Fitting First: How the Miami Dolphins Nailed Round One of the NFL Draft
The Miami Dolphins get their man, satisfying the need for an elite wide receiver by selecting DeVante Parker with the 14th overall pick.
The Miami Dolphins could not be any happier with the way that Thursday night’s proceedings unfolded. The team sat patiently and was rewarded with a player many pegged as the Dolphins’ best fit from the start of the draft process. This piece breaks down what the DeVante Parker acquisition means for Miami, and how other draft picks will impact the team’s decisions in rounds 2-7.
DeVante Parker to Miami:
The Miami Dolphins got very lucky with DeVante Parker lasting all of the way to the 14th overall pick. With the Vikings, Browns, and Saints all ahead of the Dolphins, I would not have been surprised to see Parker taken before Miami had a shot at him. Overall, the team has to be counting their blessings tonight, having gotten a dominant pass catcher.
DeVante Parker is a big-bodied receiver, who has the ability to out-muscle cornerbacks playing in tight coverage. The Miami Dolphins have been looking for a pass catcher to make plays on jump balls and to help with production on the goal line. DeVante Parker’s box-out ability makes him a threat whenever the ball is in the air, and he will instantly make the Dolphins’ offense more dynamic.
The team’s receiving options have improved vastly from 2014, with Jordan Cameron and DeVante Parker adding the size and power the team has been looking for since the departure of Brandon Marshall. I believe that DeVante Parker will start the season at the top of the depth chart, solely because his style of play is more suited to the outside routes run by number one options. Jarvis Landry will most likely be the two, with Stills and Greg Jennings as numbers three and four. Ladies and gentlemen, THAT is a receiving core you can get behind.
Offensive Line Becomes Even More Important:
The Miami Dolphins’ division already features some of the NFL’s most frightening defenses, and the situation got even scarier in the first round. The New York Jets got incredibly lucky, with Leonard Williams (arguably this year’s best overall player) falling to the 6th pick. The Patriots had a similar break, with Malcom Brown dropping all of the way to the 32nd pick. Williams is a player with immense flexibility who can play anywhere on the line, and Malcom Brown will fill the hole left by Vince Wilfork as the Patriots’ run stopper. Well, I should choose what I say more carefully, because it is damn-near impossible to “fill” Vince Wilfork’s hole on the line. Lets decide to say that he is occupying it.
The acquisitions made by Miami’s division rivals make it that much more important that the team improve on the interior offensive line. Day 2’s primary need for the team will be a guard to help matchup against Leonard Williams and Malcom Brown. Look for Ali Marpet (Hobart) and Tre Jackson (FSU) to receive heavy consideration from the team if available.
Setting Up a Day 2 Plan:
Overall, the Dolphins got lucky heading into the second round. Firstly, they were able to get a top receiver, and wont have to worry about reaching for a player in Rd. 2. Also, there was never a run on inside linebackers late in the first round, which will work heavily in Miami’s favor. Eric Kendricks, Denzel Perryman, and Bernardrick McKinney are all available heading into the second day of the draft, and multiple talented guards also have not heard their names called.
The one thing working against Miami is that they traded this year’s third round pick to acquire Kenny Stills from New Orleans. Now, the team has 2 needs that should be filled in Day 2, and only one pick to do it. Miami’s optimal scenario would be to select a linebacker or guard in round 2, and to fill whichever position is still unaddressed in the third, if they can manage to trade up into that round. The lack of picks for tomorrow will be hard for Miami to overcome; Dennis Hickey and Mike Tannenbaum will have their work cut out for them playing the numbers game in the remaining two days of the draft.
Miami was one of the luckiest teams on the first night of the Draft, being paid handsomely for their patience. The team got one of their top targets and did not have to move up and sacrifice picks to do so. Also, the New York Jets were unable to acquire Marcus Mariota, making them less dangerous without a legitimate quarterback. The only negatives could be that the Jets and Patriots got significantly better on their defensive lines, and that the team did not trade down to acquire more picks. But hey, I would MUCH rather have DeVante Parker at 14 than trade down and land a lesser player.
The Dolphins still have plenty of needs for days 2 and 3. The team must draft an offensive guard, cornerback, linebacker, running back, and could use more depth players. Running back can most definitely wait (given it could be this year’s deepest position), and there are value cornerbacks in the 4th and 5th rounds. That leaves linebacker and offensive guard as the two biggest needs for the second round. Overall, the Miami Dolphins could not have had a better first round, waiting through some nerve-wracking situations but eventually landing their man. DeVante Parker was a great pick for the team, and the new tandem of Dennis Hickey and Mike Tannenbaum managed to set the tone for a very positive day 2.