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Grading The Miami Dolphins’ 2023 NFL Draft

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Devon Achane Courtesy @12thMan

Losing a first-round pick due to tampering allegations and a few recent trades left the Dolphins with only four picks in this year’s NFL Draft, the fewest of any team in the league. The Dolphins have done a solid job filling the holes on the roster since the season ended. Most recently they added pro bowl corner back Jalen Ramsey to address concerns in their secondary. Miami has built a solid roster and has locked in many of their key pieces, but still had positions they were hoping to sure up through the draft. Overall, I think the Dolphins had a very solid draft given the limited draft capital they had to work with.

Second Round-51st overall: CB Cam Smith from South Carolina

The Dolphins first pick of the draft was all the way down at number 51 after their first-round pick was forfeited by the league. With that pick the Fins selected Cam Smith, a 6’1-190lb cornerback from South Carolina. The decision to draft a corner was a little confusing to many, but Smith is a very solid corner whose size and athleticism gave SEC wide receivers fits. Smith gave up more than one catch in a game only twice and had the lowest completion percentage allowed of any defender in the SEC. In addition to his coverage skills, Smith has great ball skills and instincts which helped him come away with six interceptions. Going with a cornerback first wasn’t something many were expecting, but it could be a good situation for Smith to come in and learn behind a few talented veteran defensive backs on the roster. 

Grade C+ 

While I think Cam Smith is a very solid corner and could provide good depth in a talented, but aging secondary, it just didn’t seem to be a huge area of need to use their first pick of the draft.

Third Round – 84th overall: RB Devon Achane from Texas A&M

One thing that Coach Mike McDaniel values more than just about anything else is speed and the Dolphins added a lot of that with their third-round pick. Devon Achane was regarded as one of the fastest and most explosive players in the draft. Achane ran a blazing fast 4.32 second forty-yard dash has a personal best in the 100m of 10.02 seconds, one of the fastest 100m times for any NFL player ever. Achane racked up nearly 1300 yards and 11 touchdowns last season and made big plays on special teams as well. At 5’8-188lbs, Achane isn’t the biggest, but his speed and explosiveness are things that the Dolphins will find a way to use right away. Whether it’s running the ball, catching passes out of the backfield or returning kicks, the Dolphins will look for many ways to get Achane involved early. 

Grade A-

Adding Achane to an offense that has Tyreek Hill, Raheem Mostert and Jaylen Waddle will create mismatches all over the field. McDaniel is the perfect coach to utilize his skill set and allow him to make an immediate impact as another speedy weapon for this Dolphins’ offense.

Sixth Round – 197th overall: WR Elijah Higgins from Stanford

After taking Achane in the third, the Dolphins weren’t on the board again until the sixth round. With their sixth round pick the Dolphins took another offensive weapon in Elijah Higgins. The Fins have plenty of speed in their receiver room, but Higgins adds another dimension with his size and frame. At 6’3-240, Higgins provides a big target that can be used outside as a receiver or moved inside and utilized as a tight end. Even at 240 pounds, Higgins still ran a 4.54 forty-yard dash and will create mismatches regardless of where he is lined up.

Grade B

The Dolphins value offensive players that are versatile, and Higgins certainly fits that mold. Higgins can add more size to a shorter wide receiver room or more athleticism to a talented tight end room. 

Seventh Round – 238th overall: OT Ryan Hayes from Michigan

The Dolphins fourth and final pick was offensive tackle Ryan Hayes from Michigan. The Dolphins struggles and lack of depth at the offensive tackle position over the last few years have been well documented so taking a late round flyer on a tackle is a solid move. Hayes was part of a very good offensive line at Michigan and graded out well in pass blocking and zone run blocking.

Grade B+

The Dolphins need help and depth at the tackle position that has struggled and been decimated by injuries in recent years. Adding another big body that was productive in college is about all you can ask for in the seventh round.

Overall: B

For a team that didn’t have many picks at all, the Dolphins did a solid job of adding players that fill needs and fit their system. It’s clear that Mike McDaniel wants to continue to build the offense around speed and versatility and the Fins took some talented players that fit that philosophy perfectly. The Cam Smith selection didn’t seem to fill the biggest need at the time, but he’s a physically talented cornerback that will be able to learn behind some of the best veteran defensive backs in the league. Overall, it was a very solid draft for a team that is showing they are in ‘win now’ mode and making the off season moves to back it up.

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