Once upon a time, many draft experts expected Ole Miss offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil to be selected as the No. 1 overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft. After some controversy and more character-related concerns surfaced prior to the start of draft, he slipped out of the top 10 entirely.
For years, the Miami Dolphins’ offensive line has struggled for years. So with the 13th pick, the team thought Tunsil was too talented to pass up.
The three-year starter at Ole Miss was rated the best player on a lot of team's draft boards until a video of Tunsil wearing a gas mask smoking through a bong appeared on his Twitter account. The video was quickly erased, but the damage had been done.
Dolphins general manager Chris Grier said they didn't think they could get Tunsil, but he was the No. 2-rated player on their board.
"We are excited to have Laremy (Tunsil) on our roster," Grier said. "We had heard rumors, but we had done work. We had known about it. The video is two years old. So, from all the information we had, we were comfortable with it."
Tunsil’s explanation? "Somebody hacked my account," he claimed to NFL Network's Deion Sanders.
Many experts thought Tunsil could have gone as high as No. 1 to the Tennessee Titans before they traded the pick to the Los Angeles Rams, which selected California quarterback Jared Goff. Even after the move and Philadelphia trading with Cleveland for the second pick (Eagles took North Dakota State QB Carson Wentz), the belief was that Tunsil was very much in play at No. 3 for the San Diego Chargers. But they decided to take Ohio State defensive end Joey Bosa instead. Once Tunsil slipped past the Jaguars at No. 5, there were thoughts the Ravens could select him, but they reportedly took him off of their draft board entirely and chose Notre Dame tackle Ronnie Stanley instead.
Tunsil slipping to 13th in the draft could be a blessing in disguise for the Dolphins and particularly quarterback Ryan Tannehill. Miami has allowed the most sacks in the NFL over the last three seasons and may have added arguably the best pass protector in this year's draft class.
Tunsil has the prototypical size (6-5, 310) for an NFL tackle. He shows great effort in both run- and pass-blocking situations. Tunsil is an intelligent tackle as he knows when a blitz is coming and also knows how to pick up defenders well.
On paper, the selection of Tunsil is as good of a first-round pick the Dolphins have made in years. Tunsil could come in immediately and fortify the Dolphins’ offensive line.
Tunsil said he is ready to prove the doubters wrong. "You can't judge a book by its cover,” he said during his introductory press conference. “I'm a good person. I'm a laid back person."
— Written by Antwan Staley, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network and has extensive experience covering Florida sports teams. Staley has written for Bleacher Report, Pro Player Insiders and is a reporter for Sports Talk Florida. Follow him on Twitter @antwanstaley.
(Top photo courtesy of Getty Images)