2013 NFL Offseason: Miami Dolphins
Draft Grades, Season Previews, Team Needs, Free Agents
Miami Dolphins (Last Year: 7-9)
2013 NFL Draft Grade: B-
Please note that the overall grade is not an average of all the individual grades. Other things are taken into account like team needs and goals.
Goals Entering the 2013 NFL Draft: Miami is out of range for an offensive tackle. Barring a trade, the Dolphins need to add the top player on their board and then attack the offensive line and cornerback positions in Rounds 2-4.
2013 NFL Draft Accomplishments: No one was surprised when the Dolphins moved up to No. 3, given that they had so many picks at their disposal. What shocked everyone was whom they drafted. Dion Jordan came out of left field, considering that he's not an ideal fit for most 4-3 defenses, including Miami's. It's unclear if the Dolphins plan on moving to a 3-4, but it makes sense because they have all the personnel for it. Having Jordan and Cameron Wake rush from the outside with Randy Starks causing havoc on the interior will give opposing offensive coordinators many sleepless nights.
Miami complemented its upgraded pass rush rather well with a couple of solid secondary acquisitions. Jamar Taylor was a steal at No. 54, considering that he could have easily gone at the end of the first round. Will Davis didn't provide as much value at the end of the third, but he should be a solid depth player.
I liked some of the Dolphins' other picks, but the issue with their draft class is that they didn't come away with an option at left tackle. Dallas Thomas is a guard, or at best, a right tackle. What is Miami going to do across from Jonathan Martin? Why couldn't a trade for Branden Albert come through?
2013 NFL Draft Individual Grades:
3. Dion Jordan, DE/OLB, Oregon: B- Grade
Dion Jordan!? Wow. Everyone assumed the Dolphins would be moving up for Lane Johnson, but they shocked the world with the Oregon pass-rusher. I love Jordan as a prospect, but I don't know how he fits into Miami's defense. Do the Dolphins plan on moving to a 3-4? If so, I love this pick and will improve this grade, assuming they didn't give up too much. If not, and if Miami surrendered a ton of resources to jump up to No. 3, it'll be close to a D.
Update: The Dolphins gave up the 42nd pick. I thought they'd have to surrender more to move up to No. 3, so this isn't so bad. I'm still confused about the scheme fit though. I may come back to this grade.
Follow @walterfootball for updates.
54. Jamar Taylor, CB, Boise State: A Grade
I'm not sure why the Dolphins didn't trade this pick or what in the world they plan on doing at left tackle, but Jamar Taylor is a great pick from both a value and needs standpoint. Miami had a hole at cornerback and filled it nicely with Taylor, who was considered a first-round prospect by some.
77. Dallas Thomas, G/OT, Tennessee: B Grade
If the Dolphins think they have their solution at left tackle with Dallas Thomas, they're sorely mistaken. Thomas is more of a guard than a tackle. With that in mind though, Miami did need to upgrade John Jerry at guard, and Thomas fits both the draft range and the blocking scheme.
93. Will Davis, CB, Utah State: B- Grade
Will Davis probably could have been taken a bit later than this, but it's not a major reach or anything. Davis is the second cornerback the Dolphins have chosen in the 2013 NFL Draft, but they needed two considering the uncertainty with Brent Grimes and his torn Achilles.
104. Jelani Jenkins, OLB, Florida: B+ Grade
Another linebacker? Well, the Dolphins needed one for depth, as they cut just as many players at the position as they signed. Jelani Jenkins is a talented linebacker who could have gone a bit earlier than this.
106. Dion Sims, TE, Michigan State: B Grade
The Dolphins signed Dustin Keller this offseason, but they needed a long-term solution at the position because the Keller deal was for only one year. Miami also had to find more of a blocking tight end because Anthony Fasano is gone. This is a solid choice.
164. Mike Gillislee, RB, Florida: A Grade
Lamar Miller is currently projected to be the starting running back, so the Dolphins had to find someone to at least challenge him because he's so unproven. Either Miller or Mike Gillislee should be able to emerge as the guy. I like Gillislee a lot; he's a tough runner who should have gone earlier than this.
166. Caleb Sturgis, K, Florida: C+ Grade
I'm not crazy about drafting kickers this high either, but that's more understandable than selecting punters because they actually score points. Dan Carpenter is unreliable, so Caleb Sturgis should be an upgrade.
