Tunsil comes to South Florida with character concerns, especially after a video surfaced on social media just before the draft of him wearing a gas mask and smoking a substance through a plastic tube. Tunsil must prove he can stay out of trouble at the NFL level. He said he will arrive in Miami focused and with a chip on his shoulder.
"Don’t question my character," Tunsil said. "You can’t judge a book by its cover, man. I’m a good person. I’m a laid-back guy. I don’t do much."
My take: This is a boom-or-bust pick for Miami. On the field, Tunsil could fit in well. The Dolphins have allowed the most quarterback sacks in the NFL (184) since 2012, and Tunsil can be an immediate starter on Miami’s much-maligned offensive line. According to Dolphins general manager Chris Grier, Tunsil was the No. 2 overall player on their board, and they are comfortable with their background checks on him.
However, Tunsil and South Beach is a risky proposition. He found himself in trouble while in Oxford, Mississippi, and Miami will offer a lot more temptations. They could have easily gone with a safer pick to begin a new era under rookie head coach Adam Gase. The last time Miami took such a major risk, it was with Dion Jordan in 2013, and the former No. 3 overall pick suffered three NFL suspensions while with the Dolphins.
"This is a guy, he loves football," Grier said of Tunsil. "This is guy that’s ultra-competitive when you watch him play. This is a different situation from that [of Jordan]. This guy is different.”
Tackle or guard? It is unclear where Tunsil fits on the field as a rookie. The Dolphins already have two starting offensive tackles in Branden Albert and Ja'Wuan James. Albert made the Pro Bowl last season and likely will stay at left tackle. The coaching staff must decide whether Tunsil is better suited at right tackle during his rookie year and move James inside or make Tunsil play guard. Either way, the Dolphins hope Tunsil will be the left tackle of the future.
Dolphins have mixed history: Is recent first-round history an indicator of future success? The Dolphins' past five first-round picks are a mixed bag. They selected receiver DeVante Parker in 2015, right tackle James in 2014, Jordan in 2013, quarterback Ryan Tannehill in 2012 and center Mike Pouncey in 2011. Only Pouncey made the Pro Bowl and is the biggest hit. James and Tannehill are both starters and contributors but certainly not stars. Jordan is a flat-out bust, and Parker has just one season under his belt. The Dolphins ideally would need Tunsil to develop into a future Pro Bowler to help the team get over the hump.
What’s next: The Dolphins have seven picks remaining in the draft, including picks on Friday at No. 42 overall and No. 73 overall; Friday will be a big day for Miami to build its roster depth, especially in the second round. The Dolphins hit big in that round with receiver Jarvis Landry in 2014. However, other recent second-rounders, such as cornerback Jamar Taylor, offensive tackle Jonathan Martin and running back Daniel Thomas, were all misses. The Dolphins must hit with these two valuable picks on Friday.