Re-Grading Miami Dolphins' Past 5 Drafts
In just two weeks, the Miami Dolphins and the rest of the NFL will meet in New York City to commence the 2014 NFL draft. Before we go forward, it's time to look back at how we would retroactively grade the past five drafts for the Dolphins.
The grading will be rather simple: Each individual player selected by the Dolphins in the draft will be graded based off of his time with the Dolphins and how he performed while he played for the Dolphins. The averages for each player in their respective draft classes will then be averaged out to determine the overall grades for the draft class.
There is a bit of a curve involved with grading each player: Late round selections (players selected in the fifth, sixth and seventh rounds) will get more leeway in their grades than those players selected in the first four rounds.
In addition to that curve, grades for players drafted in the final three rounds who didn't pan out will not count against the average for a class, however, the grades for players picked in the first four rounds will be counted regardless of their production with the Dolphins.
The reason for this is, because in the first four rounds, it's imperative to find a player who is productive for a team, whereas rounds five through seven are more about rounding out the depth of a team. This also factors in early-round draft busts as well as late-round surprises.
Now, here's a look at the grades for each draft class for the Miami Dolphins since 2009.
First Round (pick 25): CB Vontae Davis—B
Vontae Davis grades out as a B. While he only played for three years with the Dolphins, he was very productive, but he was never an all-pro caliber player.
Second Round (pick 44): QB Pat White—F
An outright disaster and waste of a second-round pick, Pat White seemed to have been brought in exclusively to run the wildcat offense, which itself should've been a red flag.
Second Round (pick 61): CB Sean Smith—B+
Sean Smith was a bit more consistent than his fellow 2009 draft pick Davis and played with the Dolphins a year longer than him. He wasn't as dynamic as Davis, but save for his hands of stone, he was productive.
Third Round (pick 87): WR Patrick Turner—F
Absolutely no impact for the Dolphins with this pick, as Patrick Turner would only appear in two games as a Dolphin before moving onto the New York Jets to continue being a non-factor.
Fourth Round (pick 108): WR Brian Hartline—A+
Brian Hartline has steadily improved in every season with the Dolphins, producing 1,000-yard receiving seasons in his last two years with the team and being Ryan Tannehill's top receiver. Great value for a fourth-round pick.
Fifth Round (pick 161): TE John Nalbone—0
Fifth Round (pick 165): S Chris Clemons—A-
Solid, but not a spectacular contributor Miami could've afforded to keep for the 2014 season.
Sixth Round (pick 181): OT Andrew Gardner—0
Seventh Round (pick 214): LB J.D. Folsom—0
Final Grade: C+
The second- and third-round picks spent on White and Turner should've sunk this draft into oblivion. However, Miami was able to get solid production out of Davis and Smith while the pair was in Miami.
The only remaining player from the draft is Hartline, who has improved each season and stands out as one of the better picks of any Dolphins draft in the last five years. Between his contributions, as well as that of Clemons while with the team, they buoy this draft's grade.
First Round (pick 28): DT Jared Odrick—A
Despite a rocky start to his career due to a season-ending injury in his first game, Jared Odrick has recovered well and is now a productive defensive tackle for the Dolphins who has improved in every season.
Second Round (pick 40): LB Koa Misi—B-
Too much inconsistency in Koa Misi's play for my liking, but his improvement from his first two seasons to his last two seasons has been a good sign.
Third Round (pick 73): Guard John Jerry—D
John Jerry is way too inconsistent for my liking play—mixed in with his involvement in the bullying saga really drags his grade down.
Fourth Round (pick 119): LB A.J. Edds—0
A.J. Edds never contributed to the team. He caught a bad break due to injuries in his first season.
Fifth Round (pick 145): CB Nolan Carroll—B+
Nolan Carroll wasn't always what you would call "great," and at times, struggled to be adequate in his years with the Dolphins. But in 2013, he had a fine season and showed improvement in every season leading up to that year. Considering he was a fifth-round pick, it turned out working out well.
Fifth Round (pick 163): S Reshad Jones—A
Great production and improvement in each of his four seasons in Miami and Reshad Jones should improve more in 2014.
