Draft Grader: Miami Dolphins

Khaled Elsayed takes a look at the Dolphins' draft selections from 2008-10 that eventually led to their big free agent splashes in 2013.

| 4 years ago

Draft Grader: Miami Dolphins

In case you haven’t noticed we’ve been going back over the 2008, 2009, and 2010 draft class of each franchise and assigning each pick a grade. Who is up next? Well that’s the Miami Dolphins.

Each pick between the 2008 and 2010 draft classes a grade between +2.0 and -2.0 (in 0.5 increments) that depends upon:

• Where they were drafted
• Their performance
• Their contribution (how many snaps their team got out of them)
• Other factors such as unforeseen injuries and conditions that could not have been accounted for

Let’s take a look at how Miami drafted.


+2.0: You’ve just found Tom Brady in the 6th round

The search for the next Dan Marino goes on.


+1.5: Getting much more than you bargained for!

The Dolphins did receive production but didn’t hit the kind of home run that makes you stand up and take note.


+1.0: The scouts nailed it!

Brian Hartline, WR (108th overall pick in 2009): Looks set to find his niche as one of the better number two receivers in the league, after handling himself well as the Dolphins top target in 2012. A healthy 1,083 yards and a +8.5 receiving grade show how shrewd this move was.

Reshad Jones, S (163rd overall pick in 2010): Our third-ranked safety in 2012 after he took some bumps a year earlier. Jones is a safety who has a nose for making plays, and was great value in the fifth.


+0.5: Never hurts to find a solid contributor

Jake Long, T (1st overall pick in 2008): His first three years would have earned him a higher grade. However two disappointing (injury impacted) seasons and the fact I hold a belief that a first pick spent on a tackle is too conservative in the modern NFL means it’s just a +0.5 for this pick.

Kendall Langford, DE (57th overall pick in 2008): In his four years with the club Langford turned into a consistent generator of pressure even if he didn’t have the sack numbers to back it up.

Donald Thomas, G (195th overall pick in 2008): In 2009, Thomas held his own (for the most part) as a player who managed 933 snaps. While he wasn’t elite and didn’t do anything after that, to get a starter who wasn’t a liability for a year in the sixth is good value.

Lex Hilliard, RB (204th overall pick in 2008): The seventh round pick lasted four years on the Miami squad, filling in at halfback and fullback when the situation required. He was also an extremely productive special teams player with 22 tackles in this area of the game.

Vontae Davis, CB (25th overall pick in 2009): Is Davis a starter you’d rely on? Yes. Is he one of the top cornerbacks in the game? No. At times he was very good for the Dolphins and he also snared the Dolphins second round pick when they moved on from him. A win.

Sean Smith, CB (61st overall pick in 2009): Smith is an interesting player. Elite tools and some very good games show a player with a high ceiling. Yet, did he ever put it together consistently?

Chris Clemons, S (165th overall pick in 2009): Coming off his best year for the club, you get the feeling the Dolphins find him replaceable, but nothing better has come along. Still had a very tidy 2012 and has been more than many would have bargained for.

Koa Misi, LB (40th overall pick in 2010): Not an ideal fit in the Dolphins 3-4, he looked a little more at home as an early downs defender when they switched to the 4-3. May never wow you, but looks like he couldn’t contribute for a long time.

Nolan Carroll, CB (145th overall pick in 2010): The former fifth round pick has looked better since being ill-equipped to handle the playing time he received at the start of the 2011 season. Carroll may never develop into a starter that you’re comfortable with, but the Dolphins have got some decent play out of him and he contributes on special teams.

Austin Spitler, LB (252nd overall pick in 2010): So what if he’s just seen three snaps on defense. Spitler has been a big contributor on special teams and that can’t be overlooked with 13 tackles over the last two years.


0.0: Nothing ventured, nothing gained (It could have been worse)

Jalen Parmele, RB (176th overall pick in 2008): With the Ravens stealing Parmele off the Dolphins’ practice squad, you can’t really evaluate the former sixth round pick.

Lionel Dotson, DT (245th overall pick in 2008): He bounced between practice squad and the active roster (with some stops at other teams) and even saw some game time in 2008 and 2009. A late round pick that you didn’t expect much, nor receive anything, from.

