The Miami Dolphins suffered their first losing season of the Adam Gase era. One of several reasons Miami wasn’t able to find consistency was due to its inability to get production out of a majority of its rookie class.
Best rookie: Miami’s most NFL-ready rookie turned out to be fifth-round pick Davon Godchaux. The defensive tackle was a valuable member of the Dolphins’ defensive line rotation and finished with 38 tackles and a forced fumble. Playing alongside stud defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, who was voted team MVP and was constantly double-teamed this season, certainly helped. But Godchaux proved as a rookie he could win enough one-on-one matchups to be a factor in the trenches.
Most improved rookie: Third-round pick Cordrea Tankersley was ineffective in training camp. He also wasn’t a standout in the preseason. But Tankersley took advantage of his opportunity when Miami named him the starter in October over veteran cornerback Byron Maxwell, who was later released. Tankersley put together a few solid games, including an impressive road win over the Atlanta Falcons and their talented passing game. Tankersley finished with 31 tackles and seven pass defenses, and set the table to play a role on Miami’s defense in 2018.
Most disappointing rookie: The Dolphins were enamored with first-round pick Charles Harris during the pre-draft process -- so much so that the team did all it could leading up to the draft to keep its plans to draft Harris under wraps. Miami spent the No. 22 overall pick on Harris, expecting a dynamic pass-rusher who could make an immediate impact. Instead, Harris produced two sacks as a rookie and has had trouble defending the run. He still has a lot to learn.
Jury is still out on...: Miami fifth-round pick Isaac Asiata had every opportunity to be a rookie starter. The Dolphins had plenty of issues at guard, which included injuries to starters Ted Larsen and Jermon Bushrod at different points of the season. But Asiata hasn’t shown enough in practice and the Dolphins turned to unheralded replacement Jesse Davis, who leapfrogged Asiata on the depth chart during the year. Asiata has a lot of work ahead to try to earn a role with the Dolphins next season.
Undrafted rookie evaluation: Miami got solid production out of a pair of undrafted rookies in linebacker Chase Allen and punter Matt Haack. Allen became a spot starter under tough circumstances. He replaced outside linebacker Lawrence Timmons in Week 2 against the Los Angeles Chargers when Timmons went AWOL a day before the game. Allen also replaced middle linebacker Rey Maualuga for three games after Maualuga was arrested and subsequently released. Allen finished with 32 tackles and also had two forced fumbles.