Originally posted on The Sports Headquarters  |  Last updated 3/24/12

It is getting a little ridiculous down in Miami these days.  They have been right on the edge of being good, but seemingly can never get over the hump.

Now?  Well they missed out on Peyton manning after entering the off season as the favorite to land his services, they traded their best offensive weapon away in Brandon Marshall, and now go into the 2012 season with no franchise QB, a first time head coach, and a draft pick that seems to be just out of reach of all the biggest need positions.

How did they get here then?  Let’s take a look at the draft selections that lead to one playoff game in the last decade.

2012 Miami Dolphins off season review

2007 Miami Dolphins Draft Results

9. Ted Ginn Jr, WR Ohio St
40. John Beck, QB BYU
60. Samson Satele, C Hawaii
71. Lorenzo Booker, RB FSU
108. Paul Soliai, DT Utah
181. Reagan Mauia, FB Hawaii
199. Drew Mormino, C Central Michigan
219. Kelvin Smith, LB Syracuse
225. Brandon Fields, P Michigan St
238. Abraham Wright, LB Colorado

I’d go through all of these picks but frankly it is to disgusting.  Satele is a very solid C and was good with the Dolphins then moved on to the Raiders.  Booker is a solid back up and special team’s player and Brandon Fields is a very good punter in the league.

The misses, drafting Ted Ginn Jr at number nine in the draft, they passed on other WRs in Dwayne Bowe and Robert Meacham, but they also passed on needs at like Patrick Willis, Darrelle Revis, and Leon Hall.

Then they took John Beck, who is a nice back up but isn’t a starting quality QB in this league.

The best pick in this mishmash of nothingness was Paul Soliai who has turned into a very good defensive lineman, and the only remaining every down player on the roster.  Not something you want to see with a draft of 10 players.

Expert Grades:

Mel Kiper: C
Pete Prisco: B
Actual Grade: F

This was just not a good draft at all for the Dolphins.  At the time people were bemoaning not drafting Brady Quinn, which shows just how little anyone really knows, but the biggest misses were not QBs or WRs, but actual difference makers like Patrick Willis and Darrelle Revis.

2008 Miami Dolphins Draft Results

1 Jake Long, LT Michigan
32 Phillip Merling, DE Clemson
57 Chad Henne, QB Michigan
66 Kendall Langford, DE Hampton
110 Shawn Murphy, G Utah State
176 Jalen Parmele, RB Toledo
195 Donald Thomas, G UConn
204 Lex Hillard, RB Montana
245 Lionel Dotson, DE Arizona

Another huge draft and not a lot of goods coming up, well except for that Jake Long fellow who is the second best left tackle in football.

Merling and Henne were the definition of disappointment, as both have flopped in the league, while Langford was a good player now onto his next stop in his NFL career, he wasn’t a difference maker on the defensive side to the point where he made up for the bust that was Merling.

The rest of the draft is exactly what you want/expect from third day selections, solid back ups and special team players, but no hidden gems to help pull this draft class up.

So here is the question, does Long’s dominance as a LT make up for missing on two second round picks, giving up on a 2007 second round pick in John Beck, and basically throwing two second round picks out the door in two consecutive years?

I say yes, because top 2 LTs don’t just grow on trees, and at the time it was a ballsy move to take Long with the first pick.

Expert Grades:

Mel Kiper: B-
Pete Prisco: A
Actual Grade: C+

I’ll give this the same grade I gave the Browns and the Joe Thomas draft.  The reason simply being how great Long is.  It probably is closer to a C, but it is what it is.

2009 Miami Dolphins Draft Results

25 Vontae Davis, CB Illinois
44 Pat White, QB West Virginia
61 Sean Smith, DB Utah
87 Patrick Turner, WR USC
108 Brian Hartline, WR Ohio St
161 John Nalbone, TE Monmouth
165 Chris Clemons, DB Clemson
181 Andrew Gardner, T Georgia Tech
214 J.D. Folsom, LB Weber St

This is the toughest class to judge because they have two starters in Davis and Smith, a solid third or fourth receiver that is being forced to play higher on the depth chart in Brian Hartline, and a good back up/special team’s player in Chris Clemons.

On the flipside they wasted another second round pick on a QB, for those keeping track that’s three QBs taken in the second round and zero of them on the roster still, missed badly on their third round selection of Patrick Turner, and only have four of the players drafted on their roster still.

For those of us keeping track, ok me that makes:

4 starters on the roster still, 2 others in the league.  That is not what you want if you are trying to compete with the New England Patriots and New York Jets in the AFC East.

Expert Grades:

Mel Kiper: C-
Pete Prisco: B-
Actual Grade: C

This is a C, no question it is an average draft class that leads to a franchise being average.

The Dolphins have been average, hovering around .500 for seemingly a decade, and need difference makers, and when you have only 4 starters out of 28 draft picks it doesn’t help you improve your franchise.

Off Season:  The off season hasn’t been kind to the Dolphins either, as we outlined above with them missing on Manning, they also missed on Matt Flynn, traded away Brandon Marshall for draft picks, which hasn’t exactly been a strong suit of team building.

There off season moves so far have included signing David Garrard to compete with incumbent Matt Moore for the starting QB position, bringing in Arizona Cardinals defensive MVP, as named by Cards defensive coordinator Ray Horton, Richard Marshall and signing LB Jamaal Westerman, a good special teamer and rotational linebacker.

They also resigned their own defensive lineman Paul Soliai and Phillip Merling as well as bringing back RB Steve Slaton.  Nothing earth shattering here.  I guess that means we look to the draft, and Dolphins fans can’t be overly excited about that.

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