Critical Year 3 for Dolphins 2015 Draft Class
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.