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Through the Looking Glass and what EgregiousPhilbin Found There

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Are the Dolphins doomed to repeat the past?

NFL: APR 25 2019 NFL Draft Photo by Michael Wade/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Hey all you cats and kittens.

Editor’s Note: Please welcome EgregiousPhilbin as the newest author to join The Phinsider crew.

Happy to be here in sunny My House, where no one can come in or out for the foreseeable future. Much like all of your houses, I’m sure. I’m not going crazy. These walls have always moved.

Since there’s a whole lotta nothin going on in the world of sports, what with everything being postponed or outright cancelled, I figured we might as well talk more about the only thing there is to talk about: The 2020 NFL Draft and our Miami Dolphins.

I’ll try to keep this short and if you’ve ever read anything of mine before, you know that’s a lie.

Down the Rabbit Hole

The Dolphins have a veritable treasure trove of picks to wield in this year’s draft, the meatiest of which are three, count ‘em, three first rounders: 1.5, 1.18, and 1.26.

Should they package all of those picks (and maybe then some) to reach for the stars and grab Joe ‘Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain who’s only had one significant collegiate football season’ Burrow? Or maybe Tua ‘I, personally, would commit multiple crimes to stop reading about him and his CVS recipt of injuries’ Tagovailoa? Or maybe they should sit tight and grab Justin ‘How grumpy will you be when I’m Ryan Tannehill again’ Herbert, along with two other non-QB prospects? Or no QB at all and just take 3 wild swings at other positions? OR TRADE ALL OF OUR OTHER PICKS FOR MORE FIRST ROUNDERS. TRADE THEM ALL FOR A PUNTER, I DON’T CARE. EVERYTHING’S A LIE, NOTHING IS REAL.

I’m doing fine.

Point is, having three first round picks gives the Dolphins incredible versatility. In deciding what they should do with it, perhaps we can take a look back at what they’ve done before.

Miami Dolphins: This is your life
(of first round draft picks since the year 2000, shut up, it’s good enough).

In looking back at former Rd1 picks, I mentally separated the first round into three tiers:

Tier 1 (Early): Picks 1-10
Tier 2 (Mid): Picks 11-20
Tier 3 (Late): Picks 21-32

I approached it this way because expectations for prospects differ depending on where they’re selected, even within the first round itself. Top 10 picks have very high expectation for immediate and sustained success, while the further down you get, the less likely it is that people scream ‘BUST! MY DAUGHTER NEVER FUMBLES, NERD!’ in a player’s face. But generally speaking, the hope is that a first rounder stays on the team for his career, performs well consistently, and improves the team around him. Or maybe he’s Dion Jordan.

I’m not going to get into the speculation of picks we could have/should have made (yet). You might want to lower Jake Long’s grade because he could have been Matt Ryan, but this isn’t about that. This looks at the player we actually got and the return on investment the Dolphins received in exchange for the pick used to acquire him. Is it wildly subjective? Sure. Should we fight about it in the comments for years to come? Duh. What else do we have going on?

The Pool of Tears

2000 - None
Grade: N/A

2001 - 1.26: Jamar Fletcher, CB
We’re not exactly off to a rip roaring start. Jamar Fletcher was drafted with the 26th overall pick in the 2001 draft from the University of Wisconsin. He lasted 3 seasons with the Dolphins before being traded to the San Diego (RIP) Chargers in 2004. He has 12 career starts with half of them coming in Miami. He recorded 2 INTs in teal (RIP) and orange and can safely be labelled a bust. Despite being a late RD1 pick, his numbers were more like what you expect from a UDFA.

Grade: F

2002 - None
Grade: N/A

2003 - None
Grade: N/A

2004 - 1.19: Vernon Carey, T
Out of the University of Miami, Carey played tackle and a little guard (in his last year) over an 8 year career with the Dolphins. Offensive lineman are hard to quantify without game tape since there are so few stats to use, but he averaged 3.25 penalties/season, which is damn fine, and has a reputation for being a stable and effective presence along the line during his tenure. 107 starts over 8 seasons at multiple positions on the line is a valuable resume for a mid RD1 pick.

