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2015 Dolphins Draft Picks
ESPN INSIDER'S Mel Kiper's Draft Grade
Miami Dolphins: B+
Top needs: CB, RB, G, ILB, DL
Bizarre circumstances, great player. Let's just go with that for the short version of how the Dolphins ended up with arguably the single-best prospect in the draft all the way down at No. 13. Laremy Tunsil has so many natural gifts for the tackle position, it's just now a matter of where he plays. Left side? Right side? Either way, if he's on the field, Miami gets better. Not many people know Xavien Howard, but that's not much of a reach in Round 2 -- he was going to go there. From there, this was all about getting Ryan Tannehill and Adam Gase more weapons. Kenyan Drake is Reggie Bush-lite, Leonte Carroo is a productive threat who can make catches down the field, and Jakeem Grant is a jitterbug who is electric in space if you can get him the ball. Thomas Duarte is one to watch, a hybrid wideout-tight end split who could develop. The Dolphins didn't do much for their defense, but they sure as heck tried to help their QB and ended up with a major steal early in the process. (link)
PRO FOOTBALL FOCUS Draft Grade
Miami Dolphins, A-
Day 1: Miami capitalized on the draft’s biggest story by grabbing one of the best players in Tunsil at No. 13 overall. He turned away a top slate of pass-rushers last year to give up only five pressures, and he’s an explosive run-blocker who is capable of moving defenders at the point of attack and finding targets at the second level.
Day 2: The film shows the potential with Howard, whose length and speed make him an intriguing option at outside corner, but there were enough bad plays on tape to give him the No. 16 coverage grade in the class. Drake has good straight-line speed and he can catch the ball out of the backfield (his 2.07 yards per route run ranked third in the class), while also adding kick-return value. Carroo was outstanding on only 363 snaps last year, leading the class with 4.11 yards per route run, dropping only two passes and taking over multiple games (Michigan State comes to mind). He can separate at the intermediate level to add another option to Miami’s passing game.
Day 3: Carroo was drafted a day late as he’s a good intermediate route runner with sure hands and he led all FBS receivers with 4.11 yards per route. Grant picked up more yards after the catch than any receiver in the class, and he adds a playmaking option from the slot. Duarte is a mismatch option of his own as a “move” tight end and his 1.99 yards per route ranked third in the class. Doughty is one of the draft’s most accurate quarterbacks and a worthy late-round selection. (link)
ESPN's James Walker's Draft Analysis
Best move: The Dolphins woke up Thursday morning with no inclination that offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil would be available at No. 13. But a bizarre series of events, which included a social media video posted before the draft of Tunsil wearing a gas mask and smoking from a bong, altered his draft stock. Tunsil was the No. 2 player on Miami's board and the team landed him at No. 13. The Dolphins are confident in their background checks on Tunsil. He made his share of mistakes at Ole Miss, but Miami is counting on those bad decisions to be a thing of the past. Dolphins owner Stephen Ross offered his stamp of approval, and Tunsil fits well with the Dolphins on the field. He will immediately boost an offensive line that struggled with pass protection, giving up 45 sacks last year.
Riskiest move: Can the best move also be the riskiest move? The Dolphins were willing to do what 12 teams in front of them avoided by drafting Tunsil. Based on his red flags from college, there is a boom-or-bust element involved with Miami's first-round pick. Tunsil must prove that he has matured and is ready to move beyond mistakes he made in college. Tunsil says he is coming to Miami with a big chip on his shoulder and will do what it takes to fit in with the team. The overall success of Miami's draft class mostly hinges on Tunsil staying clear of trouble and becoming a franchise building block.
Most surprising move: The Dolphins did not need a wide receiver. This was one of the most stable positions on the team led by Jarvis Landry, DeVante Parker and Kenny Stills. All three receivers are productive and age 24 or younger. But Miami still loaded up on the position fairly early by taking Rutgers receiver Leonte Carroo in the third round. What is even more interesting is the Dolphins traded up with the Minnesota Vikings to get Carroo, which shows how much the team likes him. Miami gave up a sixth-round pick this year and a third- and fourth-round pick in 2017. General manager Chris Grier likes Carroo's toughness and says he believes his "alpha" personality will help him fit with the Dolphins' receiver group. The Dolphins took a second receiver, Jakeem Grant, in the sixth round.
File it away: Third-round pick Kenyan Drake could be a nice, under-the-radar find for the Dolphins. Drake was the backup running back at Alabama to Derrick Henry, who won a Heisman Trophy. But Drake is an explosive running who averaged 6.4 yards per carry last season. He's also versatile and good catching out of the backfield and should provide a good change of pace for bigger running back Jay Ajayi.
