The Dolphins entered the 2004 draft looking to bolster their offense, but wound up splitting their six picks between offense and defense. So how did the Dolphins do? The true and fair answer to that question wouldn't really come until a couple of years down the line, but that won't stop anybody, including us, from offering our opinion immediately.

The first impression clearly would be: What, only three offensive players? And only one in the first five rounds? And no wide receivers?

So from that end, you could make the argument that the Dolphins fell short.

But you have to understand they came into the draft a little short-handed because they were without their second- and fifth-round picks, given up for Wade Smith and Junior Seau, respectively.

No one will argue with the validity of Vernon Carey as the top pick. He fills an important need and he was one of the top-rated offensive linemen on the board.

The only knock on this pick could be that the Dolphins might not have had to give up their fourth-round pick to Minnesota to move up one slot to get Carey. The Dolphins did so because they said two teams were talking to the Vikings about trading for the pick and they were afraid one of them might snatch Carey.

Those two teams are believed to be Dallas and New England, but there's some debate as to whether either would have taken Carey. So it's possible the Dolphins were bluffed into giving up a fourth-round pick. Of course, we will never know the answer for sure.

The move to trade out of the third round to pick up the missing picks in the fourth and fifth rounds was solid, particularly after the Dolphins were able to steal Will Poole, who not too long ago had been projected to go as high as the first round.

It was not an offensive player, but Poole indeed feels a need because the Dolphins have no depth at cornerback beyond their top three of Patrick Surtain, Sam Madison and Reggie Howard.

We also like the pick of Tony Bua in the fifth round. He's a wrecking ball who will throw his body around.

The odds of any of the other three picks — Rex Hadnot, Tony Pape or Derrick Pope — contributing are pretty small, so the onus is on the first three picks doing something.

Yes, the Dolphins could have used a receiver/returner a lot more than someone like Bua in the fifth round, and that can be criticized.

Ultimately, though, this draft will be judged by how well Carey and Poole do. And most scouts liked both of those players.

It wasn't a flashy draft for the Dolphins and it could have been better had they not had to trade up to get Carey, but it still was a solid effort in Rick Spielman's first draft as Dolphins general manager.

The Dolphins will sign close to a dozen undrafted free agents following the draft, and one would expect that at least one wide receiver and least one defensive tackle would be among the group.

For now, it looks like a decent effort that would earn the Dolphins at least a B-minus.

Dolphins Report Top Stories