The Miami Dolphins Need a Beast at Tight End

The Miami Dolphins have never drafted a tight end in the first round of the NFL draft.

Mad Dog, Jim Mandich came in the second round almost 50 years ago. Since then, Miami has flopped with names like Loaird McCreary, Chuck Bradley or Andre Tillman in the second round. Tillman sounds familiar if one can recollect anything from 1974. Way back to the early 80’s Miami had some luck in the later rounds with Joe Rose, Bruce Hardy and Dan Johnson.

Perhaps the most accomplished tight end in Miami history is Keith Jackson who came as a free agent in 1992. There are a few semi-recent names, Ferrell Edmunds, Randy McMichael and Donald Lee that do not inspire much. Charles Clay 6th round in 2011 and Dion Simms 4th round in 2013 were obviously not worth the price and the Dolphins allowed them to walk as free agents.

From the last four drafts, no TE has started a single game. Miami hasn't had a TE finish in the top 20 in catches at the position since Charles Clay in 2014.

The West Coast offensive revolution may have minimized the position, but for the Dolphins, it was never a priority. Defenses adapted to the West Coast scheme as the game evolved, and the tight end has made a resurgence.

The following stats are defensive and will be used in the future to discuss Miami’s second most urgent need. The fact that the TE has evolved as a weapon should be obvious.

The six teams that allowed the most yards against tight ends (Raiders, Dolphins, Broncos, Redskins, Giants, and Texans) went a combined 31-65 and all missed the playoffs.

The three teams that gave up the fewest yards to tight ends (Saints, Panthers, and Vikings) went a combined 35-13.

The nine teams that allowed the most catches to tight ends, excluding Buffalo, all had losing records.

The Dolphins allowed 94 catches by tight ends, the most in the league.

Only Oakland allowed more tight end receiving yards (1034 to 1038) than Miami.

Tight ends scored 10 touchdowns against the Dolphins, tied with Cleveland for second-most and behind only the Giants (13).

Okay, those are defensive stats I was able to cull from various sources (thank you whomever).

By analyzing the defense we can see where we lack in offense. Julius Thomas caught 4 TD passes for Miami and that’s it. The Eagles? 14… The Patriots, 10. Of the TEs with the most TD receptions, 4 of the top 5 were on playoff teams and 2 are in the Super Bowl. Ertz and Gonkowski both have 8 just behind Jimmy Graham who finished with 10.

Clearly we see the evolution or rebirth of the tight end in the NFL. Using the stats above it’s plain to see how hard it is for teams to match up against these players and yet Miami has ignored the position.

The Dolphins obviously thought DeVante Parker could be the big body mismatch the team is desperately lacking but heading into his 4th season, it’s not happening. His body doesn’t hold up like these bigger tight ends and he doesn’t play well when he’s nicked up.

How hard are these guys to find?

Miami spent a 2015 first round pick on Parker, TEs picked in that draft were, Devin Funchess (2nd), Maxx Williams (2nd), Clive Walford (3rd), Tyler Kroft (3rd), Jeff Heuerman (3rd), and an assortment of other no-names. Miami acquired AJ Derby (6th) who has caught 2 TDs in his career. Only Funchess surpassed that total with 17 TDs from that entire class.

When Belichick sees Gronkowski, Miami sees Parker.

The point is, these guys are hard to find, but they are vital to modern offenses, the Eagles have three TEs, Ertz, Burton & Celek that are better than any TE on the Miami roster. How do the Eagles end up with three, while Miami has Julius Thomas and Anthony Fasano, two players well past their prime?

The reason is simple, Miami has made no priority to upgrade the position in 4 years and very little throughout its entire history. The Dolphins are more concerned solving how to stop them, instead of how to acquire them.

Successful teams in today’s NFL landscape have either ushered in the TE evolution (NE) or have followed close behind. The Dolphins, constantly playing in the shadow of the Patriots, have never been able to create an identity. Miami and all the other AFC East teams have looked at stopping the beast instead of becoming the beast.

Free Agency is not the answer to this TE dilemma, it is obvious with the failure of Julius Thomas and Anthony Fasano. Please say no to Jimmy Graham, while he led the NFL in tight end TDs, there’s a reason the Seahawks will let him walk in FA. Miami would get swindled again trying to fix a problem they should be evaluating and drafting.

A beast at the tight end position would make the Dolphins a different team. DeVante Parker is not that player.

Imagine Jarvis Landry and Kenny Stills with Rob Gronkowski?

Let that sink in…

Get a tight end beast and take over the East!

Fins Up!