Mel Kiper: Dolphins should’ve drafted Zach Cunningham over Raekwon McMillan

Raekwon McMillan isn’t versatile enough for Mel Kiper’s taste. (Getty Images)

At the time the Dolphins took linebacker Raekwon McMillan in the second round of the NFL Draft, ESPN analyst Mel Kiper seemed very down on the decision. He went far enough to say it would’ve been a good pick if this was still 1985.

When asked today for a little more explanation on that critique, Kiper didn’t back down. He said Miami should have gone with Vanderbilt linebacker Zach Cunningham, who went to Houston three picks later, in that spot.

“I liked Zach Cunningham as an every-down player,” he said. “He’s not necessarily the run stuffer that McMillan can be, but playing linebacker this league is about coverage against the pass and disrupting the quarterback. The range and athleticism is outstanding with Cunningham. McMillan is not a cover guy. He’s not an every-down player. I was less than overwhelmed with McMillan at that point.”

McMillan, who went 54th but was view by some as a third rounder, was the only linebacker Miami selected. Even if Kiper’s criticism is accurate, the pick makes some sense for a team that’s coming off the worst season of run defense in its history. There were plenty of times last year when it looked like the Dolphins needed a 1985-style thumper in the middle of the field.

Dolphins general manager Chris Grier said McMillan was the highest-rated player on their draft board at the time of the selection, regardless of position.

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