After several flashy trades in recent seasons, the Miami Dolphins have substantially diminished capital to play with in the 2023 NFL Draft. Did they maximize their potential despite minimal opportunities? The Dolphins’ draft grades tell the story of how Miami’s 2023 NFL Draft unfolded.
Miami Dolphins NFL Draft Grades
Round 2, Pick 51: Cam Smith, CB, South Carolina
Despite the addition of Jalen Ramsey earlier in the offseason, there had been rumblings that the Dolphins would use their first selection of the 2023 NFL Draft on a cornerback. The selection of Cam Smith might appear to be a head-scratcher for some, but there’s a reason why he attracted early attention as a potential first-round pick.
Smith plays with the physical swagger that you’d expect from a Gamecocks CB, typified by former South Carolina standout Jaycee Horn. Athleticism is the hallmark of Smith’s game, with explosion and speed weaponized by the fluidity that you need to play the position at a high level at the NFL level. Equally comfortable in coverage and playing the run, Smith is a sneaky good pick for the Dolphins despite potentially more important needs.
Round 3, Pick 84: Devon Achane, RB, Texas A&M
While there were some disagreements between Dolphins fans over their first pick in the 2023 NFL Draft class, there’s no disagreeing with the selection of Texas A&M running back Devon Achane in the back half of the third round. Miami has been screaming out for a game-changer at the RB position for what feels like the last five draft classes (and maybe more), and now they have one.
Speed. There is no other word to describe what Achane brings to the football field. He’s a lightning-flash blur who wouldn’t look out of place in the Olympics. However, he’s not just speed. He’s explosion, acceleration, agility, vision, and ball security. Overlooked a little in this class due to a smaller frame, this is a great pick-up for the Dolphins.
Round 6, Pick 197: Elijah Higgins, WR, Stanford
Announced as a tight end, Elijah Higgins is a conundrum the Miami Dolphins are willing to solve in 2023. Higgins is a large pass-catching option with the versatility to line up anywhere on offense.
Despite some impressive testing numbers for a man his size, he was never a contested-catch option and rarely used his large frame to his advantage. If he can improve his catch-point ability, Higgins could have a home in the end zone on goal-to-go situations.
Round 7, Pick 238: Ryan Hayes, OT, Michigan
If Ryan Hayes were just a bit stronger and more balanced, he wouldn’t have been available here for the Dolphins to select. Some of his faults are coachable, however, and there’s a massive frame to work with at 6’6”, 298 pounds. He may be a year or two away from meaningful snaps, but there is a lot to like (and work with) in Hayes.
What Were the Dolphins’ Biggest Needs Entering the Draft?
- OT, G, S, DT
The Dolphins’ biggest needs involve protecting Tua Tagovailoa. So, the more things change, the more they stay the same. Terron Armstead is outstanding but often injured. Austin Jackson could be upgraded. Liam Eichenberg simply hasn’t caught on at the NFL level, and the Dolphins should look to upgrade from him at guard.
Miami could also look to upgrade from Brandon Jones because he’s better moving forward and isn’t a perfect fit for Vic Fangio’s defensive scheme.
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