The Miami Dolphins are still the second best team in the AFC East. But the gap, in the minds of many fans in south Florida, is closing.
While the New England Patriots continued to add pieces to their puzzle, the Dolphins added their own by re-signing key free agents and adding a solid tight end in Julius Thomas.
The Miami Dolphins could still use depth on the offensive and defensive lines, but they are closer to being a perennial playoff contender than in years past. Head coach Adam Gase has a lot to do with that. Expect more of the same offense this year with a change or two to be more aggressive. Both on the ground and in the passing game.
Miami has three picks in the first 97 selections, so this team must choose wisely and make an impact early. I still believe this team is a year away from a Super Bowl run. But another player or two – and consistent play from quarterback Ryan Tannehill and who knows what can happen.
Here is another look at the Miami Dolphins first three rounds of the NFL Draft as I see it unfolding.
Round 1, Pick 22 – David Njoku, Tight End, Miami
Njoku has moved up draft boards as quickly as any player in this draft. The former Hurricanes star is quick and agile. Similarly, he adds to the history of first round tight ends coming out of south Florida.
This is not an immediate need for the Dolphins, who traded for Julius Thomas with the Jacksonville Jaguars, but he provides another offensive weapon in the Miami arsenal. Adam Gase is collecting offensive talent to score early and often in a division that now has to compete with an even more dangerous New England Patriots’ team.
Round 2, Pick 54 – Cordrea Tankersley, Cornerback, Clemson
Tankersley is a bit of an under the radar player in this draft. However, he could see plenty of playing time here in Miami.
According to his scouting report, A good-sized athlete, Tankersley has the height and length desired for the next level, using his arms well to obstruct the catch point vision and disrupt the rhythm of wide receivers. He displays above average ball skills on film with the ability to quickly locate and gain proper position.
Miami has Byron Maxwell, Xavien Howard, Bobby McCain, and Tony Lippett as their top cornerbacks, but adding another player for depth and to challenge for the nickel cornerback position makes sense.
Round 3, Pick 97 – Isaac Asiata, Guard, Utah
I am going to stick with this pick as Asiata fills a huge need for Miami. A real grater at 6-foot-3 and 323 pounds. He could push for a starting role with the Miami Dolphins quickly.
The three-time all-conference selection has started at least part-time every year of his college career, locking down the left guard role during his junior and senior campaigns after logging his first action (including four starts) at right tackle as a redshirt freshman.
He adds depth immediately to Miami’s offensive line.