The NFL Draft concluded this past Saturday, with the Miami Dolphins adding eight new rookies to the team’s roster. The team is also reportedly signing 11 undrafted free agents, bringing 18 new faces into the Miami locker room. Whenever a new player is added to the roster, as good as that can be for the player or the team, it usually means something bad for someone else.
Who were the winners and losers from the Dolphins’ draft? We break it down.
Winner: Reshad Jones
The selection of Minkah Fitzpatrick should allow Jones to do what he does best - get into the box and shut down the run or blitz the quarterback. Fitzpatrick will be the safety primarily concerned with over the top coverage or covering tight ends and running backs. Jones, a two-time Pro Bowl safety, should excel in the new version of the Dolphins defense, and he could be looking at another trip to the all-star event.
Loser: MarQueis Gray
The 2013 undrafted free agent signing by the San Francisco 49ers has worked his way through the 49ers organization to the Cleveland Browns then to the Minnesota Vikings then to the Buffalo Bills to the Dolphins, where he has become a solid tight end option. It seems like every time it appears he will become a bigger portion of the Miami offense, however, the team adds people in front of him on the depth chart. That happened again this year, where before the Draft, it was Gray and A.J. Derby at the top of the chart, and now Gray could be fourth on the depth chart, behind Mike Gesicki, Derby, and Druham Smythe. Gray should have a role on this offense, but it definitely got smaller with the Draft.
Winner: Ryan Tannehill
There was so much discussion before the Draft that the Dolphins were dead-set on getting a first-round quarterback this year, but none of that seems to have been real within the franchise itself. Reports have indicated that, even should Josh Rosen have fallen to the 11th pick, Fitzpatrick was the more likely choice for Miami. The Dolphins said all offseason that Tannehill is this team’s quarterback, and now it appears it is a ride-or-die love for Tannehill. The team could look to Draft a quarterback early in 2019 if things go horribly wrong this year, but it definitely appears the coaches are definitely fully supporting Tannehill.
Loser: Mike Hull
Hull has seemed like a player on the cusp for the last couple of years. He has a group of fans who want to see him make it into the starting lineup, likely as the team’s middle linebacker. Instead, he now could find himself on the wrong side of the cut line. Raekwon McMillan, Kiko Alonso, and third-round pick Jerome Baker should be the three starters, with Stephone Anthony, Chase Allen, and seventh-round pick Quentin Poling could be the primary backups, with Hull and Terence Garvin both needing to make an impact. The team could look to put Poling on the practice squad, but Hull still seems like he is in the wrong position on the depth chart.
Winner: Jordan Phillips and Davon Godchaux
This entire offseason has been a win for Phillips and Godchaux. Miami released Ndamukong Suh, which opens a starting position, then did not draft a defensive tackle as his replacement. The team seems to be ready to go forward with these two as the starters. It could also be a win for Vincent Taylor and Gabe Wright as the two reserves behind them, almost ensuring them both of a roster spot. The Dolphins are reportedly signing two defensive tackle UDFAs, Jamiyus Pittman and Anthony Moten, who could factor into the position battle, but that would seemingly be for a roster spot and not a starting position.
Loser: Jason Sanders
Is it hard to say a kicker selected in the Draft is immediately in the loser category, but that is exactly what has happened here. Sanders appeared set to be the kicker for the Dolphins, filling an empty spot on the depth chart. One of the first actions of the team in the UDFA period, however, was to sign another kicker, Greg Joseph. Sanders was a winner when he was drafted, but immediately was thrust into a position battle. That can not be comforting for the draft pick.