Part 4: Miami Dolphins, Chris Grier, and Day 3 Draft Trends

Editors Note: Thanks for making this the most-viewed Miami Dolphins content here on Dolphins Digest to date! I greatly appreciate it and hope you continue to enjoy this expansive series.

Table of Contents:

Welcome to Day Three

So far, we’ve laid out a plan for this draft deep-dive, taken a broad look at all of the draft picks made by Chris Grier, and dove into round one as well as rounds two and three. Now, it’s time to take a look at Day 3 picks (4th round through the 7th round) made by Chris Grier since he took over as General Manager of the Miami Dolphins in 2016.

Here are all the day three picks since the 2016 NFL draft. Note: Due to the volume of picks that naturally occurs on Day 3, I’m breaking these down by round first, then year, versus prior charts in this series. I’m also not breaking down every single player as I have previously.

YearRound (Pick)Player (Pos.)
20224 (125)Erik Ezukanma (WR)
20204 (111)Solomon Kindley (G)
20184 (123)Durham Smythe (TE)
20205 (154)Jason Strowbridge (DE)
20205 (161)Curtis Weaver (DE)
20195 (151)Andrew Van Ginkel (LB)
20175 (164)Isaac Asiata (G)
20175 (178)Davon Godchaux (DT)
20206 (185)Blake Ferguson (LS)
20196 (202)Isaiah Prince (T)
20186 (209)Cornell Armstrong (DB)
20176 (194)Vincent Taylor (DT)
20166 (186) Jakeem Grant (WR)
20166 (204)Jordan Lucas (DB)
20227 (224)Cameron Goode (LB)
20227 (247)Skylar Thompson (QB)
20217 (231)Larnel Coleman (T)
20217 (244)Gerrid Doaks (RB)
20207 (246)Malcolm Perry (WR)
20197 (233)Chandler Cox (RB/FB)
20197 (234)Myles Gaskin (RB)
20187 (227)Quentin Poling (LB)
20187 (229)Jason Sanders (K)
20177 (237)Isaiah Ford (WR)
20167 (223)Brandon Doughty (QB)
20167 (231)Thomas Duarte (TE)

Alright, let’s dig into what the data tells us.

First and foremost, assuming every team would have a baseline of (1) pick in each of the four rounds on day three (4, 5, 6, and 7), that would mean each team would have a total of 28 selections across these four rounds from 2016-2022.

From 2016-2022, the Miami Dolphins had (3) fourth-round selections, (5) fifth-round selections, (6) sixth-round selections, and (12) seventh-round selections for a grand total of 26 day three draft picks in seven seasons.

Without further adieu, let’s dive in:

Fourth-Round Insights and Tendencies for the Miami Dolphins

  • All three draft selections were on the offensive side of the ball.
    • Each occurred every other year starting in 2018.
    • Durham Smythe (TE) has gone on to receive a second and third contract with the team, inclusive of extensions, and is currently at the top of the TE depth chart pre-2023 draft.
    • Erik Ezukanma (WR) is an incomplete evaluation at this point, effective red-shirting his rookie season, and Solomon Kindley (G) was most recently on the New York Giants practice squad.
  • Average position of first selection in the 4th-round: 119.7 (this can be due to trades)

Fifth-Round Insights and Tendencies for the Miami Dolphins

  • Four draft selections on the defensive side of the ball.
    • Of those, two would go on to receive second contracts.
    • Andrew Van Ginkel, a player who earned a one-year second contract so far, has played in 56 games with 31 starts, accumulating 181 tackles, 38 QBHits, and 11 sacks. He also has 4 forced fumbles, 2 fumble recoveries and one touchdown off a fumble recovery. AVG, as he’s known to fans, is a rotational player that absolutely earned a second deal.
    • Davon Godchaux, a DT taken in 2017, would also go on to earn a new contract but with the division-rival New England Patriots. For his career, across 86 games with 75 starts, Godchaux has 306 total tackles, 2 forced fumbles, 24 QBHits, and 5.5 sacks.
  • One draft selection on the offensive side of the ball.
    • Isaac Asiata, the lone offensive 5th-rounder under Chris Grier, had just 6 total snaps in two seasons in the NFL, all on Special Teams.
  • Average position of first selection in the 5th-round: 134.7 (this can be due to trades)