Seventh Round (pick 212): LB Chris McCoy—0
Seventh Round (pick 252): LB Austin Spitler—B+
Austin Spitler is good guy to have on special teams who has filled in at linebacker at times.
Final Grade: B
I partially factored in a good trade down with San Diego into this grade, as this draft still has four players on the current roster and six on last year's roster. It could've been a better draft, but overall, it's solid.
First Round (pick 15): C Mike Pouncey—A+
Overall, an A+ player, Mike Pouncey's resume is strong enough that his involvement in the bullying saga can be overlooked.
Second Round (pick 62): RB Daniel Thomas—D+
The plus is for the fact Daniel Thomas has had some good games, however a second-round running back should have more than three starts and not be considered an outright flop going into his fourth season.
Fourth Round (pick 111) WR Edmond "Clyde" Gates—F
Never really a factor, but Edmond Gates had his chances in his first year with Miami. There's a reason the Dolphins released him prior to the start of his second year.
Sixth Round (pick 174): TE/H-Back Charles Clay—A
Each season for Charles Clay has been better than the last, and he broke out in 2013.
Seventh Round (pick 231): DT Frank Kearse—0
Seventh Round (pick 235): DB Jimmy Wilson—B
For a seventh-round pick, this was a steal. Jimmy Wilson has been effective for the Dolphins either as a nickle back, dime back or as a safety and has consistently been one of the hardest-hitting players in the defensive backfield.
Final Grade: B
This draft gets an A if Miami hits on the Thomas draft pick.
First Round (pick eight): QB Ryan Tannehill—B+
Through his first 32 starts Tannehll is 15-17, but has more touchdowns than interceptions (36 touchdowns to 30 interceptions) a 79.1 quarterback rating and has completed 59 percent of his passes.
This despite not having a good offensive line in any of his two seasons in Miami (with his second season featuring one of the worst offensive lines in NFL history), Mike Sherman as his offensive coordinator, no real threat in the running game and having a receiving unit consisting of Hartline, Davone Bess, scotch tape and glue in his first season.
Second Round (pick 42): OT Jonathan Martin—F
Jonathan Martin at least played some games, so I can't give him a zero, but his overall impact on the team was as negative as you could get no matter whose side you took in the bullygate saga.
Third Round (pick 72): DE Olivier Vernon—A
Steady improvement leading to a productive and great 2013 gives Olivier Vernon an A in my book.
Third Round (pick 78): TE Michael Egnew—D
Michael Egnew gets a D instead of an F because he's still on the roster, plus one has to wonder how much this coaching staff's now legendary stubborness has to do with his lack of playing time.
Fourth Round (pick 97): RB Lamar Miller—C
I'd like to see better vision from Lamar Miller when he runs as well as better pass protection. He's capable of a big play, but thus far, he's only shown flashes.
Fifth Round (pick 155): LB Josh Kaddu—F
Josh Kaddu was released midway through the 2013 season and failed to compete for a spot in the linebacker rotation.
Sixth Round (pick 183): WR B.J. Cunningham—0
Seventh Round (pick 215): DT Kheeston Randall—0
Kheeston Randaall played 12 games for the Dolphins in 2012 then was released. He never really contributed to the team too much—I'm confident in giving him a zero.
Seventh Round (pick 227): WR Rishard Matthews—B
This grade could become an A this season. Rishard Matthews has shown great improvement in each of his two NFL seasons.
Final Grade: C+
That big second-round F and third-round D is a killer to this draft's overall grade.
Even though I've had assignments where I've had to grade drafts right after the draft, or even a year after a draft, I don't think you can truly grade a draft until two seasons have passed with that draft class.
Between that philosophy and the fact Miami's 2013 draft class was on the field for only a few more combined snaps than you or me due to circumstances that seemed out of these players' control (injuries, coaches who had no idea how to use them or a combination of both), I can't properly grade this draft.
If I were to grade this draft, I'd probably give it an F, but like I mentioned on the last slide when discussing Egnew's low grade, how much of that has to do with the coaching staff?
I'll revisit the 2013 draft class once I see what they can do, and I should be able to see something from them in 2014. If not, then we're in trouble.
Statistics provided by Pro-Football-Reference.com.