After 2 Quiet Years, Big Things Expected From Miami Dolphins’ Rookie Class

Chris Grier last week put together the closest thing the Miami Dolphins have to a full draft class in years. Now the true evaluation for their rookies begins.

The heat is about to get turned up on the Miami Dolphins‘ rookie class — figuratively and literally.

At this weekend’s rookie minicamp, head coach Mike McDaniel will get his first on-field evaluation of the Dolphins’ seven-man draft class, along with the dozen or so UDFAs the team is expected to sign in the coming days.

There will be no easing into the South Florida summer for these new players. Temperatures in Miami Gardens are expected to reach the mid-90s Friday and Saturday.

Miami Dolphins Rookie Minicamp Primer

How these young pros handle the heat should give McDaniel an early idea of who’s built to handle playing in Miami.

The hope internally, of course, is for the best. Because more will be expected of this rookie class than either of the two that preceded it.

While a mere four rookies made the Dolphins’ opening day roster in McDaniel’s first year with the club and just five a year ago, it’s reasonable to expect that seven of the 53 opening-day roster spots will be filled by first-year players.

MORE: Dolphins’ 53-Man Roster Projection on Offense

Barring something completely unforeseen, these three can probably put down a deposit on an apartment today: EDGE Chop Robinson (taken in Round 1), tackle Patrick Paul (Round 2), and running back Jaylen Wright (Round 4, after the Dolphins trade a 2025 third-rounder to acquire the pick).

But it wouldn’t surprise us at all if an additional four rookies made the team from the following pool: EDGEs Mohamed Kamara and Grayson Murphy; receivers Malik Washington and Tahj Washington; defensive backs Patrick McMorris, Storm Duck, and Isaiah Johnson; and quarterback Gavin Hardison.

Kamara and Malik Washington are the most likely to survive roster cutdown day, and given the team’s depth issues in the secondary, it wouldn’t at all be surprising to see two rookie defensive backs stick as well.

But beyond the first couple of rounds, simply being a draft pick isn’t enough to make most good rosters. And the Dolphins certainly will have that in 2024.

So what should these players know as they begin the most important season of their young careers? Make the most of the limited opportunities you’re going to get — beginning this weekend in swampy Miami Gardens.

“You could fall asleep, meaning there’s not much asked of you up front,” said Dolphins right tackle Austin Jackson. “You’re just evaluated on everything. So the type of player you are, your best is your best guy. So if you get three reps in training camp, those three reps need to look great.

“There shouldn’t be a rep where you’re making a mistake someone in the first team made, because technically you already saw that mistake. You have to constantly be on yourself more than what’s asked of you at the time.

“Just because it’s not asked of you right now doesn’t mean you don’t want to be in that situation later in your career one day. And a lot of times I’ve seen guys come in and just kind of let themselves fall asleep with their work ethic.”

KEEP READING: How Will the Dolphins Use the NFL’s Most Dynamic RB Group?

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