Sixth-Round Insights and Tendencies for the Miami Dolphins

  • Three draft selections on the defensive side of the ball.
    • Of those, two would go on to receive second contracts.
    • DT Vincent Taylor has gone on to play in 5 seasons across the Miami Dolphins, Buffalo Bills, Cleveland Browns, and Atlanta Falcons. The year with Atlanta, year 6, was spent on Injured Reserve.
    • DB Cornell Armstrong has gone on to play four seasons in the league across the Miami Dolphins, Houston Texans x2, and the Atlanta Falcons.
  • Two draft selections on the offensive side of the ball.
    • The only player of note here is wide receiver Jakeem Grant. Grant has played in 81 games, hauling in 100 receptions for 1140 yards and 7 touchdowns across 7 full seasons in the NFL. During that time, he played for the Miami Dolphins and Chicago Bears. His 8th season, in 2022, was missed due to injury in training campt for the Cleveland Browns.
  • Blake Ferguson, the team’s current long snapper, was also drafted in the 6th round. He’s played in all 50 games in his three seasons with the team.
  • Average position of first selection in the 6th-round: 195.2 (this can be due to trades)

Seventh-Round Insights and Tendencies for the Miami Dolphins

  • Two draft selections on the defensive side of the ball.
    • Of those, neither would go on to receive second contracts or play a snap for the Miami Dolphins
  • Nine draft selection on the offensive side of the ball.
    • We have a trend here. Across the (7) 7th-rounds Chris Grier has overseen, 75% of his picks have come on the offensive side of the ball. WIlling to take chances on offense with these picks? It appears so.
    • Three have at least some significance: Isaiah Ford, Myles Gaskin and Skylar Thompson
      • Isaiah Ford has been a member of the Miami Dolphins thirty times. Wait, that’s not right – it just feels like that. He has, however, experienced 37 total transactions in his time in the league. Overall, he’s played in 32 games for the Dolphins with 681 yards on 63 receptions and two touchdowns. He was also traded one time to the New England Patriots where he never played a down, re-signing with the Miami Dolphins after being cut. Nice.
      • Myles Gaskin, arguably the most accomplished 7th rounder under Chris Grier, did receive a second contract with the team this off-season. For his career, 38 total games, Gaskin has 361 carries for 1,355 yards (3.8 ypa) and 7 touchdowns on the ground. He also added 101 receptions for 701 yards and 6 touchdowns through the air. The bulk of his production came during the 2020 and 2021 campaigns.
      • Skylar Thompson, while having just one season under his belt, has dealt with the most pressure of the group. Thompson played in 7 regular season games, with two starts, completing 57.1% of his passes for 534 yards, one touchdown, and three interceptions. He also started (and almost won) the Dolphin’s lone playoff game since the 2016 season against the Buffalo Bills, hence the pressure, in which he completed 18 of 45 passes for 220 yards, one touchdown, and two interceptions.
  • Jason Sanders, the current kicker for the Miami Dolphins, was also drafted in the 7th round in the 2018 draft. Jason Sanders not only went on to receive a second, big-money, contract with the team but he also was selected to the 2018 All-Rookie team, was a 2020 First Team All-Pro, four player of the week awards, three player of the month awards and even lead the league in points scored in 2020 with 144. Yeah, he’s been solid. Absolutely a hit.
  • Average position of first selection in the 7th-round: 231.6 (this can be due to trades)

Which players were a hit and which were a miss for the Miami Dolphins?

Since the volume of draft selections is now dramatically increasing, I will go even simpler here with my criteria focused on players that earned or will likely earn a second contract even if for a different team. I’ll also consider playing time and how much they contributed in Miami or elsewhere.

Ultimately, my list of “hits,” which is certainly a lot looser by this point in the draft, is Durham Smythe, Andrew Van Ginkel, Davon Godchaux, Blake Ferguson, Jakeem Grant, Myles Gaskin, and Jason Sanders.

My “incomplete evaluations” list is really just the 2022 rookies Skylar Thompson, Cameron Goode, and Erik Ezukanma.

It’s hard to call everyone else a “miss” when many were UDFA-types anyway so this is definitely where the already-inexact science becomes, well, more inexact.

What does it all mean for the Miami Dolphins?

Chris Grier, based on the insights above, has achieved a roughly 30% hit rate across day three draft selections, excluding “incomplete evaluations,” since he took over as General Manager of the Miami Dolphins. That’s 7 out of 23.

What does all of that mean? Well, when Grier hits in these rounds the player can, and sometimes do, become a rotation player, a starter, and even could become an all-pro like Sanders. So, where does 30% rank amongst the NFL’s General Managers? According to Bleacher Report, that’s slightly ahead of the average (28.2). Nice.

So, I’m trusting Grier with these dart throws, too. Are you seeing a theme?

Next up is a full recap on what I’ve taken away from this deep-dive – and what I hope you take away from it, too.

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