Once upon a time, there was a man. That man worked hard from the bottom to the top and became the general manager of the Miami Dolphins. He got ridiculed, hated, the butt of jokes, and fans even wanted to run him out of town at one point because of a few misses at the top of drafts. He then made some trades that completely turned the franchise around, and fans were indifferent, some even happy.
Fans still wanted more. They wanted the offensive line to be rebuilt and even dared to scoff at that. “You guys you probably are more worried than we are,” he said. Fans were taken aback. There’s no way the Dolphins could go into the 2023 season with no backup plan for Terron Armstead with his injury history. We can’t trust Austin Jackson to protect Tua’s blindside, and god forbid we let Liam Eichenburg anywhere near the field on Sundays.
That wasn’t the end of the complaints either. Oh no, sir. The fans wanted to upgrade at running back, salivating at the chance of getting Jonathan Taylor or Dalvin Cook. Any time a running back had the smallest chance of being available, the photoshops of jersey swaps swept Twitter or X. My bad Elon. It didn’t end, and all roads led to him being a Miami Dolphins version of Sleepy Pat Riley.
That man, Chris Grier, was right, and the fans were dead wrong.
Upper Echelon of General Managers
I’m not going to sit here and write on a high horse because we all did it. We all had times when we thought Grier couldn’t draft, especially in 2017 when he took Charles Harris, and Raekwon McMillan with the first two picks. That was horrible, but he’s been working magic ever since so we’ll give him a mulligan.
Since then, he’s drafted core pieces every draft, killed it in free agency, and won pretty much every trade he’s made. Let’s take a look at all of the impact players he’s either drafted or brought in.
2016 - The three players of note here are star cornerback Xavien Howard, no explanation needed, Miami Miracle Kenyan Drake and the most valuable trade asset in NFL history, the gas mask man himself, Laremy Tunsil. Tunsil landed two first-round picks and a second-round pick that turned into a treasure trove of firsts from San Francisco. Those are two of the best deals we’ve seen in the NFL, at least in recent memory. You can find a detailed account of the Tunsil Trade effect here.
2017 - Miserable draft. The only person of note who had any impact was their third-round pick, cornerback Cordrea Tankersley, who was solid but was riddled with injuries and got traded shortly after. We’ll give him a mulligan here.
2018 - I loved the first three picks in the draft. Minkah Fitzpatrick, Mike Gesicki, and Jerome Baker all felt like impact players off rip. Fitzpatrick is regarded as a top 3 safety in football, but got traded for a first-round pick due to not wanting to be on a tanking/fully rebuilding team. Gesicki was the most consistent target for quarterbacks until Mike McDaniel came in. I Love McDaniel but still struggle to understand how you can’t find a spot for a playmaking Tight End. Baker has been a solid linebacker and has been getting better and better every year. Side note. Jason Sanders was taken in the 7th round, and I’ve been wincing watching field goals ever since.
2019 - The Dolphins didn’t have a second or fourth-round pick. The only two players of note are star defensive tackle Christian Wilkins, who was the first-round pick, and rising star edge rusher/linebacker Andrew Van Ginkel. Wilkins has been a pillar of the Dolphin’s defense since he hit that split after his National Championship win. He’s about to get paid and it’s well deserved. Van Ginkel has been surging in the last two years, making an impact every time he steps on the field as an edge rusher. I’m expecting a big finish to the 2023 season from him now that Jaelan Phillips is out for the rest of the season.
2020 - Now we’re about to get rolling. With six picks in the first three rounds, the Dolphins retooled. Those picks were Tua Tagovailoa, Austin Jackson, Noah Igbinoghene, Robert Hunt, Raekwon Davis, and Brandon Jones. Igbinoghene was an absolute bust at the bottom of the first round, but I can’t fault Grier here because everyone thought this was a great pick and a steal on draft night. Either way, you can’t hit them all. Brandon Jones and Raekwon Davis have been reliable pieces on the Dolphin’s defense ever since. They haven’t been stars, but they’ve been great depth.
