Football Memo

AFC East Draft Grades: Miami Dolphins

Offensive tackle Ja'Wuan James

Offensive tackle Ja’Wuan James

Miami Dolphins
The Dolphins needed to upgrade the offensive line and attacked improving that glaring weakness with two of their first three selections. Miami reached a bit at No. 19, but came away with offensive tackle Ja’Wuan James, a rock-solid performer at right tackle. James brings a great attitude and love for the game, and joins Branden Albert to give Miami a good tandem at tackle. In the third round, the Dolphins picked tackle, Billy Turner, who will either project to guard or become a reserve tackle behind Albert and James. Turner is a bit of a project, but has ideal size (6-5, 315) and good enough athletic ability to provide versatility to the offensive front. In the second round, the Dolphins added a high-character, tough-as-nails receiver in Jarvis Landry. The LSU product has been compared to both Hines Ward and Anquan Boldin because he is very tough, and doesn’t have ideal speed. Landry should give Miami a playmaker in the slot. He is also a smart player and excels in finding holes in zone defenses. Whether or not he becomes worthy of a second-round selection will come down to how he is able to handle press coverage against more athletic cornerbacks. In the fourth round, the Dolphins went with Walt Aikens, a press corner out of Liberty. Aikens has ideal size (6-0½, 205), and enough quickness to become a very good corner, but played against average competition and qualifies as hit-or-miss prospect. Tight end Arthur Lynch (5th round) gives Miami depth at a thin position. Lynch joins Charles Clay, who is more of an H-back, and Dion Sims, more of an in-line tight end at the position. The Dolphins rounded out the draft by selecting linebacker, Jordan Tripp (5th round), receiver, Matt Hazel (6th) and defensive end, Terrence Fede (7th). Out of these later-round selections, look for Tripp, an all-around backer, to make an impact – both in the defensive rotation and on special teams.
Grade: C+

Miami Dolphins –2014 Draft Selections
1 (19) Ja’Wuan James, OT, Tennessee
2 (63) Jarvis Landry, WR, LSU
3 (67) Billy Turner, OT, North Dakota State
4 (125) Walt Aikens, DB, Liberty
5 (155) Arthur Lynch, TE, Georgia
5 (171) Jordan Tripp, LB, Montana
6 (190) Matt Hazel, WR, Coastal Carolina
7 (234) Terrence Fede, DE, Marist

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