Miami Dolphins

Miami

NFL Team Column
By Tyler Macdonell

7 May 2011 

Miami Dolphins Draft Recap

So the 2011 NFL Draft has come and gone for the Dolphins and their fans.  Some fans and experts are disappointed with who was taken while others are pleased and think that the Dolphins made the necessary moves needed to become a perennial contender.  I happen to be somewhere in between.  I wasn’t disappointed that the Dolphins didn’t take a quarterback like so many other fans are. I think that with the 15th pick it would have been a major reach for the Fish to take any of the passers who were still available and by the time they picked again in the second round no one was left worth taking at that spot either.  If you read my “Fishing for Needs” series leading up to the draft you will know that I am not huge fan of Ryan Mallet and that the only two quarterbacks I would have been interested in taking in the first round were either Blaine Gabbert or Cam Newton, and in the second round Colin Kaepernick or Christian Ponder.  Newton was the first player taken on Thursday so he was never available to the Dolphins, and although Gabbert did slip from where he was projected to go, the Dolphins didn’t make the move up into the top ten to take him. 

Truthfully the Dolphins never had the necessary ammunition to make such a trade and although Gabbert is really good, he isn’t a guarantee; and the Dolphins, especially Jeff Ireland and Tony Sporano, need guarantees.  Neither the coach nor the general manager has time to develop a new quarterback. They are on the hot seat and they need to win now and they need players who can make an immediate impact. 

With that thinking I had figured and had hoped that the Fish would instead trade back in the first round and acquire a second round pick (since theirs was lost in the deal that landed Brandon Marshall last year) or at the very least, an additional third.  It was very apparent that the second round would be when the top running backs would start coming off the board; a position the Dolphins needed to address.  Prior to the draft I was certain that they wouldn’t have a problem moving back in acquiring a second round pick.  However, on Thursday I was proven wrong when the Dolphins were not able to make such a move.  I am sure they tried but there just wasn’t a trade partner who was willing.  I was disappointed at first and I wondered how the rest of the draft would unfold. But by Saturday night I was quite pleased and impressed with the team’s new additions and how Jeff Irelands went about acquiring them.
So now let’s take a look at how the real draft unfolded in comparison to my mock.

-Remember that for my 2011 NFL Mock Draft I made a trade with Seattle that landed the Dolphins a second round pick-
*The number in brackets next each player’s name represents where I have that player ranked within their position.

Round 1:
Who I thought: Mike Pouncey, C, Florida (1)
Who they picked: Mike Pouncey, C, Florida (1)
Analysis:
Obviously based on my mock Pouncey is the guy I had hoped the Dolphins would target.  Although I wanted to trade back in the draft and acquire an extra pick before they landed the Florida centre I still think he was a solid choice at 15th overall.  He will certainly help solidify the offensive line, which was a major need for the Phins entering the draft.  And remember how Sporano and Ireland need guarantees? Well I think Pouncey is as close as they could get for one at that spot.  He might not have the imeediate impact that is brother had last year when he became a Pro Bowler, but I would be shocked if he doesn’t develop into a stud for the Dolphins.

Round 2:
Who I thought: Ryan Williams, RB, Virginia Tech (2)
Who they picked: Daniel Thomas, RB, Kansas St. (4)
Analysis:

I love Ryan Williams and his abilities.  In fact I had him ranked as the second best back in the draft.  However, so too did the Cardinals and they took the Virginia Tech product early in the second round.  The Williams pick set off a run on backs in the second and it became clear to Ireland that he needed to get back into that round and make sure the Dolphins landed one of these premier rushing prospects. 

In my mock I suggested that I only wanted the Dolphins to draft one of the top four backs who I had ranked (Ingram, Williams, Leshoure, Thomas) early in the draft and that if they were unable to do so that they should wait until later in the draft to address that need.  I felt there was a significant drop off in rushers based on what the Dolphins needed (a lead back with power).  Obviously Ireland had the same thinking because he traded the Dolphins 3rd, 5th and 7th round picks to the Redskins for their 2nd and selected Daniel Thomas.  Although I had Thomas as my fourth ranked running back I was still pleased that the Dolphins were able to get him.  I think he has the ability to be their lead back and provide the Dolphins with the ground and pond rushing attack that they need to get their offense back on track. 

Round 3:
Who I thought: Edmond Gates, WR, Abilene Christian (9)
Who they picked: N/A

Analysis:
I understood that the Dolphins needed to sacrifice their third round pick in order to draft Daniel Thomas even at the risk of losing a speedy wide out like Edmond Gates.

Round 4:
Who I thought: DJ Williams, TE, Arkansas (3)
Who they picked: Edmond Gates, WR, Abilene Christian (9)

Analysis:
I was shocked and happy to still see Gates available to the Dolphins in round four.  If Gates can make the jump into the pros, his speed and ability could really help the Dolphins remold their offense.  They came into the draft needing speed and playmakers after the fourth round they had one of the fastest, most skilled receivers in the draft on their roster.  The downside to taking Gates in the fourth is that I knew that without a fifth round pick that the Dolphins would not have an opportunity to draft tight end DJ Williams who was one of my favourite players in the 2011 draft class.  Gates however filled a larger need and his skill set would have been more difficult to find in the later rounds.  So I couldn’t blame Ireland for choosing Gates over Williams here.

Round 5:
Who I thought: Pat Devlin, QB, Delaware (9)
Who they picked:  N/A

Analysis:
The Dolphins didn’t have a fifth round pick after it was moved in the Daniel Thomas deal and Pat Devlin didn’t even end up getting drafted.  I thought that the Dolphins might look to draft a developmental quarterback like Devlin in the middle rounds and bring them in as a third quarterback option.  Since Devlin went undrafted that can still happen.

Round 6:
Who I thought: Noel Devine, RB, West Virginia
Who they picked: Charles Clay, TE, Tulsa
Analysis:

Charles Clay is a player that really flew under the radar leading up to the draft.  The main reason is that his skill set in college was so unique that experts and draft magazines had him ranked as either a tight end, full back or a running back.  Players like Clay are hard to analyze because you don’t really know where they will fit on a particular team.  However, after studying him I think he could end up being a tremendous player for the Dolphins.  They will be able to use him in the role as an H-back or flex him out in two tight end sets.  He has an excellent skill set and he will be a match up nightmare for opposing line backers. 

Though the Dolphins didn’t get DJ Williams, Clay seems to be a great consolation prize.  As for Noel Devine, he too went undrafted.  Devine has excellent skill and ability but due to his small frame I think teams were worried how his game will transition at the next level.  I would love to see the Dolphins bring him in and give him an opportunity as a free agent.  He might not work out but he could be a steal, especially for a team that lacks offensive speed like the Dolphins do.

Round 7:
Who I thought: Derek Hill, NT, California
Who they picked: Frank Kearse, NT, Alabama A&M
Analysis:
I thought the Dolphins would use a seventh round selection on a developmental nose tackle and they did.  In my mock I noted that the Dolphins have a particular make up for who they look for in their nose tackles and that often their search in finding this type of player leads them to picking obscure players.  Sure enough they took Frank Kearse, a player who I have yet to find in any mock draft or position ranking that came out prior to the draft.  His size does seem to match what Ireland and company look for but we won’t know if the pick is successful for a few years.  He will be given the opportumity to develop behind Paul Solai.

Round 7:
Who I thought: Donovan Edwards, C, California
Who they picked: Jimmy Wilson, CB, Montana

Analysis:
I thought with their final pick that the Dolphins might double down and take another interior lineman who they can develop in a backup role.  They didn’t do this and instead elected to take a hard hitting corner with an interesting back story.  I don’t have the space to go into detail about Jimmy Wilson’s history, but Google his name and you will read his intriguing tale and what he has had to overcome.  I really like the pick and I think his speed and tackling ability will really help out on special teams.  Special Teams is an area that the Dolphins struggled in last year and I can envision Wilson starting out as an immediate contributor while the Dolphins work on developing him as either a corner or a safety.  This was a late pick with little risk, so Wilson was worth taking a flyer on.

Overall I thought that the Dolphins had a really good draft.  They filled a lot of needs and were able to overcome their lack of a second round pick with a good trade.  They didn’t land a quarterback but they might have acquired enough talent to surround Chad Henne with an opportunity to succeed.  Rebuilding the offensive line and bringing in speed were essential needs that the Dolphins did an admirable job at filling.  

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29 April 2011 

Fishing for Needs: Dolphins Mock Draft Continued (Rounds 6-7)

Welcome back to the fourth and final installment of Fishing for Needs where we will look at the Dolphins strategy for drafting in rounds six and seven.  This is the point in the draft where teams can take some chances on players they feel have upside.  Teams often look at players for a number of reasons.  Sometimes it is something as simple as speed or intangibles, while other times a player has fallen due to character concerns.  Every team has a number of different players that they are looking at in these final two rounds.  It’s impossible to say who might be on the Dolphins wish list, so I am just going to give you the players I hope are available to them.

Round 6—179th Pick

The Miami Dolphins Select: Noel Devine, RB, West Virginia
Devine has been one of the most exciting players in college football the past few years.  He defines the terms “home run hitter” and “speed back”.  Devine proved to be a very productive player throughout his college career but yet where he falls on draft day is hard to predict.  Over the past ten months I have seen experts predict Devine to go anywhere from the second round to not drafted at all.  Some say he is the next Darren Sproles while others say he is just too small to compete in the pros.  No one argues against his speed and ability but because of his poor showing at the Senior Bowl, his small stature, and his inability to participate at the Combine, I think it is very possible that Devine could still be had in the sixth round.  There is no question that he is a risk and that his size, or lack thereof, could be too much for him to overcome in the NFL.  However, he might be the fastest player in the draft and he could prove to be an excellent compliment to Ryan Williams as a third down back.  At this point in the draft for a team like the Dolphins who craves speed on offense, Devine is definitely worth the risk.

Round 7—218th Pick

The Miami Dolphins Select: Derek Hill, NT, California
The Dolphins franchised current nose tackle Paul Solai at the end of the 2010 season.  However, he has only had one productive season and he will be a free agent next year.  With no one waiting in the wings the Dolphins should look to draft a player in the later rounds that they can begin grooming behind Solai.  Hill contains the typical size and attributes that the Dolphins look for in a nose tackle.  He isn’t tall, but he has strength and he was fairly productive during his senior year at Cal.  He is definitely worth a flyer this late in the draft.

Round 7—235th Pick

The Miami Dolphins Select: Donovan Edwards, C, California
Edwards is an interesting prospect.  He is a big man with above average athletic ability and he was used at both tackle and centre for Cal last year.  He still needs developing but his size and athletic ability could make him an intriguing pick for offensive line guru Tony Sporano.  He is definitely a project but at this point in the draft he could prove to be worth the work and the time needed for him to develop into an NFL player.

I hope this series was useful and that it helped to show where players might be had this weekend.  Obviously it is impossible to predict how the draft will unfold but let’s just hope that Jeff Ireland and company have the same success that we had!
Here is a recap of our mock draft:
Dolphins trade a first (15th pick) and a seventh (217th pick) to Seattle for their first (25th pick) and their second (57th pick)
Round 1: Mike Pouncey, G, Florida

Round 2: Ryan Williams, RB, Virginia Tech
Round 3: Edmund Gates, WR, Abilene Christian
Round 4: DJ Williams, TE, Arkansas
Round 5: Pat Devlin, QB, Delaware
Round 6: Noel Devine, RB, West Virginia
Round 7: Derek Hill, NT, California
Round 7: Donovan Edwards, C, California
Now during the real draft…
Don’t be surprised if…

  1. The Dolphins not only trade back in the first round but trade out of the first round all together.  The needs that the Dolphins want to fill can be done so in rounds two and three for the greatest value.  Right now the team has two picks in the first ninety-six.  They would love (and need) to get three or four picks somewhere in the first three rounds.  Therefore they might have to use their first round pick as the trade chip needed to fill more needs; even at the cost of not taking a player in the top thirty-two on Thursday night.
  2. All of the Dolphins draft strategy goes out the window if for some reason Gabbert or Newton slip to the Cowboys at number nine.  The Cowboys do not have a need at quarterback and would probably love to trade back in the draft if faced with this situation.  Although I do not necessarily support a move of this magnitude since it would cost the Dolphins an abundance of picks, Dolphins owner Stephen Ross wants to create buzz and the Dolphins making a play for one of these two players would create some serious headlines and drum up some excitement in South Florida.  Sporano and Ireland’s past history with the Cowboys could make them a likely trade partner in this scenario.
  3. The Dolphins do not draft a running back and choose to fill this need through free agency (whenever that takes place) by trying to sign proven veteran players such as Deangelo Williams, Cedric Benson, Willis McGahee, Darren Sproles, Kevin Smith or even by bringing back either Ronnie Brown or Ricky Williams.  But in saying that…
  4. The Dolphins actually draft two running backs.  Tony Sporano has talked about the need for having a two back system where each running back’s ability complements the others.  They would love to get a lead back they can use in the power run game, but they would also like to have a speed rusher who can challenge the edge and make plays out of the backfield while acting as the home run threat the team hasn’t had for the past few seasons.
  5. If the CBA is rectified and player trades are allowed, that the Dolphins make a trade for a veteran quarterback to challenge Henne for the starting role rather than drafting an unproven one.  I don’t believe they would consider trading their first round pick for a veteran quarterback, but their third or fourth (or a future pick) round picks could be in play for the likes of Carson Palmer, Vince Young, or Donovan Mcnabb.
  6. The Dolphins trade (assuming player trades are allowed this offseason) or release Vernon Carey and draft a younger tackle in the early rounds.  Carey is still a solid player but he is owed a lot of money and his body is starting to break down.  Recently Tony Sporano voiced some concern about Carey’s potential weight gain during the lockout.  They may choose to cut ties with the veteran right tackle the same way they did last year with centre Jack Grove and left guard Justin Smiley.
  7. The Dolphins draft a defensive player with the fifteenth pick.  The Dolphins have the majority of their needs on offense but if they are unable to trade back in the first round I think they will take the best player available to them rather than reach for a player just because he plays offense.  The first round is stocked with some really good defensive prospects, and although the Dolphins don’t have any pressing needs on that side of the ball, some of this talent might be too good to pass up if they are stuck at fifteen.

