The Miami Dolphins won nine of their last 11 games to finish 10-6 and make the playoffs as a wild card team. They quickly exited at the hands of AFC North champion Pittsburgh, but still gained valuable experience winning games in the first year under head coach Adam Gase.
The Dolphins did not need to make major changes this offseason. They did a good job of identifying players to plug holes and signing them.
Here are the three best moves and the worst one made by the Miami Dolphins this offseason.
#1. Signing Lawrence Timmons
The 31-year-old veteran has played a lot of football in his 10-year NFL career, all with the Pittsburgh Steelers, but still has something to give the Dolphins defense.
Timmons has recorded over 100 combined tackles in each of the last five season and has missed only two games in his career, both in 2009. He can be another coach on the field with his experience both in the regular season and playoffs. Perhaps most importantly, his words will resonate within the group, especially with rookie second round draft pick Raekwon McMillan.
#2. Draft picks
The Dolphins did a good job with each of their seven picks. Defensive end Charles Harris is a stud pass rusher from a university, Missouri, that has produced a number of star NFL pass rushers in recent drafts. Linebacker Raekwon McMillan can step in and start right away on the outside. Cornerback Cordrea Tankersley has the size, speed and physicality that can make him a starter on the outside in passing situations (his run support leaves a lot to be desired). Guard Isaac Asiata should push for a starting spot right away. Defensive tackles Davon Godchaux and Vincent Taylor will rotate into the lineup to give the Dolphins one of the deeper interior defensive lines units in the league. Wide receiver Isaiah Ford is a project with a lot of upside. The Dolphins drafted players that could make a big impact very soon with every one of their selections.
#3. Signing Anthony Fasano
The Dolphins were not good running the ball last season, despite Jay Ajayi’s breakout performances. The team’s offensive line gave their runners an average of 1.9 yards before contact, which was 25th in the league.
Fasano is one of the best run blocking tight ends in the league (in fact, Pro Football Focus gave him the highest run block grade of any tight end last season). Along with blocking, he can help in the short yardage passing game. He has very good hands, but isn’t athletic enough to separate from defenders downfield.
The worst: Signing T.J. McDonald
McDonald should have been a big boost for the Dolphins secondary. But the 26-year-old ball-hawking safety is suspended for the first eight games of the season because of a substance abuse violation. He was arrested in May of 2016 and later pled guilty to a misdemeanor count of driving under the influence of drugs. He found out about the suspension while on a visit with the Dolphins in late March.
NFL.com ranked him as the 18th best free agent this offseason. The positive for the Dolphins is that they signed him to a one-year contract for $1,344,445 with no guaranteed money. The Dolphins also signed an insurance policy in former Oakland Raider Nate Allen.