Robert Hunt stock took off ever since the illegal catch and flipping into the end zone for a touchdown against the Ravens in 2021. I don’t know if that was just a confidence boost or something, but he’s been our most consistent offensive lineman ever since. Austin Jackson, once considered a Grier bust is now a Grier gem thanks to Austin Jackson’s tireless work in the offseason and new offensive line coach Butch Barry getting the absolute best out of him. Jackson holds down Tua’s blindside and on his way to being an elite tackle. I was once a Jackson nonbeliever. I have been happily proven dead wrong.
Now the man himself, numero Uno, Tua Tagovailoa. The fans were split on him for years. The Justin Herbert and Jalen Hurts comparisons shadow him since their draft. He’s gone through it. Deshaun Watson and Lamar Jackson trade rumors, Tom Brady leaving retirement stuff, a head coach sabotaging him for two years, and two to three concussions last year. He’s been a trooper through it all and came out on the other side a top 10 quarterback and a star in the league. In my eyes, Grier picked the right guy at quarterback.
2021 - With four picks in the first two rounds, Grier went 3-1. Three stars and one bust, but he’s been showing a little bit of promise lately as a backup. Those picks are receiver Jaylen Waddle, edge rusher Jaelan Phillips, safety Jevon Holland, and lineman Liam Eichenberg. I’m pretty sure you know who the three stars are. Jaylen Waddle has been a big playmaker for Tua and was his most trusted receiver in 2021, breaking the rookie catch record with 104 receptions. Waddle is now considered a top-20 receiver in football. Phillips and Holland have been impact players since go. Both have been core pieces in the Dolphin’s defense, and they’re getting recognition as top players at their position. Grier’s best draft and struck gold.
2022 - We can forget about this draft because all valuable draft assets were used in a trade for superstar receiver Tyreek Hill. At the time most of the national media thought it was too much for Hill, but they’ve been proven wrong at every turn for a year and a half. Hill is the best receiver in Dolphins history and elevated Tua to an MVP candidate. Every Dolphins fan would take Hill and his massive contract over anyone the Dolphins could’ve gotten in the draft. On top of that, the Dolphins signed running back Raheem Mostert, who is well on his way to breaking Ricky William’s rushing touchdown in 2023.
2023 - Thanks to Brian Flores, and his lawsuit, the Dolphins lost a first-round pick in the 2023 draft. The other first-round pick was used for star edge rusher Bradley Chubb. Chubb started slowly in 2022 but has been all that the Dolphins could hope for in 2023. He’s been a menace to opposing quarterbacks with six sacks, four forced fumbles, and a ton of pressures.
The Dolphins also traded a third-round pick for superstar cornerback Jalen Ramsey who’s been better than advertised. Although he was injured during training camp and missed the first seven games of the season with a meniscus tear, he hit the ground running with three interceptions in his first four games. He also had the game-clinching interception against the LAs Vegas Raiders. Superstar!
The only two draft picks of note are second-round pick Cam Smith who’s yet to get much playing time, so we’ll leave him as inconclusive, and the speed demon De’Von Achane. Achane was a home run pick in the third round, and when healthy, it seems like he has no ceiling as a running back. So far, he’s been looking like a prime CJ2K. He comes back this week from injury so we may be in for some fireworks tomorrow.
Apology Notes Accepted Here
No general manager hits every single time, whether it’s the draft, free agency, or in trades. From the start to the present day of the Chris Grier era, there have been many more hits than misses in the draft. Trades have been in the Dolphin’s favor, and they’ve yet to be stuck with a player who hasn’t produced.
Miami Dolphins fans can rest their head on their pillow at night knowing that their general manager, Chris Grier, has built a Super Bowl-contending team with a mix of young talent and veteran leadership that is sustainable going into the future. He’s one of the best in the league, and it’s time to give him his flowers!
Let us know in the comments how you feel about the job Chris Grier has done in his Miami Dolphins tenure.