We’re going to slot us in at 6 wins this season. Not bad when you factor in an 0-7 “clusterfin” to start the year. For discussion’s sake, let’s say that Matt Moore finishes the season on an absolute tear. And let’s say that the powers that be are willing to write his name in ink as our starting quarterback in 2012. If Moore were locked in at starting QB, where would that leave us when April rolls around? After all, 99.4% of the draft chatter has been about the quarterbacks, which make up one whale of a class we might add. Here’s a look at a possible scenario.
Six wins could put us at around pick seven or eight. That is, historically speaking, far too high to draft a right tackle. So, let’s keep that need in mind (Colombo has been a strong run-blocker, but has struggled against the pass rush) and scratch it off our round one list. A seam-stretching tight end has been on many of our minds for a while. But did you catch a glimpse of H-back Charles Clay this week? Not to mention we’ve already pointed out Fasano’s under-appreciated skills in a past piece. So we’re not going to jump for a TE this high in the first round either. Marshall and Bess are locked up as our #1 and our slot. Does that move our attention to the defensive side of the ball? We think it very well could.
Our pass defense was putrid to start the year. So do we bring in a DB? A corner to replace Vontae or Sean? Another safety prospect? We don’t think so. We contend that our poor pass defense numbers were due to an inability to pressure the opposing quarterback. Mike Nolan has schemed beautifully as of late, and we’ve been getting to opposing gunslingers much more often. But we’re not enthused about the right side of our defense. Jason Taylor is on his way to Canton, and will soon be put to stud, making dozens of tiny defensive ends on a farm in Kentucky. Koa Misi is not (sniffle, sniffle) going to be a sack master. He’s high motor, but it’s simply not what he does.
Our solution? Ladies and gentlemen, in the first round of the 2012 NFL draft the Miami Dolphins select COURTNEY UPSHAW, LINEBACKER, ALABAMA.
This is assuming he falls to us. Upshaw is going to terrorize teams at the next level. Opposite Cam Wake, we will strike fear into the heart of every quarterback we face. How do you beat Brady? You rattle him. If he has time he will slice and dice like a surgeon. If we have designs on winning the East we can’t let that happen. He would toss Sanchez around like a rag doll. But Upshaw is not merely a pass rusher. We don’t believe he’d ever leave the field. Adding a pass rush demon like him would in a sense be an upgrade to the secondary too. Exactly why it has become an elite position in this league. As of press time we’ve got the #6 scoring defense in the NFL. Imagine if we added a beast like Upshaw to that mix.
Ladies and gentlemen, in the second round of the 2012 NFL draft, the Miami Dolphins select D.J. FLUKER, TACKLE, ALABAMA.
Not an Alabama fan, I promise. Fluker is a hell of a right tackle prospect, adept at both run and pass blocking. The top of the second round is prime territory for top shelf right tackles and guards. Adding Fluker would free up our tight ends, who are often kept at the line due to our weak pass blocking on the right side. We’ve got to stop the rush on that side. It has killed us several times this year.
At this point we would have added perhaps the most talented two players at their positions. To boil it down, we will have drafted less time for opposing quarterbacks, and more time for ours. In the third, perhaps we’ll hedge our bet on Matt Moore. Can we really go all in without a potential backup plan?
Ladies and gentlemen, in the third round of the NFL draft the Miami Dolphins select BRANDON WEEDEN, QB, OKLAHOMA STATE.
A 28-year old rookie? Sure, it’ doesn’t happen every day. But Weeden’s skill set matches up with almost every quarterback in the crop. Whoever drafts Weeden will get a mature athlete with a cannon for an arm and an eye-popping resume. He was drafted by the Yankees as a starting pitcher, then returned to football in his native Oklahoma. His age, and his propensity to gamble a bit too much with the football, may push him into the third round. We’d be wise to bring him in as a supplement to Matt Moore, or even as a potential starter if Moore goes belly-up in his second frame with the Fins.
THE MATT FLYNN EXPERIENCE?
This scenario could of course also work if we made a move in free agency and handed Matt Flynn the reins (or even Josh Johnson or Vince Young). Flynn has flashed, and has learned from the best up in Green Bay. Here’s a video of every throw from his only career start, against the Patriots in Foxboro. Someone is going to make the leap. We predict that the results with Flynn will be more Schaub-esque than Kolb-ish.
ALL EYES ON MOORE
This is an insanely important stretch for the Miami Dolphins. This year presents an incredible crop of quarterbacks, and we need to decide if we’re in the market for one. Dolfans have witnessed what happens when you half-heartedly try to find a franchise QB. How good does Matt Moore need to be for us to make him “The Man”? If he just shows flashes will that be enough to keep us from calling Robert Griffin III’s name if he’s on the board? Is Moore Kyle Orton? Or does Moore have franchise potential? The guy is averaging just 192 yards per start, and we think Moore Mania is premature. If you applied his numbers as a starter to a 16 game slate you’d be looking at just over 3,000 yards, with 19TDs to go alongside 11 INTs. Those look like Chad Pennington numbers.
But are they the kind of stats that alter the course of a franchise?
GO DOLPHINS, and feel free to follow us on Twitter @thebottlenose