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Critical Year 3 for Dolphins 2015 Draft Class

Critical Year 3 for Dolphins 2015 Draft Class

Parker was the first overall pick in the Draft, but it's been 5th round pick Ajayi that has been the most accomplished.

Parker was the first overall pick in the Draft, but it’s been 5th round pick Ajayi that has been the most accomplished.

2015 Draft is going into its most comprehensive review this season

In terms of the Draft, analysts are saying that you cannot properly grade a draft class until after the third year, but that does not stop every Tom, Dick, and Harry–including Jimmys–from giving their 2 cents on the matter.

Well, the Miami Dolphins 2015 Draft class will be entering its third year in the league, and with a big year by the 2015 picks, this could arguably be one of our best draft classes in recent memory.

Just to give you a quick recap of our 2015 Draft:

Round 1:  DeVante Parker, WR, Louisville

Round 2: Jordan Phillips, DL, Oklahoma

Round 4: Jamil Douglas, OG, Arizona State

Round 5: Bobby McCain, CB Memphis

Round 5: Jay Ajayi, RB, Boise State

Round 5: Cedric Thompson, S, Minnesota

Round 5: Tony Lippett, CB, Michigan State

Notable undrafted Rookies from 2015: Matt Darr, P, Tennessee, Andrew Franks, K, RPI, Mike Hull, LB, Penn State, and Neville Hewitt, LB, Marshall

Of our 2015 draft picks, only Douglas and Thompson are not with the team. The remaining 5 players drafted all have had significant amount of snaps, with their highest level of reps in snaps in their second season last year. Most of NFL football fans would agree that the real gem in this class is 5th round pick  Ajayi. He dropped in the draft due to knee concerns, but Miami felt comfortable enough to take a chance on him late. Last year, he was an absolute beast and the knee wasn’t an issue. The concern pre-draft was more about long term degeneration, rather than the short term with an injury. Time will tell if those concerns were valid or not.

2015 Draft is paying large dividends in 2017

In addition, we had another hidden gem in the 5th round in Cornerback Lippett. He was originally a wide receiver in college, so his first two seasons have been a much higher learning curve than your typical 2 year player out of college. However, he was thrown into action last year because of Maxwell’s benching and injuries. Even though he looked raw, and sometimes over-matched out there, he quickly improved and quietly had 4 interceptions, and wasn’t afraid to get feisty with opposing wide receivers.

Our first round pick in wide receiver Parker had the most hype of anyone we selected in this draft class, and while he has been inconsistent, he has at least flashed big potential. The biggest hurdle for Parker has actually just been staying healthy. If he can finally play 16 games in a season–and then do it regularly, then much of his concerns and issues will disappear.

Phillips and McCain have both managed to play a lot of snaps on defense. Phillips seems to have the most upside of the two, but his biggest challenge is to consistently give 100% effort on every play. He needs to get into better shape and not take plays off, especially considering that he’ll be given every opportunity to start on the Defensive Line this year next to Suh. McCain has predominately been our nickel corner. He is definitely a feisty player, but he’s had his fair share of bumps along the way. McCain will have to continue to improve–and fast, because Miami drafted another cornerback this year in Cordrea Tankersley.

The top two players of the 2015 Draft must step up this season

Lastly, Miami hit the jackpot on their undrafted free agents by finding both their starting punter and place kicker in Darr and Franks. Darr has been very good, and is already one of the better punters in the league. His second season had him become significantly better at pinning teams within the 20 yard line. Franks has been serviceable and has made a couple of game winning kicks and very difficult kicks late in the season.

Both linebackers in Hull and Hewitt made the team each year and when their number has been called due to injuries they have been able to hold their own.

Hopefully all of these players can continue to improve, because every one of them will likely be relied on for even more snaps and production this upcoming season.

It ‘s rare–especially for Miami–to get this many contributors from one rookie class. The excellent use of their 5th round picks and undrafted players made this a special class. When you take the talents they picked in 2014 and 2015 draft combined, it was their best back-to-back drafts since the Jimmy’s Johnson’s era. While this draft has the potential to be one of our best drafts in many years, this 3rd season must show improvements from these players to make it a reality.


