The Miami Dolphins added eight new rookies to their roster during last week’s NFL draft. Each addition is a peek into the mind of new Dolphins general manager Dennis Hickey. Most of Miami’s picks were added to address perceived weaknesses on the roster.
With that said, here is a look at Miami's biggest winners following the 2014 draft:
1. Ryan Tannehill, QB: It was clear the Dolphins were going “all in” with Tannehill in free agency. Miami spent a lot of money to sign Pro Bowl left tackle Brenden Albert ($47 million). The team also added former Denver starting tailback Knowshon Moreno to improve the running game and pass protection. The Dolphins continued that trend by helping Tannehill even more in the draft. Miami’s first two picks were right tackle Ja'Wuan James and projected slot receiver Jarvis Landry. James is projected to start in Week 1 and protect Tannehill’s front side. Landry is a tough and dependable receiver who could develop into a security blanket for Tannehill over the middle. Tannehill has more talent around him than ever before and no excuses as he tries to take the next step.
2. Philip Wheeler/Koa Misi, LBs: It’s well documented that Miami’s linebacker play last year was underwhelming. The Dolphins were a disappointing 24th against the run and linebackers Dannell Ellerbe, Wheeler and Misi all struggled at times in coverage. Miami has been open to reshuffling its linebackers. The Dolphins hosted D'Qwell Jackson when became a free agent and were considered a possible landing spot for middle linebacker C.J. Mosley in the draft. Both would have been options at middle linebacker, which would have bumped Ellerbe outside and Wheeler or Misi to the bench. But Jackson signed with the Indianapolis Colts and Mosley went No. 17 overall to the Baltimore Ravens, two spots ahead of Miami. Therefore, Wheeler and Misi’s roles remain in tact.
3. Pat Devlin, QB: No one expected Miami to draft Tannehill’s successor. That would have taken one of Miami’s top two draft selections. But most were surprised when the Dolphins did not select a developmental quarterback in the later rounds to push Devlin, Miami’s No. 3 quarterback. There was plenty of value with late-round quarterbacks this year. Prospects such as Aaron Murray (fifth round), Zack Mettenberger (sixth) and Tajh Boyd (sixth) were on the board late Saturday and could turn out to be good developmental projects. In addition, the Dolphins cut quarterback Jordan Rodgers last weekend. Devlin has little competition for the No. 3 role and could hold the job for the fourth straight year.
4. Louis Delmas, S: The Dolphins took as risk by signing the often-injured Delmas. He’s a hard-hitting safety when healthy, but durability is a major concern. The Dolphins surprisingly did not draft safety insurance for Delmas. That means Miami is counting on Delmas to stay healthy for the entire season. The Dolphins passed on Ha Ha Clinton Dix at No. 19 and just missed on Calvin Pryor, who was taken at No. 18 by the New York Jets.