With the 2014 NFL draft complete, the immediate aftermath is spent breaking down teams’ draft classes, giving out grades and evaluating how each team did. Now while we truly won’t know how good a draft class is until probably two or three years down the line, that doesn’t stop draft experts from letting NFL fans know what they should make out of their respective team’s class.
ESPN is obviously one of the leaders in this field. During their post-draft SportsCenter special, experts Mel Kiper Jr., Todd McShay and Tedy Bruschi each gave their opinions on the Miami Dolphins draft class, and they were bullish on Miami’s incoming rookies.
The crux of their evaluations was the Dolphins did what it needed to do in this year’s draft. They had holes on their roster, especially on the offensive line, and they filled them with the likes of guys like tackle Ja’Wuan James and guard Billy Turner. Kiper put it pretty simply that Dolphins found players who can be important parts of their future offensive front.
“Ja’Juan James, you plug him in. Billy Turner, you can develop,” said Kiper.
Todd McShay elaborated a little more on Miami’s first round selection at the 19th overall pick in James, keying on his experience and ability to be agile while moving in the pocket and going forward in the run game.
“You can say it’s a reach if you want, but I get this pick,” said McShay. “They needed a right tackle, and the Miami Dolphins go out and get Ja’Wuan James who started 49 games at right tackle. He’s a mobile guy who fits perfectly in that zone blocking system, and he shut down (Chiefs 2014 first round pick) Dee Ford if you want to see good tape on him.”
A pick that didn’t exactly fill a need as much as boost an already strong unit was the second round selection of LSU wide receiver Jarvis Landry. Most NFL draft experts agree that tape rules all in assessing talent over independent combines stats and pro-day workouts, and the tape of Landry clearly shows his potential as an impact receiver in this league. Todd McShay was a big fan of the Landry selection, and thinks that he’ll be a nice weapon for Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill.
“One of my favorite picks from the (AFC East) is Jarvis Landry, he made the all-tape team,” said McShay. “He plays like he’s 6’4 220 lbs, and though he’s small and he runs slow, he’s still going to find a way to be a good slot receiver for that team. Ryan Tannehill is going to love that pick.”
Having a draft that not only fills needs but adds explosive talent is a way to get over that proverbial hump that the Dolphins have been chasing for a while now, but this year’s group may help put them over the edge, or at least challenge with reigning division in champs the New England Patriots according to former Pats linebacker Tedy Bruschi.
“The Dolphins went out and solidified their offensive line,” said Bruschi. “(This division) is not going to be a cakewalk for the New England Patriots any longer.”
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