The Miami Dolphins finished 2013 with an 8-8 record. The Miami Dolphins had a tumultuous year with the “bully-gate” scandal and decimated their offensive line. This disaster immediately impacted Ryan Tannehill. By the end of the year, Tanny had been sacked more times than any other player in the league that season. With the two participants of Bully-gate now gone from Miami the Dolphins and GM Dennis Hickey main priority was to get Tanny protection.
Hickey addressed this immediately by signing free agent OT Branden Albert from the Kansas City Chiefs and Shelley Smith from the St. Louis Rams. The Dolphins also resigned CB Brent Grimes and free agent CB Cortland Finnegan from the St. Louis Rams. Finnegan is coming off a poor performing year but is looking to bounce back. If he does, The Dolphins are set in the secondary. The future will judge Finnegan’s signing, but at least Hickey is moving some pieces around the board.
The Dolphins will be prioritizing the need positions so look for Hickey to concentrate on RT, OG, and WR. Hickey is known for empirical analytical data and ignoring conventional draft wisdom so looking at his draft board could be unique. The Dolphins made a lot of draft day trades moving up and down multiple times with many dance partners.
2014 NFL DRAFT PICK RECAP AND ANALYSIS
Ja’Wuan James T, Tennessee Round 1 Pick #19
Didn’t take long for Hickey to throw the NFL a curve. No way can I say I saw this coming. In my 2014 NF Mock Draft, I had the Dolphins drafting C.J. Mosley but the Baltimore Ravens snatched him two picks early so my plan was up in smoke. Maybe Hickey had the same plan, that could explain why Ja’Wuan James pick came out of left field. I think this was a mistake not because I had James projected in the second round, I just think Hickey could have waited to grab him. No matter, James fill a huge need at RG for Miami and will start from game 1 so that’s all that matters to Hickey and gives Tannehill more protection. Miami may go from getting their QB killed leader to being the best protector of QBs in the league. Startling pick that greatly improves Miami. Grade A.
Jarvis Landry WR, Louisiana State Round 2 Pick # 31
A definite #3 receiver for Miami that will start game 1 and instantly take some of the double coverage away from Mike Wallace. A move the chains receiver and a player who will find the open part of the field for his QB. Makes a QB look better than they are. My type of player. Great Pick. Grade A.
Billy Turner T, North Dakota State Round 3 Pick # 3
Possesses the raw tools and size to be a serious compliment to the current offensive lineman. May take a year or two to work his way in, but once he gets a starting job, no one will take it away. Tough, determined play that plays with a nasty streak. Great footwork and strength makes him a great project player for the Dolphins to mold into the player they need. Great Pick. Grade A.
Walt Aikens DB, Liberty Round 4 Pick # 25
Had legal issues that led to his dismissal from Illinois. A poster boy why collegiate athletes need to get paid. Stole a laptop and other electronics, thus falling on everyone’s draft board. Miami vetted him extra hard and I believe that now that he has some money coming in, we will not have any problems and this guy will be one of the bargains of the draft. Great Pick again. Grade A minus.
Arthur Lynch TE, Georgia Round 5 Pick # 15
6’5″ 260 lb Tight End who ran a 4.8 40 and 28 bench reps. Sure handed, hard working leader who will fight for every yard. Needs some help with setting and shedding blocks and getting to the next level but he will get plenty of coaching and I believe catch on fast. Excellent Pick again Grade B+.
Jordan Tripp LB, Montana Round 5 Pick # 31
Fast for his size with a motor working in overdrive. Needs to slow the game down in his own head. Will contribute immediate on special teams and could play in the nickel roaming the middle. Excellent Pick. Great B+.
Matt Hazel WR, Coastal Carolina Round 6 Pick # 14
Lots of potential, just will need some time to adjust and develop some of his skill set. Has the raw qualities that could make him a #3 receiver in a few years. Diamond in the rough. Grade B+.
Terrence Fede DE, Marist Round 7 Pick # 19
A definite project player coming from a small scale program. First player to ever be drafted from Marist. Has the size but no one knows if he can play with the “big boy.” It’s a 7th rounder, so it is all low risk/high reward. Grade B for the scout team finding him.
Analysis and overall draft grade
Dennis Hickey and Miami has a great day. Made a lot of moves that should pan out and add depth and fill holes. Not sure if it was coincidence or not but 5 of the top 6 players drafted were Team captains in college. This could be an answer to “bully-gate,” getting more leadership in the locker room. Pretty astute move by the Miami Dolphin organization.
Draft Grade: A
Dennis Hickey went after the draft. Was extremely aggressive and stayed to his board. Made the necessary draft day adjustments to get the players he wanted. Amazing job and the Jets who picked ahead of them and John Idzik should watch the “game tape” of all of Dennis Hickey’s moves. Idzik might just learn something. Look for Miami to not only make the playoffs but to post a 12-4 record and go deep.
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