This is what ESPN NFL / College "Draft Analyst" Mel Kiper Jr. had to say about the Miami Dolphins 08' draft class 2 years ago:
Miami Dolphins: GRADE: B-
Jake Long fills a need at left tackle, and I liked Bill Parcells' selection of Clemson DE Phillip Merling with the 32nd overall pick because he's solid against the run. The pick of Chad Henne in the second round tells you Miami is not sold on John Beck; however, I'm not sold on Henne. He has accuracy issues and a long delivery and he isn't mobile. I do like his toughness and he does have some of those intangibles you look for in a quarterback. Defensive end Kendall Langford is a big body, but I thought he was somewhat of a reach after an average senior season. Shawn Murphy really came on as a guard and he could battle for a starting spot. Jalen Parmele was a workhorse at Toledo, a big running back who also has some speed. And Lionel Dotson was a good seventh-round pick who should be able to help at nose tackle.
There's a theory that it's best to wait 3 years before putting a grade on a team's draft class. Well this class will be entering year 3, and though this can't be considered a full evaluation we can still review what we're working with.
Jake Long: Ever since Long was taken with the no.1 overall pick in 2008 he's been as good as advertised (with the exception of last years season opener against Atlanta, Long was dominate all year)
Phillip Merling: Going into the 2010 season many fans are expecting Jared Odrick to be the starter at defensive end on opening day, but the truth is the rookie learning curve for a defensive lineman isn't a walk in the park. That statement is evident in the past 2 draft classes (08' & 09'). You have players such as Chris Long, Glenn Dorsey, and Derrick Harvey all taken in the top ten but had less than stellar rookie seasons. Merling is going to have to be the player he was in last years season opener against Atlanta on a consistent basis. I'm not saying Odrick won't be a productive player in his rookie season, but if we're going to have immediate success at the defensive end position our best bet is on a 3rd year Merling.
Chad Henne: After sitting out his rookie year behind Chad Pennington, Henne took over as the starter 3 games into 09'. In his time as a starter he has shown flashes of greatness and some flashes of youth. Henne is the key to this draft class, if anyone has to make a major leap in year 3 it's him. He's been under the same offensive coordinator for 2 seasons (going on 3) now and he has the right pieces around him to have success. Now he just has to go out and play.
Kendall langford: Langford has been a starter at defensive end since day 1 and has yet to miss a game. He brings stability and durability to the position, and will only get better with experience.
Shawn Murphy: Murphy was inactive for all 16 games his rookie year. Then that following off-season looked promising when Murphy got his chance to work with the first-team offense.That experiment was short lived as he was released 5 games into the 09' season (which he was inactive for all 5 of them). He was then claimed off waivers by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers but was released that following off-season. Murphy once again was claimed off waivers, this time by the Philadelphia Eagles, but he failed his physical.
Jalen Parmele: Parmele was waived after the 1st 3 games of the 08' season, and was re-signed to the practice squad the following day. On December 9, 2008 Parmele was signed off the Dolphins' practice squad by the Baltimore Ravens.
Donald Thomas: There was a lot of hype surrounding Thomas before the 08' season when he earned the starting spot at right guard. Unfortunately everything was put on hold when he suffered a foot injury in the season opener that cause him to miss the entire season.Thomas suffered another setback when he injured his pectoral muscle that following off-season. After starting the first 12 games in 09', he was replaced in the starting lineup by Nate Garner. When looking at his game Thomas seems to struggle when it comes to pulling and getting to the second level. At one point Thomas was seen as the biggest steal of this draft class, but a couple injuries later he is looking average at best.
Lex Hilliard: Hilliard spent the entire 2008 season on the practice squad, and was re-signed on January 5, 2009. After Ronnie Brown went down in week 10 of the 09' season, Hilliard was given an opportunity in the back-up role. Though Hilliard wasn't necessarily keeping Ricky Williams fresh, he eventually received more carries as the season went on. Overall Hilliard is an expendable player.
Lionel Dotson: In 2 years Dotson has played in a total of 4 games. He was drafted as a developmental project, and with the addition of Odrick there will be plenty of quality competition for him. It will be interesting to see if that development materializes into impact in year 3.
Notable undrafted free agents:
Davone Bess: Simply D Bess
Dan Carpenter: After beating out Jay Feely and Connor Barth, Carpenter has established himself as the starting kicker. Though he was a Pro Bowl replacement in 09', Carpenter still has a ton of work to do if he wants to make it back.
Here is an excerpt from an article written about Carpenter by Mike Berardino:
The only real drawback with Carpenter is his kickoffs, which remain below average. Last season 92.3 percent of his kickoffs were returned, according to Pro Football Focus; just eight full-time NFL kickers allowed a higher percentage.
Michael Koenen of the Falcons led the league with a 63.4 return percentage, but he works in a dome. David Buehler of the Cowboys was your best in kickoff return percentage (65.8) in the none-dome, non-altitude category.
Carpenter registered touchbacks on just seven of his 78 kickoffs, tying him for 20th (with Bironas, ironically) among kickers that appeared in at least 10 games.
Carpenter was tied for 22nd in the league for average distance (64.7 yards) on his kickoffs. (Old friend Olindo Mare was the non-altitude leader at 70.8 yards for Seattle.)
So far this class has produced 5 starters (2 of which are Pro Bowlers), and this book is far from written.