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24 April 2011 

Fishing for Needs: Dolphins Mock Draft Continued (Rounds 3-5)

Welcome back to the third installment of Fishing for Needs where we will look at the Dolphins strategy for drafting in rounds three through five.  These middle rounds are where good teams can become great by finding top end talent for a great value.  So let’s get to it and see if we can fill some more needs by finding some gems that have slipped for one reason or another.

*The number in brackets next each player’s name represents where I have that player ranked within their position.

Round 3—79th Pick

Players who might be available that the Dolphins should have interest in:

A main question for the Dolphins throughout this year’s draft will be when they should address the quarterback position.  This year’s quarterback class is deep in potential but lacks immediate starters.  We have already discussed that the Dolphins shouldn’t reach for a quarterback in the first round, but by the time they pick in the second round of our mock the majority of quarterbacks with the most potential will be gone.  Therefore I think it is safe to assume that Jeff Ireland and company will either continue to try to develop Chad Henne or make a move for a veteran once free agency resumes.  I still think it is important that the Dolphins take a look at some of the middle round quarterbacks and see if they feel they can develop one into a potential future starter.   A player like Ricky Stanzi for example fits this mold perfectly wherein I don’t think he could threaten Chad Henne’s role as the immediate starter in 2011, but he does have enough ability that he could develop into the future starter that the organization needs.  The real question will be if it is worth it for the Dolphins to use a third round pick on a developmental player who won’t impact the 2011 season, or should they focus on areas that could improve the team’s fortunes immediately?  Stanzi isn’t the only player that the Dolphins should consider.  There are others too.  But the trick is finding a player that has lots of potential at the best value in the draft.

Dontay Moch and Lance Kendricks are both interesting prospects.  The Dolphins could look to add some depth at the outside linebacker position.  However, as intriguing as Moch is with his freakish athletic ability I think he also is still a project who certainly wouldn’t threaten either Cam Wake or Koa Misi’s playing time in 2011. 

Kendricks could definitely help the Dolphins re-establish their two tight end system and he could contribute as the pass catcher the Dolphins desperately need at the tight end position.  However, I think there are other similar players who could be had in the later rounds who could fill the same role. 

Therefore…

The Miami Dolphins Select: Edmund Gates, WR, Albilene Christian

The Dolphins need to inject their offense with speed and Edumund Gates is the perfect player to help make that happen.  He is extremely athletic and he has the deep speed that the Dolphins both covet and need.  He would immediately add an element to the offense that the team lacked last season.  Gates is a former basketball player so he doesn’t have an over abundance of football experience at a high level; especially considering he comes from a small school.  The risk with Gates is how he will react to playing at the pro level against much stronger and faster corners than the ones he faced at any point during his college career.  Also, Gates will need to improve on his route running abilities.  However, the Dolphins do not need Gates to become a number one receiver.  They already have Brandon Marshall.  What they need is a player who has enough speed to threaten the defense and who can help relieve pressure from Marshall and Bess.  Hartline has proven to be a very consistent player for the Dolphins the past two years, but he doesn’t possess the speed that forces defenses to drop a safety over the top to help help their corner.  Gates has this ability and he could prove to really help open up Miami’s passing attack.  He could be the perfect compliment for Miami’s already solid receiving unit.

Round 4—111th Pick

Players who might be available that the Dolphins should have interest in:

Tony Sporano and Jeff Ireland have both continually stated how important it is for their team to add speed on the offensive side of the ball.  Since taking over the team three years ago the Dolphins have employed two running backs known more for their power and size than for their speed.  Although Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams have slightly differing styles they are essentially both cut from the same cloth.  They are bruisers who are much better running between the tackles in a North/South style run game than they are at reaching the edges and playing more of an East/West style. 

I expect the Dolphins to continue to employ a running back by committee system again this year, but I believe that this year’s committee will include a scat back that relies on his speed and who can catch passes out of the back field.  Jacquizz Rodgers might be the best back in the draft that fits this description and he would be an excellent complement to our already drafted Ryan Williams.  So Rodgers would be a great pick here.

The problem is that the Dolphins have a much greater need at tight end; a position that’s lacking much depth in this year’s draft.  New offensive coordinator Brian Dabboll loves to use two tight end sets’ so it is important that the Fins find a player to compliment their current tight end Anthony Fasono.  They will be looking for a player who is more of a pass catcher than a blocker and who has a speed element to their game.  Last year’s draft would have been the ideal time for the Dolphins to draft a pass catching tight end.  That draft was stocked full of many prospects that fit the exact mold of what they need now, but unfortunately the team decided to take a pass. 

This year’s tight end class is not nearly as dynamic but there still are a few players who could help the Dolphins fill their need for a pass catcher.  Because there are not a lot of solid prospects that fit this mold the Dolphins will have to make sure they don’t wait too long and end up missing out again.  This is why at this spot they should take either DJ Williams or Virgil Green.  I prefer Williams but if he is not available Green would also be a solid pick.

Therefore…

The Miami Dolphins Select: D.J. Williams, TE, Arkansas

In 2010 Anthony Fasano proved he is an above average tight end.  Although he does battle some consistency issues he is a generally good blocker who understands pass protection and who can catch the football.  However, the Dolphins need a tight end who can work downfield as more of a seam threat and who can compliment Fasano’s abilities in two tight end sets.  In 2008 the Dolphins made the playoffs leaning heavily on the two tight end system with Fasano and David Martin.  After Martin was injured in 2009 the Dolphins have since failed to find a suitable replacement.  Williams could be that guy.

Williams is an excellent pass catcher with good speed.  He is small by professional tight end standards but the Dolphins could use him as more of an H-back the same way the Jets use Dustin Keller.  Even though he is a smaller tight end Williams is a very willing blocker and he is considered to be very high in character as well.  Teamed with Fasano, I think Williams could prove to be an excellent addition to the Dolphins and he is a player who could start right away.  Williams is one of my favorite players in the draft and I think he would be an excellent choice with this pick if he’s still available.

Round 5—146th Pick

Players who might be available that the Dolphins should have interest in:

I figure this would be a good time for the Dolphins to take a chance on one of the middle tier quarterbacks.  It is hard to decipher who the Dolphins would be interested in out of this group.  These are the four that I have ranked the highest, but there are definitely other players who the Dolphins could consider that aren’t listed here.  There are obviously some differences between each of these players, but overall the ceiling for their potential is awash in my opinion.  They are all seniors who had varying levels of success at the collegiate level, but they all have limited ability.  No one in this group can be considered as anything more than a long term project at the next level. 

I am sure the Dolphins have done their due diligence and have their own favorite mid level quarterback that they would feel comfortable developing.  For me out of the players listed above Taylor is probably the most interesting.  He was an outstanding college player and he demonstrated the ability to both throw and run during his time at Virginia Tech.  Obviously for Dolphins fans the Pat White comparisons would run rampant if the Dolphins were to choose Taylor. However I don’t believe they are as similar as some people would suggest and at this point in the draft the risk for taking Taylor is a lot less then it was when the Dolphins used a second round pick on White in 2009.  My only problem with Taylor is that he is only 6 feet and that is quite small for an NFL quarterback and I assume that the Dolphins would prefer to develop a player with more size.  So although I am intrigued by Taylors upside and athletic ability I would look at drafting one of the other quarterbacks who are available.

Therefore….

The Miami Dolphins Select: Pat Devlin, QB, Delaware

Pat Devlin fits the mold of a mid tier quarterback who has enough ability that would make him worth developing.  The Dolphins can afford to sacrifice a fifth round pick on a quarterback project and Devlin was a solid starter with a high quarterback rating during his time at Delaware.  Many will compare him to Joe Flacco the Baltimore Ravens starting quarterback, but the only fair comparison between the two is that they both played for Delaware.  Their games are very different. 

Devlin has nowhere near the arm strength or throwing ability that Flacco contains.  In fact Devlin has below average arm strength.  He is however very accurate and he demonstrated throughout his time at Delaware that he has strong leadership ability too.  That evaluation sounds awfully similar to how most would assess Chad Pennington’s game isn’t it?  This similarity is what causes me to think that the Dolphins could have interest in Devlin.  Sporano and Ireland have shown through their affection for Pennington over the past three seasons that arm strength and speeds aren’t more important traits than accuracy, leadership and smarts for their quarterback. 

I wouldn’t say Devlin is the next Pennington, but he does have enough intangibles t hat would make him an interesting prospect worth developing.  And at this point in the draft he is worth the risk of a fifth round pick.

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18 April 2011 

Fishing for Needs: Part Two—A Dolphins Mock Draft

Welcome back to our second installment of Fishing for Needs where I attempt to break down the Miami Dolphins draft strategy for 2011.  In this edition we will look at the players who might be available to Miami in the first two rounds. 

Before each pick I will provide who I think might be available to the Dolphins at that place in the draft, how these players would fill a need, and of course I will pick the player that I would target if I was the one making the decision. 

Just a reminder that in our first edition we completed a fictional trade with the Seahawks that saw Miami send its 15th pick and 217th pick to Seattle for their 25th pick and the 57th pick.  As I previously stated I have no idea if the Seahawks would be interested in a trade such as this, but I do think that general manager Jeff Ireland will try to make a similar move on draft day. 

*The number in brackets next each player’s name represents where I have that player ranked within their position.

Round 1—25th Pick

Players who might be available that the Dolphins should have interest in:

Each of these four players would help to fill a need for the Dolphins.  The team lacks big play speed at the receiver position, something Torrey Smith could definitely provide.  Also, they no longer can be confident  that Chad Henne is the definite future at quarterback so bringing in a player like Colin Kaepernick could finally bring stability to the position and at worst would provide direct competition for Henne in 2011.  Johnathan Baldwin’s skill set might not be exactly what the Dolphins are looking for with regards to finding deep speed at receiver, but his overall talent and vertical game might be too good to pass up on. 

These are all players that the Dolphins should consider since none will probably still be available when they pick in the second round.  However, Smith and Kaepernick, although both very talented are serious projects and I feel they would be a major reach for the Dolphins at this point in the draft.  Baldwin however has serious character concerns and since his skill set doesn’t fill a pressing need for the team they would be better off looking elsewhere with this pick.  Therefore…

The Miami Dolphins Select: Mike Pouncey, C/G, Florida   

The Dolphins proved in 2010 that they need serious help on the interior of their offensive line.  Pouncey has experience at both centre and guard at the college level but I think his abilities best suit the guard position in the pros.  Pouncey has both the size and power that Coach Tony Sporano loves from his linemen.  Mike Pouncey is not the elite prospect that his twin brother Maurkice was a year ago, but he is still a very good player and a good value at this point in the draft.  He has the ability to start right away in 2011 and he would immediately help to provide stability in both pass protection and in the run game.

Round 2— 57th Pick

Players who might be available that the Dolphins should have interest in:

Each of these four players would help to fill a need for the Dolphins.  As we stated earlier the team lacks big play speed at the receiver position, something Titus Young or Leonard Hankerson could definitely provide.  Rodney Hudson could also help solidify the interior of the offensive line.  The Dolphins have shown during the last few drafts that they aren’t afraid to “double down” on a position of need.  We saw them do this successfully in 2009 when they selected cornerbacks Vontae Davis and Sean Smith in the first two rounds of that draft.  Also, in that same draft they took wide receivers Brian Hartline and Patrick Turner in the middle rounds.  Taking Hudson here to play centre, and by pairing him with Mike Pouncey, could really solidify the Dolphins line and help them to become one of the best young lines in the league.

