With Patrick Paul and Chop Robinson Picks, the Miami Dolphins’ 2025 Relaunch Begins in Earnest

The Miami Dolphins could have played it safe in the NFL Draft. Instead, they made two high-variance picks in Chop Robinson and Patrick Paul.

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — Never before has doing what on paper seems to be the smart play felt so … risky.

Two Miami Dolphins selections, two premium positions addressed in the 2024 NFL Draft. So why is their engaged fan base freaking out?

Because Chris Grier followed up Thursday’s pick of talented but inconsistent EDGE rusher Chop Robinson at 21 by selecting talented but even more inconsistent tackle Patrick Paul at 55.

Miami Dolphins Draft Houston Tackle Patrick Paul

Grier’s big bet: That Mike McDaniel and his staff can turn these raw athletic specimens into elite professional football players.

If it works, they’ll have an elite left tackle and pass rusher for the next 10 years.

If it fails, the 2024 draft will go down as a disaster.

There’s really no in-between.

The evaluation for Paul — a three-time all-conference tackle who is so big he, in the words of McDaniel, fills up the hallway — is all over the place. PFN ranked him 130th overall, and the draft’s No. 13 OT.

The Dolphins took him 55th and picked him over more polished available tackles Kingsley Suamataia, Blake Fisher, and Roger Rosengarten.

But the Dolphins went with Paul because his upside is the moon. At a freakish athletic 6-7, 331-pounder, Paul’s measurables graded out in the 97th percentile for his position.

His natural gifts are rare. His technique, however, in college was messy to put it kindly.

Dolphins Explain Paul Pick

“He knows he’s got some things to work on,” Dolphins GM Chris Grier acknowledged late Friday. “He’s very honest and direct, and that’s what we really appreciated it, and we’re very excited to work with him because we think he’s a very talented player.”

Grier added: “Even when he’s not perfect with technique, which [OL coach] Butch [Barry] and Mike and the staff here, [OC] Frank [Smith], have all shown here, that’s a point that’s emphasized around here, very heavily.

“So for him, even when he’s not perfect, when you have a guy that big, with that length, he can still block people when he’s not right.”

MORE: 2024 NFL Draft Complete Results, Recap, Order, and All 257 Picks

Even with 36 1/4-inch arms, he’s going to need to be right more than not at this level, which will take a significant overhaul of his fundamentals.

So, given the Dolphins’ crowded tackle depth chart, it’s probably best for all involved if Paul doesn’t even see the field in 2024. Terron Armstead and Austin Jackson will start at left and right tackle, and Kendall Lamm will back them up.

But Paul is now the succession plan at left tackle, with Armstead widely expected to retire after the season. Robinson likewise won’t have a starting spot in 2024 unless the Dolphins’ plan at outside linebacker goes sideways.

Can the Dolphins afford redshirt years out of their top two picks?

It’s a big gamble, even with a roster that has only a few soft spots. The Dolphins could have filled those needs with NFL-ready players with lower upside at their picks.

Instead, they swung for the fences.

What’s more, they rebuffed trade-back opportunities to ensure they landed Paul — even if it’s not entirely clear whether moving back even 20 spots would have removed Paul from consideration.

So with this pick and, to a lesser extent Robinson, the Dolphins are gambling that their coaching staff can develop them and that they have the right disposition to learn. They’re depending on their hundreds of hours of evaluation over the last 12 months to hold up.

“It all starts with all the work the scouts do in the fall, of talking to coaches, strength coaches, you know, whether it’s janitors at places, you know, cafeteria workers, just to get who they are,” Grier explained. “Their high school coaches, things like that.

“And then as we get to meet them, from all-star games, the Combine, you start to piece things together and get to know who they are. I think everything usually reveals who they are at some point through that whole process because even if you’re trying to fake it you can’t sustain it over that long of a period of time.

KEEP READING: Miami Dolphins NFL Draft Grades 2024

“So here on a 30 visit, we had them in here and spent all day with them and really enjoyed him. Nothing changed from when we had met him at all of these different times, and it matched up with all the information that the guys had gathered. And then coaches follow up with their connections at schools and places that have coached them over time.

“So you’re just piecing all that information together to make you comfortable and, both these kids have come in, and it’s their love of football, their passion and how they want to be good and, and so it makes you feel good. You know, you’re never right, never 100%, as we all know.

“But we feel good about it, the process.”

The more important question: How will they feel 18 months from now?

Looking for everything you need surrounding the 2024 NFL Draft? Make sure to check out the latest draft results, overall team grades, and updated best remaining players available at every position!

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