The 2017 draft is now in the books and the general consensus is that Miami came out of it pretty well. As expected they went defense heavy selecting 5 out of 7 players on the defensive side of the ball. This was a draft for the future as it is unlikely many of the rookies will start in week 1 and it may not be until next year that we will see them full time. This isn’t to say they won’t strengthen the team but initially they will add good depth and fresh legs when needed. The first round saw DE Charles Harris of Missouri selected, he should, and needs to be a big part of the defense as he is a round one selection. He is more than likely Cameron Wake’s eventual replacement but will have to bide his time while he learns behind one of the best in the business. Harris eats, sleeps and breaths football, has a true passion for it and wants to be great. This is exactly what Miami needs, players that want to win and this seems to have been their mantra this year. In 2015 he led the conference in tackles for loss with 18.5 to go with 7 sacks, in 2016 he had 6.5 less tackles for loss but upped his sack total to 9. Harris is explosive, athletic and quick with a very good spin move, on the down side he will have to work on shedding his blocks and improve against the run but that can all be fixed.
Next up they welcomed Ohio State inside linebacker Raekwon McMillan, this was a slightly curious selection as it is outside linebacker that has an opening unless they are either looking to convert him to outside or have him back up Lawrence Timmons for a year or two and keep Koa Misi out on the edge. He has good speed but is primarily a run stopper which is what Timmons was brought in to do so we are not sure of his role as yet. McMillan reads plays well and doesn’t get fooled by counter plays or misdirection, he has very high football smarts and was a tackling machine in college.
In round 3 cornerback got a fresh face as Cordrea Tankersley from Clemson was drafted. He is a big aggressive player with good speed and should provide good depth to the secondary this upcoming season unless he can displace either Byron Maxwell or Xavien Howard in training camp, it should be an interesting battle as neither of the two projected starters have cemented themselves as firm starters at this time. The Dolphins didn’t have a fourth round selection but two in the 5th, the first of them was used on Ohio offensive guard Isaac Asiata who was projected to go in the 2nd or 3rd round by some pundits, so to draft him in the 5th could be a steal. He has impressive initial quickness and agility in pass protection and is equally effective while pulling in the running game. Asiata potentially has the best chance starting day 1 of the season. He also has added value as he played some tackle in college so provides depth at that position as well. Interestingly the defensive linemen of the Pac-12 voted him as the top blocker in 2016 which speak volumes about his ability.
The 2nd pick in the round was used on defensive tackle Davon Godchaux from LSU. He is a player that can get after the quarterback from the interior of the line collecting 12.5 sacks in his final two seasons with the Tigers, not bad for a 5 technique interior lineman. He is a fluid player who takes on double teams very well and shows great awareness of where the ball is. He is still raw but will probably be used as a situational pass-rusher in his first year, he will have one of the best in Suh to learn from. The team doubled down on the next selection by taking Oklahoma State’s Vincent Taylor who is another interior lineman who has shown great ability collapsing the pocket. Against the run however it is a different story as he doesn’t shed very well and has problems moving with lateral ability. He will need more work than Godchaux but could find his way into the rotation later on in the season.
The final player selected was a bit of a head scratcher as they drafted Virginia Tech wide receiver Isaiah Ford, another wide receiver is not really what the Dolphins need but they obviously felt he was worth drafting. Maybe they couldn’t overlook the fact that he was projected to go in the 4th round. He was very productive in college, catching a lot of balls but conversely had his fair share of drops. He tracks the ball well in the air and adjusts to out of position balls very easily. He has decent speed, not blow past you speed and will need to bulk up a bit. What he can do however is make hard catches look routine and has an ability to control his body very well. Will he make Leonte Carroo worry about his position on the team, only training camp will tell.
It should be interesting to see which rookies make there case for a big role this upcoming season. All in all they had a very successful draft on the face of it, selecting players that filled most of their needs. It will be a couple of years before we know for sure but first impressions see the team heading in the right direction, there was no major reaching for players or trading away picks, they sat still and seemed to select best player available at the positions they had priority on. The only player that they passed on was Zach Cunningham, preferring to pick McMillan instead, that was the only time when a better player was available, they may regret that decision but what is done is done, we shouldn't second guess them. Roll on training camp.