Thumbs up or Thumbs down: The Dolphins landed arguably the best player in the draft at No. 13 overall in offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil. Despite his baggage, Tunsil should make an immediate impact and has the potential to become a future Pro Bowler if he stays clear of trouble. Second-round pick Xavien Howard should start at cornerback in Week 1, and running back Drake and receiver Carroo also have a chance to contribute right away on offense. (link)
CBS SPORTS Pete Prisco's Draft Grade
Best pick: They moved back form No. 8 to 13 in a trade with the Eagles earlier this offseason and still landed one of the top players in the draft in tackle Laremy Tunsil. Yes, he has some questions off the field but he is a dominant player.
Questionable move: Taking Tunsil is still a move that will be questioned. He will be watched closely in his first few years off the field.
Third-day gem: Sixth-round receiver Jakeem Grant is tiny, but he can fly. He might be able to add a speed threat to the offense, but especially as a return man.
Analysis: They landed four good players with their first four picks. In addition to Tunsil, they got corner Xavien Howard, running back Kenyan Drake and receiver Leante Carroo. That's a good haul for general manager Mike Tannenbaum and gang.
Grade: B+ (link)
SI's Chris Burke
First pick: Laremy Tunsil, OT, Ole Miss (No. 13)
Other notable picks: Xavien Howard, CB, Baylor (38); Kenyan Drake, RB, Alabama (73); Leonte Carroo, WR, Rutgers (86)
Overall, just a strange draft for the Dolphins, starting with Tunsil’s gas mask bong-induced drop to them at No. 13. They were wise to stop his slide right there, because he still could be the very best player in this class. (Hopefully, they keep him at left tackle despite saying they may try him at guard.) Everything else was a beauty-in-the-eye-of-the-beholder proposition. Was the highly inconsistent Howard worth trading up for in the second round? Was Drake the right call at RB when Kenneth Dixon, Devontae Booker and others were available? The Dolphins also traded up for Carroo, despite a rather well-stocked WR group and drafted 5' 6" slot guy Jakeem Grant. There may not be a safe pick in Miami’s entire class, which either will be a great thing or a terrible one down the line. —CB (link)
WALTERFOOTBALL Draft Grade
Goals Entering the 2016 NFL Draft: The Dolphins don't strike me as the smartest organization. They covet Ezekiel Elliott, yet they moved down below some teams that will strongly consider him, all for an overpaid cornerback and an injury-prone linebacker. It'll take a miracle for Elliott to fall to No. 13, so Miami will have to settle on a cornerback. The running back, guard and linebacker positions will all have to be addressed later. A young quarterback would also make a ton of sense.
2016 NFL Draft Accomplishments: It's amazing how things work out sometimes. The Dolphins agreed to a completely senseless trade with the Eagles prior to the draft, moving down five spots for a pair of lemons. Doing so all but ensured that one of the blue-chip players wouldn't fall to them at No. 13. Well, we all know what happened. Bong-gate shook up the entire 2016 NFL Draft, prompting Laremy Tunsil to drop right into Miami's lap. It's truely better to be lucky than good sometimes.
So, the Dolphins started well, but how would they finish? Not well, actually. Seemingly addicted to stupid trades, Miami needlessly moved up twice. The first occasion wasn't very egregious, as it was for Xavien Howard. However, it wasn't a necessary move, considering all of the cornerbacks still available. The second occasion was the real killer though, as the Dolphins relinquished third- and fourth-round choices in 2017 - a better class - for Leonte Carroo, a player who didn't fill any sort of need.
If it wasn't for Tunsil, the Dolphins would be in C- or even "D" territory. However, they can thank their lucky stars that someone set out to ruin Tunsil's career. That's the only way the Dolphins can draft well, apparently. (link)
USA TODAY'S Lindsey Jones
Analysis: The Dolphins might have landed the steal of the first round thanks to Mississippi OT Laremy Tunsil’s bizarre first-round fall. Now the Dolphins face questions on where to play him, as he will continue to have to deal with some complicated off-field baggage. But he immediately improves the offensive line, and Miami gets credit for also addressing other major needs: cornerback (Baylor's Xavien Howard in the second round) and running back (Alabama's Kenyan Drake in the third). (link)
ROTOWORLD'S Evan Silva
Overview: CB Byron Maxwell and LB Kiko Alonso are included in Miami's haul after they were acquired in a pre-draft trade with Philadelphia. At No. 13, Dolphins VP of Football Operations Mike Tannenbaum happily stopped Tunsil's slide for a confusing and ultimately innocuous social media mishap. Miami traded up for Carroo, surrendering a sixth-rounder (186) plus third- and fourth-round picks in 2017 in exchange for No. 86. (That cost was quite high for a projected fourth receiver.) A press-man prospect, Howard should get a chance to start early for a Dolphins team in severe need of cornerback help. Sixth-rounder Lucas will also be auditioned at press corner after spending most of his time at safety for the Nittany Lions. Drake isn't a feature back candidate, but he should become a useful change-of-pace option behind Jay Ajayi. For me, 5-foot-6 Grant and non-NFL-prospect Doughty were throwaway picks. I did like the Duarte flyer late; a college wideout, Duarte averaged 16.8 yards per catch in his career at UCLA. Although this was an above-average class, the Dolphins' grade is lowered by their loss of second- and early third-day picks in next year's draft.
