- James Walker, ESPN Staff Writer
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The Miami Dolphins’ 2014 draft is in the books. After months of speculation and projections, Dolphins first-year general manager Dennis Hickey made his selections in an effort to improve the team.
ESPN NFL draft expert Mel Kiper Jr. provided his grades for all 32 teams Sunday. Here is what Kiper had to say about the Dolphins:
Kiper’s grade: B
Kiper’s comment: “This was a really quiet draft class in terms of star appeal, but the Dolphins did a pretty solid job of hitting their biggest needs. Ja'Wuan James isn't a player many people know, but I thought he'd land here, and he did in a move that makes a lot of sense. The Dolphins need an immediate starter at right tackle, and that's James. Just plug him in and check it off. Jarvis Landry doesn't fill a major need at WR, but he's a really reliable target who catches absolutely everything. Billy Turner was a tackle at North Dakota State, but could fill another pretty big need they have at guard. ... This draft was about Ryan Tannehill. Stop the constant sacks, give him a chance to take another step. I think Miami succeeded.”
Analysis: It certainly was not a spectacular, star-studded draft for Miami. The Dolphins selected five players from non-Division I schools, which could turn out to be a risk in making the adjustment to the NFL. Hickey said all of these small-school players have NFL-caliber traits and athleticism. That remains to be seen. The picks of James and Turner could prove to be Week 1 starters. Landry could prove to be a solid slot receiver if he can get early playing time at a deep position. I’m curious to see how many of these rookies make Miami’s 53-man roster. This is Hickey’s first draft and he could get attached to players at the expense of more proven veterans.