James Walker breaks down the Miami Dolphins' 2017 draft class.
Round 1, No. 22 overall: Charles Harris, DE, Missouri
My take: The Dolphins needed youth in their defensive-end rotation. Pro Bowler Cameron Wake is 35, starter Andre Branch is 27 and top reserve William Hayes is 31. Harris will begin the season as a backup to Wake and Branch, which isn’t ideal for a first-round pick. But Harris brings versatility and should help in substitution packages, possibly even taking snaps at outside linebacker. Harris' most important asset is his ability to get to the quarterback. Harris led Missouri with nine sacks last season and also added 28 quarterback knockdowns. Dolphins general manager Chris Grier said after the pick that “you can’t have enough pass-rushers.” The team hopes Harris learning under veterans such as Wake, Branch and Hayes will help the rookie develop faster. The pick is a long-term play.
What about Foster? Here is a decision that will be questioned for years to come: Did Miami make the right choice with Harris while passing on former Alabama linebacker Reuben Foster? A projected top-10 pick, Foster slid down the draft board due to character and medical red flags. Foster tested positive for a dilute urine sample at the NFL combine, got into an altercation with a hospital worker in Indianapolis and was sent home early; there are also questions about a prior shoulder injury. That was enough for the Dolphins and other teams to pass on Foster. But the progress of Foster vs. Harris at the next level will be worth monitoring over the next couple of seasons.
Board favored Dolphins: In what many projected to be a defense-heavy draft, there was an unexpected run on offensive players early in the first round. Virtually no mock draft predicted three quarterbacks -- Mitchell Trubisky, Patrick Mahomes, Deshaun Watson -- going in the top 12. Wide receiver Corey Davis also was a surprising top-five pick, taken by the Tennessee Titans. There were eight offensive players in the first 12 picks. This obviously helped Miami, which clearly has most of its needs on defense.
Round 2, No. 54: Raekwon McMillan, LB, Ohio State
My take: The Dolphins were 30th against the run last season and McMillan should help in that area. Miami needs to improve its physicality and McMillan, as Dolphins general manager Chris Grier said, is a tackling machine. There were more athletic linebackers on the board, such as Vanderbilt's Zach Cunningham, but Grier said McMillan was the top player on Miami’s board.
How he fits: McMillan played inside linebacker at Ohio State and was a 2016 captain. He should bring leadership ability. On paper, Miami needs an outside linebacker most to pair with 2016 leading tackle Kiko Alonso. The team signed free agent Lawrence Timmons from the Pittsburgh Steelers this offseason to play middle linebacker. Most likely, that means McMillan will attempt to move outside.
Round 3, No. 97: Cordrea Tankersley, CB, Clemson
My take: Miami appears to have its two starting cornerbacks set this season in veteran Byron Maxwell and 2016 second-round pick Xavien Howard. The Dolphins are high on Howard and, barring injury, Tankersley would have a steep climb to start in his place. It's unknown if Tankersley can play the nickel. The rookie could provide depth and possibly set up for a bigger role in 2018.
How he fits: Tankersley has the measurables that fit Miami’s defense. He’s tall (6-foot-1), long and comfortable playing man defense. The Dolphins also need depth at the cornerback position. Tankersley said he’s familiar with Maxwell, who also went to Clemson, and models his game after his future teammate. Tankersley also has plenty of experience playing special teams and can do that immediately.
Round 5, No. 164: Isaac Asiata, G, Utah
My take: The Dolphins needed a guard and missed on several potential starters in the first three rounds. They finally addressed one of their biggest needs by drafting Asiata. The left guard position is wide open now that 2016 first-round pick Laremy Tunsil is moving outside to left tackle. This is a solid and safe pick for Miami, which traded up two spots with the Philadelphia Eagles to get Asiata.
How he fits: Despite being a fifth-rounder, Asiata will have a chance to compete for a starting job with veteran free-agent pickup Ted Larsen. Asiata describes himself as a guard/center, which is key because the Dolphins also need insurance for starting center Mike Pouncey. Pouncey has dealt with an injured hip for the past two seasons. Asiata’s versatility should enable him to make the 53-man roster without much issue.
Round 5, No. 178: Davon Godchaux, DT, LSU
My take: Godchaux could be a late-round value pick for the Dolphins. He was productive on the field, recording 6.5 sacks for LSU last season. Godchaux said he thought he would be taken in the third round. But some character red flags in college pushed Godchaux to Miami in the fifth round.
How he fits: The Dolphins need depth at defensive tackle behind Pro Bowler Ndamukong Suh, who plays a lot of snaps. Godchaux could provide backup reps and could push former second-round pick Jordan Phillips, who has been inconsistent. Godchaux said he models his game after Suh and is excited to play with him.
Round 6, No. 194: Vincent Taylor, DT, Oklahoma State
My take: The Dolphins took a defensive tackle for the second pick in a row. They need depth in that area and hope Taylor can help provide it. The Dolphins acquired this pick in a swap earlier Saturday with the Eagles.
How he fits: Any player selected at this point must fight hard this summer for a roster spot. Taylor is fortunate in that Miami doesn’t have much at defensive tackle behind starters Ndamukong Suh and Jordan Phillips. Taylor will have a chance to make the team, especially if he provides help on special teams.
Round 7, No. 237: Isaiah Ford, WR, Virginia Tech
My take: Ford is an athletic receiver who had back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons for the Hokies. Ford also was a good basketball player in high school who chose to play football instead in college.
How he fits: Despite being a seventh-round pick, Ford has a chance to make Miami's 53-man roster. The Dolphins are four deep at receiver with Jarvis Landry, Kenny Stills, DeVante Parker and Leonte Carroo. Ford could compete with 2016 draft pick Jakeem Grant to be Miami’s fifth receiver and grab one of the final spots on the roster.