At the end of his third media availability in three days, after some day 18 hours of the draft and 11 picks, Brian Flores said something that made our ears perk up a bit:
“We like most of the guys we picked.”
Kudos to Flores for not sugar-coating things as some coaches might; that’s not in his nature.
But it made us wonder: At what points of the draft did the Dolphins think they could have done better?
There are some pretty easy logical leaps we could make.
Tristan Wirfs, the Iowa tackle, was high on their list and would have absolutely been in play at 18. The Buccaneers were so concerned that a team was going to jump them that they surrendered a fourth-round pick to trade up one spot to ensure they got Wirfs. Perhaps the Dolphins tried to move up.
Later in Round 1, tackle Isaiah Wilson went at 29 — one spot before the Dolphins took cornerback Noah Igbinoghene. Wilson played at Georgia, and the Dolphins have a known affinity for Bulldogs linemen.
The Dolphins showed pre-draft interest in both Georgia running back D’Andre Swift and Alabama safety Xavier McKinney. They came off the board at picks 35 and 36; Grier stayed put at 39 and took Louisiana-Lafayette tackle Robert Hunt.
Then late in Round 2, running back J.K. Dobbins seemed destined to be a Dolphin, and very well could have been had the Ravens not taken him at 55 — one spot before Miami selected defensive tackle Raekwon Davis.
“The board fell pretty much like we thought,” Grier said Saturday evening. “We felt pretty good about things. You always have one or two things there where a team jumps up or we’d jump up. We had a couple moments there where we had a few smiles and laughs and we had a couple of table slams here and there. It went good and we got the players that we liked on the board at the end of the draft. It was good and the coaches and scouts, everyone did a good job.”
Added Flores: “There were definitely some moments, definitely some moments. You guys will never know about them but there were definitely some moments. I think that that is part of — there are some moments in every draft where something just doesn’t shake the right way. It’s never perfect, nothing ever is. But I think we worked together as an entire staff well and worked through those ebbs and flows of the draft. All and all, I think it was a good weekend “
With 11 draft picks, you can always find a few nits to pick. No team gets everything right, and the Dolphins will inevitably have some misses. That’s why they amassed the capital they did: to hedge against the possibility of a bust or two. And they have the assets in 2021 to make up for any mistakes in 2020.
Thanks to a late trade with the Seahawks, the Dolphins should have at least nine picks next year, including four in the first two rounds.
Hopefully, that draft will take place in Cleveland, and not in basements and man-caves throughout the country. That would mean we’ve either found a coronavirus vaccine or the disease had been mitigated enough to allow for large gatherings.
But one of the few silver linings of this pandemic was the wholly unique draft experience, both for those making the picks and the rest of us watching them do so on TV. Both Grier and Flores had cameras in their offices, and it was fun to see them interacting with their sons during and after the Dolphins’ selections.
And all of those worries about failed WiFi connections or dropped calls leading to chaos were, thankfully, overblown.
“Our IT department was really on point. If there were any glitches, they were very minor and I must have missed them,” Flores said. “Things ran pretty smooth on our end, so they did a wonderful job. Again, it was great. I had a great experience this year. You go into it, you never know what it’s going to be like. I think there is a lot of apprehension or uncertainty about how things will go, but I thought it was great. Again, I thought it was great to see all of the families together. I thought that was really nice.”
— The Dolphins have signed free-agent safety Kavon Frazier, his agent David Canter announced on Twitter. Frazier has appeared in 44 games for Cowboys over the last four years, including two starts, both in 2018. He missed the last three months of 2019 with an injured pectoral muscle.
Miami Herald sports reporter Barry Jackson contributed to this report.
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