Part 5: Miami Dolphins, Chris Grier, and Drafts from 2016-2022

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:

What have we learned?

As I’ve taken each round, and each player and position, into consideration, I’ve learned a lot.

I’ve learned that Chris Grier is not averse to drafting running backs (in sync with the league average). I’ve learned that he leans slightly towards the defensive side of the ball with draft picks (27:22 in favor of defense). He’s drafted three quarterbacks total, two of which on Day 3 – though he did trade a 2nd-rounder for Josh Rosen in 2019. I’ve also learned that their drafting hasn’t really changed since they took Tua in 2020, leaning defensively as they had previously (11:9 in favor of defense). He also had an incredible 2018 draft for which he doesn’t get enough credit.

I’ve also learned that he gets more heat for misses in the first round than he does hits in the first round, of which he’s had far more of the latter. See 2021.

Most importantly, I’ve learned that come draft day, I feel I can absolutely trust him at the helm – especially with Mike McDaniel by his side.

Here’s some high-level notes from each day of the draft:

  • Day 1: Round 1
    • Notable Hits: Jaylen Waddle, Jaelen Phillips, Tua Tagovailoa, Christian Wilkins, Minkah Fitzpatrick, and Laremy Tunsil
    • Hit Rate: 67% (League average of 71% for rounds 1-3)
    • Noteworthy Insights: In most Grier conversations, the misses of Harris, Igbo, and Jackson overpower the hits. However, that shouldn’t be the case. Chris Grier has a proven track record of hitting on players at a high rate in the first round even with the three misses (or likely misses, their careers aren’t over).
  • Day 2: Rounds 2 and 3
    • Notable Hits: Xavien Howard, Kenyan Drake, Raekwon McMillan, Mike Gesicki, Jerome Baker, Robert Hunt, Raekwon Davis, Brandon Jones, and Jevon Holland
    • Hit Rate: 69% (League average of 71% for rounds 1-3)
    • Noteworthy Insights: This is where Grier’s drafting prowess really kicks in, not only hitting at a high rate but in volume. Every name in that hit list has – or will – receive a second contract. There are also some stars and future stars on that list.
  • Day 3: Rounds 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7
    • Notable Hits: Durham Smythe, Andrew Van Ginkel, Davon Godchaux, Blake Ferguson, Jakeem Grant, Myles Gaskin, and Jason Sanders.
    • Hit Rate: ~30% (above the league average of 28%)
    • Noteworthy Insights: While most of these players have proven to be replacement-level roster pieces, Smythe, AVG, Ferguson and Sanders are all proven starters that will likely remain with the team in the future.

What does it all mean for the Miami Dolphins?

Chris Grier, based on the insights above, is a strong performer in the NFL Draft and going into this years draft, fans can trust that the historical data backs this up.

Through the first three rounds, Chris Grier is just about in line with the league average – hitting on 15 out of 22 non-incomplete evaluation players for 68% (the league average is 71%). For rounds 4-7, he’s above the league average of 28%, achieving a 30% hit rate by my evaluation. For his draft picks as a whole, he’s achieved a hit rate of about 49% on 45 non-incomplete evaluations.

I’ve alluded to this in each article – Chris Grier can draft. Has he made mistakes? Sure. Is he perfect? No. However, the data shows the historically he’s not only in line with the league average but when there’s greater volume he’s above the league (Day 3). Now, come this weekend, rest assured that the team is in good hands. Enjoy the draft.

After the draft, I’ll explore the picks here and see if there’s any insights we can take from whom the team chooses.

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