Each of these players should be strongly considered at this pick because each would provide great value at this point in the draft and they would all help fill a pressing need.   However, as good as these three players are the fourth player is just too good to pass up.  Therefore…

The Miami Dolphins Select: Ryan Williams, RB, Virginia Tech

I am a huge Ryan Williams fan and I think he possesses all of the tools that are necessary for a running back to become successful in the NFL.  He can play with power, he has above average speed and vision, he can make plays catching passes out of the backfield and he is a willing blocker.  Williams’ 2009 season was sensational and saw him score twenty one touchdowns and rush for over sixteen hundred yards.  However, Williams’ 2010 season was not nearly as successful.  He missed games and was hampered due to a hamstring injury. 

A year ago Williams would have been a first round prospect who would be competing with Mark Ingram as the first running back taken.  This year however, coming off of a down season, Williams will most likely slip in the draft.  He would however be an absolute steal at this point for the Dolphins.  He is a first round talent who could fill a major need as a lead back for the Phins.  If I were Jeff Ireland I would be running to the podium with this pick.  The only running back I consider to be a better prospect than Williams is Mark Ingram and he will most definitely be gone by this point.  It also doesn’t hurt that Dolphins fans can keep rocking their “R. Williams #34 jerseys” at the stadium since Ryan also wears this number!

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7 April 2011 

Fishing for Needs:

Addressing the Dolphins Draft Strategy and the Players They Should Target in the Upcoming NFL Draft

Alright Dolphins fans, we have less than one month until the 2011 NFL Draft.  The Draft is always a great weekend and this year due to the lock out rules prohibiting teams from making any player transactions it will also serve as a very important weekend for teams trying to fill needs. 

How will Dolphins general manager Jeff Ireland go about trying to fill the needs of this young Dolphins team? That’s the million dollar question Dolphins fans are asking. By the end of the 2010 season it was quite clear that the Dolphins have needs, lots of them. 

Most of which are on the offensive side of the ball where in 2010 the Dolphins often appeared slow, inconsistent and predictable on far too many occasions.  They have already hired Brian Dabbol to be their new offensive coordinator and to help reignite the running game that went missing in action for most of the 2010 season. 

But even with a new offensive coordinator set to take the reins the Dolphins will need to address many areas on draft day if they are going to show any improvements in 2011. 

Now let’s have some fun and pretend to be Jeff Ireland and fast forward to draft day and see if we can address some of these needs ourselves.  Let’s assume that the CBA will not be rectified before the Draft so any needs the Dolphins currently have cannot be addressed through free agency or through player transactions.  Currently the Dolphins hold eight picks. 

However, of those eight three are in the seventh round and they currently do not have a second round pick since it was to dealt to Denver at this time last year for wide receiver Brandon Marshall.  Through a series of articles I will take a look at each of the Dolphins picks and breakdown some of their needs, the players who might still be available at each pick and who I would pick if I was standing in Jeff Irelands shoes. 

I know it’s impossible to assume how all seven rounds will play out, but by looking at the Dolphins current needs we will be able to develop a better understanding for at which point in the draft each of these needs should be addressed, where bargains might be found and if they should reach for a player earlier then they are projected to go.      

But before we get started let’s take a closer look at what I hope the Dolphins do before they even reach the podium to announce their first pick.  As I am sure you already know, most mock drafts floating around the net from experts and fans alike have the Dolphins taking Alabama running back Mark Ingram with the fifteenth pick in the first round.  I like Ingram and he definitely would fill a major need for the Dolphins.  He is a versatile back who played in a pro style offense at Alabama and he has the ability to step in and play from day one. 

Ingram has always reminded me of Frank Gore, the 49ers current stud running back.  Like Gore Ingram doesn’t have great speed, but he shouldn’t be characterized as slow either. They both have great vision and both are above average in all three phases (rushing, blocking, pass catching) of the running game that are required for every down backs to excel at the pro level.  Gore however is a tremendous pass catcher, an area Ingram will need to improve on if he too is going to become a Pro Bowl caliber player. 

Right now with running backs Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams set to become free agents the Dolphins have a serious need for a new tail back to lead the power run game that Coach Tony Sporano loves to implement.  Ingram would fill this need and he fits what the Fins generally look for in a lead rusher.  However, remember that the Dolphins currently do not hold a pick in the second round of this year’s draft?  For a team with as many needs as the Dolphins it is imperative that they do whatever it takes to recoup that pick so that they can land two players in the top sixty four on Draft Weekend. 

Last year this is a move that Ireland was able to successfully complete with the Chargers and it allowed them to pick outside linebacker Koa Misi in the early second round.  I would bet that Ireland has the same success this year.  The 2011 Draft Class is stocked full of talent along the defensive line- positions the Dolphins do not have a pressing need for- so there should be teams looking to move up to land one of these stud defensive prospects. 

Although the downside to making a trade like this that moves the Dolphins first round pick to the late stages of round one could cause them to miss out on a player like Ingram.  Still, I believe that it is more important for the Dolphins to land two players in the first two rounds rather than one.

For the sake of this mock draft let’s take a positive outlook and assume that Ireland successfully pulls the trigger on a trade and moves the Dolphins 15th pick in the first round for a pick later in the round and an additional second. 

It’s impossible to know which teams might want to move up in the draft and make a trade with Miami, but I do believe the chances of it happening are quite high.  So the issue isn’t necessarily if it will happen but who it will happen with.  Looking at some of the teams picking in the later stages of round one I can’t help but notice Seattle who holds the 25th pick.  Last year on Draft Day the Seahawks coach and football czar Pete Carrol showed he is willing to take an aggressive approach to land a player that he wants. 

As a defensive minded coach Carrol has to be interested in some of these highly touted defensive linemen who probably won’t be there for him to grab at pick 25, but who could fill a huge need for his team.  This could make the Seahawks an intriguing trade partner.  Since this is a “mock exercise” let’s say the Dolphins send Seattle their 15th pick and the 217th pick in 2011 for the Seahawks 25th pick and the 57th pick. 

Using the NFL Trade Value Chart as a reference shows that the Dolphins trade offer would be worth 1054.6 points while the Seahawks package would have a value of 1050 points.  This shows that the trade would have close to equal value for both teams.  Obviously there are many “what ifs” that would need to be in place for a trade like this to be completed, but mock drafts are based on “what ifs” so for the sake of this investigation let’s say this fictional trade between the Dolphins and Seahawks gets completed. 

A move like this would now give the Dolphins the 25th pick, the 57th pick, 79th pick, 111th pick, 146th pick, 179th pick, 218th pick, and the 235th pick.  Ireland and the Dolphins could also package some later picks to move up and select another player in the middle rounds, but for our mock we will only make this one trade and complete our draft using these eight picks. 

So we now we have made a trade and we are getting ready to take the podium to announce our first pick in this fictional mock draft… 

In my next article I will take a closer look at the players who might be available to the Dolphins in the first three rounds and the areas of need that Miami will be looking to address. 

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30 September 2010 

Phins Lose A Close One
 
What could have been a 3-0 start to the season, ended up with a tough loss instead. Chad Henne had his best game of the year, throwing for 363 yards and two td passes. Henne looked very composed all night, as the line held up most the evening.

Brandon Marshall showed everyone why he is considered to be one of the best wide receivers in the league. Marshall put on a show Sunday night. His effort alone almost carried the Dolphins to victory. Marshall caught 10 balls on the night for 166 yards. His only td on the night, put Miami ahead briefly.

I say briefly since a play later, Jason Allen slipped on the grass and watched his man sprint 60 plus yards down the field for the score.
Nothing against Allen, but he should have been in better position. It would seem for at least, this past night, Allen reverted back to his old terrible self.

Huge blame could also go to the special teams unit, which saw a punt get blocked and lead to a field goal. All night, it appeared the special teams unit was a step behind. Besides allowing a punt to be blocked, tackling on kickoffs was a major problem as well. When your opponent starts almost every possession at their own 35 or 45 yard line, it puts the defense already at a disadvantage.

One thing that is still hurting this team after three games, is the play calling from offensive coordinator, Dan Henning. For starters, Henning is a complete moron. It has taken me two years to figure this out, but he is simply put- a dinosaur.

The calls got worse on Sunday night, as soon as Miami hit the red zone. On second and goal from the two yard line, Henning called for a fade pass. The pass went sailing over the head of wide receiver, Brian Hartline. On third and goal, he called for another pass. It fell incomplete as well. I just want to know, why not try and run it in from two yards out?

Those calls were confusing as hell and I am losing confidence in this guy to do his job right. Oh well, on to next week.
 
Game Balls
 
1. Brandon Marshall-I guarantee you this, he will have plenty of more games like that as a Dolphin.

2. Chad Henne-See what happens when you take the diapers off of him?

3. Offensive line-Kudos to the hard work they did all night.

My score prediction:

Dolphins-27

Patriots-24

Henne throws for 280 and adds two td passes in the win.

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21 September 2010 

Dolphins Hold On To Beat Vikings
 
If you would of told me after two games, that the Miami Dolphins would score only two offensive touchdowns and end up winning both games, I would have called you nuts. The facts are shocking and scary at the same time. Miami could very easily be 0-2 just as well.

Not that I’m complaining or anything, but they are playing with a recipe for danger. It’s all starts with their offensive play calling. Last week it was mediocre at best. This week it was just plain bad. After a 46 yard completion to Brandon Marshall on their first offensive play, the Dolphins simply went into a shell.

Quarterback Chad Henne only attempted 15 passes for the entire game. He did end up throwing his first touchdown pass on the season to Brian Hartline. Marshall after his first catch on the day was hardly targeted after that. He would finish with only four catches for 71 yards.

Offensive coordinator Dan Henning is not getting the job done. Besides being conservative, he is predictable too. Henning needs to let QB, Chad Henne grow up and let him take some chances down the field. It’s ok to play smart and not want to make mistakes but at some point during the season, this team is going to need the offense to establish themselves.

Running backs Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams both had a hand in helping the Vikings stay in the game. Brown and Williams both fumbled leading to all 10 points scored by the Vikings. Both backs need to do a better job of securing the ball. Without those two fumbles, this game could have been over a lot faster.

Cornerback Jason Allen who is playing some of his best ball for the Dolphins in four years, picked off two passes on the day. Allen seems to be reinvigorated out on the field. He is playing with more of a purpose this season. Vontae Davis is quietly turning into one of the best young corners in the league. Davis picked off his first pass on the season as it was tipped around about three times before landing into his clutched fingers. Davis also assisted on stuffing Vikings RB, Adrian Peterson on a crucial fourth and goal play from the Miami two yard line.

The first player to deny Peterson from scoring on that crucial fourth down play was linebacker, Karlos Dansby. Without Dansby who knows if this team would be 2-0. The impact he has on this team is very apparent. When Miami signed him I called him a defensive play-maker from day one and that is exactly what he is. He is all over that field. You can’t say enough about him.

The Vikings did get the ball again but Brett Favre couldn’t come up with a miracle drive. You have to really credit the defense with this win. They wanted to it bad and they deserved it. So far two road games and two wins. Not a bad start but there is still more improvement needed if this team wants to be called an elite team.
 
Game Balls

1. Karlos Dansby-How can you not give him a game ball for stuffing one of the best backs in the league when the game is on the line.

2. Cameron Wake-His sack of Favre allowed Koa Misi to recover his fumble and score.

3. Vontae Davis/Jason Allen-They both deserve game balls. They combined for three interceptions.
 
My score prediction:

Dolphins-23
Jets-14

By David Gorman

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16 September 2010 

Dolphins Survive Past Bills
 
The word “survive” is a fair word to use to describe the game the Dolphins played against the Bills. In what have should have been a easy win turned into a nail biter. The Dolphins 15-10 win, was as dull and un-exciting as it gets. The one true positive that any fan can take away from this game, was the way the defense played. Ok, so they were playing the Bills, but let’s remember this was basically the same Bills team that lit the Dolphins defense up for 31 points last year.

The difference this year were two things. Linebacker Karlos Dansby in his first game as a Dolphin, set the tone immediately with a sack in the first series. Right away, you were into the game.

Defensive coordinator Mike Nolan called a flawless game. The schemes were filled with lots of zone blitzes. Sometimes it would look like seven players were going to rush the QB all at once, then all of a sudden, two or three would fall back and confuse the Bills. It was fun to watch. The defense did their part but the offense couldn’t hold up their end.

All the blame can’t be put on QB Chad Henne, but his overall performance left a lot to be desired. Henne under threw Brandon Marshall in what would have been a sure touchdown. Henne also threw some passes that were at the receivers feet. Not a good start for him.

