The NFL Draft produced the usual headlines across the league, and some of them directly affected the Miami Dolphins. There is no question the Dolphins still had several needs entering the weekend, and they were able to address some of them with their picks.
Miami was the benefactor of the quarterback craze in more ways than one. With four signal callers going in the top ten picks of the draft, several players who should have been taken earlier dropped to teams.
One of those players was former Alabama safety Minkah Fitzpatrick, who went to the Dolphins at #11. Fitzpatrick is likely a top-five type talent, and he is going to fit perfectly in the Miami scheme alongside All-Pro Reshad Jones.
Fitzpatrick becomes primarily responsible for over-the-top coverage of tight ends and running backs while Jones will be freed up to play in the box. In addition to perhaps creating one of the top safety tandems in the NFL, this selection served another purpose.
With the top four quarterbacks gone, Miami was not tempted to get someone to compete with Ryan Tannehill. Fans are obsessed with the position, and many were clamoring during the pre-draft process for the Dolphins to select Baker Mayfield or Josh Rosen if they fell to the 11th pick.
While Tannehill is coming off of injury, he showed that he could have success with head coach Adam Gase in 2016. That tandem was good enough to get the Dolphins in the playoffs, which is why I find the criticism of the former first-round pick unfair.
Fans who ridicule Tannehill relentlessly might find it as a blessing in disguise that the Dolphins were able to add other talent instead of just trying to address the quarterback position.
The biggest thing the Dolphins did to help Tannehill was the selection of former Penn State tight end Mike Gesicki in the second round. Several mock drafts had Gesicki going in the first round, and he may be the most important Miami draft pick on offense in some time.
One reason Gesicki means so much is because of how reliable he is catching passes. That is a quality that could quickly endear him to Tannehill and make him a go-to target.
The other factor that makes Gesicki a potential page-turning acquisition is Miami's recent history at the position. They have tried to find tight ends recently that had success elsewhere like Jordan Cameron and Julius Thomas, but neither panned out.
Gesicki is not a stop-gap option like those two but rather someone who can solidify the position for the next decade. The Dolphins also drafted a blocking tight end, Notre Dame's Durham Smythe, and a third-string running back, Kalen Ballage, in the fourth round.
On the defensive side of the ball, Miami made one more major acquisition in the third round with ex-Ohio State linebacker Jerome Baker. Baker could immediately factor in as a starter at a position the Dolphins are very thin at.
Kiko Alonso is the veteran of the unit and Baker will be reunited with his former Ohio State teammate Raekwon McMillan. That should expedite the ability of the linebackers to build chemistry and give the Dolphins a nice combination of youth and experience to build off of.
Like many teams, it remains to be seen whether Miami's later round picks can make an impact. Sixth-round defensive back Cornell Armstrong, seventh-round linebacker Quentin Poling, and kicker Jason Sanders have varying odds to even make the 53-man roster, but the Dolphins accomplished what they needed to in the top half of the NFL Draft.
Now, all Fins fans will wait to see if the improvements are enough to get their team back in the playoffs in 2018.