Which Dolphins draft pick could have the biggest impact in their rookie season?
The 2023 NFL draft took place just over a week ago, and everyone is still imagining the new additions to all 32 teams across the league and what they could mean for their future success.
Miami Dolphins general manager Chris Grier used his four selections to add four talented players who could all see playing time as rookies – South Carolina cornerback Cam Smith, Texas A&M running back Devon Achane, Stanford tight end Elijah Higgins and Michigan offensive tackle Ryan Hayes.
Smith, Miami’s first selection in the draft, will have an opportunity to be the third cornerback behind Jalen Ramsey and Xavien Howard. With coaching from defensive minds like cornerbacks coach Sam Madison and defensive coordinator Vic Fangio, he should be put in a position to prove himself as a second-round pick.
Achane, the Dolphins’ third-round pick, could make a name for himself on offense and special teams, as he also had a solid resume as a returner for the Aggies. Still, with Raheem Mostert and Jeff Wilson Jr. being above him on the depth chart, and Myles Gaskin and Salvon Ahmed fighting for a roster spot as well, it’s unclear what type of role he’ll have as a rookie.
Miami’s final pick in the draft, Hayes, will likely come into the offseason program looking to compete for a depth spot at either tackle or guard, as he’s willing to play either in the NFL. With Liam Eichenberg, Austin Jackson and Terron Armstead’s injury history, Hayes may be needed to step up if he does stake claim to a roster spot.
However, it could be Higgins who, if he were to develop and prove himself, could have the biggest impact on this team.
The Dolphins went into the draft with tight end being one of their biggest needs with Mike Gesicki departing for the New England Patriots, Hunter Long traded to the Los Angeles Rams and Cethan Carter released.
This left Miami with just Durham Smythe, Tanner Conner and newly-signed Eric Saubert.
Higgins will likely take some of Gesicki’s responsibilities as a pass-catching tight end, but he also has the potential of learning and growing as a blocker under the tutelage of tight ends coach Jon Embree.
If he can win one of the top spots on the depth chart, Higgins has a chance to be the most impactful rookie, as he’d provide the team with something that they appear to be lacking at the moment.
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