With the 19th overall selection in the 2014 NFL Draft, the Miami Dolphins selected offensive tackle Ja'Wuan James, Tennessee. The moment that pick was made, people immediately began grading the Dolphins' draft. Never mind the six remaining rounds, people had their minds made up that General Manager Dennis Hickey had panicked and forced the team to reach for an offensive lineman they could have selected later.
Despite reports that the Dolphins had given James a first round grade a week before the Draft, and despite reports that other teams were considering James in the first round if Miami had not picked him, the Draft was a failure because Miami filled their greatest need with their top selection.
Thank goodness Draft grades aren't made simply based on immediate reactions to one selection. Really, Draft grades should not be made simply off names being called in Radio City Music Hall. It takes years for the true impact of a rookie class to be known. That, however, is not we as fans want, and it's not how Draft grades work. The Draft is over; time to grade it.
We, of course, love Draft grades. They reinforce what we think. They lead to debate. They confirm bias against the Dolphins and love for someone else. Draft grades are great.
There is a problem with the Dolphins' draft grades this year - they are good. Analysts seem to be liking what Miami did over the three day draft. It's not something we usually see about the Dolphins.
Earlier today, we took a look at ESPN's Mel Kiper's grade for Miami, coming in with a "successful" B. SB Nation likes the Dolphins draft class even more.
The Dolphins set out to replace Jonathan Martin by selecting Tennessee RT Ju'Wuan James in the first. Then the Dolphins added another tough tacke/guard in the third with the selection of Billy Turner, instantly upgrading their offensive line. They gave Ryan Tannehill a dependable pass catching target in the second by adding LSU's Jarvis Landry, and then bolstered that with the selection of TE Arthur Lynch in the fifth and WR Matt Hazel in the sixth.
SB Nation officially gave the Dolphins an A- for their 2014 NFL Draft grade.
Miami had a solid draft, which was exactly what the team needed at this point. As I said multiple times over the weekend on Twitter, the Dolphins were in this Draft to fix the foundation, not add flashy rooms on a house that allowed 58 sacks last year and couldn't close out games. This Draft did exactly what was needed. Will it turn out to be a highly successful Draft? We will know in three years. Does it look right now? Yes, it does.