James Walker breaks down the 2016 Miami Dolphins' draft class.
My take: This is a boom-or-bust pick for Miami. On the field, Tunsil could fit in well. The Dolphins have allowed the most quarterback sacks in the NFL (184) since 2012, and Tunsil can be an immediate starter on Miami’s much-maligned offensive line. According to Dolphins general manager Chris Grier, Tunsil was the No. 2 overall player on their board, and they are comfortable with their background checks on him.
However, Tunsil in South Beach is a risky proposition. He found himself in trouble while in Oxford, Mississippi, and Miami will offer a lot more temptations. They could have easily gone with a safer pick to begin a new era under rookie head coach Adam Gase. The last time Miami took such a major risk, it was with Dion Jordan in 2013, and the former No. 3 overall pick suffered three NFL suspensions while with the Dolphins.
"This is a guy, he loves football," Grier said of Tunsil. "This is guy that’s ultra-competitive when you watch him play. This is a different situation from that [of Jordan]. This guy is different.”
Tackle or guard? It is unclear where Tunsil fits on the field as a rookie. The Dolphins already have two starting offensive tackles in Branden Albert and Ja'Wuan James. Albert made the Pro Bowl last season and likely will stay at left tackle. The coaching staff must decide whether Tunsil is better suited at right tackle during his rookie year and move James inside or make Tunsil play guard. Either way, the Dolphins hope Tunsil will be the left tackle of the future.
Dolphins have mixed history: Is recent first-round history an indicator of future success? The Dolphins' past five first-round picks are a mixed bag. They selected receiver DeVante Parker in 2015, right tackle James in 2014, Jordan in 2013, quarterback Ryan Tannehill in 2012 and center Mike Pouncey in 2011. Only Pouncey made the Pro Bowl and is the biggest hit. James and Tannehill are both starters and contributors but certainly not stars. Jordan is a flat-out bust, and Parker has just one season under his belt. The Dolphins ideally would need Tunsil to develop into a future Pro Bowler to help the team get over the hump.
My take: The Dolphins are drafting for prototypes. Howard fits all the height and weight measurables they are looking for at the position, but his game reviews are mixed. I don’t have much of an issue with Miami taking Howard over other well-regarded corners such as Mackensie Alexander and Kendall Fuller. The part I disagree the most with is how the Dolphins moved up four spots to land Howard. GM Grier said he was afraid one of the teams above them would select Howard, but the move was costly. The Dolphins gave up their second-round pick and a fourth-round pick. Vice president Mike Tannenbaum said just last week the team was not one player away. Fourth-rounders can be valuable assets if used properly.
Strong comparisons: Howard said he compares his game to two of the best cornerbacks in the NFL: Darrelle Revis of the New York Jets and Patrick Peterson of the Arizona Cardinals. Howard likes to be physical and prefers to press at the line of scrimmage to disrupt receivers, which is what Miami is trying to do defensively under first-year defensive coordinator Vance Joseph. Howard also said his game has similarities to Dolphins cornerback Byron Maxwell. The pair could be Miami’s Week 1 starters if Howard wins the job in training camp.
My take: This selection makes sense in terms of skill set and need. Drake is more of a shifty runner who can take over on third down because of his ability to run good routes and catch passes out of the backfield. Drake flew under the radar playing behind Alabama starting running back and Heisman Trophy winner Derrick Henry. But the Dolphins showed they valued him by selecting him in the third round. Yet, Jay Ajayi remains the favorite to start with the current roster.
Injury history: Drake comes to the Dolphins with a lengthy injury history and durability concerns. He had arm surgery, a major leg injury and other minor nicks at the college level. He played just five games in 2014. In limited time, Drake averaged an impressive 6.4 yard per carry in his career. But it makes you wonder if Drake will be durable enough to handle the increased physical play in the NFL. Dolphins general manager Chris Grier said the team is confident in his medicals.
My take: The Dolphins did not necessarily need a wide receiver, especially to the point of trading up in the third round. This is their one position that is deep with young talent, led by Jarvis Landry, DeVante Parker and Kenny Stills. Miami had bigger needs to address, such as guard and linebacker, but the team believes it took the best available player.
Interesting comparisons: Carroo said Marvin Harrison and Anquan Boldin are his two comparison players. He has the ability to play inside and outside on offense and adds toughness. Grier called Carroo another “alpha personality” and said the receiver group will be very competitive this year.
Round 6, Pick No. 186: Jakeem Grant, WR, Texas Tech | Highlights
My take: Grant is coming to Miami at a receiver position that is pretty much set with established players such as Jarvis Landry, DeVante Parker and Kenny Stills. Grant’s best trait is his speed, and he compares his game to Los Angeles Rams receiver Tavon Austin.
Trading with the enemy: The Dolphins didn’t pick until the sixth round because they pulled off a surprise trade with their biggest rival. Miami traded its fifth-round pick to the New England Patriots for two sixth-round picks and a seventh-round pick. It is rare that these two teams do business. The Dolphins have mostly chased the Patriots at the top of the AFC East for more than a decade.
My take: Cornerback was the biggest need for Miami entering this draft. Lucas was the second corner taken this weekend by the Dolphins -- joining second-round pick Xavien Howard -- and will be added to the mix. He’s another corner who is accustomed to playing press coverage in college, which is something Miami wants to do under new defensive coordinator Vance Joseph.
My take: The Dolphins certainly got a guy who put up numbers at Western Kentucky. He threw for 5,055 yards last season. It is always long odds for any seventh-round pick to make the team, but that will certainly be the case for Doughty. The Dolphins are comfortable with starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill and backup Matt Moore. Doughty will compete with Logan Thomas for the No. 3 quarterback spot, but it's not certain Miami will keep three quarterbacks this season.
Long time: The Dolphins have not drafted a quarterback since 2012 when they picked Tannehill in the first round. Doughty, who is a Davie native, breaks a four-year drought.
Round 7, Pick No. 231:Thomas Duarte, WR, UCLA| Highlights
My take: Duarte is another long shot to make the 53-man roster. The Dolphins are set at the position with starter Jordan Cameron and backup Dion Sims. Duarte describes himself as a playmaker who can catch the ball well. His best chance to make the team likely will be on special teams.