250. Don Jones, S, Arkansas: B+ Grade
Don Jones received so much attention in pre-draft visits that I thought he'd go earlier than No. 250. The Dolphins will take him for needed safety depth.
*** 2013 NFL TEAM NEEDS BELOW COMMENT BOARD ***
The Dolphins have some hope for the first time in quite a while. Ryan Tannehill flashed and played well at times in 2012. He was inconsistent, but that's to be expected from a rookie. Miami will have a chance to reach the playoffs next year as long as Tannehill progresses. Of course, the front office has to do its part and find some weapons for him.
- Wide Receiver: Make it two wideouts if Brian Hartline leaves via free agency. Ryan Tannehill desperately needs a legitimate No. 1 receiver to throw to. Expect Miami to use one of its picks in the first two rounds on this position. Signing Greg Jennings is also an option. Signed Mike Wallace and Brandon Gibson; re-signed Brian Hartline
- Two Cornerbacks: The Dolphins have a mess at cornerback. Sean Smith is a free agent. Richard Marshall, who isn't very good, is coming off back surgery. Nolan Carroll struggled as well. The front office dealt Vontae Davis for a second-round pick, so that selection could be used on a replacement. Signed Brent Grimes
- Defensive Tackle: Randy Starks is a free agent. If he leaves, Miami will have to find someone else to rush the passer in the interior. Fortunately for the front office, this upcoming draft class is deep at the position. Franchised Randy Starks; signed Vaughn Martin
- Right Tackle: Jake Long is a free agent. Jonathan Martin struggled as a rookie early on, but he played better on the blind side. A new right tackle will be needed. Signed Tyson Clabo
- Tight End: The only reason rookie Michael Egnew wasn't cut last year was because the front office spent a third-round pick on him. He'll likely be gone this August at the very latest. Tannehill needs a solid intermediate pass-catcher. Signed Dustin Keller
- Defensive End: Cameron Wake was the only consistent pass-rushing threat on Miami's defense. Jared Odrick, starting across from him, was good in run support but barely got to the quarterback.
- Free Safety: Chris Clemons' contract expires in March. He'll need to be retained because he did a good job in 2012. Re-signed Chris Clemons
- Running Back: Reggie Bush is a free agent, so are the Dolphins prepared to go into 2013 with just Lamar Miller and Daniel Thomas?
- Linebacker: Miami is very thin in this area. A mid-round pick would help. Signed Philip Wheeler and Dannell Ellerbe
- Interior Offensive Line: Depth is needed here. Signed Lance Louis
2013 NFL Free Agent Signings:
Philip Wheeler, OLB, Raiders. Age: 28.
Signed with Dolphins (5 years, $26 million)
Philip Wheeler was one of the most improved players in the NFL this past season. He thrived in every aspect, including blitzing, and he's earned a huge pay day this spring. And to think, the Raiders obtained him for a mere 1-year, $700,000 contract during the previous offseason.
Mike Wallace, WR, Steelers. Age: 27.
Signed with Dolphins (5 years)
Mike Wallace is overrated. He has blazing speed, but he's a horribly inefficient receiver. He dropped tons of passes and ranked near the bottom of the NFL in terms of catch percentage among starting wideouts.
Dannell Ellerbe, ILB, Ravens. Age: 27.
Signed with Dolphins
Dannell Ellerbe was the top inside linebacker on the roster this past season - even when Ray Lewis was healthy. He had a strong second half, emerging after Lewis went down.
Tyson Clabo, OT, Falcons. Age: 31.
Signed with Dolphins
Tyson Clabo was Atlanta's top lineman last year, so even though he was due $4.5 million over the next three seasons, his release was a surprise. I do not have him rated highly, however, because he'll be 32 in October. He could begin to regress quite soon.
Dustin Keller, TE, Jets. Age: 28.
Signed with Dolphins
Dustin Keller caught a career-high 65 balls for 815 yards and five touchdowns in 2011, but barely played this year because of various injuries.
Brent Grimes, CB, Falcons. Age: 30.
Signed with Dolphins (1 year)
Brent Grimes would be ranked much higher if he weren't coming off a torn Achilles' tendon. He'll be 30 in July, so it'll be tough for him to bounce back.
- Brandon Gibson, WR, Rams. Age: 26. -- Signed with Dolphins
- Lance Louis, G, Bears. Age: 28. -- Signed with Dolphins
- Vaughn Martin, DT, Chargers. Age: 27. -- Signed with Dolphins
Miami Dolphins Free Agents:
Salary Cap: TBA.