Grade: C (link)
Miami’s excellent draft started when every team in front of them got cold feet with Laremy Tunsil. By now I’m sure you know what happened to Tunsil, just 10 minutes before the draft kicked off a video of him taking a gas mask bong hit surfaced online and teams panicked. Despite being the #1 player on some boards, and a consensus top 5 pick teams simply didn’t want to touch him after that – apparently Baltimore took Tunsil off their board entirely.
But lets look at this reasonably. If this video had surfaced during the combine, or even a week before the draft most teams wouldn’t have cared. There are plenty of players who have smoked weed at one point or another, and while there are some cases of players who struggle to keep their excesses in check, most are fine. Tunsil’s physical ability and on-field talent are impeccable. Chicago, Tennessee, Jacksonville and San Diego all let an elite blind side prospect pass them by over a video they would have disregarded had it come out at a different time. Miami might have a left tackle already in Branden Albert but he is an injury risk and getting up there in age, now they have the future ready to go.
After taking Tunsil they filled a huge need with Xavien Howard and then got a backfield weapon that I love in Kenyan Drake. That should be a pair of solid starters picked on day 2 along with Leonte Carroo, a Rutgers wide receiver who should be a useful addition to the Miami passing game.
Day 3 is one of filling the roster and adding depth, that’s what Miami did with their 4 picks, improving their receiver depth, adding another DB and a potential back-up for Tannehill.
I’m a big fan of this draft class, from their Best Player Available philosophy in the first round to snagging one of my favourite day 2 players in Drake. Miami got in what they needed, and while there are no guarantees in the draft Miami walked away with their pockets full of talent.
Grade A+ (link)
The Sports Xchange (UPI)
The Dolphins stopped Laremy Tunsil's slide at No. 13 overall and deserve kudos for nabbing arguably the draft's elite talent at this relatively late point, but there should be some concern as to where he fits best. The Dolphins have invested a lot in current tackles Branden Albert and Juwan James, and Tunsil has never played guard. It is fair to question his commitment, at this point, as well. Miami took exciting athletes and clean schematic fits throughout day two and three, as well, nabbing lanky press corner Xavien Howard, the explosive and agile Kenyan Drake to complement bruising Jay Ajayi at No. 73 and the playmaking Leonte Carroo in the third round, as well. At just 5 feet 6, 165 pounds, Jakeem Grant lacks NFL size but certainly not speed, reportedly clocking under 4.20 seconds in the 40-yard dash at Texas Tech's Pro Day.
Grade: B- (link)
PRO FOOTBALL WEEKLY (PFW)'S Kevin Fishbain
Best pick: Alabama RB Kenyan Drake (Round 3, Pick 73) — All the talk rightfully focused on Derrick Henry, but Drake has fantastic, game-breaking speed and as a third-round pick, the Dolphins got good value in someone who can help in the backfield, which is a huge need, as well as in the return game.
Most controversial pick: OT Laremy Tunsil (Round 1, Pick 13) — This also could be considered the best pick, for the Dolphins to get who some believed is the top talent in the entire draft all the way at No. 13. The controversy shouldn’t focus on Tunsil himself, but the people who he has surrounded himself with, and the fact that the Draft Night story will follow him for a while in Miami until he performs on the field. Great value for a great player, but there will be an intense focus on how he handles everything moving forward.
Needs remaining: Mario Williams replaced Olivier Vernon on the edge, and Damontre Moore is an intriguing reserve option to replace Derrick Shelby, but Williams and Cameron Wake are at the tail ends of their respective careers and the Dolphins didn’t get any pass-rush depth via the draft.
Rating: Thumbs Up — Despite the controversy that follows, getting Tunsil was a great pick at No. 13, and Miami grabbed a nice receiver in Round 3 with Leonte Carroo.
SUN SENTINEL'S Dave Hyde
The grade: A
The comment: I haven't given a Dolphins draft a high grade in years, but there's nothing to complain about this one. They have so many needs and stocked the team with good picks. They got lucky and reacted smartly with Laremy Tunsil, an elite blocker who solves the guard issue this year and the future tackle issue. Xavien Howard is a quality cornerback ready to start. Adam Gase got good players to fit his offense and cause match-up problems. Right down the line, this draft made perfect sense. (link)