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2015 Dolphins Draft Picks
I try to keep a balanced point of view during the draft as I've seen them all in my 55 years. I'm not a "rah-rah" type of fan who thinks every pick is the greatest, and I'm not a "realist" who picks apart every draft pick. That being said, I really like picking Cordrea Tankersley in the third round. Several analsyts are trying to crap on the pick, but several are giving this a big thumb's up, such as FOX Sports' Dieter Kurtenbach who gave us a A grade and said that he had the talent to be picked in the first round. One thing that I've seen in the highlights is he is going to have to learn to keep his hands off the receivers or he'll see it raining yellow flags.
The Dolphins are planning on this year being a learning year for him, and that is ok by me. Neither Patrick Surtain nor Sam Madison were starters in their first year as Jimmy Johnson gave them a learning rookie year. Expect to hear his name on Special Teams as he does that very well, too
He’s a guy that’s still learning the corner position. He’s got a lot of traits we like. He’s long. He’s got length. He’s got speed. He has ball skills. Again, he’s got a lot of stuff that we like. We think that there’s a tremendous upside there. Again, we really like the kid. He’ll be a contributor on special teams as well, so for the depth, (to) come in and compete for the roster spot. This is a player we’re very high on so we’re excited to add him." Dolphins general manager Chris Grier.
Let me just say here really quick that since Miami got both their targeted first and third round picks, if this draft does not go well then it falls on Grier. I will say that I am impressed that Grier is getting players that fit their scheme, so, that has to be a big positive.
Overall Football Traits
Inside Linebacker Specific Traits
|Instincts/Recognition||3||Good game experience (30 starts). Has experience playing both sides and is scheme diverse. Good feel for leverage in zone coverage. Does not trust his eyes in off-man coverage. Inconsistent reading WR's routes. Can panic at times when his back is to the QB and the ball is in the air.|
|Cover Skills||3||Above average height (6012) and length (32 ¼' arms) with very good top-end speed (4.40 40-yard dash at Combine). Much more effective playing on the line than he is in off-coverage. Capable of playing press-man and also press-zone. Effective in views versus pass-catching TE's Bucky Hodges (Virginia Tech) and Cole Hikutini (Louisville). When he opens in time, he's capable of running with most speed-receivers in the NFL. But gets in trouble when playing off (doesn't seem comfortable, tends to guess at top of WRs stem and makes too much contact). However, he does have some tightness in his hips and lacks ideal change-of-direction quickness. Slower-than-average short shuttle (4.32) and 3-cone (7.00) results confirm the tape. Tends to get very 'grabby' when he's in trouble.|
|Ball Skills||2||Good length to contend. Shows closing burst to the ball. Had one drop on tape but showed soft hands overall. Good ball production (20 PBUs and 9 INTs last two seasons) but also had eight pass interference calls against him the last two seasons. Inconsistent tracking the deep ball over his shoulder.|
|Run Support||3||Willing in support but lacks consistent aggressiveness. Has good size and adequate strength. Comes to balance and will wrap up as a tackler. Typically does a good job of keeping outside contain. Did not love his effort in backside pursuit in the run game.|
Status ReportCordrea (cohr-DRAY) Tankersley played mostly on special teams his first two seasons (2013-14) before taking over as fulltime starter in 30 games the past two years (2015-16). He has good height-weight-speed combination. He's at his best playing on the line and he had great ball production during his two seasons as a starter. However, Tankersley has some tightness, he's not nearly as effective in off-man coverage, and he's had pass interference problems as a result of ball tracking inconsistency. For teams with heavier press-man/zone schemes, Tankersley could be a mid-round fit. April 1, 2017
1 = Exceptional2 = Above average3 = Average4 = Below average5 = Marginal
Cordrea (pronounced cohr-DRAY) got his nickname "Tootie" from his older brother Codarius, who repeated the word several times after seeing his young sibling for the first time. The name stuck from there, in the same manner that Tankersley sticks to receivers in coverage. He struggled to find time in the secondary in his first two seasons, primarily playing on special teams (13 tackles in 2013; 11 tackles in 2014) as the Tigers' veteran defensive backs ruled the depth chart. Once his opportunity arose, Tankersley took full advantage, garnering third-team All-ACC notice after leading Clemson with five interceptions (one returned for a score) and nine pass breakups. He was a first-team all-conference pick and third-team Associated Press All-American for his efforts in the Tigers' national championship season of 2016, intercepting four more passes and breaking up a team-high 11 throws.
