another one. I feel like there were other receivers that were better than Hazel left on the board (one of them being Rantavius Wooten from UGA who we luckily picked up off of the undrafted free agency list). But with the idea to fill the WR position with one more slot/wide receiver was the right call for the round. Overall rating – B/B-
Analysis of Player – At 6’4”, 275 pounds, Fede is raw talent at defensive end for Marist College. Skeptics of his ability state that he used his size to simply dominate competition in small-school games, and it made his number way more impressive than they would have been if he were an SEC or ACC defensive linemen. He is a strong kid, and he shows hard work ethic in the weight room where he’ll be worked hard this offseason in order to prepare for the strength of the offensive linemen in the NFL. With the present defensive line at Miami being one of the organization’s treasures, Fede is practically guaranteed to ride the bench for most of at least his first season and will make little impact. But as a mid-7th round pick, he was one of the only remaining decent pickups for Miami from a defensive perspective.
Breakdown and Rating of Pick – At this point, I honestly was just tired of all the small school picks; I just feel like that’s a risk picking up a player based on stats gained against sub-par competition. But I feel like passing up Sam from Mizzou (SEC Player of the Year), from a statistical perspective, was a terrible idea, but with the publicity coming with that situation Sam was carrying a lot of baggage and Miami made their decision to go with Fede. I wouldn’t have been able to pass up Sam as a golden 7th rounder, but Fede has decent numbers and will be a nice attribution to the depth at defensive end. Overall rating – B-/C+
Overall 2014 Draft Rating: B+/B