Miami Dolphins, NFL Draft Retrospective

Miami Dolphins 2016 NFL Draft Retrospective

Winning hasn’t happened in Miami in recent years, but the pillars of potential were set with the 2016 draft class.

The Miami Dolphins entered the 2016 NFL Draft with a new head coach and a new philosophy. Adam Gase was supposed to be the offensive genius that would turnaround the franchise. The team entered the draft with needs along the offensive line and needing defensive upgrades in the secondary and at linebacker.

In March at the start of free agency, the Dolphins swapped first-round positions with the Eagles and acquired CB Byron Maxwell and LB Kiko Alonso, filling two of their needs ahead of the draft. After the trade, some believed Miami would take a QB in round one.

That didn’t happen.

Two years removed from the Dolphins 2016 draft Miami seems to have hit on several of their draft picks while still questioning a trade that two years later still makes no sense.

Original Grade

Sports Illustrated: B

FanSided: A-

Draft Class

Round 1 (Pick 13)

Laremy Tunsil

LT, Ole Miss

Current Team: Miami Dolphins

Tunsil’s meteoric fall to 13th overall came after a video appeared only 15 minutes prior to the draft of him in a gas mask doing pot. The video dropped Tunsil out of the top five and into the Dolphins lap who wasted no time getting his name to the podium. Tunsil has been a very good player for the Dolphins and is on the verge of becoming an elite left tackle.

Having the tackle fall ended up working out very well for the Dolphins, who are already talking about a contract extension. Since joining the NFL there have been no off-field issues for Tunsil and he is developing as a leader in the locker room.

Round 2 (Pick 38)

Xavien Howard

CB, Baylor

Current Team: Miami Dolphins

Xavien Howard has become one of the best cover corners in the NFL and made his first Pro-Bowl in 2018. The Dolphins have met with his agents about a new contract extension that could pay him in the top of the NFL corners.

Howard struggled his first season as he dealt with some minor knee issues but he picked up the Dolphins defense quickly and has become one of the NFL’s leaders in interceptions.

Round 3 (Pick 73)

Kenyan Drake

RB, Alabama

Current Team: Miami Dolphins

Kenyan Drake spent most of his rookie season watching from behind running back Jay Ajayi but when he got on the field he showed his explosiveness and playmaking ability. When Ajayi was traded in 2017 Drake stepped into the starter role without any issues and made himself known quickly. 2018 was supposed to be the big breakout year for Drake but he seemed to fall out of favor with Adam Gase.

Towards the end of the year, Drake lost reps to rookie Kalen Ballage. He should have a big role in the Dolphins offense in 2019. He is a very good runner who can make a big play at any time.

Round 3 (Pick 86)

Leonte Carroo

WR, Rutgers

Current Team: Free Agent

The Miami Dolphins made their biggest mistake of this draft when they selected Carroo. It wasn’t so much drafting him as the mid-round WR had a lot of potential and upside. The problem was they traded back into the 3rd round to get him and gave up a 3rd round pick in 2017 as well.

Carroo has not flashed any of his potential since arriving and has spent most of his career on the inactive list. In 2018 he saw his first consistent action after injuries depleted the WR group. He was simply average, if that, at best.

Round 6 (Pick 186)

Jakeem Grant

WR, Texas Tech

Current Team: Miami Dolphins

Grant may have been the best steal of the third day for the Dolphins. He has been able to see plenty of action on gameday and is used out of the backfield, in the slot, and has motioned outside. His speed is rare and while he has yet to really develop as a special teams player, the Dolphins offense moves much better with him in the lineup.

He is a nightmare to cover for linebackers and teams are needing to put safety coverage on him at times. Injuries sidelined him most of the 2018 season but he did not need surgery and should be 100 percent in 2019.

Round 6 (Pick 204)

Jordan Lucas

S, Penn State

Current Team: Kansas City Chiefs

Lucas is now with the Kansas City Chiefs after two seasons with the Dolphins. He split time between the active roster and the practice squad but Miami didn’t have the patience to keep him around and develop him properly. He was a late draft prospect for the Dolphins.

Round 7 (Pick 214)

Brandon Doughty

QB, Western Kentucky

Current Team: Free Agent

Doughty never threw a pass in the NFL and spent most of his time on the Dolphins practice squad.

Round 7 (Pick 231)

Thomas Duarte


Current Team: Free Agent

Duarte had a lot of potential when he joined the Dolphins but after spending two seasons on the Dolphins practice squad on a team that had a poor tight-end situation, it was clear that he was not going to reach that potential. He is no longer with the Dolphins.

Retrospective Grade

Re-grading the 2016 Dolphins draft is easy. Miami definitely hit on some very good contributing players. Laremy Tunsil is a steal at 13th overall and Xavien Howard is a Pro-Bowl corner. The two of them alone would give this draft class an “A” grade. However, the Dolphins also hit strongly on Kenyan Drake and Jakeem Grant as well. Both are starters at their position and both make big impacts on the Dolphins offense.

The Miami Dolphins 2016 draft was one of the more successful ones in recent years. It has produced three starters and a role player that fits in with just about any offensive scheme. The fall of Laremy Tunsil was a big gift and the Dolphins did well to continue building with Howard, Grant, and Kenyan Drake.

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