Monday, April 29, 2013

Miami Dolphins 2013 Draft Class Recap

Miami Dolphins Draft 2013
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Every year football fans ponder the possibility of drafting the next game-changer, star athlete to their team's respective roster. This season Dolphins fans were extra eager to see the direction their team took after an aggressive offseason, highlighted by acquisitions like WR Mike Wallace and LB Dannell Ellerbe. So the Fins took to the clock with a new sense of hope as well as a new look (check out the new uniforms here), ready to build a contending team with solid draft choices.

Here's the rundown on the Dolphins 2013 draft picks:

1. Dion Jordan (DE, Oregon)

First Round, 3rd Overall Pick
Height: 6'6
Weight: 248 lbs

Continuing the theme of an aggressive offseason, the Dolphins made a splash early in the draft by unexpectedly trading up to the 3rd overall pick with the Oakland Raiders. At the point, many analysts were claiming Miami would take one of draft class' highly touted offensive tackles.

Nope. They went pass rusher. And they took the freak athlete known as Dion Jordan. If you haven't watched the Sport Science feature on Jordan, then stop reading this post and go now.

Talent wise, this guy has all the tools to compete in the NFL and become a premiere pass rusher in the league. While Oregon wasn't known for it's defense, Jordan was a standout in both pass rushing and coverage situations. Miami will be thrilled to line up Jordan on one end and have Cameron Wake on the other.

2. Jamar Taylor (CB, Boise State)

Second Round, 54th Overall Pick
Height: 5'11
Weight: 192 lbs

Last season Miami allowed the 6th most passing yards in the league. With that said, the secondary was clearly an area in need of improvement entering the draft - especially after losing Vontae Davis and Sean Smith. Jamar Taylor was their first attempt at addressing that need.

Taylor is a strong, physical defensive back (22 reps on bench press) that is unafraid of challenging receivers off the line. He's also athletic enough to keep up with speedy receivers (ran a 4.39 40-yard dash) and make plays on the ball. He may need to sure up his run tackling technique and gain more discipline on reading routes but Taylor has plenty of upside.

3. Dallas Thomas (OT, Tennessee)

Third Round, 77th Overall Pick
Height: 6'5 
Weight: 300 lbs

Since trade talks with the Kansas City Chiefs over Branden Albert went awry, Miami decided to draft Dallas Thomas and add depth to the offensive line. Thomas is a versatile lineman that played both tackle and guard in college against SEC opponents. Analysts believe he would excel more in the NFL as a guard but could be a viable tackle option as well.

Thomas provides both solid pass blocking and run blocking skills. Scouting reports state that he can defend against pass rushers with his agile footwork and fast recovery. In the run game, Thomas can pull  block and reach the second level of defense quickly. He'll just have to adapt to stronger defensive linemen in the pro game and improve on areas like strength, quickness and consistent handwork.

Looks like Thomas will become a plug-and-play lineman for the Dolphins in case of injury or when starting linemen need rest.

4. Will Davis (CB, Utah State)

Third Round, 93rd Overall Pick
Height: 5'11
Weight: 186 lbs

As we mentioned earlier, the Fins needed to addressed their DB situation with secondary picks. So, they selected Will Davis in the third round; an athletic, fluid corner that is instinctive and has ball hawk tendencies.

Many describe Davis as a raw talent with his limited football experience (only played one year in high school before entering college). But the kid has shown an impressive skill set on the field, deflecting and intercepting passes throughout his college career. Davis is known to be overaggressive at times and is susceptible to double moves by receivers as a result. However, his instincts get it right more times than not.

5. Jelani Jenkins (LB, Florida)

Fourth Round, 104th Overall Pick
Height: 6'0
Weight: 243 lbs

The Dolphins didn't really need another linebacker; they already had seven on the roster entering the draft. Regardless, they felt that Jenkins could provide help on special teams and compete for a spot in their defensive sub-packages. Jenkins is known for his cover skills against running backs and tight ends.

The main concern with Jenkins is his medical history, suffering from injuries to his hamstring, hand and foot during college. If he manages to stay healthy and earn a spot on the depth chart, Jenkins can provide solid tracking and tackling skills whenever he's on the field.

6. Dion Sims (TE, Michigan State) 

Fourth Round, 106th Overall Pick
Height: 6'5 
Weight: 262 lbs

Miami's main two tight ends are Charles Clay and Dustin Keller, with Michael Egnew struggling to earn playing time. Enter Dion Sims; a big-bodied target that has the potential to become Miami's red zone threat. Despite his large stature, Sims actually has an impressive vertical jump (35 inches) and surprisingly soft hands.

Beyond that, many scouts were impressed with his pass blocking skills - something Anthony Fasano provided before he left to the Chiefs. Sims could use some work on run blocking situations and is limited when it comes to agility and quickness in the passing game. His frame alone is intriguing but he'll have to prove his worth before lining up in a game for the Fins.

7. Mike Gillislee (RB, Florida)

Fifth Round, 164th Overall Pick
Height: 5'11
Weight: 208 lbs

With three backs on the roster already, Miami decided to add more competition to the running back unit with this pick. Mike Gillislee is known as a strong back that prefers going inside and taking on defenders rather than being elusive. He is an well-rounded rusher that can also catch out of the backfield.

Gillislee needs to work on his decisiveness in the ground attack in order to succeed in the pro game. He'll have staunch competition in Miami with Lamar Miller, Daniel Thomas and Marcus Thigpen ahead of him on the depth chart. His first shot at playing time may come in the special teams unit.

8. Caleb Sturgis (K, Florida)

Fifth Round, 166th Overall Pick
Height: 5'10
Weight: 188 lbs

The Dolphins continued their University of Florida recruitment tour with the addition of Caleb Sturgis. That marked the third Gator drafted in two consecutive rounds. Dolphins Special Teams Coach, Darren Rizzi was very high on Sturgis and clearly approved of the pick. With that said, Dan Carpenter's seat has officially begun to heat up.

Look for Sturgis to compete for Carpenter's job from day one. It might get interesting if Sturgis starts nailing 72-yard field goals in practice, like this:

9. Don Jones (SS, Arkansas State)

Seventh Round, 250th Overall Pick
Height: 5'11 
Weight: 191 lbs

Just four spots away from being Mr. Irrelevant, Don Jones joined the Fins as their final pick of the 2013 draft. Jones was drafted as a strong safety but many believe he'll be competing for a spot as cornerback. He was a track star back in high school, so you know the speed is there. Jones actually logged 4.42 and 4.40 times in his 40-yard dash during the Arkansas State pro day.

There isn't much to say on his production in college other than he was sound special teams player and did a decent job playing the nickel position at Arkansas State. Looks like Miami just wanted to bring in his athletic skills to see if they can translate that into special teams production and perhaps secondary help.

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