Wide receiver Brandon Marshall, had a decent first game as a Dolphin. The pass where Henne under threw Marshall was dropped by him. The blame all went to Henne on that play but Marshall could of shared in some of that blame too. The one thing as games go by is the issue of chemistry between the two. At times it looked like Henne was throwing the ball to one spot and Marshall really didn’t have any ideal where the ball would end up going.

The only score for the Dolphins on the day came from Ronnie Brown, who leaped in from one yard out. Brown once again making his return after a injury filled ’09 campaign played well. He ran hard and looked strong again.

Instead of doing my 3 keys to victories, I am going to change things up and give out three game balls.

1. Karlos Dansby-Great play and a big time leader on the field.

2. Jason Allen-Yes you head me right. Allen played some of his best ball as a Dolphin. He covered Lee Evans all day and gave up no big plays.

3. Mike Nolan-Kudos to Mr. Nolan and his defense. I just hope he has a good plan of attack for the Vikings.
 
My score prediction:

Vikings-23
Dolphins-20

Favre leads Vikings past Dolphins in the final minutes of the game.

By David Gorman

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9 September 2010 

Dolphins-Bills Preview

As head coach Tony Sparano heads into his third year at the helm, expectations are running high for the 2010 Miami Dolphins. In the off-season the Dolphins signed free agent linebacker Karlos Dansby and acquired wide receiver Brandon Marshall in a trade from Denver. Those two players alone give you hope for better things in 2010.

Both Dansby and Marshall will make their respective units better. Dansby bring a tenuous defensive pressure out on the field that has been lacking since the days of Zach Thomas. Marshall is considered by many as one of the best receivers in the game. His presence on this team will help QB Chad Henne with his comtiuned development.

One area that is still going to be a concern for this team in 2010, is the secondary. Going into Sunday’s game against the Bills, Sean Smith has been demoted and Jason Allen has been named the team’s other starting cornerback. Can it get any worse? Jason Allen was relegated to special teams last year and now he is the starting cornerback. I know Smith didn’t play well in preseason games, but aren’t we being a bit harsh by inserting Allen over Smith?

On to this week where Miami plays at Buffalo. Here are some keys to the game.

1. Right off the bat and on the first offensive series, get Brandon Marshall involved. This guy is a catching machine, get him the ball!

2. Mike Nolan and his defenses are know for blitzing. I say blitz at all costs all day. Buffalo won’t know what hit them.

3. At some point during the game, I would love to see Nolan Carroll get a series as the other starting cornerback. All we heard during camp was how good he was. Now I am wondering if that was all hype. If he is that good, was isn’t he starting over Jason Allen?

My prediction

Dolphins-27
Bills-10

Marshall catches seven passes for 95 yards and adds a score.

By David Gorman

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23 August 2010 

First Impressions
 
After two games, the Dolphins are a perfect 2-0. What this amounts to with the upcoming season on the horizon, is anyone’s guess. There is only one thing I can take from these two games: Brandon Marshall is worth every penny and draft pick spent.

In his first preseason game as a Dolphin, Marshall dropped a few passes and everyone started to wonder, was he really worth it. After last night’s performance, I doubt they will ever be questioning his ability again. One play that stood out took place in the second quarter. Chad Pennington threw a pass behind him and Marshall made a quick adjustment to the ball and made a acrobatic catch.

That play was great but it wouldn’t be his best one on the night. Earlier in the game, tight end Anthony Fasano caught a pass over the middle. When it seemed that Fasano was going to be tackeled by two Jacksonville defenders, Marshall blew both of them up with a great block. Fasano ended up rambling around the corner, for the score.

Chad Henne was just as impressive. Henne played four series and was 11 for 14 with 151 passing yards. He ended up throwing both his td passes to Fasano.
Henne and the first unit looked very sharp. They allowed only one sack and scored 24 points in the first half. Joe Berger started at center again and played a strong game. It’s looking more and more that Berger might be the starter week one.

The Special teams unit has been pathetic. Punter Brandon Fields had a punt blocked for a safety. The Jaguars had numerous good returns. This seems to be the weakest part of this team so far. The one bright spot were the kickoff returns of rookie Nolan Carroll. Once again Carroll improved his chance of making this team.

Cornerback Sean Smith has been absolutely brutal so far, in man to man schemes. Smith is constantly getting beat for large chunks down the field. If the Dolphins are going to be successful this year, Smith needs to get his act together and be much more physical with wide receivers.

Rookies Jared Odrick and Koa Misi, have played well enough to get some exposure. Odrick recovered a fumble in game number one. It was really the only play he made that night. Against the Jaguars, he looked a little sluggish. Misi on the other hand has come to play. Misi showed his ability to get off the ball quickly. He also displayed his ability to rush the quarterback with a reckon abandonees. So far, he hasn’t registered a sack but he is getting closer to getting his first one.

Defensive tackle is one area that Miami was concerned about going into camp. Randy Starks was moved from his customary defensive end spot to tackle this year. So far, Starks has played well in both games. Teammate Paul Soliai has looked just as good. It would that he is getting a bigger push up the middle this year. Miami is expecting him to turn the corner this coming year and improve in 2010.

Miami has a big week coming up. They will make some cuts and start naming starters soon. It’s almost time to get ready for their opener against the Bills. This team may be young but they are hungry and ready to show they be an elite team in the NFL.

By David Gorman

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18 August 2010 

Training Camp Notes
 
The Dolphins have been hard at work for the last three weeks now. I think it’s time to take a look at some players who having been catching my eye since camp opened.
 
*Safety Chris Clemons is quietly going about his business to win the starting free safety position. Clemons has looked good in pass coverage drills. Clemons seems like he is picking up the new defensive schemes fairly well. At this point, I would be shocked if Clemons didn’t win the starting job.

*Linebacker Cameron Wake has started to assert himself in camp. He is making plays everyday at camp. Wake played well last season against the pass but the coaching staff wants him to become a complete player. He must show them he can be a force against the rush as well.

*Joe Berger and Jake Grove are locked head to head in a battle to see who will claim the starting center job. Going into camp, it was a forgone conclusion that Grove was the starting center. So far, head coach Tony Sparano hasn‘t named a starter and some wonder if Sparano is trying to light a fire under Grove. Berger is nothing more then a career backup, this is why this confuses me. Grove is the one with the big contract, so I can’t imagine seeing him sit. If Berger beats him out, then what do you do with the hefty contract of Grove? I hope Sparano knows what he is doing.

*Miami has lost rookie linebacker A.J. Edds, running back Kory Sheets, and defensive end Phillip Merling to season ending injuries. Now comes word that cornerback, Will Allen will miss the next four weeks. Allen will most likely be out of action for the season opener. He missed most of last season, because of a nagging knee injury. Unfortunately it would appear that the same knee is bothering him again. Miami will hope for the best to have Allen available and back on the field soon.

*Rookie cornerback Nolan Carroll is making a great impression on the coaching staff. Nothing but high praise has been coming from both head coach Tony Sparano and defensive coordinator Mike Nolan. Carroll was drafted in the 5th round and was considered to be a long shot to make the team. His play has definitely been an eye opener to everyone. With the injury to Will Allen and the inconsistent play from Jason Allen, Carroll has a chance to now play on dime/nickel packages.

*When Phillip Merling went down with a season ending injury before camp opened, the Dolphins rushed to add some depth along the defensive line. They ended up signing two key veterans players. One was Marques Douglas, who played for the Jets last season and was a very solid against the run. Charles Grant was the other one. Grant played for the Saints last season and missed the playoffs run with an injury. He did have six sacks on the year. Grant has never played in a 3-4 scheme. He must pick up the defensive system fast, if he wants to make the team.

By David Gorman

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28 July 2010 

Training Camp Preview
 
With the start of training camp only a few days away, it’s time to take a look at some key position battles that will take place. It’s also gives us a chance to discuss what type of impact Karlos Dansby will have on the defense.

Here are some of the top stories that will be headlined at the 2010 Miami Dolphins training camp.
 
1. Which player is the favorite to win the free safety spot?

The favorite to win the job is second year man, Chris Clemons. Last season, Clemons showed great promise. His coverage skills were impressive for a young rookie. Clemons had a great mini camp and hopefully he can follow that up with a even better training camp. Tyrone Culver is another safety who will get his chance to showcase his skills for head coach Tony Sparano.
Culver played solely in dime/nickel packages last season. I really don’t think Culver is starter material. He isn’t as quick as Clemons and breaks to slow on balls. Rookie Reshard Jones will likely be used as a special teams player this season. Jones struggled to pick up the Dolphins defensive schemes in mini camp. More then likely, Jones won’t be much of a factor this year. If I had to pick one winner out of these two, it would be Chris Clemons. It’s his job to lose.

2. Any chance Will Allen ends up winning one of the starting cornerback jobs in camp?

His only chance is to beat out fellow corner, Sean Smith. Vontae Davis is already entrenched as the other starting corner. Allen had started six games last season before going down with a season ending injury. If he is healthy and pain free, I would go with him over Smith. To me it’s a no brainier. Even if Allen is at 85%, he is still far more valuable out on the field then Smith. I’m not implying that Smith stinks, it’s just that he is still very raw and may need more time to learn the position.
 
3. Can Koa Misi make the adjustment from defensive end in college to playing outside linebacker in the pro’s?

From all reports in mini camp, the answer is yes. Misi was the most impressive rookie in camp, according to veteran players. His speed on the outside had offensive lineman talking. Playing his position won’t be easy. He will have to go against top notch offensive tackles every week. It usually takes about two years to master this position.
 
4. What impact will Karlos Dansby have on the Dolphins defense?

His impact will be felt immediately. The days of watching running backs run right up the middle for 10 yards a chunk are gone. Now they will have to deal with one of the best linebacker’s in the game. Teams will have to shift their lines and find a way to block him. I think with his presence on the field, this defense could end up being in the top 10 by year’s end. Dansby is coming off two years in a row, where he registered over 100 tackles. Simply put, Dansby is a tackling machine. I can’t wait to watch him all season long.
 
5. How will the season ending injury to Phillip Merling and retirement of Jason Ferguson affect the Dolphins defense?

Merling suffered a torn Achilles tendon injury last week. He will be out for the entire 2010 year. Defensive tackle, Jason Ferguson decided to retired after 13 NFL seasons. Ferguson was suspended by the NFL, for 8 games back in the spring. Let’s start with Merling. I have to admit that losing him, doesn’t bother me one bit. In two years since being drafted, Merling has registered only three sacks. Last year, he played well right out of the gate for the Dolphins. Half way through the season, he was invisible. He eventually would lose his starting job to Randy Starks. His injury does present one interesting dilemma. Does this mean first round pick Jared Odrick, will be one of the starting defensive ends come opening day? I guess we’ll have to wait and see. The retirement of Ferguson was no big deal either. He was injured most of last season and was already replaced by Randy Starks in the starting lineup for 2010. The only problem that may hinder the Dolphins is depth at the defensive line position. However, I am confident the Dolphins will sign a few players to get that issue resolved.
 
6. Greg Camarillo or Brian Hartline: Which one will start opposite Brandon Marshall as the team’s other starting receiver?

Both players are more then qualified for the job. Hartline came out of nowhere to put up some good numbers in ’09 (31 catches, 506 yards and 3 td’s). He also averaged 16 yards a catch. He might not be the fastest player out there, but he runs his routes well. Camarillo finished with 50 catches last season and is a hard worker. No matter which one wins, I would still expect to see them split snaps during games. Their will be no loser in this battle.
 
7. Which rookie will you keep an eye out for in camp?

We already know about the talents of Koa Misi. There are also going to be high expectations for first round pick Jared Odrick. For me, It’s all about AJ Edds. The linebacker from Iowa was selected in the fourth round by Miami. Some are even saying that Edds will be starting next year opposite Karlos Dansby. That’s how highly they think of him. There is a good chance that Edds will play on dime/nickel packages this year as well. AJ excelled in that area at Iowa. John Jerry, the guard from Ole Miss is another player to watch for. It is rumored that Dolphin coaches are hoping Jerry wins one of the open guard spots. With his talents, that should be no problem for him.Mini Camp Notes

This past weekend the Miami Dolphins held their first full team workout of the season. It gave us a chance to see how the newly drafted rookies would mesh with the team’s veterans. Here are a few notes from the mini camp.

*Rookie linebacker, Koa Misi continues to impress everyone. He has been solid in almost every drill. Misi is currently working with the first team defense. Looks like it’s his job to lose come September.

*Linebacker Cameron Wake is in a battle for the other starting job against teammate Charlie Anderson. Wake has great pass rushing skills, but his ineffectiveness against the run could be his downfall.

