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MIAMI – Chris Grier has been a bit bored in the NFL draft weekend before. Back in 2002, long before he was general manager of the Miami Dolphins and still only an area scout, Miami had no choice in either of the first two rounds. The Dolphins’ first pick that year was offensive lineman Seth McKinney in the third round of the 90th overall pick.
Twenty years later, the wait will be even longer, as the Dolphins are not scheduled to pick until No. 102. Grier content the first day and a half of this year’s draft because the Dolphins are now able to take the best available player.
Shopping for Hill was the boldest move in a busy low season that has filled Miami’s biggest gaps on the list. This week the dolphins rejected the latest speculation about possibly dealing with Buccaneers QB Tom Brady, and Grier shut down talk of potential interest in free agent safety Tyrann Mathieu, saying the team will move on with his young duo Brandon Jones and Jevon Holland.
“We have been building here for a while since we took over [he became GM in in 2016]just trying to acquire picks and clean up the salary cap and stuff like that, and so I think that was the opportunity to add a good player, a very dynamic player – one that we feel is one of the best players in the league, “Grier said of the Hill deal Monday in Miami at NFL owners’ meetings.
“When those opportunities come, you can not pass them on, and I think we had spent the last few years, as I said, building and getting the roster to a point where we feel we can begin to compete.”
The Dolphins missed the playoffs with one game in 2021 and have undergone major off-season changes to get over that hump. They gave Mike McDaniel his first head coaching job, assembled an experienced offensive staff and made a barrage of additions to the offense to boost a unit that has not finished a season ranked in the top 10 since 1995.
If the primary goal of the offseason was to build around third-year quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, Miami has passed with flying colors – on paper.
But McDaniel said the process is far from complete, even with an improved list.
“Have we done enough? We’ve barely scratched the surface,” he said. “There’s no shortcut to doing anything good in this league … there is no shortcut, there is no secret. It’s guys who come together and try to work for a common goal and become the best offensive that is – remember, football is 11 separate players working together in unison at the same time and that’s what we need to start working on on Monday.
“Every single day we will challenge Tua to be his very best, as well as all the other players on the offensive.”
McDaniel refers to the start date of April 4 for the Dolphins’ offseason training program, which may begin two weeks earlier than other teams due to his status as the new head coach.
Marcel Louis-Jacques breaks down the Dolphins’ decision to sign offensive tackle Terron Armstead.
The question now is, what remaining traits are needed in addition to building chemistry among their new players?
Grier said he has received calls from other teams about trading with receiver DeVante Parker and center Michael Deiter. He expects both to be with the Dolphins in 2022, but acknowledged that interest in Deiter is strong.
Miami needs depth in the inner offensive line, and Deiter, who missed 11 games last season with a knee injury, will compete to regain his starting job. Grier noted that last year was Deiter’s first player center and said he is not ready to move on from him yet.
“Mike really developed as a kind of leader. He became a lot more vocal,” Grier said. “He had an injury last year that was a kind of insane injury. Our doctors had said they had not really seen anything like it … so he really has not played a ton of matches at the center. The interesting thing about him is, that every year (in) the low season we have had teams called – several teams called – and offered us choices for him. So he is thought pretty well around the league. “
No matter what happens between now and the draft, which kicks off on April 28 on ESPN, Miami’s biggest need now is to play before the season.
Grier has insisted his team no longer rebuild. His actions have so far matched his words.