• One of the best in the class at using his length at the line of scrimmage and staying with the receiver on short routes. Initiates contact early in press and mirrors well.
• He wins at the line of scrimmage with his strength and footwork. His ability to challenge receivers to break his press is great, and his physicality continues to the catch point to break up passes.
• Much better at finding the ball in zone coverage. He doesn’t give too much cushion in zone, allowing him to break downhill on underneath routes while still maintaining position on deeper routes. Great length and body control near the sideline.
• Solid tackler in space. A much more willing player when it comes to tackling receivers than backs, but nonetheless doesn’t hesitate at those opportunities.
• He was hidden a bit due to the talent around him. Opposing offenses didn’t target him much, which is good but gave limited opportunities to see his ball awareness and competitiveness.
• Deep speed and ability to turn and run with faster receivers left him vulnerable in man situations. He’s not slow but also not a burner.
• Gets tunnel vision onto the wide receiver more than following the ball, which is an issue against the run more than anything. Doesn’t give much effort into stopping the run.
• Likes to get a little grabby on downfield routes. His hand checks must be more controlled. The activity is good but the over-reliance on them can cost him when he doesn’t find the ball.
If you want a physical, long and effective press corner, then Cordrea Tankersley might be one of your favorites this year. He’s one of mine, as he can play both man and zone coverages. Tankersley isn’t the fastest player downfield, and he’s handsy in coverage, but his play strength is tremendous. Reigning in his hand activity and becoming more subtle with contact will be important to his man-coverage upside, to help avoid needless pass interference calls. Either that, or he’ll need to find the ball earlier and finish interception opportunities better. Regardless, a zone scheme fixes those concerns. Tankersley is aggressive and a great tackler to help limit yards after the catch. He’ll be an early contributor and should hit his stride quickly in the NFL.
WHAT THE EXPERTS ARE SAYING ABOUT THIS PICK.
Mike Mayock *
Tankersley is a highway speed guy. If you draw up a corner, this is the guy. He can run fast. He's a press corner. He's the least interesting defensive back in this entire draft in supporting the run. He was directly for support on two Dalvin Cook touchdowns and did not get involved at all.
FOX Sports *
Mel Kiper (ESPN) *
Better two years ago than this past season. In coverage, up and down. Was beaten more than you want to see. Gets grabby, which doesn’t work in the NFL. You can get away with some of that in college where they don’t throw penalties flags as much as the NFL. Decent awareness, decent anticipation but doesn’t always break down properly. I was underwhelmed this year with Cordrea Tankersley.
Louis Riddick (ESPN) *
He needs to play up at the line of scrimmage. When he’s reading from off, he doesn’t know what to look at. His vision gets lost. When you’re looking at too many things, you don’t really see anything. Then you grab people and hold them. He’s going to be called for a ton of PIs in the NFL if he doesn’t clean that thing up.
Todd McShay (ESPN) *
His best coverage came against tight ends… In this division, Patriots, it kind of makes some sense.
There isn't a lot of bad things to say about Koa Misi except that he cannot stay healthy. The Dolphins, knowing that his career is flirting with retirement on any play drafted "The Ohio State" LB Raekwan McMillan. He is a linebacker with a lot of smarts and instincts and is a tackling machine. There are questions that he can be a 3-Down linebacker as he is weak in pass coverage. If you are looking for a sideline-to-sideline linebacker, well, he isn't it. That would be Kiko Alonzo. ESPN Insider gave him an "Exceptional" in height/weight/speed and that is sure to bring some excitement for us Dolfans. We will have to see, but I am excited to see that we made a move to improve our linebacking group with another hard-hitting tackler. I think he will excite us with some of his tackles this year, and even beat out Koa Misi at some point this year.
