Will Miami Dolphins GM Chris Grier's aggressive moves pay off in the long run?

MIAMI -- Chris Grier, the Miami Dolphins general manger, walked into a small room crammed with reporters on Nov. 3.
It was his first public appearance with local media since the 2021 NFL Draft. While he is quiet and reserved, he has been a seasoned GM. According to ESPN Stats & Information research Grier orchestrated 26 trades in the NFL since the beginning of 2019. He has dealt All-Pros like safety Minkah Fitzpatrick, left tackle Laremy Tusil, and quarterback Ryan Tannehill, and added polarizing stars such as quarterback Josh Rosen.

However, after all the dealing and wheeling, it isn't clear if Grier will be rewarded for his aggressive moves.

Since Grier's 2016 appointment as GM, Miami has been 40-49. Most of Grier's deals were to raise draft capital for future expansion. Grier trimmed the roster before the 2019 season. He accumulated draft picks and shed salary, which led to a promising 10-6 finish for 2020.

In 2021, the year that everything was supposed to be a success, Miami is now at 2-7. As it prepares for hosting the Baltimore Ravens on Thursday (8.20 p.m. ET, Fox/NFL Network

Although there are no signs that Grier's job may be in danger, it could change if Miami doesn't win its season.

Grier stated, "We are all frustrated." "We are trying to turn the tide in the second half. We have also added young, talented players.

"We are happy with their current situation and believe they will continue to grow."

Grier was one of the 13 top-90 draft picks in each of his three previous drafts. But his decisions at quarterback and on the offensive line could be his Miami legacy.

Tannehill was traded in 2019 and has led the Tennessee Titans (7-2), to the AFC's most successful record. Grier used the No. To select Tua Tagovailoa, Grier used the No. 5 overall pick in 2020. Tagovailoa's record is 7-7, with 18 TD passes, and 10 interceptions.

Jordan Reid, ESPN NFL draft analyst, said that the Dolphins' draft picks appeared good on paper before Grier took over, but that he used four top-90 picks in the drafts on offensive linemen (Liam Eichenberg. Austin Jackson. Robert Hunt. Michael Deiter) and they have not worked out. According to Pro Football Focus, Miami has the lowest pass block win rate at 44.6%. It also allows the most pressures.

Reid stated that Reid has consistently missed the offensive line. "I believe that's what really set this rebuild back."

Here's a look at Grier’s six drafts as Miami attempts to turn around its season in the second half.

Since 2016, Chris Grier has been Miami’s General Manager. Lynne Sladky/AP Photo


Picks: OL Laremy Tusil (No. 13), CB Xavien Hill (38), RB Kenyan Drake (73) WR Leonte Caroo (86), WR Jakeem Grant (186) WR Jordan Lucas (204), TE Thomas Duarte (223), QB Brandon Doughty (223), WR Jakeem Grant (186), S Jordan Lucas (204)

Miami, Howard

They passed on the following players: C Ryan Kelly (18), DE Shaq Lawrence (19).

Reid's view: "[Tunsil] ended-up being a successful player before the trade took place. ... "I think Howard is one of their biggest hits over the past six drafts."

Overview: Grier's tenure was a great start to his time as GM. He traded down and still got a potential Pro Bowler in round one (Tunsil), and landed Howard in round two. Grier added Drake in round three and Grant, the future second-team All-Pro return player in the sixth. Only Howard is still on the team from this eight-man draft group. Grier traded Tunsil from Houston to a 2020 first round pick, which became QB Jordan Love (Packers), and a 2021 first round pick that became QB Trey Lance [49ers].) A 2021 second-round Miami pick was used to take safety Jevon Hollins. Grier sent Grant to Chicago in exchange for a 2023 sixth round pick. Drake signed with Arizona through free agency. Third-round pick Carroo was traded to Miami for the No. By 2019, 86 was out of the league.

The Dolphins went 10-6 in 2016, which seemed like a promising year for them. It was a promising time for the Dolphins, who went 10-6 in 2016.


Picks: LB Charles Harris (No. 22), LB Raekwon McMillan (54), DB Cordrea Tankersley (97), OL Isaac Asiata (164), DT Davon Godchaux (178), DT Vincent Taylor (194), WR Isaiah Ford (237)

Start for Miami

They passed on the following players: CB Tre’Davious White (27) and LB T.J. Watt (30). OT Ryan Ramczyk (32)

Reid's view: "Passing on Watt was a huge-time mistake. Many people were shocked that Charles Harris made it to the first round. He didn't have much production from Mizzou. ... It was a huge reach for Miami.