*Safety Chris Clemons has the early lead for the starting job at free safety spot. Rookie Reshad Jones and fellow safety, Tyrone Culver are also vying for the starting job. Clemons had a quiet rookie season last year, but he did start two games for them.

*Linebacker Reggie Torbor was released by the team. With all the new linebackers this year, Torbor became expendable.

*Brandon Marshall had “minor” surgery to repair dead cartilage in his hip two weeks ago. Head Coach Tony Sparano says he doesn’t know if Marshall will be ready to go by the start of training camp. This is the second surgery for Marshall on his hip in two years. However, the surgery done this year was not on the same hip. I think Sparano is being very cautious with his answer but all signs point to Marshall being ready by late July. Marshall was with the team and working out on a bike in camp. I would be surprised if Marshall isn’t ready to go by the start of camp.

*Channing Crowder is recovering from a fractured foot suffered late last year. At present, Crowder might be in danger of losing some playing due to the injury and his mediocre play last season. Rookie A.J Edds and newly acquired Tim Dobbins from San Diego, will share the reps in camp till Crowder is healthy enough to take the field.

By David Gorman

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7 June 2010 

In Defense of Miami's Defense

By far, the least challenged notion about the 2009 Miami Dolphins is that the offense played reasonably well, but the team was let down by the poor play of its defense. I’ve heard or read something to this effect too many times to count, with little argument to the contrary and I’m convinced that its generally accepted as true. Except it isn’t true at all when you really look back, and look closely, and what happened last year. Miami did in fact finish at or near the bottom of the league in almost every defensive metric, but stats only tell part of the story, and I’m going to try and explain the rest.
The first thing to look at is injuries. Will Allen, Jason Ferguson and Channing Crowder were all out or not healthy for most of the year. That’s our best DB, LB and DL, all unable to contribute. Soliai (foot/ankle), Porter (hamstring/feelings), Taylor (shoulder), V. Davis (quad/wrist), and Roth (groin/contract) were also playing hurt for significant stretches. Starks, Smith, Langford, Wilson, Bell and Ayodele were the only players who were healthy for 16 games. Injuries are a part of the game though, so I wont harp on it too much, but I feel it was worth mentioning that barely half the starting unit was healthy for the season. Now on to the games:

Week 1 @ Atlanta. The score: ATL 19 MIA 7. The skinny: The defense played well, shut down Michael Turner and held Roddy White in check. Tony Gonzalez got loose but what else is new? He’s a HOF TE who’s been abusing defenses for 12 years running. Offense was the problem in this game. Pennington and Fasano both had two TOs and Jake Long had his worst game of the season. The D allowed only one TD, and kept it close for the entire game despite getting almost no help from the other side of the ball. The Verdict: Defense played well, offense didn’t.

Week 2 vs. Indy. The score: IND 27 MIA 23. The skinny: Bad case of role reversal as the offense moved the ball at will and the defense was a no show. The only time the defense got off the field was after an extra point, or so it seemed. My only defense is to say hey, that’s Peyton Manning out there, and the all world #1 NY Jets defense didn’t much better (see AFCCG). The verdict: Offense played well, defense didn’t.

Week 3 @ San Diego. The score: SD 23 MIA 13. The skinny: Another good showing by the D (that’s two if you’re counting) who allowed only one TD to one of the leagues most explosive teams. Side note: Crowder, would you please watch out for QB scramble near the goal line? L.T. and Hardwick were out for this game so that takes a little of the shine off, but with Rivers, Gates, Jackson, Nannee, Chambers and Sproles the Chargers were hardly hurting for playmakers. The D kept us in the game for 4 quarters but the offense was MIA again, not scoring until the game was already out of reach (again). Henne’s pick 6 to Weddle pretty much sealed it, but it was still just 16-6 at that point. Terrible call by Henning led to a fumble on the first drive, a harbinger of things to come. The verdict: Defense played well, offense didn’t.

Week 4 vs. Buffalo. The score MIA 38 BUFF 10. The skinny: Total domination from about the 2nd quarter on. Vontae started it off with a pick 6 and the rout was on. DL was dominant all day, Wake, Taylor, Starks, even Porter was in the backfield all day. Offense started slowly, Henne was sacked 23 times, or was it 6? I cant remember. Didn’t matter much though b/c the Bills couldn’t score, and their defense called it quits somewhere in 3rd quarter. Ronnie and Ricky had a field day after that. The verdict: Offense and Defense both played well.

Week 5 vs. NY Jets. The score MIA 31 NYJ 27. The skinny: Tough game to grade the defense on. They allowed 13 first half points, 10 of which came partially as a result of missed tackles on fake punts. Shout out to Cam Wake and Joey Porter who apparently to get juked by punters and miss point blank tackles on men, respectively. NY’s two 2nd half TDs came after a bomb to David Clowney (who?), a circus catch by Braylon Edwards, and a bogus 45 yd P.I. call on Will Allen. 27 points sounds like a lot, but the 27 the Jets scored were a lot easier to swallow than the 27 that Indy scored. The verdict: Offense played well, defense played, er, average.

Week 7 vs. Nawlins. The score NO 46 MIA 34. The skinny: I’ve got to admit, I’ve watched this game 10-12 times, and I’ve only made it past half time 3 times. From what I’ve seen though, I think this was one of the defense’s best performances of the year. Now before you laugh and move on to the next thread, consider this: The D sacked Brees 5 times, picked him off three times, and forced him to fumble once. How many other teams took the ball away from Drew Brees 4 times last year? Zero. Those T.O.s are important not only for how they happened, but where they happened as well. Culver had a INT which he retuned to the Nawlins 5 yd line. Torbor had a pick at the Nawlins 19. Porter recovered a fumble at the Nawlins 15, and Nate Jones had a pick in the EZ to prevent a TD and give our offense the ball. Those plays set up TD drives of 5 and 19 yds, and a FG drive that started at the Nawlins 15 and went nowhere. Hard not to credit the D with those 17 points, and with the fact that Miami held a 24-3 lead until…Davone Bess fumbles before half time. The D goes out and stops Nawlins anyway, or so it seemed. Colston is tackled at the 1 with one second left, Saints have no time outs, half over. But the idiot side judge calls it a TD, and by the time the play is overturned, Nawlins is set up for a FG. Then the coaches, still smarting from the Jets two successful fakes, call time out and give Nawlins even more time to think, so they end up with a TD instead. Bad coaching and bad officiating, good defense though. Almost forgot, the reason it was 24-10 and not 24-7 is because of a 85 yd KR by Courtney Roby which gave Nawlins the ball at the Miami 15 yd line. D came out, forced a three and out, and a FG. So in essence, you could credit the D with setting up 14 first half points and not allowing any. But it’s the second half where things get really interesting.

3rd play of the 2nd half, Teddy decides he wants to play volleyball instead of football, and tips a perfect pass to Tracy Porter who tips it to Darren Sharper who runs it back to the 1 yd line before Teddy, back to playing football now, strips him for a touchback. Except that the same idiot side judge from before calls it a TD and the idiot Ref decides he doesn’t want to show up his friend on national TV. So now its 24-17. Then the 3 and out parade starts (or continues) on offense. The next Miami possessions went something like this 3 plays-punt, 3 plays-punt, 3 plays-FG (set up by fumble recovery @ Nawlins 15) yd line 3), 3 plays-TD, 3 plays-punt, 3 plays-punt, 8 plays-pick 6, 10 plays game. If you’re counting at home, the game went from 24-10 Miami to 40-34 Nawlins without Miami’s offense ever getting a single first down. That’s gotta be a record of some sort. And even when they did finally get a first, Henne threw a pick 6 a few plays later. That’s 2 pick 6s, a fumble by Bess that led to a TD, and a KR that led t a FG for 24 points off turnovers and ST mistakes so in my book the D allowed 23 points. They also forced 4 turnovers that led to 17 for the offense. I’d call that a good effort vs. one of the best offenses I’ve ever seen and the eventual champs. All the while, the offense could put together a single drive to help the D get a breather. Nawlins stacked the box and blitzed every play and Henning had no answer. In a game where Miami needed to control the ball and shorten the game to have a chance, they did no such thing. Despite a 24-3 lead, we threw it 36 times and ran it 30. As a result, we gave the Saints 16 possessions, 18 if you count the INT returns. There’s not a defense on earth today who could face the Saints 18 times in one (hot) afternoon and live to tell about it. The verdict: Defense played well, offense did not.

Week 8 @ NYJ. The score MIA 30 NYJ 25. The skinny: Another good performance by the D that was nearly squandered. The D was without Crowder for this game, but Torbor played well in his absence. The D was in bad field position for most of the first half b/c the offense couldn’t move the ball, but they held it together and its was 3-3 at halftime. The Jets go up 6-3 before Teddy takes one to the house, then JT takes one to the house, then Miami forces a punt and has the ball and an 11 point lead against an offensively challenged team. Until…Bess fumbles to let NY back in the game. Sound familiar? Then he fumbles again and I’m seriously wandering if the mob has a hold of one of his family members, but the side judge whistled the play dead, we caught a major break and cashed it in for the game winning TD. D made it interesting though, Vontae jumps a crossing route instead of just making the tackle, Chris Clemons is lost in space, and 60 yards later the Jets are back in the red zone. This game came down to the wire, but it really shouldn’t have. The verdict: Defense played well, offense played average.

Week 9 @ New England. The score NE 27 MIA 17. The skinny: Hard to knock either side of the ball for this game, Crowder was out again, Porter played but he really didn’t, Soliai goes down, Vontae too. Jason Allen is manned up on Moss, this time with Brady and not Cassel at QB, but amazingly, Moss doesn’t score 10 TDs. Offensively, Pat White made his one play for season. Great pick, Ireland. Ronnie threw a TD, Ricky ran hard as usual. Teddy drops balls as usual. Typical stuff. New England was just the better team. The verdict: offense played well, defense, played well.

Week 10 vs. Tampa Bay. The score MIA 25 TB 23. The skinny. The offense came out hot, went right down the field and scored. Then they took their foot off the gas. The running game was a force that day (200 yds), and just as they were about to put the hammer down, Ronnie goes down, fumbles, the Bucs have life and they made a game of it. And just as they’re about to put the hammer down again, Henne throws a bonehead pick and the Bucs take the lead as a result. To his credit, Henne bounced back and led the game winning drive, but it shouldn’t have come to that. Oh, and Bess fumbled again. The defense played well, but not great, Anderson forced two fumbles, Taylor scored his 2nd TD in three weeks, bad call but I’ll take it. The verdict: defense played well, offense played average.

Week 11 @ Carolina. The score MIA 24 CAR 17. The skinny. Solid team effort, especially from the OL. Nate Garner was all over the place, both our centers went down, and Ricky still ran wild. His best game of the year in my opinion. Henne was clutch, Bess made a big time catch. Teddy didn’t drop any balls. A solid effort from the whole group. The D got off to a shaky start but they held it together and shut Carolina down for a most of the second and third quarters. Vontae and Sean were solid, Nate had a pick in the red zone, Ferg went down, his teammates stepped in nicely. Solid effort. The verdict: Defense played well, offense played well.

Week 12 @ Buffalo. The score BUFF 31 MIA 14. The skinny: By far the hardest Fins game to watch. I’m still not over this loss. The offense was brutal. Wildcat pass from the 1 yd line when we’re gashing them in the run game? Dumbest call of the season, Henning. Screen pass to Lousaka? Holding on 4th and 1 Garner, really? Ricky was out of gas by the third quarter. Watch his carries in the first half, they all end with a bang. Beast mode. By the third quarter Ricky was on his way to the ground at the slightest hint that there might be contact. Pooch mode. Not having Ronnie was fatal in this game, it would’ve been a blowout if he was in there. Cant blame Henne for the three picks, his arm was hit one, and two others were tipped at the line. Tough breaks. The D played well w/ the exception of a couple plays, the Fitzpatrick 350 yd TD run was embarrassing, especially for the play side safety (Wilson) and the contain man (Porter). Is Torbor really that slow? The score was 14-14 deep into the 4th, then a great punt pins us down to the 3 and we cant move the ball. Bad punt/good return and the Bills end up with a FG, then the pick parade started and the D mailed it in. The verdict: Defense played well, offense did not.

Week 13 vs. New England. The score: MIA 22 NE 21. The skinny: Probably the most surprising win of the season. Of course Vegas wasn’t surprised, they moved the line from Pats -5 to Pats -3 on Friday, just to make sure people put tons of money on New England, including me. Note to self, if the line looks shady, don’t bet it. But I digress. This was easily Henne’s coming out party, the game when I said, alright, we’ve got ourselves a QB. Henne carried the team, and he had to b/c Ricky was in bad shape. 50+ passes, some great throws, some bad balls, but only one bad decision, an air mail pick to Meriweather when he got greedy. Belicek sent 7, he sent 8, he sent 5, he sent 3, he tried man, he tried zone, and Henne just kept making plays. Bess had a great game, the OL protected beautifully, it was a total team effort on offense. The D had me counting my money for the first two drives, I thought NE -3 was in the bag. It was 14-0 before most fans even got to their seats. But after that the D stepped up, with the help of some bad play calls from NE. The Pats went up and down the field most of the first half, but give the D credit, they only allowed 21 points. Still don’t know how Sean gave up that TD, I guess that’s why we call him “No Picks” Smith. Vontae showed how a CB is supposed to act when the ball is in the air, take that Randy. The verdict: Offense played well, defense played average.

