Tag Archives: NFL Draft

Miami’s Draft: Sack or Be Sacked?

27 Apr

This will be fun to watch. Maybe not so much for Ryan Tannehill.

Heading into Thursday evening we were nowhere near the territory where “the big three” left tackles were expected to leave the draft board. Then, suddenly, with the clock almost expiring on the Raiders, our new logo appeared. We were on the board at three. Ireland had done it. With Branden Albert talks at an impasse, Jeff had taken advantage of a buyer’s market and jumped up for Lane Johnson.

Only we hadn’t. Dion Jordan’s phone rang, and the Sea Mammals had punched the freakishly athletic defender a ticket to Davie. It was of course, one of those “wow” moments. After considering the fruitless search to generate pass rush opposite Cameron Wake, and the fact that the road to our division title leads through Tom Brady, we bought in. Wake and Jordan may meet at a lot of QBs for the foreseeable future.

But along with the excitement was the belief that Miami and Kansas City would still be burning up the phone lines about Branden Albert, the 28-year old, disgruntled tackle who was ranked Pro Football Focus’ 7th best pass blocker in 2012 (9th in 2012). At the end of round 2 we would have added a unique force to our already 7th ranked scoring defense, as well as protected Ryan Tannehill’s blind side.

That trade never happened, for either salary or trade compensation reasons, depending on who you follow and trust on Twitter. Possible targets Menelik Watson and Terron Armstead off the board, our second rounder went to secure explosive cornerback Jamar Taylor to go opposite newcomer Brent Grimes (we get it, stop Brady, win the division). The draft continued. We grabbed Tennessee tackle/guard combo Dallas Thomas, who is projected to be either an interior lineman or right tackle at the next level.

From the look of it a very productive draft (we’ll review ALL the newcomers after the undrafted class is signed), with one humongous, glaring asterisk. Some are classifying the Branden Albert talks as “dead”, but who expects that situation to get better before getting worse? We expect that drama to only intensify, and we’re on record as the main suitor if and when the dung hits the fan in Chief Land. Other options may emerge of course.

Is there a sliver of hope that Jonathan Martin can somehow play left tackle at a sufficient level against NFL talent? Sure. To hope is human. However, he was generally eaten alive there last season. To be fair, he was a rookie, but we’re not prepared to go into the season depending on him. The many discussions with the Chiefs lead us to believe that Ireland’s not too comfy with that idea either.

As the dust settles, we’ve added a potential sackmaster to the ranks. Of course in doing so we may have exposed our own gunslinger. It’s sack or be sacked in Davie, and if Jeff Ireland doesn’t pull a rabbit from a hat at left tackle? Well next season’s last sack may go to Stephen Ross.

GO DOLPHINS, and feel free to follow us on Twitter @TheBottlenose

Dolphins Must Still Be Bold About Receiving Corps in Draft

13 Apr

Patriots, Broncos, Saints, Redskins, Packers Giants, Falcons.

Those were the seven highest scoring teams in the NFL last year. The significance of that list? With the exception of the Redskins and dual threat Jedi RG3, all of these offenses took the field with at least two beastly receiving targets on the field.

Welker/Gronk. Demaryius/Decker. Graham/Colston. Nelson/Cobb. Nicks/Cruz. Juilo/Roddy/Gonzo.

Left tackle. Cornerback. Pass rushing end. Running back. There are other areas of obvious need for the SoFlo Sea Mammals as the draft nears. But in today’s NFL there is no such thing as too much pass catching talent.

This isn’t a knock on Keller, Bess, Hartline, Gibson, Clay or Matthews. They may all play a key role this season. But we also know now, by and large, what these players are capable of.

So when Jeff Ireland and the boys are on the clock in those first couple of rounds, here’s hoping they remember that there’s been no better time to go “best player available” at WR and TE.

If Tavon Austin is the next Harvin. If Cordy Patterson’s the next Roddy White. If Justin Hunter’s the next A.J. Green. If Zach Ertz is the next Gronkowski…

We’ve got Wallace to open things up. We love the signing, but our work isn’t done. The beastly offenses in this NFL double-down with prime time targets. If we let a star pass catcher slip through our fingers in exchange for a “physical corner” who may get flagged every time they lay a finger on an opposing receiver, or a run-blocking interior or right-side lineman, it would be a shame.

