Sorry Mel - The Miami Dolphins Stole this Draft

The pundits are unhappy the Miami Dolphins did not sell their collective souls to draft a quarterback… Mel Kiper, an admitted Ravens fan, praised his team for selling out to pick QB Lamar Jackson with the 32nd pick. He then panned the Dolphins for not drafting a QB and gave them the worst draft grade of any team.

Mel was asked which player he liked before the draft, his answer – “It's so tough to answer because I have to think about team needs, how each prospect fits into those needs and realistic draft positions.”

Funny how when “their” team is on the clock, even the “experts” forget their own words. Kiper famously said, “Lamar Jackson had a lot of "layups" in Louisville's offense,” when comparing Jackson to Josh Allen. He didn’t think Lamar Jackson would develop into an NFL QB. That was before the Ravens drafted the Louisville Heisman Trophy winner and now, Mel has nothing but praise for Ozzie Newsome.

QB's running around on NFL fields is not the recipe for long and fruitful careers.

The examples are plentiful, but the prefect one is RG3. Jackson is so close in stature to RG3 that it’s scary. Most NFL GMs put on their psychology hat and remembered, “Past performance is the best predictor of future success.” Jackson lasted until 32 for that reason. Miami, along with 30 other teams were not going to risk making the same mistake.

The bottom line is, Miami fans do not care what Mel Kiper, ProFootballFocus or whomever have to say about the Miami Dolphin draft. These fans have grown numb to easy pot-shots from outsiders that don’t have to play New England twice a year.

Miami fans are a resilient and self-sufficient bunch that actually understand what Mel meant with, “think about team needs, how each prospect fits into those needs and realistic draft positions.”

Building up to the draft, this writer penned several articles detailing the issues that led to the Miami Dolphin's 6-10 season. The most annoying line that seems to have become an off-hand fact is that suddenly, Ryan Tannehill is an injury prone QB.

Tannehill and the Dolphins are guilty of thinking experimental science (stem cell therapy) is magic.

It’s not…

Guilty as charged, but injury prone? Tannehill was an ironman prior to a cheap Calais Campbell knee shot. The stem cell experiment didn’t work and Tannehill subsequently had the same surgery nearly every player wearing an NFL uniform has had at one time or another. Tom Brady’s been wearing that brace since the last time Miami won the AFC East.

If past performance is the best predictor of future success, Tannehill will be fine.

Whether Mel Kiper likes Ryan Tannehill is a completely different issue, many Miami fans will agree with that sentiment. Using the term “injury prone” is a ridiculous cop out, if you don’t like Tannehill just say it Mel, you won’t hurt our feelings.

The men whose jobs are on the line - Adam Gase, Mike Tannenbaum and Chris Grier have the belief that Ryan Tannehill will continue where he left off prior to his knee injury. The Dolphins felt they had too many holes they needed to fill and could not afford to essentially give up their whole draft for an unknown rookie QB.

The Dolphins were perfectly willing to allow one of the top four QBs to fall to the 11th pick. The Arizona Cardinals sent the No. 15 pick, a 3rd-round pick (No. 79) and a fifth-round selection (No. 152) to the Oakland Raiders to jump ahead of Miami and take Josh Rosen. Carson Palmer was 38 years old and retired from the Cardinals who were left with Sam Bradford - Now you’re talking injury prone.

No matter what the pundits believe, the Cardinals were desperate for a QB and the Dolphins were not. It’s as simple as that.

In two previous articles:

The real issues that led to Miami’s demise, aside from Jay Cutler being Jay Cutler, were evident by the end of the 2017 season.

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).

The league is evolving and Miami was not: The Patriots had 221 snaps in Dime (6-DB) Personnel and an astounding 161 snaps in Prevent (7-DB). Miami had SEVEN total snaps in a Dime defense. The Patriots faced 3rd & 10 or more on 54 snaps this year and yet they played 6 or more DBs on 382 snaps.

The Miami Dolphins used the Dime package only 7 times…

It’s humorous to hear the talking heads berate the Miami Dolphins for picking Minkah Fitzpatrick in the first round. Maybe lining up only 7 times in a dime package is a tiny clue to what Miami REALLY needed.

It’s also humorous to hear how Fitzpatrick will displace T.J. McDonald in the defensive backfield. Stats are for losers, but 7 times versus NE’s 161 times and a total of 382 snaps with 6 or more DBs.

T.J. and Minkah will be playing alongside one another a whole lot in 2018.

NFL teams are not “supposed” to draft for needs but one thing is very clear, Fitzpatrick was a much greater need than drafting Tannehill’s future replacement.

The Miami Dolphins literally had no starting TE prior to the draft. 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 were in the Super Bowl.

The Dolphins cut Julius Thomas and Anthony Fasano retired… Miami threw out the old axiom of not going into the draft with a need so the team could select the “best player available.”

What were they going to do, hide it? Tight Ends haven’t existed in Miami since long before Mad Dog opened the pearly gates.

The pundits are still stomping for Mason Rudolph but the sight of Mike Gesicki in Dolphin teal warms the heart of any true Miami fan.

The Dolphins did not only draft exactly what they needed, but they actually followed the Jimmy Johnson credo and doubled down! They selected coverage LB Jerome Baker in the 3rd round and the Kelly green hulk TE Durham Smythe in the 4th round. (Hey Paul, any relation?)

Kalen Ballage in the 4th as the bruising RB to spell Kenyan Drake. They added CB Cornell Armstrong and LB Quentin Poling in the 6th, along with a kicker, Jason Sanders in the 7th.

Mel Kiper can grade Miami wherever he likes…

At the beginning of the day, this Miami fan is smiling.

At the end of the day, Mel Kiper can explain trading away Jarome Baker and Durham Smythe for Lamar Jackson to sit on the bench for a few years.

Hey he’s the expert after all…