MIAMI -- Many observers thought they had it figured out.
In a tight end deep draft, of course the Dolphins would use one for their first draft picks on the position of need. A tight end upgrade was a must for Mike McDaniel's offense.
The observers were shocked. Looking to this season and beyond, general manager Chris Grier got big time speed and talent in the 2nd and 3rd rounds, just not at positions most people thought he would fill.
The Dolphins did draft a tight end in the 6th round, Elijah Higgins from Stanford, although he played wide receiver in college. Oh, he's fast too.
And, they drafted offensive lineman Ryan Hayes in the 7th round. He played left tackle effectively in college but may be better suited to guard in the NFL.
Cam Smith's physical ability, speed and talent is off the charts. To get a player of his caliber 51st is a steal.
But the Dolphins are deep at cornerback with Jalen Ramsey and Xavien Howard. But that's what we thought last year too. Injury and performance came back to bite the team as the had to patch up the secondary for the stretch run and playoff game in Buffalo.
They have studs starting and players back from injury for depth. But if Smith is THAT good, it gives the team flexibility moving forward. Howard and Ramsey aren't getting younger and with players like Jaylen Waddle, Jevon Holland and Tua Tagovailoa needing contracts in the next few years, cap space is at a premium. Perhaps Smith can take over as starter. With nearly a quarter of their games against Josh Allen and Aaron Rogers...as stated, you can never have enough quality cover players.
Speed to Burn
When the Dolphins brought back all four of their running back from last year perhaps the thought was they were set at the position. But it appears Mike McDaniel in particular fell in love with Texas A&M running back Devon Achane. (FYI, pronounced A-chain)
With the stars and speed at receiver, McDaniel's mastermind will be in overdrive utilizing his weapons. Achane is a stud and can fly. He's not the prototype size wise at 5 foot 8 but he is thick and likely won't be doing that much blocking. If you thought the offense was exciting last year, get ready for 2023.
Draft for Need
The simple fact is the Dolphins disagree with many fans and media in thinking they need major help at tight end and on the offensive line.
They did use their 6th and 7th round picks to address both postions though. Of course, there is still free agency, amd the undrafted rookies where Grier has hit some home runs, like Kader Kohou last year amd Nik Needham previously.
Give Dolphins ownership credit, the team doesn't hesitate to give out sizable signing bonuses, reaching triple digits at times, for undrafted free agents. The Dolphins quickly signed 19 players to contracts after the draft.
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