Grading Miami Dolphins drafts under Adam Gase, Chris Grier, Mike Tannenbaum

Minkah Fitzpatrick will look like a great pick if he’s a starter this year, and if the Dolphins can figure out a good role for T.J. McDonald. (Getty Images)

The Dolphins have had three runs through the NFL Draft with Adam Gase, Mike Tannenbaum and Chris Grier in charge, and it’s already reasonably clear they’ve got some hits and misses.

Of the 20 players those three have selected, led by Grier as the team’s draft czar, eight have a good shot at being in the starting lineup this season. That includes this year’s No. 11 pick, safety Minkah Fitzpatrick, who will have to beat out T.J. McDonald for a spot.

Whether that’s good or bad depends on how those players play. Seeing the draft picks materialize into starters isn’t inherently a positive unless those guys help the Dolphins win.

They’ve selected 10 in the first three rounds, highlighted by top picks Fitzpatrick, defensive end Charles Harris and left tackle Laremy Tunsil. Harris and Tunsil are off to promising starts, though both are under pressure to show big improvement this season.

Tunsil began at left guard because the team had Branden Albert, then shifted into his natural position last season. He was up and down, and inconsistency at left tackle can unravel the whole offense. With 29 career starts and a full season of playing left tackle in the NFL behind him, this is the year for Tunsil to prove he was worth the No. 13 pick.

Harris seemed like a pick for the future when Miami, coming off a 10-6 playoff season, chose him No. 22 overall a year ago.

He was obviously going to sit behind Cameron Wake and Andre Branch as a rookie, and his prospects for playing in the upcoming season aren’t much better given that Wake is still a force and the team traded for Robert Quinn. It also won’t be easy to beat out Branch, whose 2017 dropoff was attributable largely to injury trouble.

Harris played every game last year and graded out well internally, but managed just two sacks despite being on the field for almost 500 snaps.

Xavien Howard (second round, 2016) and Cordrea Tankersley (third, 2017) are viable starters at cornerback and could be an excellent tandem for Miami if play at the top end of what they’ve shown so far.

Raekwon McMillan, the second-round pick last year, earned the starting middle linebacker job last summer before tearing his ACL in the first preseason game. He’ll resume that spot this season, and the Dolphins are already counting on him to anchor their defense.

Then there’s Kenyan Drake, who already looks like a jackpot find by Grier at pick No. 73 overall in the third round in 2016. Drake, an Alabama product who is one of 17 Miami picks from Power 5 schools, could prove to be the team’s biggest value of draftee in this three-year span.

He’s got the opportunity this year to become the focal point of the offense, and there’s good cause to be optimistic. He led the NFL in rushing over the final five games of last season with 444 (88.8 per game and 4.9 per carry), plus two touchdowns and 150 yards receiving.

The Dolphins are hoping current fourth-rounder Kalen Ballage will develop into a similar threat and form a dynamic long-term backfield with Drake.

This year’s Day 2 picks, tight end Mike Gesicki out of the second round and linebacker Jerome Baker from the third, are also expected to vie for starting role. Gesicki already is the clear favorite to take over at tight end, where the roster is light on proven production.

The only big letdown for Miami out of players chosen in the first three rounds is receiver Leonte Carroo, who goes into his third season with 10 catches, 98 yards and one touchdown in 28 games. That’s not exactly “a much faster Anquan Boldin,” as he described himself on draft day in 2016.

If Carroo was a draft error by the Dolphins, it’s compounded by the fact that they packaged three picks in a deal with Minnesota to be able to take him. He has two years left on his rookie contract, and the Dolphins can afford to be patient since his salary cap hit is under $1 million both seasons.

Of their Day 3 picks, the biggest hit by far out of the 2016 and ’17 classes was LSU defensive tackle Davon Godchaux. He might be the best at his position on this team now that Ndamukong Suh is gone.

Jakeem Grant (sixth round, 2016) has also been a good find, particularly in the return game, and the team might have its new kicker in recent seventh-rounder Jason Sanders.

The only one of the 20 draft picks that’s no longer on the team is 2016 seventh-rounder Brandon Doughty, who was unable to break onto the depth chart at quarterback and was granted his release last month.

Free agency has monumental implications, and certainly Gase is responsible to work with the roster holdovers from the previous regime, but smart drafting is the route to competing regularly. If the Dolphins can keep finding two or three quality starters in every draft, they’ll keep getting better.

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