Ja’Wuan James - My first impulse on this selection was bit of reach, a plug and play need pick. However, after I looked more into him I see he was four year starter against top level college teams. He has the physical size and athletic movement to play tackle in the NFL. I watched his interview and he comes off as a smart, humble, and hard working kid. As I looked over the Dolphin options I have come around to think this was a good choice considering their need at tackle. Let’s review the Dolphins options
1.) Trade up for the 3 tackles clearly ranked higher than James who were all gone long before Miami picked. Using Buffalo’s trade as a bar it would have cost a lot to get up there. I don’t like giving up first round picks in the new era of rookie contracts and salary cap. Not only are 1st round picks loaded with talent they are cap friendly so you can address other areas. If I was Hickey I would not pay a huge price to move up in deep draft like this.
2.) Trade up for Zack Martin. – I am sure Martin is a solid lineman and he would have upgraded the Dolphins. However, the fact is he has short arms. At the NFL level you have people like Cam Wake that are crazy fast off the ball and short arms are a liability at the tackle position. It is my opinion Martin will be a good guard in the NFL, I just don’t think he has the frame to be a tackle. Miami needed to lock down the tackle spot first, there just are not as many guys with the physical frame and quickness to do it. I don’t think I would have given up picks to move up to get a guard.
3.) Take a different tackle. Kouandijo is monster but an arthritic knee is no joke. This is not like a shoulder injury or broken leg etc. It is a chronic condition and there is a strong possibility he will get more limited in time. No way would I put my 1st round pick on that kind of risk. Morgan Moses? Lazor would have been beating the table for him if he was a stud. He fell down a ways which tells me scouts had reservations on him.
4.) Trade down then draft James later – I personally think Miami could have pulled this off but if you look at the teams after them there was some risk they would take James. As covered in 3 there really was not another suitable tackle that you feel like you could start on opening day. If Miami had some fall back options in case James was drafted I could see taking the risk but let’s face it, Miami could not afford to roll dice and not get a tackle. If they missed James that means they had to reach further or get a free agent. I am tired of the Clabo’s and Columbos. Don’t screw around and get your starter. That is what they did.
Jarvis Landry – This guy is bad ass when it comes to fighting for the ball. Look at his highlights. He has elite body control and hands. He is not however very fast. Think Cris Carter type of WR. (No I am saying he is Cris Carter just saying he is that type of WR) I don’t see him being able to step in for Wallace or Hartline on the outside. He does look like and ideal fit for the slot. Miami does not have a full back or 2nd tight right now. They are going to be running the 3 WR set again as their base offense. Gibson’s health is going to be unknown going into camp. They had to have a tough reliable guy that would be able to play the slot as a rookie. Landry gives us a safety net in case Gibson can’t go. Miami wisely traded down based on the WR depth in the draft and added some picks before grabbing Landry. I like the pick but I will say though it would have been very very hard for me to not grab Carlos Hyde at that spot in the draft.
Billy Turner - Something spooked the Dolphins because they jumped up to get him. I watched some highlights of him and listened to his interview. This kid has a major nasty streak and is very athletic. I think very good chance he will start at guard. What I also like is he capable of playing tackle. We will have to see if Miami should have went pure guard vs Turner but I like his attitude.
Summary – The change is apparent in the new management of Phillbin and Hickey. Ireland was big on talent measures like 40 times and was always looking to develop those players. He had a tendency to accept injured players base on their talent. Dion Jordon, Jamar Taylor, and Lamar Miller were all players that really needed a year to get healthy. These three picks this year all appear like players meant to come and play NOW. Not players to develop and play in a year or two.