It was quite the offseason for the Dolphins that saw them move on from several different high profile players like Jarvis Landry and Ndamukong Suh being traded and released. Looking to change up the culture the Dolphins went into the 2018 NFL Draft looking to retool their roster. Our Miami Dolphins 2018 NFL Draft Review takes a look at how the Dolphins did.
Miami Dolphins 2018 NFL Draft Review
1st Round, Pick #11: Minkah Fitzpatrick CB Alabama
— Brian Johannes (@Draft_Brian) January 4, 2018
Miami had to be in a good spot as both Fitzpatrick and Tremaine Edmunds were available here with both being talented and filling big needs. Fitzpatrick is a versatile weapon who will be their slot corner giving them a chess piece who can match up with both receivers, backs and tight ends while also giving them some pass rushing ability off the edge and could even play some linebacker. Not to mention he could drop back and play some safety. For a team needing defensive playmakers, they got one here.
2nd Round, Pick #10: Mike Gesicki TE Penn State
— Brian Johannes (@Draft_Brian) April 6, 2018
Dating back to his days with the Broncos as the offensive coordinator, Adam Gase has featured tight ends into his offense in a big way. Gesicki is an elite contested catcher using his 6’6 frame and leaping ability to high point the ball over defenders. He doesn’t always play to his timed speed but he does have the ability to separate down the seam. Look for him to be split out individually in 3 by 1 sets to isolate him and use that size to his advantage.
3rd Round, Pick #9: Jerome Baker LB Ohio State
After passing on Tremaine Edmunds in the first round the Dolphins finally get one here in the third round. Baker is the ultimate space linebacker who is party safety and part linebacker who thrives on the weakside sprinting to the ball. Miami is hoping that Baker can be an upgrade over Kiko Alonso at the weakside linebacker not only talent wise but to move on from Alonso and his big contract.
4th Round, Pick #23: Durham Smythe TE Notre Dame
With Mike Gesicki being selected in the second round the Dolphins double dipped at the position adding an inline blocker in Smythe to compliment the athletic “big receiver” that Gesicki provides. And while I feel there were better prospects at other positions available, the Dolphins got one of the best blocking tight ends in the draft and if Smythe develops into a solid number two that can help out in the run game, then they got a solid pick here.
4th Round, Pick # 31: Kalen Ballage RB Arizona State
Veteran free agent Frank Gore came back home to provide a one two punch with second half break out star Kenyan Drake. But it was only a matter of time before the Dolphins drafted a running back that could be in their long term plans. Ballage didn’t get a good market share of the carries at Arizona State and his receiving skills were not on full display. That being said, Ballage is terrific receiver who can make catches outside of his body and use his size and speed to be a mismatch weapon. Having a year to be a spot player and learn under Frank Gore could do wonders for Ballage and Drake.
6th Round, Pick # 35: Cornell Armstrong CB Southern Mississippi
Armstrong lacks ideal size, speed, and ball skills needed to play in the league so it was a bit curious why the Dolphins are taking the chance on him while a player like Quenton Meeks from Stanford goes undrafted. Likely the Dolphins are hoping to take a chance on a small school prospect hoping to hit it big.
7th Round, Pick #9: Quentin Poling LB Ohio
Lacking ideal size Poling makes up for it with length, speed and change of direction. Add in that he was a four year starter and a team captain has all the makings for a key reserve and core special teams player. For a 7th round pick anything else would be gravy.
7th Round, Pick #11: Jason Sanders K New Mexico
I’m never a fan of taking kickers in the draft and this is no different as players like Jason Sanders can be had as underafted free agents. Sanders struggled through 2017 but was much better the year prior. Sanders has a strong leg and is likely a kick off specialist at best.
Draft Grade: B+
Best Pick: Minkah Fitzpatrick
Biggest Reach: Durham Smythe