Reporting Tim Kephart
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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Each year, countless picks from the NFL Draft step into the starting lineup to help their new team take the next step to either stay or become a contender. The Miami Dolphins were hoping that might happen to them this season, but it doesn’t look like that will happen to start the year.
The Dolphins picked a total of nine players in April’s 2013 NFL Draft. The headliner in the 2013 draft class for the Dolphins was the player the team traded up to the number three pick to select, defensive end Dion Jordan.
The Fins hoped to team Jordan with Cameron Wake to bring a lot of pressure on opposing quarterbacks. Jordan’s physical gifts were obvious, 6’6” tall, 250 pounds, and running a 4.5 second 40-yard dash. But, there was a red flag with Jordan, he was coming off shoulder surgery in the offseason.
The Dolphins knew he wouldn’t be ready until training camp, but selected him anyways. Jordan looked the part early in camp and began to flash moments that would justify being the number three pick.
However, Jordan reinjured his shoulder and is not expected, at this point, to be available for Week 1 of the regular season.
The Fins selected cornerback Jamar Taylor in the second round hoping he could overtake Nolan Carroll to give Miami a solid cornerback opposite Brent Grimes. But Taylor too has been dealing with injury issues and will not be a starter in Week 1, barring a catastrophic series of injuries.
Miami selected Dallas Thomas next in the draft and he has been a disaster at tackle. After being exposed as completely unable to play tackle in the first preseason game, Thomas hasn’t helped himself much throughout the preseason and if not for his draft position, may not have made the final roster.
Cornerback Will Davis was selected next by the Fins and he has played well in the preseason and could crack the depth chart in dime packages and possibly nickel packages if he makes progress in practice week to week.
The Fins next selected Jelani Jenkins who has a tough road to plow to get into the lineup. He’s behind three good starting linebackers and also behind a pair of veterans the Fins have kept around for a few years.
Tight end was where the Fins turned next with the selection of Michigan State Spartans tight end Dion Sims. While he was selected for his blocking ability, Sims has surprised with his catching and could move into the starting lineup if Charles Clay slips in the next two weeks.
Finally, there’s kicker Caleb Sturgis. Of all of the Dolphins’ draft picks in 2013, Sturgis is the only guaranteed starter of the group. That tells you something about the overall class of players coming into a team that has struggled to get above average over the past few seasons.
Sturgis beat out incumbent kicker Dan Carpenter for the starting kicking job thanks to his performance in the preseason and training camp, along with Carpenter’s large salary cap hit that was taken off the books when he was released.
So, out of the nine draft picks (the other was strong safety Don Jones), only one will likely be in the starting lineup in Week 1 of the 2013 regular season. Now, much will be forgotten if Jordan can get on the field, stay on the field, and be a strong and disruptive player.
But that remains to be seen whether he can do that consistently. As of Monday, the only player from the draft class who will start is the lonely kicker, Caleb Sturgis.