John Nalbone, TE (161st overall pick in 2009): Spent a year on the practice squad and saw some game time in 2010 before the Dolphins decided he just wasn’t worth investing in.

Andrew Gardner, T (181st overall pick in 2009): Lasted a year with Miami before being cut after struggling in camp. Took a low risk and it didn’t pay off.

J.D. Folsom, LB (214th overall pick in 2009): Much like Gardner, spent a year on the practice squad (though he frequently came off it when Miami was short on bodies in 2008) before being cut.

John Jerry, G (73rd overall pick in 2010): The mountainous Jerry hasn’t developed into the run blocker Miami had hoped. A move to the zone blocking scheme doesn’t look ideal, but we’ll reserve judgment until where we can see how he is next year.

A.J. Edds, LB (119th overall pick in 2010): The Dolphins get something of a pass on Edds who tore his ACL before his rookie year began and was waived a year later.

Chris McCoy, LB (212th overall pick in 2010): A seventh round pick, McCoy never caught on after being signed to the practice squad.


-0.5: That pick was not put to good use

Chad Henne, QB (57th overall pick in 2008): They hoped he’d be their franchise quarterback. He wasn’t and the years spent waiting for him to step up held this team back.

Shawn Murphy, G (110th overall pick in 2008): After missing his rookie year due to a torn triceps, Murphy was expected to start at right guard the following year. It never happened as the Dolphins cut their losses and waived him.

Jared Odrick, DE (28th overall pick in 2010): You expect a first round pick to make an impact, yet Odrick has looked extremely average so far in his NFL career. Since the switch to a 4-3 defense he now finds himself a little out of position which may not help this grade turn into a positive any time soon.


-1.0: What a waste!

Phillip Merling, DE (32nd overall pick in 2008): Being massively outplayed by Kendall Langford is one thing, but failing to make much of an impact on the field to the point your playing time dwindles year after year? Merling was a first round pick in all but name and failed to deliver on being one of the chosen 32.

Patrick Turner, WR (87th overall pick in 2009): A third round pick who didn’t manage a snap for the Dolphins despite having the size and athleticism teams love. A true waste of a pick that you expected to contribute.


-1.5: The scouts/ coaches failed, big time!

Pat White, QB (44th overall pick in 2009): Ugh, the Wildcat! Why on earth would you invest a second round pick in such a fad? This is one of those moves that you’re still trying to wipe the stink off of years later.


-2.0: You just drafted the love child of JaMarcus Russell and Ryan Leaf!

There were no Russell/ Leaf hybrids to pick from.


Follow Khaled on Twitter: @PFF_Khaled


  • http://twitter.com/Cornerss william

    “I hold a belief that a first pick spent on a tackle is too conservative in the modern NFL”

    I hope you are right and phins draft an impact player instead of an OT

    Also to be fair Long shoud be higher. If he was like most players he WOULD NOT have played injured like he did the last 2 seasons. It destroyed him. Most players would have sat it out.

    • Richard

      It’s not higher because of his draft/contract status.

      If Jake Long was a former 4th round pick earning $1 million per year and played the way he played, he’d be a +2.0 pick even with his diminished play the past 2 seasons.

      However, Jake Long was a former #1 overall pick earning $11 million per year, so he doesn’t get graded on a curve.

  • http://www.facebook.com/Gr8fulone11 Matthew Colecchia

    Where’s Tedd Ginn??? -2.0!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/Gr8fulone11 Matthew Colecchia

    Oops, didn’t see the between ’08 & ’10 thing.

  • http://www.facebook.com/martinezral Rene Martinez

    PFF used kid gloves on this team for some reason. History actually shows they’ve not fielded very good teams in a long time.

  • Adam

    Chad Henne was the 57th pick not Langford.. Langford was a 3rd rounder and should be bumped up.

    R Jones should be bumped up as well as Jake Jong.

    Either that or rename your categories.

  • http://twitter.com/markeyh61 Mark Holland

    Great job in your assesments had Miami not wasted many of these young players careers with Tony Sparano some of these draft picks might have faired better.