Week 14 @ Jacksonville. The score MIA 14 JAX 10. The skinny: Another great game from Henne, and another game that shouldn’t have been close. The D was dominant for most of the game. Jones-Drew was held in check, which helped stamp out Jax’s play action game, and the DBs were like Velcro on Mike Sims-Walker and co. The game was close b/c Ricky fumbled three times, Bess fumbled (gerrrr), Henne threw a bonehead pick, and Carpenter missed a FG. The D was there to clean up the pieces each time though, so we got the win. The verdict: Defense played well, offense did not.

Week 15 @ Tennessee. The score: TEN 27 MIA 24. The skinny: This was a very disappointing loss, not only because of the playoff implications, but b/c we outplayed Tennessee for so much of the game. Vontae started it off with an INT, with help from Crowder and Wilson, but we only got a FG. Then Ricky fumbles in the red zone, we settle for another FG, meanwhile Tennessee is getting to the 30 yd line and throwing TD bombs. Vontae got burnt twice, Wilson was giving it up like a drunk chick at a frat party. The D held it down in the 2nd half, they kept Tennessee off the scoreboard long enough for the offense to catch up. Two FG when we got down deep, a fumble in the red zone, a pick in the end zone, another pick when we had a chance to score before half time, another pick in over time to set up the game Losing FG. If it wasn’t for the turnovers and missed opportunities, we’d have won this game. The verdict: Defense played poorly, offense played poorly.

Week 16 vs. Houston. The score HOU 27 MIA 20. The skinny: Don’t let the score fool you, this wasn’t a close game. The D didn’t show up for the game, and not just Porter, the whole D, with the exception of Yeremiah, was sleep walking. There was one play where Porter jumps off sides, then jumps back, there’s a screen going away from him to Andre Johnson… Sean Smith is in perfect position to make the play for a loss, there are 5 yds and no blockers between him and he ball, so he takes a few steps towards Johnson, then decides against attempting a tackle and stands in front of Dre waiting for a lineman to come and block him. Pathetic. Nate Jones actually did try to make the play but he went high and got run over. Terrible. Worst of all his Porter, all this time he’s taking a leisurely path down his angle, and throttles into a grandfatherly trot as Jones is about to make the tackle. Of course ones is run over and then Porter picks up speed, n the mean time, guys like Merling have sprinted past him. I’m so glad Porter isn’t on this team anymore. The D just plain sucked. But it had to be deflating to see the raucous crowd for the Tennessee game, play their butts off, then come home as playoff front runners to a stadium with barely 40,000 fans in the seats at kick off. And its not like the offense played any better. The refused to block Demeco Ryans, refused to execute, refused to make first downs, refused to protect the ball, and refused to score. Other than that they were flawless. In the second half Henne completed about 100 check downs and underneath throws vs. soft coverage and an uninterested defense. The defense seemed to have a sense of urgency, but really I think that Houston just called the dogs off. The verdict: Offense played poorly, defense played poorly.

Week 17 vs. Pittsburgh. The score PIT 30 MIA 24. The skinny. Another game where the O came out on all cylinders and then struggled thereafter. The D looked uninterested in anything football related once again, only to spring to life once they had a comfortable two score deficit. Hard to grade either side of the ball, especially the offense where Pat White played QB for a few series. Greg Gumbel and Dan Dierdorf seem to share my opinion of White, at one point saying that “the forward pass doesn’t not seem to be in Miami’s arsenal” or something like that. Thigpen came in and showed equal flashes of brilliance and incompetence, and the D rose to the occasion right up until they absolutely had to have a stop, and then they fell apart. The verdict: Offense played poorly, defense played poorly.

Summary: This is already approaching novel length so I’ll be short, when you go game by game I don’t see how anyone can come to the conclusion that the defense was the primary cause for failure last year. They outplayed the offense in the majority of the games, only the Indy loss can be placed at their feet alone. And even in that game, the O had a chance to win it with 3 minutes left before they made a mockery of the term “hurry up offense” and Ted Ginn, well he was just being Teddy. I’m not saying that the defense played great, or that the pass defense was horrendous, it certainly was, I just think the D gets a bad rap, and too much of the blame for why we were losing games. It took offense, defense and ST all working together to get to 7-9, so they should all get their fair share of the kudos. Just my two cents.

By Markel Johnson

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3 May 2010 

2010 NFL Draft Review

Leading up to the draft, there was plenty of speculation what the Miami Dolphins might end up doing with their first overall pick. In the end, Miami ended up trading the pick to San Diego. In return, the Dolphins received the Chargers first and second round picks, along with linebacker Tim Dobbins.

Getting a second round pick was very crucial for the Dolphins. They had previously traded their original second round pick to Denver. The trade was a smart one in my honest opinion.

Let’s look now and see how Miami did in the draft. I myself have mixed feelings. The one thing I loved about this draft was the strategy of taking defensive players. Miami needed a new, young look on the defensive side of the ball. They accomplished that.
The one thing I disliked about the draft was the choice to pass on TCU defensive end Jerry Hughes. Time will tell if passing on him was a mistake.
 
Round 1-Pick 28-Jared Odrick-Penn St.-Defensive Tackle-I will admit this right now, when I heard his name called I was fuming. I do not like this pick at all. This pick smells bad. I have this sick sensation that Odrick will be another Phillip Merling clone; Slow and useless. I wanted Hughes with this pick. It made me scratch my head and wonder why. After the draft, Dolphins General Manager, Jeff Ireland tried to clear things up on why they selected Odrick. His reasoning was because they were moving Randy Starks from his natural defensive end position to nose tackle. Starks has played a little at the nose tackle position before but it still makes no sense to me. I ask you this one simple question; Why would you want to move your best pass rushing end to the nose tackle spot? Odrick is also going to switch positions too. He will now move from his tackle spot to play end next year. I just don’t see it working but I have been wrong before.

Round 2-Pick 40-Koa Misi-Utah-OLB-The stats for Misi aren’t that sexy but the book on him says he is a great athlete and has a non stop motor. Misi finished with only 5 sacks last season and will have to improve on that number right away. I have high hopes for Misi. He looks like a solid player that could be a starter right away for Miami.

Round 3-Pick 73-John Jerry-Ole Miss-Guard-Some considered Jerry the best guard in this year’s draft. For Miami to draft Jerry this early it shows you how much they must have liked him. The Dolphins have an abundance of guards on their roster already but Ireland and Parcells went after one of the best in this year’s draft to improve the position. Give credit where it is deserved. They took the best player available and got their guy.

Round 4-Pick 119-A.J. Edds-Iowa-ILB-My favorite pick of this year’s draft is A.J. Edds. This guy is a ball player folks. Edds is solid in pass coverage and could end up being the Dolphins nickel or dime cover back this season. Edds finished the ‘09 year with five picks. It wouldn’t shock me to see Edds win the starting job away from Channing Crowder in 2011.

Round 5-Pick145-Nolan Carroll-Maryland-CB-If Edds is the best pick of the draft then Carroll gets my vote for the worst. Miami definably doesn’t need another cornerback. Carroll has been hurt most of his career. This pick made no sense at all. I expect Carroll to bring nothing to this team. I will even go on record and say I will be surprised if he even makes the team out of camp.

Round 5-Pick163-Rashad Jones-Georgia-Safety-Miami traded up to draft Jones. I love the move. Jones is a big time hitter. His pass cover skills could use some coaching but he brings a presence in the secondary that hasn’t been their in a long time. Even thou Jones played strong safety at Georgia, look for Miami to ask him to move over and play free safety. This is a good opportunity for Jones to claim that position’s starting job. His main completion will be Tyrone Culver and Chris Clemons. I am rooting for Jones to win the job.

Round 6-Pick 212-Chris McCoy-Middle Tennessee St.-Defensive End-McCoy will most likely shift over to play OLB. Last season McCoy had 7 sacks. He brings depth to a position that needs it. Good chance for Chris to stick around and make the team.

 
Round 7-Pick-252-Austin Spitzler-Ohio St.-ILB-One player I predicted that would end up on the Dolphins roster. Great special teams player. Can play multiple linebacker positions. Parcells loves this kid. Will bring a great attitude and work ethic to the club. Great chance to stick on the roster.

After the draft, I took time to reflect on what Miami accomplished on draft day. Out of eight picks made, 7 of those players are on the defensive side of the ball. Good to see management address the weakest position for this team. They did take some chance of players like: Odrick and Misi but struck gold with Edds and Jerry.

My final grade to this past draft got me to thinking, why even bother. We won’t really know how good any of these players will be. Let’s say for the sake of argument, I gave the Dolphins a generous C+. I think that’s fair, don’t you?

By David Gorman

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20 April 2010 

Mock Draft: Dolphin Style
 
During the last few days both General Manager Jeff Ireland and VP of operations, Bill Parcells have been hard at work trying to improve the Miami Dolphins roster. They made their best move to date when they traded for wide receiver Brandon Marshall. The UCF alum is considered to be one of the best receivers in the league. On Friday, they made another good move when they decided to trade wide out Teddy Ginn to the 49ers. I can honestly say that I’m not sorry to see Ginn depart. He was as disappointing as any Dolphin player I can remember.

One rumor that is being tossed around is a potential trade taking place between Philadelphia and Miami. The Eagles would love to move up from their original pick at 24 to the Dolphins pick of 12. The Eagles also happen to have two second round picks (37 and 55) while Miami currently doesn’t own a second round pick, due to the Marshall trade. I think if I was Dolphin management, this deal would be to tempting to pass on. The Dolphins need all the picks they can get.

Let’s look at the facts that can come out of this deal. Miami would have two picks (24 and 37) out of the next 13 selections. That’s not such a bad deal. There is still good value to be had late in the first round. The addition of a second round pick would also be a great benefit to them. Let’s assume Miami makes the trade, there are two players who quickly come to mind that could still be available at pick #24. One is OLB Brandon Graham of Michigan and the other is defensive end, Jerry Hughes of TCU. Both would be good fits for the Dolphins.

Another player that Miami could target in the second round if the deal happens is Notre Dame wide receiver Golden Tate. For weeks it has been rumored that the Dolphins have been enamored with him. Miami needs a speedster/burner type at the receiver spot and Tate is someone they have their eye on. For now we will have to wait to see if this trade becomes a reality. Please enjoy my 2010 mock draft-Dolphin style.
 
Round 1-Pick 12-Earl Thomas-Texas-Safety-5’10-208-Thomas is the play-making safety the Dolphins have been lacking for years. He breaks well on passes and offer’s a very physical presence in the secondary. Thomas finished the season with eight interceptions and 77 tackles. Two of his interceptions went for touchdowns. If Miami drafts Thomas consider this; three or their starting four players in the secondary would be under the age of 24 years old. That’s a great future to have with good young talent.
 
Round 3-Pick 73-Ricky Sapp-Clemson-OLB-6’3-252-Has the talent to be very good at the next level. Has a explosive burst coming from the outside. Sapp tore his ACL in his right knee during the ‘08 season. His numbers are very deceiving. Had only 5 sacks last season. Whoever drafts Sapp is going to have themselves one heck of a player. Because of some history of injuries, Sapp may fall to the third round. If he does look for Miami to pounce all over him.
Round 4-Pick 110-Al Woods-LSU-Defensive Tackle-6’3-309-Offers great support upfront in the running game. Played in the 4-3 at LSU but should be able to adapt well to playing the nose tackle position in a 3-4 scheme. Miami desperately needs a physical, talented player at the nose tackle position. Woods could be that guy.
 
Round 5-Pick 145-(from 49ers)-Cameron Sheffield-Troy-OLB-6’2-257-Very quick off the ball. Very aggressive on defense, sometimes can over commit on running plays. Cameron finished with 7 sacks last year. Sheffield is a bit of a project but with time I believe he could become a good asset to have on the roster.
 
Round 6-Pick 173-(from Chiefs)-Antonio Brown-Central Michigan-Wide Receiver-5’10-186-With the trade of Teddy Ginn, Miami is looking to add some speed at the receiver spot. His terrific play on special teams earned him special teams player of the year in the MAC conference two year‘s in a row. Brown is a great receiver too. His ’09 numbers look like this: 110 receptions, 1198 receiving yards and nine touchdowns. Those are some impressive numbers. Drafting Brown would be a wise move. They could have a receiver to stretch the field and a natural at the special teams position.
 
