April and May have most Miami sports fans dedicating their attention to the basketball team in town, last week, but for a few hours at least, the Dolphins got some play. There were some surprisingly interesting things to come out of the NFL draft, some of which had to do with the players, but also some that had to do with the front office.
This is the first real Mike Tannenbaum-era draft, and along with new GM Chris Grier and new head coach Adam Gase, it's what qualifies as the newest-new era of Miami Dolphins football in quite awhile. The draft taught us some things about the three and the direction they plan to go. Here are a few things we learned after watching the newest Dolphins decision-makers wheel-and-deal this past weekend.
1. The newest incarnation of Miami Dolphins regime is not afraid of red flags.
For the longest time, Miami was the team least likely to take a chance on a guy with off-the-field issues, mainly because the Fins needed to keep it clean after finding their name splashed all over TMZ one too many times. Now that new people are in charge, it's clear the past won't effect this front office's future.
New GM Chris Grier and President Mike Tannenbaum showed they took a chance on not only Laremy Tunsil but also third-round pick Rutgers receiver Leonte Carroo. Both players come with a past, but both are talented players the Dolphins were able to afford only because other teams passed. It's clear the people in charge of the Dolphins now won't tippy-toe around anything.
2. New Dolphins GM, Chris Grier, isn't shy when it comes to trades.
In all, the Dolphins made five trades during the NFL draft last week. Grier made so many trades he even ended up trading for one of his one picks in the later rounds. In the past, the Dolphins would wait around to grab whatever player fell into their laps. Remember how shocked fans were when the team traded up to get Dion Jordan in 2013? That's because it rarely happened.
Grier and his team made it clear they had a group of men they wanted and would do everything they could get those players if they had the opportunity. Whether the players end up being any good is one thing, but seeing the Dolphins have some conviction and go after something they believe in is certainly nice to see.
3. The Dolphins seem to finally have a front office that's on the same page.
Overlooked by all the chaos that ensued during the Dolphins draft was the fact that the team's front office seems to actually be working well thus far. Whether Grier is answering to Tannenbaum or if he has the final say, it seems, from the outside at least, that the two work well together.
Maybe one of the clearest signs of this harmony was Grier publicly describing how he mocked Tannenbaum at first for liking the team's eventual sixth-round pick because he was only five-foot-six. It's hard to remember the last time that sort of honesty and candor was publicly present from the Dolphins' decision-makers.
4. It's clear the Dolphins wanted to get their new coach the ingredients he needed.
The Dolphins' intention during the draft was obviously to get Gase some offensive weapons so he can better install his game plan. The Dolphins used two picks on wide receivers, one on a running back, one on a tight end, one of an offensive lineman, and one on a project quarterback. That's a lot of investment on the offensive side of the ball in just one draft.
It's especially surprising because the Dolphins have clear holes on defense that really only their second-round pick addressed. The Dolphins have a lot of money invested on the defensive side of the ball, even with its glaring holes, so their strategy may be to get Gase what he needs on offense and hope that the defensive issues work themselves out with the talent in place.
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5. The newest Dolphins regime loves them some playmakers.
It's pretty clear the Dolphins are in the business of speed and quick-hit touchdowns now, a pleasant change from the past, when the team seemed to be fine with taking "leaders" and more sure-bet players who lacked dynamic play-making but "did their job well." Between Alabama running back Kenyan Drake, Texas Tech dynamo wideout Jakeem Grant, and Rutgers wideout Leonte Carroo, the Dolphins pinpointed guys who have speed and highlight reels that make your eyes pop.
If there is one thing any Dolphins fan will tell you, it's that the losing has hurt over the past 15 years — but the boring way the team has lost has hurt even more. This Fins regime seems unafraid to take a swing at finding the most explosive players available.