Grade: A

2005 - Ronnie Brown, RB
Good ol’ Ronald. Taken with the 2nd overall pick in 2005, the Auburn man was to replace Ricky Williams following the uncertainty around his 2004 retirement. In 6 seasons in Miami, Brown had career highs of 1,008 yds (2006) and 10 TDs (2008), while two of his seasons (2007 and 2009) were shortened by injury. Over his 4 full seasons, he averaged 891 yds and 6 TDs, both of which would have likely gone up if he had stayed healthy. He was selected to the Pro Bowl in 2008 and spearheaded the birth of the wildcat. Maybe it’s a tinge of nostalgia or maybe it’s the lack of other running backs since, but I have to throw my support behind Ronnie Brown, even though 1.2 is a steep price to pay.

Grade: B+

2006 - 1.16: Jason Allen, DB
Tennessee DB Jason Allen was the 16th pick in 2006. I think this quote from Wikipedia about says it all: “He was selected by then-head coach Nick Saban, who faced Allen while head coach at Louisiana State. Saban also unsuccessfully recruited Allen out of high school while at LSU.”

Allen lasted four and half seasons. While capable, he never really lived up to his RD1 price.

Grade: C-

2007 - 1.9: Ted Ginn, WR
I remember where I was for this pick. I was visiting a friend and fellow Dolphins fan at Carnegie Mellon, specifically to watch the draft. We were ready for our QB of the future. Brady Quinn was the pick. It had to be. It was the only thing that made sense.

With the ninth overall pick in the 2007 NFL draft, the Miami Dolphins select: not Brady Quinn.

Ted Ginn Jr. WIDE RECEIVER. Ohio State.

Ted Ginn caught 10 TDs in 2015 and, legend has it, he’s still playing to this day. Brady Quinn was trash. So goes to show what I know.

Grade: C-

2008 - 1.1: Jake Long, T
Debate still rages about this pick, but Jake Long was a great prospect who got unlucky with injuries. The Michigan man played 5 seasons (3 full) for the Dolphins and averaged 5 penalties/season. I remember watching him and seeing him as an elite tackle, but I could be convinced my glasses are a little rosy. Based on what the Dolphins actually got out of him and the price being so high (the Tier 1est of Tier 1 picks), I ended up docking him more than maybe he deserves.

Grade: B+

2009 - 1.25: Vontae Davis, CB
Mr. Quits at Halftime in the Middle of a Game. The hangers on this guy, I tell ya. From Illinois, Davis was supposed to be one half of the new Surtain and Madison combo alongside Sean Smith. Three seasons later, Joe Philbin was awkwardly trading him on Hard Knocks in “The Quease Heard ‘Round the World”. If it weren’t for his abrupt departure for Indianapolis, I’d say he was an excellent pick, especially so late in the first. As it stands, his best years were for another franchise.

Grade: B+

2010 - 1.28: Jared Odrick, DT
When not doing the Pee-Wee Herman dance or guest starring on Season 1 and 2 of Ballers (Author’s Note: Did anyone else start watching that show just because it followed the Dolphins, even though it was fictional? I sure did and watched the whole stupid thing.), former Penn State defensive end Jared Odrick was rotating among positions on the Dolphins defensive line for 5 seasons. The epitome of a ‘solid’ player, Odrick rarely wowed and rarely fell flat. Ideally, that kind of production could have been found later in the draft, but a late first rounder isn’t terrible value either.

Grade: B

2011 - 1.15: Mike Pouncey, C
Florida’s Mike Pouncey is one half of a questionable pair of dudes. You might not want them hanging out in your living room, but you probably want the Pounceys anchoring your offensive line. Taken with the 15th overall pick in 2011, Mike Pouncey led the Dolphins o-line for 7 seasons until he was kicked to the Los Angeles curb. Injuries played a big part in that decision, but when healthy, Pouncey was a stud.