Round 6-Pick 174-(from Redskins)-Brandon Carter-Texas Tech-Guard-6’6-332-Miami could use some depth at the guard position. Carter is a dominant blocker. He gives up few sacks. He offers a physical presence when he is on the field. I like Carter with this pick.
 
Round 6-Pick 179-Dedrick Epps-Miami (Fla)-Tight End-6’3-250-Good receiver who runs his routes very smooth and precise. Great athleticism and underrated speed. Epps is a good player who could help the Dolphins. He was overshadowed by fellow Hurricane teammate tight end Jimmy Graham.
 
Round 7-Pick 212-(from Chiefs)-Austin Spitler-Ohio St.-ILB-6’3-234-Spitler can play all linebacker positions. Offers good speed and is almost like a coach when he is on the field. Great special teams player for the Buckeyes. Miami happens to love this guy. I would be surprised if they don’t draft him. Could turn into a good special team player for years to come.
 
Round 7-Pick 219-Austen Lane-Murray St.-Defensive End-6’5-276-Lane has a great initial burst. Has power and speed. Lane finished with 23 sacks over the last two seasons. Could be used as a 3-4 outside linebacker in the NFL. Could be that diamond in the rough the Dolphins are looking for.
 
Round 7-Pick 252-(Supplemental)-Kade Weston-Georgia-Defensive Tackle-6’4-317-Weston is a very physical presence inside. Gets under his blocks well. Not that bad of a pass rusher either. The Dolphins could use some depth at this position considering that nose tackle Jason Ferguson is going to miss the first eight games of the season due to being suspended by the NFL.

By David Gorman

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14 April 2010 

Dolphins Land Brandon Marshall

With a week till the NFL draft, the Dolphins pulled off a major move on Wednesday morning when they traded for Broncos wide receiver Brandon Marshall. Miami sent this year’s second round pick (43rd) overall and next year’s second round pick in return for the services of Marshall.

The trade makes a lot of sense from the Dolphins viewpoint. They needed a top notch receiver and they got one in Marshall. Also factor in that Marshall is coming off his third consecutive year with over 100 catches and you got yourself a star at the receiver spot.

After the trade was announced Miami and Marshall came to terms on a new contract worth 47 million over four years. This contract will make Marshall the highest paid receiver in the NFL.

The one major issue with Marshall is his off the field behavior. Marshall even got into it with Broncos head coach Josh McDaniels last year. Brandon needs to show Miami with his new contract in hand some maturity off the field.

This trade also sets Miami up well for the draft. Now all the speculation of drafting Oklahoma St. wide receiver Dez Bryant will end. Now they can concentrate on another position. More then likely the Dolphins will draft a defensive player with their first overall pick.

For now I think Dolphin fans can relax. This move sends a message that they are not content to stay pat and they are committed to winning. The singing of Karlos Dansby was a good move. The trade for Brandon Marshall was just plain awesome!Draft Talk: Could Brandon LaFell Be A Good Fit For Miami?

By David Gorman

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13 April 2010 

Interview with Draft Countdown's Scott Wright (Part 2)
 

This week I continue my conversation with Scott Wright of Draftcountdown.com. In this week’s article Scott talked me about USC safety Taylor Mays. He said he wasn’t sure why there was so much negativity around him. Some of the points he made, even make me wonder if he could fit into the Dolphins plans. Well, here is the rest of our chat about Mays and a few other players.
 
1. Q: If Miami were to pass on both Dan Williams of Tennessee and Terrence Cody of Alabama, which nose tackle might make the most sense for them to draft?
A: It’s a great year for nose tackles in the draft. It’s a very deep position filled with a ton of talent. One player to keep an eye out for is Cam Thomas of North
Carolina. He could go early second round to somewhere in the third. Torrell Troup of Central Florida is another good one. Another player that Miami could draft in the latter rounds that could be productive is Kade Weston of Georgia. He fit’s the build (6’2, 325 pounds) they are looking for.
 
2. Q: Out of these four wide receivers: Mike Williams-Syracuse, Dezmon Briscoe-Kansas, Carlton Mitchell-South Florida, Marcus Easley- Uconn. Which one of them has the best chance to end up in Miami?
A: Let’s start with Williams who has a ton of character issues. He quit the team last year, which I am sure sent up a lot of red flags throughout the NFL world. He definitely has first round talent but he fits under more of a high risk/reward type of player.
Dezmon Briscoe was very productive at Kansas. The one concern with him might be his speed. It’s not the best and not his strongest point.
Carlton Mitchell is someone that intrigues me. He has good size, hands and is very athletic. He could go in the third or fourth round. He is definitely someone that you could end up seeing in Miami.
Easley to me is more of a one year wonder type of player. He is a workout warrior with plenty of potential who could go in round four thru five.
 
3. Q: If Miami passes on Dez Bryant in the first round, could Brandon LaFell (LSU) be a possibility for them in the second round?
A: LaFell might be their best option in the 2nd by far. Miami has a lot of quantity at the receiver spot. What they now need is more quality. They need a number one receiver and LaFell could be that guy.
 
4. Q: Why all the negativity towards USC safety Taylor Mays?
A: I’m not really sure why. He has great instincts and offers great size at 6’3. It could be a classic case of over-analysis by a lot of experts. Mays is very physical and athletic. He may not be that guy that will get you 5-7 picks a year but he good range. Whoever drafts him will be very happy.
 
5. Q: Which tight end come Miami end up selecting?
A: Jimmy Graham of Miami (FLA) is someone to watch. He could go as high as a second round pick. Some wonder if he might become the Antonio Gates. Graham is a former basketball player just like Gates was at Kent St. He has a good knowledge of the game and has great talent. Good hands and physical blocker to boot. Anthony McCoy of USC is not that bad but I see him more as a backup tight of tight end. Dennis Pitta of BYU, has a lot of potential but I am not sure he can be that guy that catches a ton of passes in the NFL. Graham is your best bet to becoming a great tight end.
 
Once again I like thank Scott Wright for his help. It’ always a pleasure working with him. Next week I will have my mock draft, Dolphins style. So keep an eye out for that.

7 April 2010 

An Interview with Scott Wright (Part one)

This past week I sat down and chatted with Scott Wright of Draftcountdown.com. He gave me some insight on this year’s draft, from a Dolphins perspective. This is part one of two.
 
1. Q: In your latest mock draft, you have Miami selecting WR Dez Bryant of Oklahoma St. (pick #12). Two part question I have for you Scott: Do you really think Bryant falls down that far and with Bill Parcells track record of selecting only one WR (Terry Glenn) ever in the first round; does he take a chance on Bryant and draft him if he is available at number 12?
A: Parcells has dealt with players with character issues before, so Bryant shouldn’t be a problem. If the Dolphins don’t take him, they are making a huge mistake. Bryant is a true stud receiver. Some scouts are comparing him to Texans receiver Andre Johnson. The only teams that I can imagine taking Bryant are the Browns and the Bills. The Browns could use a number one receiver. The Bills on the other hand could draft Bryant but they have more pressing needs to fill.
 
2. Q: Do you think Dan Morgan from Georgia Tech can make the transition from DE to OLB in the NFL?
A: I think he can but I just don’t think it would be an ideal fit for him. Morgan playing the OLB in a 3-4 might not work since it’s not his best position.
 
3. Q: Any chance the Dolphins draft Clemson running back, C.J. Spiller with their first pick?
A: I don’t see it happening. They still have an abundance of running backs on the roster and there is really no justification in taking him. He isn’t going to be that back that gets 20 touches a game. He plays more like Saints running back Reggie Bush. Some have tried to compare him to Titans running back Chris Johnson, but the only thing those two have in common is their speed and that is where the similarities end.
 
4. Q: Would Earl Thomas (Texas-Safety) be the ideal pick for Miami at 12?
A: It’s a little to early for my liking. He is a great playmaker with good ball skills. He isn’t that physical or a run stuffer. Maybe between picks 18-22 I would draft him.
 
5. Q: Any chance the Dolphins select Jerry Hughes (TCU-DE) with their second round pick?
A: I doubt Hughes makes it that far. I would be shocked to see the Buccaneers let him pass by them in the second round if Hughes was still on the board. One player that might be available for the Dolphins in the second round is OLB Koa Misi from Utah. He is a very gifted athlete. His numbers aren’t that impressive but he is a steady, solid player.
 
Once again, thanks to Scott Wright for giving me some of his precious time for my questions. Next week I will have part two of our discussion.

By David Gorman

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1 April 2010 

Could Earl Thomas Be The Answer At The Safety Position?
 
In last week‘s article I talked about offensive players in this year’s draft. This week, I turn the tables and talk about defensive players who might intrigue Miami management. This year’s draft is filled with plenty of talent at the safety position and the linebacker spot.
Those are two spots that need to be filled by Miami. The top priority being the safety position. Miami needs another starter at the safety spot. Without further delay, here are the players.
 
Nose Tackle
 
1. Dan Williams-Tennessee-Very quick off the ball. Has great range and is a very intense player. Pass rushing skills are lacking but he did improve his techniques as the season wore on. Williams is listed at 6’2 and weighs in at 327. Miami desperately needs a nose tackle. Williams would make an ideal fit. I see no reason why he wouldn’t excel in the 3-4, as their nose tackle. Rumor has it that Miami is considering drafting Williams with their first overall pick. I hope that’s not the case. As bad as the Dolphins need a good nose tackle, they need a starting safety more.
Projected Rd To Be Drafted: 1st rd
Chances Miami Drafts him: Very good from what were hearing these days. I rather wait till the 3rd or 4th rd to draft a nose tackle.
 
2. Terence Cody-Alabama-Know as mount Cody. Cody weighs in at a whopping 354 pounds. Cody has lost 24 pounds in the last two months. Was a dominant run stopper for Alabama. Gets a strong push inside. One negative on Cody is stamina. Some wonder if Miami were to draft him, how would he fair in the Miami heat. I am not so sure Cody would be a great fit in Miami. One thing about the Dolphins regime is watching player’s weight. Most of the players under contract by the Dolphins have weight clauses in them. I think that is one big reason you wont see Cody in a Dolphins uniform come 2010.
Projected Rd To Be Drafted: 2nd rd
Chances Miami Drafts Him: I think I have a better chance of suiting up for Miami then Cody does.
 
3. Cam Thomas-North Carolina-Thomas is one big boy (6’4, 330 pounds). Last year, Thomas was a huge pain in the neck for ACC opponents. Has perfect frame and build for the 3-4 NT. Very physical and strong. Cam is labeled as a hard worker who doesn’t take any plays off. Miami has met with him and I believe he has peaked their interest.
Projected Rd To Be Drafted: 3rd
Chances Miami Drafts Him: I would say the chances that Thomas ends up a Dolphin are very good. Has that lunch pail mentality and work ethic Miami likes.
 
4. Jeff Owens-Georgia- Very athletic and hard worker. Owens had 2 sacks last season and 32 tackles. Has been known to take a few plays off. Needs to get a better push against bigger lineman. He would be worth picking in the latter rounds.
Projected Rd To Be Drafted: 5th rd
Chances Miami Drafts Him: Less then 20%. Miami needs a nose tackle who can start right away. Owens is more of a part time player right now. More of a pet project to say the least.
 
DE/OLB
 
1. Derrick Morgan-Georgia Tech-Played the defensive end position last year. Some wonder if he can handle playing outside linebacker in the pros. Finished with 12 sacks this past season. Has a great motor and is very powerful. Morgan was pegged as a top 8 picks a few months ago but has slipped. I do believe Morgan can make the jump to the OLB spot and be very good at doing it too. I think deep down Miami is crossing their fingers and praying that Morgan makes it to their first pick at 12.
Projected Rd To Be Drafted: 1st
Chances Miami Drafts Him: I will certainly say he is atop their short list. His skills are incredible. Miami needs a dominant pass rushing linebacker. Morgan has all the tools to play that position. Thumbs up for Derrick Morgan!
 
2. Brandon Graham-Michigan-Graham had a terrific senior bowl. He played like a man possessed. He is another player who will have to make the transition from playing defensive end to the 3-4 OLB spot. Graham has totaled 20 sacks over the last two seasons. He is quick, agile and very aggressive. He can blow right by defenders. The one knock against Graham might be his height. At 6’1, Graham might be just a little to small for the Dolphins liking. Usually NFL teams who run the 3-4, prefer their OLB to be about 6’3 or 6’4 in height. If Miami was to pass on Graham I would understand. The front office has their standards and if a player doesn’t fit them, he will not be a Miami Dolphin.
Projected Rd To Be Drafted:1st rd
Chances Miami Drafts Him: I would be just fine with Graham in a Dolphin uniform but it’s not up to me. I will say this, whoever drafts Brandon Graham, will get one heck of a outstanding player.
 