The tea leaves are clear. The NFL wants scoring. The NFL wants passing. As a defense, the only thing scarier than having to deal with Mike Wallace would be having another beast to worry about.

“But if we focus on Mike Wallace then _________________ will make us pay.”

Fill in that blank. Bess? Hartline? Keller (no spring chicken, and he’s on a 1-year deal)? If the “big 3″ left tackles are gone. If Milliner hasn’t miraculously fallen. If we haven’t traded up. Or if the right guy sneaks into the second round…

Why not fill in that blank?

GO DOLPHINS, and feel free to follow us on Twitter @TheBottlenose

If Matt Moore is the Answer, What Does Our Draft Look Like?

22 Nov

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

The Secret Trading Weapon: Next Year’s First Rounder

27 Apr

Ryan Mallett, first round talent, second round projection. Mikel Leshoure, first round talent, second round projection. Colin Kaepernick, insane upside, second round projection.

If we stay put at pick 15, that doesn’t mean we’re condemned to sit tight for the next billion hours ’til we’re on the clock again in round three. Trade next year’s first rounder. Trade that sucker. Your job may depend on it.

People often say, “You don’t mortgage the future.” Well, if you’re getting first round value, that isn’t what you’re doing. You’re “Pulling a Wimpy”. Yes Wimpy, that glorious source of cartoon wisdom, with perhaps the greatest catch phrase in animation history.

“I’ll gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today.”

We’d just have to make sure we were getting a Whopper of a player in return.

GO DOLPHINS, and feel free to follow us on Twitter @thebottlenose

Waiting on a Quarterback Will Be Dangerous Business

26 Apr

Thirteen, by our count. Thirteen teams who could or should be digging for gold under center in the 2011 NFL Draft. That’s more than any draft we can remember.

Usually by now a few teams will have locked down a veteran via trade or free agency. Guys like McNabb, Young, Kolb, and Orton are all in limbo until a CBA is worked out. If ever teams might have itchy trigger fingers when it comes to quarterbacks, it’s this year. There’s no guarantee that they’ll land a prized free agent gunslinger if they miss out. This could also tempt folks to trade up and secure their future signal callers.

So here are the Dolphins on the clock at pick 15, staring at a long wait before they’re on the clock again in the third. There may be serious temptation to trade down and add a second rounder, but if the SoFlo Sea Mammals plan on moving on from the Henne era that could be a huge gamble.

Gabbert, Newton, Mallett, Locker, Ponder, Dalton, Kaepernick. These guys can all be found in at least a few first round mocks now. The rest of round one aside, several QB-needy squads can be found at the top of round 2. We could see a lot of jockeying to move up and secure one of the remaining signal callers.

So how far down can the Dolphins really drop if they expect to bring in a top arm? Do they instead focus on the O-line, running game and receiving corps, hoping Henne can turn it around? Or do they bank on being able to trade for or sign a veteran QB, post-draft?

There is a lot at stake for the Bifecta. They could drop down and still look brilliant, or they could get a little too cutesy and secure a pair of pink slips come next winter.

Shuffle up and deal.

GO DOLPHINS, and feel free to follow us on Twitter @thebottlenose

Latest Marshall Fiasco May Shuffle Miami’s Draft Board

23 Apr

Attention prospects with red flags. The odds of getting a phone call from Davie may have taken a hit today, with the news that Brandon Marshall has been stabbed (and we’re glad to hear, is doing well) in a domestic disturbance.

Every team has to make judgement calls about guys with histories, in both the draft and free agency. Admittedly details are sparse in Marshall’s latest “hiccup”, but when we brought The Beast on board we certainly knew there were some pimples. Any possible infatuation with a guy like Ryan Mallett may now be trumped by character concerns, as may be the case with every other imperfect prospect on the board.

We’d also bet the wideouts on our big board will climb too. Every negative headline with Marshall’s name in it could and should have Miami at least preparing for a future that may not involve him.

Again, we don’t know all the details, but we do know The Beast may have a tendency to invite these messes. Maybe it’s not the best idea to bring more bad luck charms into the fold.

GO DOLPHINS, and feel free to follow us on Twitter @thebottlenose

Who Will the Dolphins Make Their Quarterback of the Future? – Fan Poll

22 Apr

GO DOLPHINS, and feel free to follow us on Twitter @thebottlenose

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