Along with its record, Miami has turned out some pretty unsatisfying draft classes the past couple years. With Dennis Hickey now in the house, I imagine less of a front office commitment to the past couple rookie classes. Many mediocre draft selections are sitting in crowded position battles, putting them in a competitive sink or swim situation. I see this as a big judgement year on many recent draft picks.
Daniel Thomas RB (2011 2nd) - We already know what Thomas brings to the table. Only reason I really included him is because he was a high draft pick, and I'm very bitter he was selected over my favourite back that year in DeMarco Murray. I think Murray's production compared to Thomas' is laughable three years later, but I still think Thomas is a decent player. He's fairly consistent, and in a backfield thats run by committee, there might be room for a consistent athlete of Thomas' calibre. Even if he's just serving as a fresh pair of legs on the sideline, he should be able to beat out the likes Mike Gillislee and Marcus Thigpen for the 3rd spot on the depth chart, but I think we've seen all were going to from Daniel Thomas. My dark horse player to beat him out is Damien Williams (another Sooner player like Murray), who could get a chance to compete for the 3rd/4th RB spot on the depth chart if Miami's RB problems persist.
Michael Egnew TE (2012 3rd) - Miami spent a 3rd rounder on Egnew, a receiving tight end who came from a Mizzou offence with a historically good pass attack. Egnew has struggled making the adjustment to the pro game, and its shown in his playing time. Although Bill Lazor's new offence promises to feature the tight end more than past years, and Egnews pedigree seems to fit the bill, I don't see him making Miami's 53. In Dion Sims and Arthur Lynch, he needs to beat out two more recent draft picks with arguably more upside, if only due to Miami's dire need of blocking help.
Will Davis CB (2013 3rd) - It's entirely too early to put Davis on the bubble in my opinion. I liked his style at Utah State, and I was pretty pleased when Miami doubled down at corner with him last year. His biggest knock was lack of physical measurements, so in a position of depth, I think letting him develop on the roster behind your starters is a decent long term investment. He's a potential fit in the slot, and is a good candidate to keep the position competitive through training camp. That being said, Cortland Finnegan and Jamar Taylor will probably be given the majority of the reps across Brent Grimes this offseason, and I picture Davis settling into a backup battle with the likes of Walt Aiken, Demetrius Wright, and Jalil Brown. I see his ability to play football, paired with his status as a 3rd round pick, ultimately keeping him on the roster in 2014.
Dallas Thomas (2013 3rd) - The stage is set for Thomas to show what he can do after being unable to earn on a spot on an offensive line that was riddled with holes by the end of the season. Despite such a poor performance by a neglected position group, I can't believe we never saw Dallas Thomas earning playing time. Having said that, keeping him in the mix of a young group of interior lineman is exactly what Miami will do with him. He'll be pushed by Billy Turner, with Nate Garner still on the roster to provide versatility. Dallas Thomas, Shelley Smith, Garner, and Turner are not separated by much, and its time to see if Dallas Thomas is an NFL lineman or not.
Jamar Taylor CB (2013 2nd) - I almost jumped out of my seat when Miami drafted Jamar Taylor. I thought he was one of the most underrated corners in last years draft class, but he couldn't get healthy enough to put himself in a position to compete last season. Development and practice time is crucial as a rookie trying to make the pro leap, and he missed out on a lot of development because he was hurt. His confidence would have been tested last year, and if he's healthy and focused this season, I fully expect him to earn his way onto the field and perform. Cortland Finnegan is a pretty big obstacle for a 2nd year player that had the lacklustre campaign Taylor did in 2013, but I'm keeping the faith. Jimmy Wilson is a versatile DB who has shown his ability to play, and could sneak in for some nickel competition with the corner group, meaning Taylor needs to bring his a game to emerge the winner in a crowded secondary. No question he stays on the team in 2014, and I expect him to become a positive topic of conversation by the end of the season.
Lamar Miller RB (2012 4th) - Lamar Miller has borderline qualifications for this list, being a 4th round pick his production has certainly been adequate. That being said, most people figured he was a top 50-60 prospect, and has been held to those standards in his brief NFL career. Last preseason Lamar Miller was all the hype, and he has shown flashes of being a first tier talent, he just hasn't been able to prove it consistently. I think this season is probably his last to solidify himself as the future running back for the Dolphins, and he'll have to do it against Knowshon Moreno, who started on the best offence in football last season. If Miller can get himself the bulk of the carries, stay healthy and produce over 1000 yards, I think that will say a lot for his future in Miami. As far as immediate, theres no chance Miller is cut anytime soon, the team has a convincing amount of belief in Lamar Miller.