The Dolphins' 2018 NFL draft has been receiving generally positive reviews among national analysts, with a major thumbs up coming from Todd McShay.
The ESPN draft analyst called third-round pick Jerome Baker, the linebacker from Ohio State, the team's best selection and praised the team for addressing a specific area of pass defense.
"The Dolphins have been getting killed for years in middle of the field, teams picking on them, whether it's athletic tight ends, Gronk (Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski)], skilled receivers," McShay said via Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald. "Now they are bringing guys (who can solve that). Jerome Baker is not a great run defender. He's not going to take on many people. What he can do is he is going to give you range sideline to sideline, he can cover slot receivers, can cover tight ends and is great at covering running backs. Two areas they needed, tight end and underneath coverage, they really addressed that with high-end players. I really like their draft."
Chad Reuter from NFL.com gave the Dolphins' draft a B-plus, though he particularly liked what they did on the second day with the selections of Penn State tight end Mike Gesicki and Baker.
"The Dolphins didn't go get a top-notch quarterback; instead waiting to see if Ryan Tannehill returns healthy and productive," Reuter wrote. "We'll see if they pick a QB later as a backup plan. I can't blame them for taking Fitzpatrick, though, as he will push Miami's defense — not just secondary — to another level. With Julius Thomas no longer on the team, the Dolphins needed to find a tight end. Gesicki is a phenomenal athlete, like Thomas, but scouts were concerned about his long strides preventing him from winning against veteran defenders. He'll be tough to defend against on jump balls, though. Miami needed a linebacker, and Baker can move. They met their top defensive need with that pick. Miami got another tight end in the fourth round, landing a solid blocker/receiver in (Durham) Smythe. (Kalen) Ballage was a steal in the fourth round, as well, for a team that needed a good, young player at the position behind Frank Gore."
Joining the team: The University of North Carolina, via Twitter, said Monday that linebacker Cayson Collins was signing with the Dolphins as an undrafted rookie free agent. Collins was second on the Tar Heels last season with 83 tackles, including 4.5 for loss.
Familiar face: Running back Kenyan Drake is the Dolphins player most familiar with first-round pick Minkah Fitzpatrick, having played with him at Alabama in 2015. Tackle Laremy Tunsil, for his part, played against Fitzpatrick that same year when Ole Miss shocked the eventual national champion Crimson Tide, 43-37, at Alabama. "He's a good player," Tunsil said. "He's a great player, phenomenal player, smart player. He had to be a smart player to play for Nick Saban. I think it was a good addition for us. I'm looking forward to seeing him and working with him." Tunsil admitted he also was looking forward to seeing Fitzpatrick to remind him about that 2015 game. "Oh yeah, of course, as soon as he comes in I am."
School ties: The selection of Gesicki in the second round made a lot of folks involved with the Dolphins happy, but few more so than Manager of Youth Programs Troy Drayton. That's because the former Dolphins tight end starred at Penn State, just like Gesicki.
"I knew it was going to happen," Drayton said. "I just kept saying to myself, we need a tight end. I kept watching, I said, he's not gone yet. And I said in my mind before we picked, we're going to get this guy from Penn State. As soon as it came up, I said, I just hope he wears my number." Drayton wore 84 during his 3 1/2-year stay with the Dolphins and caught 127 passes while starting 53 games. Drayton is excited about the chance to talk Penn State football with Gesicki. "Trust me," Drayton said, "as soon as I get a chance, he'll know me very well."