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Overview: The Dolphins had a turbulent season. Tannehill tore his ACL in training camp and Hurricane Irma forced them into moving their home opener. Starting linebacker Lawrence Timmons was temporarily missing before Week 1.

This was, despite all that, Grier's worst draft group. The worst part of Grier's draft was his choice of Harris over Watt, 2020 Defensive Player-of-the Year. Grier passed on All-Pros White, Ramczyk and Ramczyk. But Harris's decision was the most painful because the Dolphins had been locked in to the pass-rusher almost a month before the draft.

Grier stated that Grier picked the pick because "this was a player everyone in the building -- personnel to coaches -- if the video of the entire room, you can see that everyone is going insane."

It didn't get any better. McMillan was traded to the Raiders in 2020, after three injuries-ridden seasons. Tankersley played 11 games in his rookie season, but he tore his ACL in 2018, and was never fully recovered. He was finally released in 2020. Ford, the seventh round pick, is still with the team.


Picks: DB Minkah Fitzpatrick (No. 11), TE Mike Gesicki (42) LB Jerome Baker (73), TE Durham Smythe (123) RB Kalen Ballage (1131), DB Cornell Armstrong (209) LB Quentin Poling (227), K Jason Sanders (229).

Starting for Miami: Gesicki, Baker, Sanders

They passed on a player: QB Lamar Jackson (32)

Reid's view: "Lamar was not going to be for everyone -- and what I mean is that you must invest completely in Lamar from an personnel standpoint. ... "I don't know if Miami is able or willing to do what Baltimore was able to do."

Overview: Grier's most successful draft class. He netted three starters and a future All-Pro player in Fitzpatrick. He traded Fitzpatrick in 2019 for picks at the first and fifth rounds (Austin Jackson and DE Jason Strowbridge), respectively, and in 2021 for a sixth-rounder (traded away). Baker was good enough to get a three-year extension in 2021. Gesicki is arguably Miami's most outstanding player this season. After the season, he can be an unrestricted-free agent.

The Dolphins were unable to make the playoffs this year despite drafting a solid team. Lamar Jackson's MVP season in 2019 and Tannehill leaving Miami in the same year make it stand out.


Picks: DL Christian Wilkins, No. 13), OL Mike Deiter (78), LB Andrew Van Ginkel (1151), OL Isaiah Prin (202), RB Chandler Cox (223), RB Myles Gazkin (2234)

Starting for Miami: Wilkins, Gaskin, Van Ginkel

They passed on the following players: DE Brian Burns (16).

Brian Flores (Miami Dolphins coach) and Chris Grier (GM) have led a rebuilding effort that began when Flores arrived in the Miami before 2019. AP Photo/Brynn Anderson, File

Reid's view: "Wilkins was a great player, but when you're talking to adding a player in a premium position such as [Burns], then I don't know how that could be possible." ... "I thought that [Burns] should be a top-10 pick easily."

Overview: After Grier's roster collapse, the Dolphins were nearly devoid of talent in 2019. He did his best with limited picks. Rosen was traded to Arizona by Grier for the team's fifth- and second-round picks. Rosen spent one season in Miami and started three games before being waived after Tagovailoa arrived. Although Wilkins and Deiter were solid, the Dolphins lost Burns to acquire edge rushers.

The regular season was the first step in Miami's two year plan to eliminate high-priced talent and increase its premium draft picks. This was also the first season under Brian Flores as head coach. He led the team to a record of 5-11, which was better than anyone expected given the limited talent.


Picks: QB Tua Tagovailoa (No. Picks: QB Tua Tagovailoa (No.

Start for Miami: Tagovailoa Jackson, Davis Hunt, Ferguson

They passed on the following players: QB Justin Herbert (66) and RB Jonathan Taylor (41).

Reid's view: "Austin Jackson I thought that was a stretch. Noah Igbinoghene was definitely a reach. Because of his rawness, I don't believe he should have been a first-round selection.

Selecting Tua Tagovailoa No. The defining decision for GM Chris Grier could be to select Tua Tagovailoa No. 5 in 2020. Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Overview: Grier could be Grier’s most important class due to the legacy of his family. After the Dolphins drafted their 2019 draft talent, "Tank for Tua," was a well-known slogan. Jackson and Igbinoghene were also drafted by the Dolphins. They looked terrible in real life, but they didn't look as bad as they do today.

