Connect with us

Miami Dolphins

What Should Be Miami’s Draft Strategy?

Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images

A Look at Recent Trends and Reflections

When it comes to draft variety, no one seems to love mixing it up more than the Miami Dolphins. Miami’s player selection has been a mixed bag. Casting a wide search leads to finding talent in places some teams wont even bother to look. By the same token, it puts less focus in areas quality players are more commonly found.

Smart Connections

Teams such as New England and their head coach Bill Belichick have close relationships with collegiate head coaches and can get the inside track on players from those closest and the most knowledgeable to them. One example, Belichick communicates with University of Georgia’s head coach Kirby Smart regularly. Smart being one of the best talent evaluators of high school players in the country and his opinions are greatly valued by many.

In the past couple of drafts, Belichick has looked to the SEC, most notably several of Smart’s UGA players. He signed the undrafted David Andrews after the 2015 NFL Draft. Andrews has since gone on to become one of the best centers in the league finishing in the top two of Pro-Bowl voting his first season. In 2018, with the endorsement of Kirby Smart he drafted two more Bulldogs, Isaiah Wynn and Sony Michel, in the first round.

Bill Belichick and un-drafted center David Andrews (BARRY CHIN/GLOBE STAFF)

In the past five seasons the Dolphins have selected eight BIG 10 players with a matching eight coming from the SEC as well. The PAC 12 and BIG 12 have combined for a total of nine of Miami’s draft selections in the same span.

Search Far and Wide

Miami selecting from 11 different conferences in the past five seasons means they have a wide search. Miami’s approach lead uncovering value overlooked by many. However, there’s something to be said for sticking to the big schools with more winning programs and players many consider to be more NFL ready. Comparatively, Miami with those eight SEC players in five seasons, has seen the Patriots select seven in just the past two seasons.

The Dolphins with a smattering of other conference school selections as well as independent colleges like Notre Dame have seen Miami look to their programs as well. This trend will need adjusting if Miami wants to continue to trend up in the ranks. Some of the most notable players from SEC schools who were Dolphin selections are Minkah Fitzpatrick and Kenyan Drake. Both who have since been traded from Miami but both proved to be solid players with incredible value.

Best Player Available vs Position Need Approach

To put it in perspective, Miami was ranked dead last in rushing in 2019. This after passing on Alabama’s Josh Jacobs who went just 11 spots later to the Oakland Raiders and rushed for almost 1,200 yards. In all fairness Miami wasn’t targeting a running back in the first round of the 2019 Draft. In hindsight maybe they should have. Especially if he was considered the best player on the board.

Raiders 1st round selection Josh Jacobs from Alabama

While on the board, NFL teams go one of two ways when drafting early. They either draft based off of a specific need or best player available. More often than not, the best player available isn’t what a team needs.

Miami should take the best player available approach in the first two rounds. The focus can then shift to “needs” in rounds 3 to 7. In all likelihood, great value can be found in those rounds in this year’s draft.. Typically in the larger SEC/BIG 12 type of programs with players that have less developmental needs.

Focusing on needs later in the draft might even be applicable to quarterback. In this year’s draft, there is no one guy that is a sure bet, the likes of a Marino or even Manning. Even with Burrow and Tagovailoa drawing so much attention from the teams picking in the top 5, they both come with many question marks from durability to consistency.

The Steelers draft T. J. Watt 8 spots after Miami’s selection of OLB Charles Harris (Getty Images)

With a best player available mind set, Miami’s roster would’ve looked very different today. Passing on players such as Sony Michele, T.J. Watt, and Teddy Bridgewater in recent years, Miami is still searching for players at each of those positions in this year’s draft.

It’s clear Miami might need to make some changes to their approach to drafting and go big early and often.

Big players, big moves, big schools for big rewards!

Hello I’m Scott. I manage a custom electronics company in middle Georgia. Married with kids, our family loves all sports. We watch and play. Miami Dolphins & Miami Heat!! I love sharing opinions and debating on all things sports related. God Bless!

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. David Rupp

    April 19, 2020 at 2:35 am

    Charles Harris was a higher ranked player on all professional boards over TJ Watt that year. Dolphins took best available player, Harris, who didn’t match the defensive system. TJ Watt made more sense for our defensive set up that year but Charles Harris was a higher ranked player. That pick is the perfect example where you can’t always pick the best available player on the board. Sometimes that player doesn’t match the system you have in place. Harris was a DE for a 4-3 system, dolphins used him incorrectly for years. Remember DE Dion Jordan, I thought that was a horrible pick at the time because he didn’t make sense for their defensive scheme. That’s where the Coach and the GM have to understand each other and work together. It has not happened in Miami in years. Draft the best player for your systems not the best player available!!! That is what has killed the dolphins. Hoping that it changes this year. This draft shouldn’t fix all the problems but paired with next years free agency and draft Dolphins could have a chance for the playoffs in 2022/2023 year.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

More in Miami Dolphins