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Congemi Evaluates 2014 Dolphins Draft Class
By on May 11, 2014 at 3:58 pm

James JerseyRound 1 of the 2014 NFL Draft for the Miami Dolphins was a pretty standard affair. The Dolphins went on the clock at their pick at #19 and selected Tennessee offensive tackle Ja’Wuan James.

Day 2 was anything but standard. Trading three separate times in Rounds 2 and 3, the Dolphins dropped twice in the 2nd round from #50 to #63, acquiring an extra fourth and fifth round pick, and selecting LSU Wide Receiver Jarvis Landry. Then, not content with picking at #81 overall, Miami jumped up using one of their extra fourth round selections, and selected North Dakota State offensive lineman Billy Turner.

Rounds 4 through 7 had the Dolphins go in a variety of different ways, selecting five players at five different positions in Liberty cornerback Walt Aikens, Georgia tight end Arthur Lynch, Montana linebacker Jordan Tripp, Coastal Carolina wide receiver Matt Hazel, and Marist defensive end Terrence Fede.

With the dust finally settled, Miami selected eight players, five on offense and three on defense. Three selections came from college football’s toughest conference in the SEC, while the rest came from schools in the FCS. Five were team captains, and all but Jarvis Landry were seniors.

Now that the draft has concluded, we can now evaluate the eight selections made by the Miami Dolphins to see how each player will fit in with the team. Let’s take a look at all of the ‘Fins selections from the 2014 NFL Draft:

The first thing about Ja’Wuan James that stands out his experience. He’s a team captain that’s a four year starter with 49 straight starts, a team record as he started every game in his career. James is NFL ready at the right tackle position because of great size standing at 6’6 and long arm length. Some qualities that stand out to me are his high football IQ and intelligence, and his athleticism. He’s a solid technician with great footwork, and has the ability to keep balance in run blocking while getting to the second level, which is really important in zone blocking scheme.

Landry is a natural pass catcher. Nothing really handcuffs him, whether he’s wide open or catching the ball in traffic. He said it himself in his opening conference call, calling himself the reliable one between him and new Giants receiver Odell Beckham Jr..That’s not hyperbole either, as he’s been the Tigers’ leader in receptions the past two seasons.

Landry may not have elite speed, but he seems to always have the ability to catch the football. Another former team captain, he’s an excellent route runner, and has a knack for getting open and finding the football. The football finds him, and he can always adjust to wherever he throws it. It could have something to do with his hand size at 10 1/4, which was tied for second best at the combine with Florida State wideout Kelvin Benjamin.

  • Billy Turner, OL, North Dakota State (3rd round, 67th overall) 

A raw and bruising prospect, Billy Turner was part of 3 national championship teams at FCS powerhouse North Dakota State. He plays with a mean streak and great fire, and has something you really can’t teach in his immeasurable toughness. One of the Bison’s team captains, Turner played 4 years at tackle, but projects more as a guard. I believe he’ll only improve once he gets more experience inside and when ‘Fins offensive line coach John Benton get his hands on him.

You can’t teach size, and Walt Aikens has it. The 6’1, 205 pound Aikens is a big corner with excellent speed. He dominated at the FCS level and was a 2013 first-team All-Big South selection. One of Aiken’s strengths is due to his size, as he breaks on the ball really well and can see through receivers. He has experience as a gunner on special teams, and can likely contribute there as well. I don’t think he’s close to reaching his football ceiling, and with elite size and speed, it gives him an opportunity to compete right away.

The run on team captains from the Dolphins started up again with Arthur Lynch, who has great size at the tight end position at 6’5 and 258. The first team All-SEC selection does all the things we ask our current tight end Charles Clay from the H-back position, and is a solid blocker. He’s tough and durable after the catch, and is a good option in the short-intermediate passing game.

The 5th different team captain selected by the Dolphins, linebacker Jordan Tripp is one of those players that gets everything out of his ability He flies to the ball with great sideline to sideline pace and always gives consistent effort on every single play with his hardworking and tireless motor. Tripp is a linebacker that has the ability to play inside and outside, and he has a lot of potential to be a major contributor to multiple special teams units.

  • Matt Hazel, WR, Coastal Carolina (6th round, #190 overall)

Matt Hazel is a two-time first-team All-Big South selection. While he may not have the exact measurables and build of a prototypical NFL receiver, Hazel is very smooth and fluid on the field, and shows the potential to make big plays. He’s a receiver that can concentrate and track the ball through the air very well, and has a penchant for making some spectacular catches.

The final of five small-school selections from the ‘Fins and the first ever player drafted from Marist, Terrence Fede has racked up 25.5 sacks in his career. He’s possess great athleticism for his 6’4, 278 pound frame, and moves around the field very well. His best trait is his pass rushing ability, as he can rush of the edge with quickness and agility.

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Please Note:
The opinions, analysis and/or speculation expressed by The Finsiders Blog represent those of individual writers, and unless quoted or clearly labeled as such, do not represent the opinions, policies or desires of the Miami Dolphins organization, front office, coaches and executives. Writers' views are formulated independently from any inside information and/or conversation with Dolphins officials, including the coaches and scouts, unless otherwise noted.

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