 

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14 comments

  • Dunner

    Parker is Parker. Should he figure out how to take care of his body and prepare like a professional, big things could be in store for him and the Fins. Even with a 50/50 Parker the offense was decent, again if Parker has figured it out, look out for him and this Miami Offense!!! = ***potential pro bowler***

    Phillips should not need much motivation. Because if he continues to struggle with effort, there are 2 youngsters waiting to take any/all snaps away from him. I’m predicting that Godchaux takes Phillips’ job mid season if not sooner. But there should be no more motivator than the draftees = ***serviceable starter or soon to be back-up***

    Bobby McCain has been a feisty slot corner that has had his up and downs (to be expected from a young player). As in Phillips situation, McCain doesn’t need any more motivation than a draftee. Year 3 is when the game starts to slow down for many players, lets hope that McCain’s game falls into place in his third season, if not, we could see him replaced by a rookie = ***serviceable starter w pro bowl alternate possibilities***

    No reason that Ajayi can not have another 1000 yd season and 8-10 tds again. However; this time he could add 20-25 receptions with another td or two. I don’t expect another 3 games w 200+ yds, but just his threat alone will impact this offense and how Gase attacks opposing defenses = ***pro bowl player***

    Tony Lippett has had a decent start to his career and should find himself in the league for 10+ years (barring major injury). He has his strengths and weaknesses like anyone, but if year 3 is the year for Lippett, he could repeat his 16′ season stats. He has his work cut out for him to start, but; if he starts in week 1, that means either Maxwell gets cut or traded, or McCain becomes back-up = ***above average starter/pro bowl possibility***

    Darr = Great FA draftee – one of top punters in league
    Franks = average kicker, 90% of kickers are FA draftees, could be worse
    Hall = good depth, good back-up
    Hewitt = good depth, good back-up

    Nice thing about these year three draftees, they all have some game time experience, which should factor into their progression. There are 2 pro bowl players waiting should they stay healthy in Parker and Ajayi. Lippett could become one himself with the necessary improvement in year 3. Darr is one as we speak and will earn his spot sooner or later. I don’t see Phillips ever becoming one, same with McCain (though I do see room for McCain to improve, unlike Phillips). Hewitt and Hall will continue to provide solid depth and help solidify our special teams.

    • admin

      I can’t agree more. McCain needs the game to slow down A LOT. He is very inconsistent. He has the athletic talent, but he is missing something. I like Lippett, but it’s the mid range stuff he has trouble with due to his size. Those two will be very interesting. I expect Phillips to do very well and Parker to be serious beast and Ajayi to be even better with a better line and more pass catching.

  • Steve

    Not certain but some on these linemen are available?

    Breno Giacomini RIGHT TACKLE AGE 31
    Josh LeRibeus CENTER AGE 27
    Andrew Tiller GUARD AGE 27
    Taylor Boggs GUARD AGE 30
    Nick Mangold Center age 33
    Franklin Guard age 29
    King Dunlap Left tackle age 31
    Ryan Clady LT age 30
    Brandon Fusco G age 28
    Sebastian Vollmer RT age 32
    Gosder Cherilus RT age 32
    Chris Chester Guard age 34
    Alvin Bailey G age 25
    Austin Pasztor T age 26
    Cody Wallace C age 32
    William Beatty LT age 32
    Garrett Reynolds G age 29
    Jake Long LT age 32
    Ryan Wendell C age 31
    Tony Hills LT age 32
    Mike Adams LT age 27
    Andrew Gardner G age 31
    David Arkin G age 29
    Tre’ Jackson G age 24
    Nick Becton LT age 27
    Patrick Omameh G age 27
    Donald Hawkins G 25
    Terrence Magee RT age 24
    Sam Brenner C age 27
    Kenny Wiggins G age 28
    David Quessenberry LT age 26
    Isiah Cage Tackle age 23
    Jordan Rigsbee T age 24
    Tyler Johnstone T age 24
    Ben Gottschalk RT age 25
    James Ferentz C age 27
    Cole Manhart G age 24
    Valerian Ume-Ezeoke C age 24
    Martin Wallace LT age 278
    Marquis Lucas T age 24
    Quinton Schooley age 23
    Colin Kelly RT age 27
    Arturo Uzdavinis Tackle age 24
    Greg Van Roten Guard age 27
    Ross Burbank Center age 24

  • tbone188

    It may sound stupid but one player that can impact the team the most is Pouncy, by his absence. We need to pick up a GOOD backup to help our running game and keep RT upright. I believe the guy is Mangold. He is one of the most durable and certainly competent to fill the spot. Get him while we can coach! It would be a shame if even one loss kept us from the playoff because of this.

    • admin

      STUPID!! No way. As Steve and Lemmus say often, run game and O-Line is crucial. No one on this team can work the second level like Pouncey. The running game with TOP and Play Action will bring pivotal elements to this Dolphins season. They must have both and Pouncey will be a major key. It’s scary to think about it because the key is made of glass. I like Urbik in the spot, but he can work the second level like Pouney… not even close. Mangold supposedly wants a 3 year deal worth 20 mill and Miami doesn’t want to pay that price for the uncertainty as he isn’t ready to go yet from last years injury. So I don’t think it foolish in the least. I’m going the riverboat captain route and think Pouncey will rebound, but more than likely Lemmus will be correct and he’ll break down 3 games in.