“This is an Alpha guy, a two-time captain, a guy who makes all the calls. He is a tackling machine. He is a big body in the middle. The guy can run. This is a guy we feel really strongly about.” Dolphins general manager Chris Grier.
Overall Football Traits
Inside Linebacker Specific Traits
|2||Does a good job reading his initial key, and then locates the ball quickly on his secondary run read. Quality patience from maintaining gap integrity for cut back as back side run defender.Improve awareness in coverage as a junior. Still will be a quarter coun late diagnosing play action or misdirection passes.|
|Take-on Skills||1||Savvy take on skills. Knows when to take on and when to slip. Usually takes on with proper shoulder but also knows when to 'wrong shoulder' the blocker. Sifts through traffic very effectively and uses his hands to keep blockers from reaching him.|
|Range vs. Run||2||Very good speed on a straight-line (4.61 forty-yard dash). Quality pursuit angles and wades through traffic well. At his best between the tackles but makes plenty of plays outside the tackle box. Does show some tightness if forced to quickly redirect.|
|Tackling||2||Good overall tackler. Closes quickly and packs a heavy punch. Strong wrap and drives his legs through contact. Occasionally will attack too high but doesn't fall off many tackles in a confined area. Shows some some tightness and vulnerability in the open field against more elusive runners.|
|3rd Down Capabilities||3||Off the field on some obvious pass downs. Adequate range in zone coverage. Instincts continue to evolve. Showing better understanding of route combos and faster eyes picking up crossers. Has some tightness and will struggle to match up one-on-one versus quicker RBs. Has closing burst as a pass rusher but limited upside in this area. Doesn't show much of a counter when reached as a blitzer.|
Status ReportA team captain as junior, McMillian has appeared in all 41 career games while starting all 26 games the past two seasons (2015-'16). Team leading 102 tackles in 2016. McMillan is an instinctive and physical inside linebacker with quality range as a run defender. Improved every year in coverage and tested well at combine. However, there are still questions whether he can be a three-down linebacker at the NFL level. McMillan hasthe potential to be off the board within the top 75 selections of the 2017 NFL Draft. -- March 15, 2017
1 = Exceptional2 = Above average3 = Average4 = Below average5 = Marginal
McMillan couldn't pull off the double Butkus Award win as the best linebacker at both the high school (won in 2013) and collegiate levels (finalist in 2015), but his play during his three years in Columbus won over NFL scouts. He graduated from high school a semester early to join OSU football for spring practice, which paid off in the fall when he played in all 15 games, lining up for more snaps than the starter in nine of those contests. He won second-team All-Big Ten honors in 2015, leading the team with 119 tackles (four for loss, four pass breakups). McMillan didn't rack up quite as many tackles as a junior (102, seven for loss) but still gained recognition for his play as a second-team All-American and first-team All-Big Ten selection.
McMillan signed with the Buckeyes as one of the more highly touted prep prospects in the country, opting to travel north to play for Urban Meyer despite growing up in the heart of the SEC. Though he did not start as a freshman, McMillan actually logged more playing time in nine games than the man playing ahead of him (senior Curtis Grant), checking in with 573 total plays, including 471 on defense. McMillan registered 54 tackles, including 6.5 for loss and 2.5 sacks on the season. He also intercepted a pass against Maryland, returning it 24 yards for a touchdown.
With such an impressive debut on a team which ultimately won the national championship, optimism was high that McMillan would take the next step as a sophomore. McMillan did more than that in 2015, taking over the starting role in the middle and emerging as a Butkus Award finalist with a team-leading 119 tackles - the most from a sophomore at Ohio State since Steve Tovar's 125 stops back in 1990.
McMillan's numbers behind the line of scrimmage dropped slightly (four, including 1.5 sacks) in '15, but he showed greater awareness in coverage, batting down four passes as a sophomore after registering just one in his first year.
