Last time I wrote about the first two days of the NFL Draft. (found here) This time around I tackle the final day, rounds four through seven. I love this day. These are the longshots, the surprises. Terrell Davis and Tom Brady were found here before leading their teams to the Super Bowl. Zach Thomas fell to the Miami Dolphins here, after being told he was to small and too slow, he responded by being one of the best middle linebackers of his generation. These players do not have a lack of talent, they have it in spades. They just need someone to hold open the door so they can smash their way through.
So lets look at who the Miami Dolphins picked on the last day:
Fourth Round (pick #125) Walt Aikens, WR, Liberty
With good speed and athleticism Aikens joins last years draft picks Will Davis and Jamar Taylor to compete at the cornerback position. If nothing else these three players bring youth to the Miami secondary. Aikens brings some much-needed length to the cornerback corps. In time he may compete for a starting position in the coming years.
Fifth Round (pick #155) Arthur Lynch, TE, Georgia
This was the pick I was the most excited for. Looking at Lynch many are quick to point out that he is not a seam threat tight end in the mold of Jimmy Graham. They are correct Miami does not need a seam threat (they have Charles Clay), what they do need is a traditional in-line tight end. They need an effective blocker and an outlet for short and medium passes. That is exactly what Arthur Lynch gives them. With good hands and decent speed he should eat in the areas opened up by Mike Wallace and Charles Clay.
Fifth Round (pick #171) Jordan Tripp, LB, Montana
Jordan Tripp’s biggest drawback is the level of competition he faced at Montana. An aggressive linebacker with good instincts, he is versatile enough to play at any of the linebacking positions. Personally I prefer him inside. While not as smooth as other linebackers, his agility is good enough to allow him to compete at the NFL level.
Sixth Round (pick #190) Matt Hazel, WR, Coastal Carolina
A questionable pick based on the wide receiver depth on this team. Hazel has soft hands and good body control. I would prefer more height or speed. He may surprise in training camp. I honestly expect him to be a practice squad option.
Seventh Round (pick #234) Terrance Fede, DE, Marist
A small school talent, who excelled as a pass rusher. They say you can never have enough pass rushers, this may test that theory. Fede joins the talented group at defensive end. Cameron Wake, Olivier Vernon, Dion Jordan and Derrick Shelby are formidable in their own right, Fede beating one of them out seems unlikely. He may develop into a solid contributor, once upon a time Wake too was an afterthought.
The last day of the draft brought in some interesting competition and depth to the Dolphins roster. The biggest takeaway has to be the overabundance of small school players, with Arthur Lynch the only one from a traditional power. In the next few months we should see if Dennis Hickey knew something or if he was chasing after fool’s gold.