3. Sergio Kindle-Texas-Kindle has tons of talent but with his talent comes a lot of maturity issues. Has been arrested before and his ex high school coach has said if Miami was to draft him, the nightlife of Miami would be a huge distraction to him. He did have two sacks in the BCS championship game vs. Alabama. I believe every person should be given a second chance. Kindle deserves that chance and he will get it, just not from the Miami Dolphins.
Projected Rd To Be Drafted: 1st rd
Chances Miami Drafts Him: I have seen some mock draft experts saying that Kindle and Miami would be a great fit. I don’t share those sentiments. Kindle played terrible last season. If your looking for a sure 1st rd bust, look no further then him. He has written all over him. I’m just crossing my fingers that Miami doesn’t draft him.
 
4. Jerry Hughes-TCU-I absolutely love Jerry Hughes. Offers a variety of talent; great speed, athletic, hard working, non stop motor and plays the game with a lot of passion. I could continue but I think you get the point. Hughes might be a bit undersized (6’2) but his talent makes up for it. Just finished with an amazing 26 sacks over the last two seasons for the Horned Frogs. Like I said before, Miami has their standards about the height of a outside linebacker. Even thou Hughes isn’t as tall as you would like, there is no mistaking his talent. If the Dolphins do decide to pass on Hughes, I would hope they had a good reason for it. There aren’t many players in this year’s draft with his skills.
Projected Rd To Be Drafted: 2nd rd
Chances Miami Drafts Him: If Miami selects a NT or safety with their 1st pick, I think they are primed to get Hughes in the 2nd rd, that’s if he is still on the board.
 
Safety
 
1. Earl Thomas-Texas-Miami needs a safety desperately. Let me rephrase that, they need a safety with play making skills. Enter, Earl Thomas. Rather then sit here and waste our time talking about safety Eric Berry from Tennessee, who will likely be gone by the time Miami selects, I rather chat about Earl Thomas. Truth be told I happen to think Thomas is just as good as Berry. The stats don’t lie neither. Eight interceptions last season, two the previous season. This kid a stud and ball-hawk. To be frank, I hope Thomas ends up in Miami. I would ecstatic if Miami took him with their first round pick.
Projected Rd To Be Drafted: 1st rd
Chances Miami Drafts Him: I will go out on a limb and say that it’s 50/50 right now. Miami needs Thomas desperately. Some say they can’t imagine GM Jeff Ireland and VP Bill Parcells taking a safety with their first pick. I would tend to think those two want to improve this team immediately and getting Earl Thomas would be a step in the right direction.
 
2. Reshad Jones-Georgia-Jones is a big time hitter. Known more for his physical presence then his coverage skills. His range may not be the best but he makes up for it in rush defense. Finished with four picks last season for the Dawgs. I happen to like Jones but I rather have Thomas.
 
Projected Rd To Be Drafted: 3rd
Chances Miami Drafts Him: If Thomas is drafted early on, I could envision where Jones could get drafted by Miami. I wouldn’t be bothered by it.

By David Gorman

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22 March 2010 

Who Will the Dolphins Draft?

With the NFL draft only a month away, it’s time to take a look at some of this year’s NFL prospects. I am going to break it down, into two parts.

This week will be geared towards offensive players. Next week I will focus on defensive players. Some of the players I am listing might be future Dolphins. We can only hope that Bill Parcells and Jeff Ireland are thinking along the same wave length as me.
 
Running Back
1. C.J. Spiller-Clemson-Spiller is this years number one ranked RB. He is explosive as they come. Every time he touches the ball, he has the ability to make a big play. Spiller reminds some scouts of Titans RB, Chris Johnson. His 40 at the combine was 4.27. That is pretty dam fast. The logic here is, Miami doesn’t need a RB. The reality is; It will be difficult for Miami to pass on a player like him. His talents are off the charts.
Projected Rd To Be Drafted: 1st
Chances Miami Drafts Him: Slim and none. I wouldn’t mind if the Dolphins took him but they happen to have more pressing needs on the defensive side of the ball.
 
Wide Receiver
1. Dez Bryant-Oklahoma St-Bryant played only three games last year. He was suspended by the NCAA for lying to them about working out with Deion Sanders. Dez is listed as the number one receiver in this year’s draft. In 2008, when he played a full season, Bryant finished with 87 catches for 1480 yards. The one stat that caught my eye were his 19 touchdowns receptions. Playing in the Big 12 and putting up those type of numbers are impressive. Bryant might see his draft stock drop a little, due to lingering rumors about a poor attitude and “diva” like qualities. Some insiders also have said that Bryant showed up late to practices on a regular basis and once showed up to a game 15 minutes before it was to start. Who knows if these reports are true but it does makes you think, is he really worth the headache? The bottom line here is Miami needs a legit number one receiver. Bryant fits that build perfectly. He is big, fast and has all the moves that would make any scout smile from ear to ear.

Projected Rd To Be Drafted: 1st

Chances Miami Drafts Him: I think there is a good chance if Bryant is still on the board at 12, Miami takes him. I remember last year everyone saying that Vontae Davis was a huge risk when Miami selected him. Davis played well last year with no distractions. To me Bryant fits that same risk/reward scenario. If he is still there at 12, Miami jumps all over it.
 
2. Brandon LaFell-LSU-To me LaFell is an intriguing prospect. He has all the tools to become a great WR in the NFL. He is tall, (6’3) and quick. His route running needs to be polished a little more but with good coaching that can be fixed. His hands have let him down but he does make up for it by being a physical receiver. LaFell did finish with 11 touchdowns for the LSU Tigers last year. A receiver like him could help the Dolphins a lot..
Projected Rd To Be Drafted: 2nd
Chances Miami Drafts Him: If Miami doesn’t select Bryant with their first pick, there is a good chance they draft LaFell. I happen to like the qualities LaFell has to offer. I would be ecstatic if he ended up wearing a Miami uniform next year.
 
3. Arrelious Benn-Illinois-Even thou his numbers don’t catch you eye, Benn does have the talent to play at the next level. If Benn had a better QB at Illinois, some say he would have been this year’s number one overall receiver in the draft. Miami will definitely take a long look at him. My feelings on him are mixed. I just don’t have that gushy feeling about him.
Projected Rd To Be Drafted: 1st
Chances Miami Drafts Him: I don’t see Benn playing for Miami. He is a nice player, not a legit number one receiver.
 
4. Dezmon Briscoe-Kansas-Briscoe is a physical beast. He is listed at 6’3 and has a ton of talent. Dezmon finished with 84 catches for over 1300 yards and nine touchdowns. He is strong, a good blocker and has great hands to boot. His numbers might be attributed to the Kansas philosophy of throwing the ball over 40 times a game. The fact remains, this kid is a player. In the right situation and system he will shine bright. Now begs the question, is he a right fit for Miami. The answer to that is yes! At this point, Miami needs a receiver who can make plays. Briscoe is that type of player.
Projected Rd To Be Drafted: 3rd or 4th
Chances Miami Drafts Him: I am going to say better then what people may think. He has proven he can makes plays after the catch ( 16.0 YPC) and 31 touchdowns in three years doesn’t hurt either.
 
5. Jeremy Williams-Tulane-Only 6’0 but has all the determination of a bull out on the playing field. Solid hands to go with great route running skills. Finished with 84 catches and seven touchdowns last year. Way to small of a receiver for my liking. Especially since all the current receivers on the Dolphins roster are about his size or shorter.
Projected Rd To Be Drafted: 3rd or 4th
Chances Miami Drafts Him: I would say no chance at all. Last thing the Dolphins need is another small wide out.
 
Tight Ends
1. Rob Gronkowski-Arizona-Missed the entire ‘09 season with injuries. In 2008, Gronkowski finished with 47 catches for 672 yards and 10 scores. If he didn’t get hurt this past season, who knows how many more touches he would have had for the Arizona Wildcats. Good blocker and especially hard to bring down once he gets a full head of steam. Miami could use another tight end but Gronkowski might get selected earlier then Miami would like.
Projected Rd To Be Drafted: 3rd
Chances Miami Drafts Him: Always a possibility, but Miami could make better use of a 3rd round pick on a defensive player instead of a tight end.
 
2. Anthony McCoy-USC-Labeled as a hard worker and disciplined blocker. Great overall athlete who might peak the Dolphins interest with a ton of potential. I think Miami will definitely keep their eye on McCoy come draft day.
Projected Rd To Be Drafted: 4th
Chances Miami Drafts Him: 50/50 chance. The potential and body of work is good. It’s anyone’s guess.
 
3. Jimmy Grahams-Miami (Fla)- Graham played his first full season of Football in ‘09. He played basketball for the Hurricanes the last few seasons. He is a wide body. More of a project but has a lot of talent to offer a team. Only 17 receptions but did happen to have 5 touchdowns. Some say his full potential hasn’t even been reached. What a scary thought that is. In a perfect world, I could see Miami taking him. I am just not sure if Parcells and Ireland are in love with him as much as the state of Florida is.
Projected Rd To Be Drafted: 4th or 5th
Chances Miami Drafts Him: I think Graham is definitely on the Dolphins radar. Has the ability and the talent to play in the NFL. Good blocker and even better hands, what’s not to love. I will go on a limb and say I would be shocked if Graham isn’t a Dolphin come draft day.
 
Guard
1. John Jerry-Ole Miss- A big body who can do some damage. Listed at 6’5 and weighs in in at 328. A natural offensive lineman. Great run blocking skills. Huge and long arms. At times he can become lazy. Has a nasty streak at times, which helps in the NFL. Can play some tackle too. Miami does have three to four guards on the roster now, but Jerry might be too good to pass up.
Projected Rd To Be Drafted: 3rd
Chances Miami Drafts Him: I think the boat has sailed on that ideal. Let’s say, less then 5%.

By David Gorman

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10 March 2010 

Welcome To Miami Mr. Dansby

Linebacker Karlos Dansby and the Miami Dolphins came to terms on Saturday. Dansby is now the highest paid linebacker in the NFL. The contract will pay him 43 million for five years. 22 of that 43 million is also guaranteed.

From the start it was apparent that Dansby was the Dolphins number one target this off-season. Mission accomplished by the Dolphins front office. Dansby met with the Dolphins on Saturday. Chances are that he wasn’t leaving till his agent and the Dolphins had a contract signed.

What Dansby brings to Miami is something they have been lacking at the LB position, a playmaker. Dansby has been making plays at the LB position since he entered the league.

Last year he finished with over 100 tackles for the second straight year. Dansby is only 28 years old and has plenty of good years ahead of him. The move by Bill Parcells and General Manager, Jeff Ireland was the right one. They sent a message to the fans about their commitment to making this team winners again.

It has been reported that Miami has resigned quarterback Chad Pennington. Terms have not been disclosed yet. I like this move for a few reasons. It gives Chad Henne a security blanket. I thing it is important for Henne to have his mentor (Pennington) around.

Also just in case Henne should get injured or have some hiccups along the way, Miami now has a valuable backup.

On Friday, Jeff Ireland decided it was time to cut bait on a few players. Linebackers Joey Porter and Akin Ayodele were given their release. Also gone is safety Gibril Wilson. The release of Porter is no surprise. He asked and hoped to be released and he got his wish.

Akin Ayodele being released is no shock either. Ayodele was one of the worse linebackers in the league last season. Ayodele couldn’t cover anyone. He was just to slow to be kept. They made the right move in my opinion.

The release of Gibril Wilson was a shock. Just a week earlier, Jeff Ireland told the Miami media that even thou Wilson struggled last season, he would still be a member of the Dolphins in 2010. I guess he had second thoughts, because Wilson was cut.

Last year when Wilson came to Miami, everyone and including myself thought this was the move that would put Miami over the top. Teaming with fellow safety Yeremiah Bell, it was sure to be one of the Dolphins strengths going into the 2009 season.

However, from the start it was doomed. Wilson shifted positions at the safety position. It just seemed like he never was comfortable. His tackling from horrendous. Week one against the Falcons, tight end Tony Gonzalez blew right by him as Wilson couldn’t tackle him at all. This would go on throughout the season.

His coverage skills weren’t much better. Wilson finished with no interceptions and dropped a sure interception against the Colts in week two. The dropped pick would eventually come back to haunt them that game.

What will be the next move Miami makes in free agency? Right now, it would seem that landing a safety would be the next priority. One player that comes to mind is Ryan Clark of the Steelers. I wrote about Clark a week ago and happen to think he would make a nice addition to the Dolphins.

Miami also desperately needs a physical wide receiver. So far, it looks like Miami will address that position in the draft. The Dansby signing could be just the start of things.Rebuilding Process Well Underway for Miami’s Defense.

By David Gorman

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