Minkah Fitzpatrick, Jerome Baker give Miami D long-term promise

The Miami Dolphins' rookie class was a mixed bag. They picked two defensive starters with long-term promise in Minkah Fitzpatrick and Jerome Baker, and two tight ends who didn't fulfill immediate promise in Mike Gesicki and Durham Smythe.

Dolphins owner Stephen Ross made it clear the team will rely on its young core going forward, which could create more opportunities for players who showed promise in limited reps, such as fourth-round running back Kalen Ballage. Here's a review of the Dolphins' 2018 draft class:

Grade: Average

Best rookie: Minkah Fitzpatrick. Though many fans clamored for a quarterback, Fitzpatrick succeeded as a hybrid defensive back and appears to be a player the Dolphins can build around alongside budding star cornerback Xavien Howard. Fitzpatrick was one of four rookies with 75-plus tackles, at least nine passes defensed and at least two interceptions. He split time between outside cornerback, slot cornerback and safety due to need, and there are still questions about his long-term position. But the Dolphins found a keeper in Fitzpatrick.

Most improved rookie: Jerome Baker. The speed was clear from the start, but Baker had to struggle through his run fits and ability to get off blocks early in the season. Baker's playmaking ability highlighted his potential as we saw in his pick-six, three sacks and forced fumble. By the end of the season, Baker was one of the Dolphins' most consistent defensive players.

Jury is still out on ...: Mike Gesicki. The Dolphins' second-round pick was certainly their most disappointing selection in 2018. He didn't make much of an impact in any phase, and eventually was usurped by Nick O'Leary, a waiver claim, as Miami's No. 1 tight end. Gesicki struggled with physical defenders, blocking and getting off press coverage. Miami needs Gesicki to make a big jump to become a quality, starting-caliber tight end in 2019.

Undrafted rookie evaluation: No undrafted rookies made the Dolphins' initial 53-man roster, but cornerback Jalen Davis latched onto the practice squad and made his way to the active roster by the end of the season. He provides Miami a promising depth option as a slot cornerback. Kicker Greg Joseph was beaten out by seventh-round pick Jason Sanders, who had a good season. Joseph landed on his feet as the Browns' kicker.