Grade: A

2012 - 1.8: Ryan Tannehill, QB
I don’t even want to write this section. Come at me.

Grade: B

2013 - 1.3: Dion Jordan, DE
Gross.

Grade: Z

2014 - 1.19: Ja’Wuan James, T
Here we see the Dolphins trying to repeat history by taking a tackle with the 19th overall pick: this time with Tennessee’s Ja’Wuan James. Bad break, boys. James lasted 5 years (3 full) before going on to disappoint Denver. He felt like a reach then and plays like a reach now.

Grade: C-

2015 - 1.14: DeVante Parker, WR
Is this really the only first rounder still on the team? Oh, I see a couple more further down. But man, Parker is the last of a dying breed: Dolphins first round picks before the year 2017 who still play for the Dolphins. Last year Louisville’s Parker finally brought his game to where fans hoped it’d be when he was taken 14th overall in 2015. Better late than never, no doubt. It’s hard to put a value on a guy who’s still adding to his resume, but last year’s performance sure helps.

Grade: B

2016 - 1.13: Laremy Tunsil, T
I was so pumped when Tunsil fell to Miami. At one point projected to be the 1st overall pick out of Ole Miss, some (let’s admit it) hilarious weed-based, gas-mask-centric shenanigans caused him to slide to 13th, where the Dolphins lucked into him. His play up to this point certainly wouldn’t have justified the 1st overall pick and it doesn’t totally justify the 13th. But, nonetheless, there are reports that he wants to be paid the largest contract for an offensive lineman in the league. So I guess sending him to Houston doesn’t look quite so bad as it might have once upon a time. What the Dolphins do with the picks received in his trade will provide clarity on his ROI.

Grade: TBD

2017 - 1.22: Charles Harris, DE
Missouri’s Charles Harris. I wanted to love you. I rooted for you. And you broke my heart. You left me alone in the freezing water while you clung to the door. You said you’d never let go. But you did. And I won’t be surprised when the Dolphins let go of you.

Grade: D

2018 - 1.11: Minkah Fitzpatrick, S
In another edition of ‘EgregiousPhilbin is super excited to luck into a player, but whoops, he doesn’t play here anymore’ we have Alabama’s Minkah Fitzpatrick. We all know what happened. We all lived it. Bygones and so forth. He coulda been a contender. He coulda been somebody. He probably still will, just not for Miami.

Grade: D

2019 - 1.13: Christian Wilkins, DT
Christian Wilkins’ draft day celebration made him a favorite of mine. The big man out of Clemson played well in his first season. I expect a strong career from him and gee golly gosh darn I’d just cherish it if I wasn’t proven wrong again.

Grade: TBD

EgregiousPhilbin’s Evidence

A - 2 (13%)
B - 6 (40%)
C - 3 (20%)
D - 2 (13%)
F - 1 (7%)
Z - 1 (7%)
TBD - 2

Working the averages, this means that the Dolphins have a 13% chance of nailing (A) a 1st round pick. They’ve got a 53% chance of landing a solid (B or better) player. And they’ve got a 47% chance of getting between disappointing (C) and hot, sweaty, palpitating slop (Dion Jordan).

So what do those numbers tell us about how the Dolphins should use their three 2020 first round draft picks?

I dunno. Probably just pick some good players. I’m not a scientist.

Poll

What should the Dolphins do with their three (3!) 2020 1st Round picks?

This poll is closed

  • 4%
    Trade them all for a QB
    (47 votes)
  • 57%
    Stay where they are, maybe pick a QB, maybe not
    (542 votes)
  • 6%
    Trade some or all away for more picks
    (63 votes)
  • 28%
    Just pick some good players
    (266 votes)
  • 3%
    Hey, you’re not Sutton. Stop doing polls and trying to be funny. You’ll never be like him!
    (29 votes)
947 votes total Vote Now

Stay safe everyone!