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Conor Orr: 2016 Miami Rookie Class a “Solid, Foundational Draft” “Around the NFL” writer gives props to Dolphins rookie draft class.

New York Jets v Miami Dolphins Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

It goes with the territory that the New England Patriots will be esteemed for whoever they sign in free agency and/or draft. Punter, long snapper, back-up long snapper, practice squad fullback: they’re such geniuses! But the Miami Dolphins did come in a close second according to in AFC East draft classes, receiving a “B-” just behind the Patriots “B”. Here are some excerpts:

A good-to-very-good season for the Ole Miss tackle who might have been Miami's most consistent performer up front in 2016.

Second-rounder Xavien Howard played almost 600 snaps and played especially well down the stretch after recovering from a torn meniscus that required surgery. At the top of his game, Howard can be competitive against elite NFL receivers and has shown the game isn't too big for him.

Third-rounder Kenyan Drake had his moments at running back, even if no one was going to unseat Jay Ajayi amid his Pro Bowl season, and could find himself in a third-down role this coming season. Drake, if nothing else, proved his ability in the kick-return game with 13 returns for 397 yards and a touchdown (of 96 yards).

Wideout Leonte Carroo is talented but raw, and could develop in Miami's offense, given the time. This was, by all accounts, a solid foundational draft.

As tough of a time the Dolphins have had in the last decade-plus at drafting and developing talent, it’s encouraging to see we may have turned the corner in that department. Don’t forget that free agency comes first and shapes the needs the Dolphins will have entering the draft. Back-to-back quality drafts will help the “P” word be a regular part of our vocabulary. NO! Not THAT “P” word...PLAYOFFS.

Get back in that dark room and watch some film, scouts! Stop complaining about your 23 12 hour work days.