This is not to say that McMillan is simply an old-school battering ram. In fact, he shows impressive diagnosis skills to read the play, including the spatial awareness to "slip" blocks simply by taking efficient angles to the ball to beat blockers to the action. McMillan does not possess the same degree of athleticism as his former teammate, Lee (who was clocked at an eye-popping 4.47 seconds in the 40-yard dash at 232 pounds), but he is a coordinated athlete whose quick, choppy steps help him beat backs to the corner and make plays in coverage.
McMillan's dedication to his craft has impressed the Ohio State coaching staff, who already named the third-year junior a co-captain for this season.
WEAKNESSES: As his team-leading tackle numbers prove, McMillan was adept at "cleaning up" a year ago, but scouts are eager to see how he responds now that opposing blocking schemes will be focusing on him. McMillan lacks ideal flexibility, struggling to change directions quickly in tight quarters and occasionally allowing ballcarriers to slip by him. He shows a propensity to misread runs and keep his eyes glued in the backfield too long in coverage.
Further, McMillan is more efficient than explosive in pursuit, raising some questions about his pure speed and potential to remain on the field on passing downs against NFL competition.
Finally, while a generally reliable tackler, McMillan is often more reliant on the power he generates as a face-up hitter to knock down ballcarriers rather than reaching his arms out to catch runners in pursuit or to punch out the ball.
IN OUR VIEW: As a glass-eating, run-stuffing middle linebacker, McMillan is perfectly suited to traditional Big Ten football and may post the gaudy numbers this fall to actually win the Butkus Award as the nation's top linebacker (like he did in high school). If he is to continue Ohio State's legacy of first-round defenders, however, McMillan must convince scouts that he possesses the speed and playmaking ability to remain on the field on all three downs.
--Rob Rang (@robrang), Dane Brugler (@dpbrugler), 9/20/16
WHAT THE EXPERTS ARE SAYING ABOUT THIS PICK.David Jeremiah (NFL.COM) *
Why they did it: The Dolphins needed help at linebacker and finally got it in the second round. McMillan will compete immediately with incumbent outside linebacker Koa Misi, who has struggled with injuries and inconsistency the past couple of seasons. Miami was 30th against the run last year and needs to get more physical in the front seven.
Biggest question: How high is McMillan's ceiling? He was the fifth- or sixth-best player on Ohio State's defense last season, according to most draft projections. Is that worthy of a second-round pick? The Dolphins need impact players immediately on defense and McMillan too often didn't stand out among other stars with the Buckeyes. It will be interesting to see if that changes with the Dolphins.
McMillan (6’2/240) arrived at OSU as a five-star recruit and did not disappoint, starting for 2-of-3 years and leading the Buckeyes in tackles in each of those two seasons. McMillan broke out for second-team All-America honors as 2016 junior, then turned pro. McMillan is an above-average athlete with 51st-percentile SPARQ results and 4.61 speed, but he showed coverage limitations against backs and tight ends and lacks ideal change-of-directions skills. Still, McMillan possesses NFL-caliber Mike ‘backer traits with fundamentally sound tackling and plus blitzing ability.
FOX Sports *
The Dolphins needed a linebacker ... but a space linebacker. I think that McMillan is a middle linebacker and question if he was a better option than Zach Cunningham, who was also available.
Todd McShay (ESPN) *
Team captain. 41 career games. Highly productive. Every time I watched them, he’s the guy finishing things up. He’s a big, physical, run stuffing. A great tackler. And he kept getting better. He started to deliver his sophomore year. This past year I thought he had his best year. There are some coverage limitations but you are getting a tough guy in the middle of your defense.
Mel Kiper (ESPN) *
Can he be an everydown player with those coverage issues? He’s not a guy that’s going to get after the quarterback.... A little too one dimensional for today’s NFL where they’re throwing it all over the yard. This would have been a great pick in 1985, 95. I wonder if he can play every down in today’s NFL.
Luke Easterling (Draft Wire) *
“Raekwon was one of my favorite players in this class," he told the Miami USA Today site. "I spoke with him at length during the season and came away impressed with his intelligence and intangibles. He’s a leader who can make plays all over the field, against both the run and pass. Adjusting to NFL speed is something every rookie has to deal with, but I think his football IQ will make things slower for him than most. Another great value pick for Miami.”