Jackson was made to play left guard because of his poor performance at left tackle. This position had not been played since the U.S. Army All American game in high school. Igbinoghene was inactive for six out of nine games, and he played zero defensive snaps in the other two.

Tagovailoa will decide the draft class, as Grier selected Herbert -- 2020 Rookie-of-the Year -- to draft.

Multiple reports suggest that the Dolphins considered trading for Deshaun Watson, the Houston Texans quarterback. This suggests that they aren’t entirely confident in Tagovailoa’s long-term success. Louis Riddick, an ESPN NFL analyst, stated that he considered a trade for Watson "irresponsible" because Tagovailoa has not been successful over the past year.

Riddick stated that "Tua is not healthy." "If you look at Herbert’s situation, you will see that he had great mentors during the early part his career... then, on top it, a guy such as Herbert has had great weapons in guys such [receivers] Mike Williams or Keenan Allen.

"Tua has not had any of those. He hasn’t had the support, he’s not had the mentors, and he hasn’t been in the offensive system that would have led to the success Justin Herbert has. It's hard to make a definitive statement about what he is if you don't have the opportunity to set the stage for him.

Grier claimed that his pursuit of Watson wasn't a reflection on his feelings about Tagovailoa. He also denied a report Flores preferred Herbert, and Grier chose Tagovailoa against his coach's wishes.

Grier stated last week that "At the conclusion of the day we went through our processes with everyone and it was a process, and we felt good about Tua." We liked a lot about Tua. We also liked Justin. "... Tagovailoa [is] still developing and we are happy with where he is right now."


Picks: WR Jaylen Waddle (No. 6), LB Jaelan Phillips (18), DB Jevon Holland (36), OL Liam Eichenberg (42), TE Hunter Long (81), OL Larnel Coleman (231), RB Gerrid Doaks (244)

Starting for Miami: Holland, Waddle, Eichenberg

They passed on the following players: OL Penei Swell (7), OL Rashn Slater (13) and RB Najee Harris (24)

Reid's view: "There is a strange thing in the NFL that every time you spend a first round pick on a player you must exhaust all options to make him work out. That's what I believe happened to Austin Jackson. They basically penciled him in at the left tackle and were determined that he would provide some value, regardless of how he looked.

They could have picked a Penei or Rashawn Sewell -- even though they didn't play them at tackle. Having them in your offensive line would be great. Jaelan Phillips will be a great player. However, if you have Tua Tagovailoa as a pick, I'd rather have the offensive linemen protecting him than that of the defensive end.

Overview: Grier was a genius after the 2020 regular season ended. The Dolphins went 10-6 and the pick Grier received from Houston for Tunsil ended up being No. He finished third overall. He traded that pick to San Francisco in exchange for the No. He also received the No. 12 pick in 2022, and the first-round picks of 2023.

The No. The Eagles will receive the No. 12 pick, Miami's first-rounder for 2022, and the No. He used it to pick Tagovailoa’s college teammate Waddle as the 6th overall pick. Although it's too soon to rate this class, Miami's 2022 pick has been slated at No. 3, while San Francisco's (which Miami has) is currently at No. 9. If they had kept No. 10, the Dolphins would have two top-10 picks in 2022. Ja'Marr Chase was selected by the Dolphins as their third pick in the 2021 draft. He is the third-ranked receiver in the NFL for the Cincinnati Bengals.

This class produced Holland, who is a promising safety tandem with Brandon Jones, 2020 third-rounder.

Flores stated that Holland's and Jones development was "good." "We have a lot young players who are developing and getting lots of experience. I believe those two guys might be the hardest working men we have."

What's next?

Given the hype surrounding the team's arrival, the 2021 season was a significant setback for the Dolphins. Grier had a long-term strategy that would bring sustained success to Miami, but Miami is currently on track for its fourth consecutive losing season.

There are still rays of light. The Dolphins' three losses this season were on the final play of the game, which suggests that they aren't as bad as their record. They will have nine draft picks by 2022, with a top-10 selection in 2023 and two additional first-round picks 2023. They are also projected to have more than $93 million in cap space this offseason, which is the highest of any team in the NFL.

Grier will be able to accomplish almost anything that he desires to do on the roster. The first task on Grier's list will be to settle the quarterback situation. As Grier contemplates whether Grier should make a move to acquire a new QB or continue building around Tagovailoa, speculation about Watson will be sure to increase.

This is his most important yet.