Dolphins must draft better in second round

Former Miami Dolphins general manager Jeff Ireland had blemishes on his record before getting fired in January. But one of Ireland’s most consistent problems was constantly missing on quality second-round draft picks.

The Dolphins have one of the NFL’s worst track records for drafting players in the second round in recent years. It is one of the primary reasons Miami hasn’t made the playoffs in five consecutive seasons.

It’s easier to nail first-round picks, especially for non-playoff teams. But the winning franchises are those which also can take advantage of the second round, where there are annually first-round talents still available.

Miami’s recent list of second-round picks have been a disappointment. Offensive tackle Jonathan Martin (2012), running back Daniel Thomas (2011) and quarterback Pat White (2009) were among Ireland’s most infamous second rounders.

Even linebacker Koa Misi (2010), who has developed into an average starter, was taken several spots ahead of New England Patriots Pro Bowl tight end Rob Gronkowski. Imagine the potential power shift in the AFC East had the Dolphins drafted Gronkowski in the second instead of the Patriots?

It will be up new Dolphins general manager Dennis Hickey to reverse Miami’s second-round misfortune. Hickey has an extensive background in college scouting and will be expected to thrive in his first draft in Miami. The Dolphins hold the No. 19 overall pick in the first round. But the second and middle rounds are also vital if Miami aims to get over the hump and end its five-year playoff drought.

It’s been a while since Miami hit big on a second-round pick. Is the team finally due in 2014?