Good general managers are typically able to pick one star, two additional solid starters and a couple of good backups/special team players each and every draft. These players spend multiple contracts with their team and serve as the solid core for the franchise's long term success. With this core in place these teams are able to use free agency to concentrate on only a handful of position that will put them over the top.
With the sustained history of all of the Dolphins GMs from Wannstedt to Ireland failing to draft players that can stick with the team as starters over the course of a career, we are constantly forced to use both the draft and free agency to fill holes that we thought we had filled two, three or four years ago. It is a never ending cycle of failure and mediocrity and will only be fixed when we hire a front office who can draft 3 starters and 2 solid backups every year over a sustained period of five or more years.
Until this problem is fixed the Dolphins franchise will be without hope of being anything more than a study in mediocrity.