Jake Long, OT, Dolphins. Age: 28.
Signed with Rams
Jake Long has regressed just a bit over the past couple of years because of nagging injuries, but he's still considered one of the better left tackles in football.
Randy Starks, DT, Dolphins. Age: 29.
Re-signed with Dolphins (1 year, $8.5 million)
Randy Starks is a talented interior pass-rusher. He struggled a bit down the stretch, but that could have been the result of personal issues he dealt with late in the year.
Reggie Bush, RB, Dolphins. Age: 28.
Signed with Lions
Reggie Bush has managed to stay mostly healthy the past two years, which is obviously a good sign. He wasn't utilized enough this past season until the Dolphins finally realized that they should use him as a receiver on occasion. The result was Bush gaining 100-plus yards from scrimmage in three of his final four games.
Kevin Burnett, OLB, Dolphins. Age: 30.
Signed with Raiders
Kevin Burnett, like Karlos Dansby, was part of Miami's minor-upgrade purge. Burnett is a very talented linebacker with no glaring weaknesses in his game. The only downside is that he'll be 31 in December.
Sean Smith, CB, Dolphins. Age: 26.
Signed with Chiefs (3 years)
Sean Smith started off the year on a strong note, but wasn't very good in the final couple of months. Still, he's a solid starting corner who deserves a nice contract.
Karlos Dansby, ILB, Dolphins. Age: 31.
Signed with Cardinals (1 year)
The Dolphins went younger when they made a very minor upgrade by replacing Karlos Dansby with Dannell Ellerbe. Dansby is a very strong run defender who can still play all three downs. Unfortunately, he'll turn 32 in November.
Chris Clemons, S, Dolphins. Age: 27.
Re-signed with Dolphins (1 year)
Chris Clemons proved to be a quality starting safety for the Dolphins this past year. He was penalized only twice, though he had trouble tackling on occasion.
Anthony Fasano, TE, Dolphins. Age: 29.
Signed with Chiefs
Anthony Fasano is only a mediocre pass-catcher, but he's great as a blocker.
Brian Hartline, WR, Dolphins. Age: 26.
Re-signed with Dolphins (5 years, $30.7 million)
Brian Hartline made a name for himself by catching 12 balls for 253 yards and a touchdown at Arizona in Week 4, but remarkably didn't find the end zone after that. Hartline is perfectly fine as a No. 2 wideout, but he's too inconsistent to be a top option.
Nate Kaeding, K, Dolphins. Age: 31.
Signed with Buccaneers
Nate Kaeding was one of the most accurate regular-season kickers prior to suffering a plethora of injuries the past two seasons. He went 8-of-10 in 2012, but didn't try a kick beyond 50.
Matt Moore, QB, Dolphins. Age: 29.
Re-signed with Dolphins (2 years, $8 million)
Matt Moore has thrown 17 touchdowns to just nine interceptions in the past two seasons. His completion percentage has never been great, but he's shown that he can get the job done if he has the talent around him.
- Tony McDaniel, DT, Dolphins. Age: 28. -- Signed with Seahawks
- Nate Garner, G, Dolphins. Age: 28. -- Re-signed with Dolphins
- Marlon Moore (RFA), WR, Dolphins. Age: 25. -- Signed with 49ers
- Bryce McCann (RFA), CB, Dolphins. Age: 25.
- Jeron Mastrud (RFA), TE, Dolphins. Age: 25. -- Signed with Raiders
- R.J. Stanford (RFA), CB, Dolphins. Age: 25. -- Tendered by Dolphins
- Tyrone Culver, S, Dolphins. Age: 30.
- Austin Spitler (RFA), OLB, Dolphins. Age: 26. -- Tendered by Dolphins
- Patrick Brown (RFA), OT, Dolphins. Age: 26.
- Jonathon Amaya (RFA), S, Dolphins. Age: 24.
2013 NFL Free Agent Positions:
QB | RB | FB | WR | TE | OT | G | C | DE | DT | OLB | ILB | CB | S | K/P | FA Grades
2013 Fantasy Football Rankings - May 24
2013 NBA Mock Draft - May 22
2014 NFL Mock Draft - May 21
Charlie's 2014 NFL Mock Draft - May 20
NFL Picks - Feb. 3
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