One of the most pointless things to do immediately after the NFL draft is weigh in on a team’s draft class, especially before the rookies are assigned a number.
(Yes, we’re all waiting for Tua to pick a number).
But over the years, I’ve developed a three-year rule, which means I can’t judge a prospect—unless they are terrible—until year three. Like it or not, that puts a lot of Miami’s current roster on the bubble. But this isn’t about three-year-veterans. No, this is about the influx of talent the Dolphins brought in via the draft. 11 total players.
With all of that said, I’m still going to give you my way-too-early Miami Dolphins draft grades.
(Note: It is way too early to judge any of these players)
(Round 1: Pick 5) Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama - A+
The Dolphins have needed a quarterback for the last 20+ years. And after a masterful smokescreen from Chris Grier and Brian Flores, Miami got their superstar of the future. Tua is the perfect trigger-man for Chan Gailey’s offense. And if Tua can stay healthy, the Dolphins found their next great quarterback.
tuanigamanuolepola tagovailoa vs ole miss pic.twitter.com/2xu9fCYzc9— josh houtz (@houtz) April 26, 2020
(Round 1: Pick 18) Austin Jackson, OT, USC - B
What better way to protect your star QB than with an offensive lineman that likes to bully the opposition. Jackson is a 20-year-old mauler who, like all rookies, will need a little time to develop. But if Jackson can continue to build off his impressive collegiate career, Miami might have struck gold.
Austin Jackson a *really* tough nut to crack. 20 years old, missed the entire off season to save his sister’s life, got thrown in there 2020. Did it look ugly at times? Absolutely. But you see plays like this from 2018 and wonder if the days ahead of him are gonna be pretty good. pic.twitter.com/mA65AEXK1N— Chris Kouffman (@ckparrot) April 12, 2020
(Round 1: Pick 30) Noah Igbinoghene, CB, Auburn - B+
I’m not sure anyone expected the Dolphins to go cornerback in the first round, and yet, here we are. Many can speculate on who Miami missed out on at every pick. But it appears they got one of their top players and another chess piece for Brian Flores secondary. Igbinoghene excels in man-coverage and is physical with wide receivers. This also means Bobby McCain will likely stay at safety, a conversation we can have another day.
New Dolphins cornerback Noah Igbinoghene is still learning the position and needs to improve his play at the catch point, but his match-and-mirror ability and deep speed are rare — he has special movement skills teams will covet early.pic.twitter.com/vOTV9mktKb— Austin Gayle (@PFF_AustinGayle) April 24, 2020
(Round 2: Pick 39) Robert Hunt, G, Louisiana-Lafayette - B
Like Austin Jackson, Robert Hunt brings a brawler mentality. Some one went as far as comparing his tenacious play to the likes of Richie Incognito. Hunt can play inside and outside, but will likely get a chance to start as Tua’s blindside protector. And there’s an excellent chance that with the right coaching, Jackson and Hunt will be the Dolphins bookends for many years to come.
(Round 2: Pick 56) Raekwon Davis, DT, Alabama - B-
I don’t pretend to know more than the Dolphins, I’ve made that quite clear. But having J.K. Dobbins get drafted to Baltimore, one pick before Miami was on the clock, definitely hurt a little. But Brian Flores looked over the moon excited with the Raekwon Davis pick. #TrustTheProcess
(Round 3: Pick 70): Brandon Jones, S, Texas - C+
Admittedly, I didn’t know a ton about Texas safety Brandon Jones heading into the draft. But when you put on the tape, it’s clear as day why Brian Flores and his coaching staff wanted him in aqua and orange. He reminds me a lot like the veteran safety Miami parted ways with earlier this offseason in Reshad Jones. I trust the pick, but there were other safeties I liked
Byron Jones + Xavien Howard + Noah Igbinoghene + Nik Needham + Eric Rowe + Brandon Jones + *insert defensive back’s name here* is going to be hard to pass against.
(Round 4: Pick 111): Solomon Kindley, G, Georgia - B
The plan heading into the 2020 NFL draft was to build the trenches, and that’s exactly what the Dolphins did. And after adding Austin Jackson and Robert Hunt over the first two days of the draft, Miami continued to add to the offensive line on day three. Drafting Kindley may not have been the sexiest pick, but the Dolphins did what they had to do to ensure their future investment. Jackson, Hunt, and Kindley could be starting sooner rather than later.
LG Solomon Kindley and LT Andrew Thomas were brutal working together on combo blocks. Mercy is for the weak. pic.twitter.com/nliCtBWgsg— Chris Kouffman (@ckparrot) April 28, 2020
(Round 5: Pick 154): Jason Strowbridge, DE, North Carolina- B
These next two picks were two players that probably shouldn’t have been available this late into the draft. Jason Strowbridge is a powerful mfer, who flashed at this year’s senior bowl. Much like most of the players, Miami signed this offseason, Strowbridge is a versatile player that can play all over Miami’s defensive front. Between Raekwon Davis, Jason Strowbridge, and Curtis Weaver, the Dolphins are going to have a ton of young talent, eager to learn from the veterans Miami added this offseason.
Jason Strowbridge is a powerful player! Senior bowl he won all of his 1vs1s pic.twitter.com/RoItCh2UEh— Miami Dolphins UK - Tua’s Time (@MiamiDolphinsUK) April 25, 2020
(Round 5: Pick 164) Curtis Weaver, DE, Boise State - B+
Curtis Weaver was projected by most to be drafted on day two. His fall to the fifth-round was shocking. But I have to tip my hat to the Dolphins for pulling the trigger. At Boise State, Weaver recorded 34 sacks over the last three years. His transition to EDGE makes him even more intriguing to the Dolphins. He can do a little bit of everything and should be another one of Chris Grier’s mid-round gems he’s found over the last year. Besides Tua, Weaver is probably my favorite pick of the draft.
I put this together on OLB Curtis Weaver a long time ago. He’s not fast. His motor isn’t great. But his change of direction pops. And boy does he know how to use his eyes and leverage to beat blocks. pic.twitter.com/AzVF70GtGM— Chris Kouffman (@ckparrot) April 25, 2020
(Round 6: Pick 185) Blake Ferguson, C, LSU - D
I’m not going to pretend to know what the issues were with long-snapper Taybor Pepper in 2019. But the Dolphins felt they needed to upgrade the position, so they drafted their LS1 from LSU Blake Ferguson.
When picking LS for last year’s @seniorbowl a bunch of NFL teams said something to the affect, “LSU has a dude for your game next year”. That dude is Blake Ferguson (@bferguson50). Very rare for a snapper to be on NFL radars before their senior year. #TheDraftStartsInMOBILE pic.twitter.com/asu0MFEPYw— Jim Nagy (@JimNagy_SB) October 13, 2019
(Round 7: 246): Malcolm Perry, WR, Navy - B+
I’m not going to pretend to know what the Dolphins have planned for Malcolm Perry, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t excited. Perry was QB at Navy, where he made plays through the air and even more so, on the ground. During the combine, Perry was working out as a wide receiver. Although, in recent days, we heard he could be playing running back. No one truly knows, but the Dolphins got an explosive, versatile play-maker in Malcolm Perry.
AFC east QBs ranked:— josh houtz (@houtz) April 30, 2020
1. ryan fitzpatrick
2. tua tagovailoa
3. malcolm perry pic.twitter.com/3q5ernY9Ps
(NOTE:) The Dolphins traded a fifth-round pick to the San Francisco 49ers for running back Matt Breida. Here’s Justin Hier giving his thoughts on the Breida trade. )
Final Grade: B+
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Josh Houtz wrote this article. Follow him on Twitter (@houtz)