  • Steve

    The facts are evident that the said players will most likely impact the Dolphins 1st half of the season. They have game experience assuming they have improved from last season will definitely increase the Dolphins chances achieving The Division Title and more this season. To start or back up this experience is valuable going into this season.

    The Jets have invested in Safeties and we have invested in Receivers???? Now How did we beat the Bills, Jets by rushing and we tried passing to beat the Patriots and just like all other NFL teams they failed. We are not equipped to out passed Tom Brandy. But We will beat the Patriots by rushing, controlled passing and a Top five Defense.

    I’m not sold on any QB throwing one, two, three on the bench or throwing a Picked while their Defense bare the burden of this approach. This is totally irresponsible, the game is football and the receiver must understand who to block and how to tackle this 5 to 6 players running passed routes can be shut down and has been shut down when it counts for 30 years now.

    A strong positive rushing game burns up the clock and will keep Tom Brandy on the Bench and will keep our defense fresh to disrupt. Passing over 60% in my opinion are tight rope plays and should be minimized to 40% in a game. I can not over emphasized that the Seattle Sea Hawks and the Atlanta Falcons Super Bowl failure came from passing had they ran the Football everybody knows that was a victory for them and a loss for the Patriots. The Dolphins could not out passed the Patriots 3rd string QB in his 1st NFL game the fact are there the Patriots won the game!

    • admin

      I’m growing more and more fixated on Asiata at RG. I don’t see him as a LG, but as an RG next to James, could be very nice. I also wonder if Bushrod will move to LG. He was a better pass blocker and played LT, so it might be a better fit. Although, Gase might want him to stay at RG as he has exp. there and might start early and pass the reins over to Asiata. But, all in all, the run game is KEY.

  • Steve

    This Draft class I see 4 or 5 of them Pro Bowl players eventually.

    Devante Parker college highlights. Viewing the tapes Devante is most effective when the QB releases at 1000 one, 1000 two seconds? The Dolphins may not be using him correctly along with staying healthy?
    https://youtu.be/XYNxoIbQZg8

    Jordan Philips College highlights Has the talent but for every play?
    http://www.patriots.com/video/2015/01/01/2015-draft-prospects-jordan-phillips-dt-oklahoma

    Bobby McCain College Highlights Questioned how does not Dolphins get his best?
    https://youtu.be/0MzZBXGqCAI

    Tony Lippett I don’t think Miami is using him Properly and his talents are being wasted.
    https://youtu.be/lMyasvk0F7U

    Predominantly rushing teams these two guy are really good!
    Mack Hull strength is stopping the run and Blitzing the QB! (Pass covering???)
    https://youtu.be/yC8ckLuixkU

    Neville Hewitt, LB, appears best at run stopper and rushing passer. Pass covering???)
    https://youtu.be/wduPbba291E

    • admin

      I hope you’re right Steve, I see Parker & Ajayi as highly likely, Darr, Lippitt and Phillips as possibly… Fields and McCain, not so likely. But still, 3-4 is quite possible, with your 4-5 not far fetched. This year will determine a lot.

      • Lemmus

        …if Hull or Hewitt were really that good, where were they last year? …and why did we draft 1/2 LB this year and pay high in FA? …LBs usually bite early or not at all

        …Ajayi is a possibility but needs an OL and a decent blocking TE …we have the TE, waiting to see on the OL …he desperately needs Pouncy and likely Asiata in front of him

        …Parker has lots of potential but has not put it on the field as yet …could be a #1, could just as easily be a bust …but WRs do tend to pop in their 3rd year …we can only hope

        …Phillips takes too many plays off …did it in college, doing it in the pros …rare to see this flaw fixed except in contract years …and this isn’t one for him …expect him to be challenged in camp …DT is a likely spot for a waiver wire pickup, maybe a late pick blooms

        …Lippit is a possible in a year or so, but this is only his 3rd at CB …he was a WR throughout his school years …the physicality and talent is there but he’s still behind on the learning curve …still a project, might replace Maxwell in ’18

        …McCain doesn’t worry, much less scare, opposing QBs

        • admin

          Hull and Hewitt nice depth. Hull played well for one game and help with a W, and Hewitt did solid in relief. Good pick ups since they were undrafted and Hull was on the practice squad. They won’t likely ever be starters. Ajayi already made the Pro Bowl… as an alt. Parker likely will too, as most of his issues was prep work. Lippett and Phillips are about want and exp. Phillips needs the want and Lippitt the exp. Darr was pretty good but making a Bowl as a kicker is very hard. McCain… doubt it.

        • Dunner

          We now have the BEST run blocking TE in the league. Not my opinion, all sources support the claim!!!

          • admin

            He will be a big help for sure… role players like that are unsung to everyone but their fellow players and the opposing teams.