Grading the draft: Miami Dolphins

With the second pick in the draft and many needs on an ageing roster, the Miami Dolphins were the team most often rumored to be trading down. When draft day came however, the Dolphins choose the best player available with each of their selections throughout the seven rounds. On paper the results look promising as the team secured highly rated players through the middle frames.

Ronnie Brown was the first running back taken from one of the deepest running back drafts of recent years. Easily the most versatile of the top three running backs, Brown was also the least flashiest. Given Saban's familiarity with Brown and the teams need for a strong running back, he was the best pick the team could have made. With a pick obtained by for Patrick Surtain from the Chiefs they looked to Iowa defensive end, Matt Roth, who provided great value in the second round.  Roth immediately adds youth to a rapidly ageing defensive line.  Why did he slip so far after being projected by many as first round caliber?  In a nutshell; Roth is not the sharpest tool in the shed and many were turned off by a lack of "mental skills". This move, couples with free agent dollars spent on both Kevin Carter and Vonnie Holiday, the Dolphins have completely revamped their defensive line in one off season.  Going back to the SEC, third round pick Channing Crowder will begin his career playing behind Zach Thomas. Travis Daniels, Saban's former cornerback at LSU, gives the Dolphins a big physical presence in the secondary.  TCU's Anthony Alabi provides the team with a versatile bench player that could develop and start at several positions. The Dolphins concluded their draft by selecting Michigan State's Kevin Vickerson who gives the team a big bodied defensive tackle who could immediately see action in a rotation.

The Dolphins signed a bunch of solid undrafted players.  Josh Davis could develop into a very nice fourth receiver, Mitch Meeuwsen has back-up potential and a special teams mentality while both Victor Sesay and Alex Holmes will offer competition at the tight end spot.  Highly rated Kay-Jay Harris slipped do to age and injury concerns.  The hidden value could be Shirdonya Mitchell, an outstanding developmental prospect coming off a major knee injury.

Ronnie Brown will almost certainly be an impact player immediately and the team also chose three other players that could pay big dividends in the future as Roth, Crowder, and Daniels all figure to have an opportunity to become starters after a year of seasoning behind ageing veterans.  All-in-all it was a solid first draft outing for Saban.

Draft Picks:

1 - Ronnie Brown - RB - Auburn (2)
2a - TO PHILADELPHIA for QB A.J. Feeley (35)
2b - Matt Roth - DE - Iowa (46)
(from Kansas City in CB Patrick Surtain deal)
3a - TO ST. LOUIS for RB Lamar Gordon (66)
3b - Channing Crowder - LB - Florida (70)
(from Chicago in Booker-Ogunleye Trade)
4 - Travis Daniels - CB - LSU (104)
5a - TO KANSAS CITY in Patrick Surtain deal (138)
5b - Anthony Alabi - OT - Texas Christian (162)
(from Kansas City in CB Patrick Surtain deal)
6 - TO SAN DIEGO for WR David Boston (177)
7 - Kevin Vickerson - DT - Michigan State (216)

UDFA Signinigs: QB Brock Berlin/Miami-Fl, DE Van Brown/N.W. Oklahoma State, LB Derek Curry/Notre Dame, WR Josh Davis/Marshall, DE John Denney/BYU, Kay-Jay Harris/West Virginia, TE Alex Holmes/USC, WR Luther Huggins/Central Florida, WR Tony Madison/Kansas St., S Mitch Meeuwsen/Oregon State, CB/KR Shirdonya Mitchell/Missouri, TE Joe Munson/Troy State, TE Victor Sesay/Missouri, DE Chris Solomona/Oregon, DT Orrin Thompson/Duke, LB Lionel Turner/LSU

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