Miami Dolphins HQ will be dark the first night of the NFL Draft. Well, that’s not entirely true. There will be lights on and people working Thursday night. But unless something truly unexpected happens, that work will be in preparation for Day 2, when the team actually has picks.
For the second straight year, the Dolphins are without a first-round pick. But that doesn’t mean 2023 will be a bust for acquiring helpful talent. In fact, Chris Grier has done perhaps his best work as the Dolphins’ GM in Round 2.
Why Miami Dolphins Have No First-Round Pick In 2023 NFL Draft
Miami is without a first-round pick for the second straight year for a variety of reasons — some good, some bad. They traded their 2022 first to Kansas City for Tyreek Hill. During the season, the Dolphins traded the 2023 first-rounder they received from the San Francisco 49ers in the Trey Lance deal to Denver for Bradley Chubb.
That’s the good. The bad? The NFL stripped Miami of its own 2023 first (which would have been 21st overall) after determining owner Stephen Ross and his team illegally pursued Tom Brady when he was under contract with another team.
It’s far from ideal. But it’s also not worth the Dolphins hanging their heads over at this point. What’s done is done. And there are still real opportunities for Miami to upgrade a roster already built to compete.
How will they go about it? Go best player available or for need?
“It’s still a balance because, at the end of the day, you always have to look long term. There’s guys here – just being realistic – on one-year deals. So you may have a position that you think is deep. Like last year we had, I think, four linebackers on one-year deals,” said Grier.
“We always look for the best player. Then there are some occasions where you do take a position of need, but you try not to draft on need because again, I think that’s where you get in trouble.”
Miami Dolphins History of Second-Round NFL Draft Success
Whatever Grier has done in the second round since taking over as general manager in 2016 has worked. Actually, the Dolphins’ success in Round 2 stretches back to 2014, when Grier was the team’s director of college scouting. They took wide receiver Jarvis Landry in 2014 and Jordan Phillips in 2015. Both have been impactful pros.
But the core of this current team has been built through the draft since ’16. Read on for an analysis of all the Dolphins’ selections in that round over the past seven years.
CB Xavien Howard
Five players drafted before: DE Kevin Dodd (Titans); OLB Jaylon Smith (Cowboys); TE Hunter Henry (Chargers); OLB Myles Jack (Jaguars); DT Chris Jones (Chiefs)
Five players drafted after: DE Noah Spence (Buccaneers); WR Sterling Shepard (Giants); ILB Reggie Ragland (Bills); DE Kamalei Correa (Ravens); NT Austin Johnson (Titans)
Career recap: Xavien Howard is one of the best picks in Grier’s time in Miami. He’s a four-time Pro Bowler, a two-time All-Pro, and a two-time NFL interception leader.
LB Raekwon McMillan
Five players drafted before: OLB Ryan Anderson (Commanders); S Justin Evans (Buccaneers); DE DeMarcus Walker (Broncos); QB DeShone Kizer (QB); CB Teez Tabor (Lions).
Five players drafted after: DT Dalvin Tomlinson (Giants); S Obi Melifonwu (Raiders); LC Zach Cunningham (Texans); C Ethan Pocic (Seahawks); DE Tanoh Kpassagnon (Chiefs)
Career recap: A solid defender who would have been a more impactful player for Miami if he hadn’t missed 19 games (including his entire rookie season) due to injury. Raekwon McMillan was traded for Day 3 compensation to the Raiders after Year 3.
TE Mike Gesicki
Five players drafted before: G Braden Smith (Colts); RB Ronald Jones II (Buccaneers); C James Daniels (Bears); WR Courtland Sutton (Broncos); OLB Harold Landry III (Titans)
Five players drafted after: RB Kerryon Johnson; WR Dante Pettis (49ers); CB Josh Jackson (Packers); DE Breeland Speaks (Chiefs); WR Christian Kirk (Cardinals)
Career recap: In his five seasons with the Dolphins, Mike Gesicki caught 231 passes for 2,617 yards and 18 touchdowns. Those numbers rank third, second, and fifth among tight ends in Dolphins history. Gesicki left the team via free agency in March.
G Robert Hunt
Five players drafted before: WR Michael Pittman Jr. (Colts): RB D’Andre Swift (Lions); S Xavier McKinney (Giants); S Kyle Dugger (Patriots); DE Yetur Gross-Matos (Panthers)
Five players drafted after: DT Ross Blacklock (Texans); RB Jonathan Taylor (Colts); WR Laviska Shenault Jr. (Jaguars); TE Cole Kmet (Bears); S Grant Delpit (Browns)
Career recap: The Dolphins have struggled to draft and develop offensive linemen, but Robert Hunt is the exception to the rule. He’s been their best homegrown OL of the last six seasons, starting 45 of a possible 50 games.
DT Raekwon Davis
Five players drafted before: CB Trevon Diggs (Cowboys); RB Cam Akers (Rams); QB Jalen Hurts (Eagles); DE A.J. Epenesa (Bills); RB J.K. Dobbins (Ravens)
Five players drafted after: WR Van Jefferson (Rams); T Ezra Cleveland (Vikings); WR Denzel Mims (Jets): LB Josh Uche (Patriots); CB Kristian Fulton (Titans)
Career recap: Raekwon Davis flashed early in his career, but hasn’t been able to sustain his early success. He’s a rotational player who has never had more than two quarterback hits and one tackle for loss in any season.
S Jevon Holland
Five players drafted before: DE Odafe Oweh (Ravens); OLB Joe Tryon-Shoyinka (Buccaneers); DB Tyson Campbell (Jaguars); WR Elijah Moore (Jets); RB Javonte Williams (Broncos)
Five players drafted after: OL Landon Dickerson (Eagles); DL Christian Barmore (Patriots); OL Teven Jenkins (Bears); DB Richie Grant (Falcons); DL Levi Onwuzurike (Lions)
Career recap: Jevon Holland is an emerging star. He followed up an all-rookie team season in 2021 with a solid Year 2. Holland, who also has value as a spot punt returner, is expected to excel in Vic Fangio’s defense.
OL Liam Eichenberg
Five players drafted before: OL Landon Dickerson (Eagles); DL Christian Barmore (Patriots); OL Teven Jenkins (Bears); DB Richie Grant (Falcons); DL Levi Onwuzurike (Lions)
Five players drafted after: S Tre’von Moehrig (Raiders); DB Kelvin Joseph (Cowboys); T Walker Little (Jaguars); T Jackson Carman (Bengals); DB Asante Samuel Jr. (Chargers)
Career recap: This is a make-or-break year for Eichenberg, who hasn’t been great as a pro but also has dealt with injuries and changes in responsibilities. The Dolphins want him to be their every-down left guard in 2023.
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