MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The Miami Dolphins didn’t have picks in the third, sixth and seventh, but between the fourth and fifth they had a solid five picks to work with. One of those picks could be the steal of the NFL draft.
In the fourth round – with the 114th overall pick – the Dolphins selected Jamil Douglas of Arizona State. The 6’4”, 304 pound guard offers Miami versatility on the offensive line that struggled mightily in 2013 and 2014.
“Like I said, I’m a versatile player. I’m an athletic player. I’m strong at the point of attack. I’m an explosive guy. I’m a disciplined player, as well. I’m a smart guy. I can figure things out. I can adjust on the fly and those are a couple things that come with my game,” Douglas said in an introductory conference call.
Heading into the fifth round, the Dolphins had a total of four picks to work with.
Their first move was taking high-ceiling slot corner Bobby McCain with the 145th overall selection. At Memphis, McCain defended 19 passes and had 11 interceptions in his last 22 starts.
But stats aren’t everything that drives McCain.
“I’m definitely a competitive guy. I can come in and be a great teammate, but I’m also going to be a competitor. I’m not going to be a bad apple in the locker room, I’m going to get along with the guys, get along for the love of the team. That’s what we’re all here for because we’re all competitors at the top level. So I’m going to come in, start winning the job if I can. If not, I’m going to do everything I can to fulfill my role on the team,” McCain said in the conference call.
He will get the opportunity to play alongside the sensational Brent Grimes who will definitely have a lot to teach the youngster.
“It’s actually pretty crazy because Brent Grimes and Courtland Finnegan – I know the Dolphins just had him and just let him go – they’re actually two of my favorites because they’re smaller guys but they’re smart guys and they’re really competitive guys, and they’re always going to play with a chip on their shoulder and always compete for the football and they’re always going to tackle you and strip you of the ball. They’re going to do the little things right, just like I like to do for myself,” he said.
Just four picks later the Dolphins may have walked away with the steal of the draft.
Running back Jay Ajayi’s stock tumbled after knee concerns pushed away several teams – something he wasn’t expecting.
“Well, I really thought that day two would probably be where I would go. But at the end of the day, I didn’t know which teams would take me, I just thought that would be the day that I would go. It didn’t happen and so, I’m just happy to be a Dolphin and I’m glad they took that chance on me,” he said during his introductory conference call.
But even with the knee problem, the Boise State Bronco became the only player in FBS history with 1,800 yards rushing and 500 yards receiving in a single season. Experts expect Ajayi to contribute right away and help reduce Lamar Miller’s workload.
Miami will also get the added benefit of Ajayi’s new-found motivation after dropping so far down.
“Watching the draft, I did think I was going to go earlier so I was definitely disappointed. At the same time, I can only control what I can control, and I know right now at this very moment that I’m extremely healthy and I’m ready to go into camp and ready to contribute right away. I’m excited that the Dolphins took a chance on me, and I’m ready to just prove a lot of people wrong and prove the Dolphins right,” he said.
The Fins immediately followed up the Ajayi pick with Minnesota safety Cedric Thompson. In 2014 he was second on the team with 83 tackles and made 3.5 of them for a loss.
“I’m a strict tackler. I don’t miss tackles. I think the biggest thing about my playing style is that I have a lot of upside. I’ve only played this position competitively for three years and I know that I have a lot of upside to be a great NFL safety. That’s what I’m going to strive to be and I think that’s going to be coming up in the next couple of years,” Thompson said during the conference call.
Thompson will get the opportunity to learn behind veteran Louis Delmas. But it might not take much time for him to shine considering Delmas is in a contract year and is coming off ACL surgery.
With their final pick the Dolphin finished with an intriguing, versatile player – wide receiver Tony Lippett. Lippett started at both corner and wide receiver for Michigan State during the 2014 season. Though he projects to be better as a wideout – where his length and ball skills can shine downfield – he still has a chance to add depth at defensive back.