While everyone know it takes three years to grade a draft class, ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. annually takes a look at the previous season's rookie performances, and assigns a grade to each team. Some teams see their rookies outperform their draft position. Some teams don't meet the expectations Kiper had for the rookies when they first entered the league the previous spring.
And then there are the Miami Dolphins.
Miami's rookie class simply didn't see the field. At least not to the level expected. The Dolphins had a good draft according to Kiper back in April, earning a B- and looking like they were going to find some dynamic players, such as defensive end Dion Jordan, for whom the team traded up in the draft, selecting him with the third overall pick.
Instead, as a group, the nine drafted players did not see 1,000 total offensive and defensive snaps. They were regulated to spot duty and special teams play. Perhaps this is a system Head Coach Joe Philbin likes, allowing rookies a redshirt season to prepare for the NFL level of play. Perhaps the rookies simply could not beat out the players in front of them. Perhaps it was a combination of things. But, whatever the cause, the effect was a year of barely seeing the rookies.
And, when that happens, you are bound to have a bad grade for your rookie class. In this case, Kiper gave the Dolphins his worst grade in the league, handing them a D+.
Of the grade, Kiper wrote:
Summary: As I wrote in April, the Dolphins didn't have to give up a lot to move from No. 12 to No. 3, but it put an extra onus on them to get some value with that pick. And while Jordan flashes a ton of ability, he was highly ranked on my board, and we really don't know if he can stay on the field in a starter's role long term. He was a situational player who was on the field for about 30 percent of snaps as a rookie, during which he showed he can get to the QB. But if you're on the sideline that often, we have to take it into account because that's your coaches concealing things you can't do. After that? Well, there's not much to evaluate. I'm not sure any team in the NFL saw less from a rookie class. Sturgis did a decent job at kicker, but it's quiet elsewhere. This draft doesn't look as hot a year later, but Jordan has talent.
Will the 2013 draft class break out for the Dolphins in 2014, similar to the growth we saw from the 2012 draft class last year? Hopefully. Otherwise, the three-year grade for the Dolphins' 2013 draft class could look a whole lot like a D+.
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