DOLPHINS 2019 Draft Review

July 12, 2019

At first blush when I started the 2019 Draft Reviews, I had the DOLPHINS on my list of ‘don’t bother’ unless time allowed at the end of my time slot, but then I began thinking about them, and in light of the ROSEN Draft time trade, felt that they were worth discussing, albeit briefly. I’ll touch on the paradigm shift in their strategy today, compared to March, after we look at their actual Draft Picks.

Round 1, Pick 13
6’3/315 5.05/40 PP#15
They got WILKINS just about where I had him ranked, so of course, I am going to say I like the Pick. However, I like his addition to the team and locker room beyond his ability as a player. This team is in major rebuild mold, and a young team leader like WILKINS will go a long way towards establishing a new mindset, both on and off the field. He’s a very positive person, and comes from a big time winning program in CLEMSON. You must go all the way back to 2015 when he was a starting freshman and an All-American. He has good size, natural strength, and an all-out playing attitude. Because he plays inside, his stats are not overwhelming, until you put them into perspective. 2018: 50 T, 15 TFL, 6 S, 6 QBH, 1 FF, 2 PBU, and 1 BK! First off, he played inside for CLEMSON. Secondly, he was part of a star-studded DL corps. There were only so many total tackles for all those talented players to divide. The top 4 CLEMSON DL were all drafted this year. He is a great fit for a team roster rebuild, and should start immediately. High value Pick, all the way around.

Round 3, Pick 78
6’5/309 5.25/40 PP#61
Not an elite athlete, but like WILKINS, is a special football player and teammate. He played all the OL spots during his BADGERS career, which included 54 straight starts, a BADGERS record. He will need to play inside as a pro, (except in emergencies), due to something less than dancing feet. His arm length is more than adequate inside, (33 1/8″), and he had the biggest hands measured at the Senior Bowl, (10 3/4″). The team has to be hoping that he emerges as a starter almost immediately for them, given that their OL may be their least talented position group. His experience and high FBI will serve him well in their Training Camp. Having worked in a pro style Offense as a BADGER, he has skills as a run blocker and in pass-pro. He does a nice job pulling in the run game. I doubt the coaches will state it as their goal, but DEITER will likely be given every opportunity to earn a starting job right away, and will be a key building block in their OL rebuild. I had him ranked in late Round 2, so in my book, a good value here.

Round 5, Pick 151
6’4/240 4.75/40 PP#249
He joined the BADGERS in 2017 as a JC transfer. He’s a good, not great athlete, with a high-rev motor. He will chase the ball all day long, and has some natural pass-rush skills. He has an edge to his play and will mix it up in a crowd. He runs a bit faster than his 40-time, to my eyes. He has some pass-rush skills, but also seems able to peel back off the rush and drop into coverage. He had a very productive stat sheet for the 2018 season: 60 T, 9.5 TFL, 5.5 S, 7 QBH, 2 FF, 1 BK, and 3 PBU. Word already out of MIAMI, based on OTA activities, is that the coaching staff is impressed by his FBI, and knack for finding the ball in action. He was a solid choice for Round 5. He is physical and athletic enough to help them in their Special Teams units, as well.

Round 6, Pick 202
6’7/305 5.13/40 PP#164
If you put together a highlight tape of PRINCE from his BUCKEYES days, you might go wow, and draft him in Round 3. However, when you focus on him every play… well, here he is in Round 6. His physical numbers, overall, are very impressive. He has 10 1/8″ hands, and arms that measure 35 1/2″. He is a good athlete, and a hard worker, but he needs more consistency in his footwork. He needs to stay lower in his stance and work on his knee bend. He also needs more strength to his overall frame. Right now, he will tend to get overpowered popping up out of his stance, and ends up trying to push/grab rushers, rather than slide and mirror. He’s a sixth rounder, and it will primarily be the job of OL Coach PAT FLAHERTY to transform him into a starting RT. I think he can make the grade, but it may take a year or two, which will be hard for the DOLPHINS to wait on.

Round 7, Pick 233
6’0/240 4.70/40 PP#298
Based in part on his experiences in NEW ENGLAND, new HC BRIAN FLORES wants a FB for jumbo and short yardage alignments. So here, near the end of the Draft, they got a versatile, tough guy in COX. COX also lined up at TE a bit, in certain college formations. His best pure skill is his blocking, but he is also going to bring a lot of versatility to the lower end of their roster. Mark him down as a future Special Teams Captain. He should be a fan favorite right away. He not only leads up into the hole on run blocking, but he also does a solid job in pass-pro, and likely can get even better. I never balk when teams select this kind of player in Round 7.

Round 7, Pick 234
5’9/205 4.58/40 PP#246
I am not expecting a whole lot out of GASKIN, for a couple of reasons. Look at his 40-time, and then his size. He does have some quickness to execute one-cut gap runs, but does not have the speed to take it all the way, once thru the line. He rushed for over 1,200 yards for 4 straight seasons in college. One has to be concerned about ‘tire tread’ after over 1,000 touches in his HUSKIES career. In games I watched, he showed no power to break tackles or run thru anyone. He only caught a few little dump off throws in college, and you sure can’t put him in late down & long yardage situations that require pass blocking from your RB. He was an excellent college player, who had an excellent career in the PAC-10. I do NOT see his game translating to the NFL, however.

If you go back to pre-Draft, March/April transactions, it sure looked like this team was purging their roster of age and dollars. For instance, their 2 top Sack artists QUINN (6.5) & WAKE (6), who are both on the wrong side of 30, were both let go. Their top rusher, GORE, and top receiver, AMENDOLA, were also both let go as 30-plus oldsters. Call it tanking, or not, but it clearly felt like they were preparing to wave the white flag on 2019 early. Then when the Draft rolled around, they traded for QB JOSH ROSEN from ARIZONA. ROSEN had been the CARDS Rookie QB in 2018, with a Top 10 Pick. So now, the DOLPHINS have to develop and nurture ROSEN as their potential Franchise QB, but don’t have enough tools and weapons around him to facilitate his success. As of this writing, the DOLPHINS lead the NFL in players signed from the defunct AAF, with 8. That helps a bit with depth, but… new QB, new coaching staff, new philosophies, lots of personnel turnover. It sure has the appearance and the ingredients of a lost season to me. Barring a miracle or two, the team may still not have a clear picture of ROSEN by the end of the 2019 season. Nice move to get ROSEN at bargain price, but I don’t know how that can fairly evaluate his pro future with such a weak supporting cast. Ouch, ouch, double ouch!