Our Many Holes, and How the Draft Could Fill Them

12 Mar

Is it just me, or are the Dolphins looking more and more like swiss cheese? Holes galore. Seriously contending this year looks like it will require a nearly flawless draft (see the Steelers’ 1974 haul, Lynn Swann, Mike Webster, Jack Lambert and John Stallworth). Miami has glaring holes at receiver, free safety and nose tackle (unless our plan is to go 8 games with a marshmallow interior D-line, before the 36-year old, PED popping, one-man cavalry arrives), with tight end and OLB/DE also requiring attention.

It is presumed that we will be bringing Jason Taylor back, which could buy us a little time in the OLB/DE department. At safety, if we wouldn’t pony up the dough for Rolle or Clark, I doubt we’d go all in for Otogwe. Not to mention the Rams have the right to match any mediocre offers we make. Perhaps there’s a band-aid safety or two still kicking around the free agent market, or one soon to be released? Nose tackle has taken a beating. The same day the Fergie news broke, Jamal Williams signed with Denver. It doesn’t seem like anyone better than Soliai is going to show up on our doorstep. We’ve been remarkably quiet in the wide receiver market, offering up just a quick whiff at Antonio Bryant as he made his way to Southern Ohio to don stripes opposite Ocho. Ben Watson’s still kicking around out there, a field-stretching tight end who could be a nice target for Henne.

There are restricted guys who could be targeted still, Brandon Marshall, Vincent Jackson, Tony Scheffler. But based on the Trifecta’s P.D. (Post-Dansby) checkbook pattern, there may not be any big coups in the near future.

Which leads us to the 2010 NFL Draft. This is the big one, the influx of talent that will ultimately transform our fair football team into a playoff fixture, and yes, a Super Bowl contender. Our team has made strides. Our O-line is strong. We seem to be locked in with Henne under center. We are flush with slot/possession receivers with Bess, Hartline and Camarillo. Ronnie and Ricky are a dynamic pair (though fresh legs are needed). Our corners of the future are in place. Yeremiah Bell sneaked into the Pro Bowl. Langford and Starks are strong on the D-line, and will now be backed up by Karlos Dansby. Cameron Wake should be a pass rushing beast off the corner, and JT will continue to pester left tackles as he finishes up his amazing career. There is reason for optimism.

But if we are going to make the leap, sooner rather than later, our margin for error in this draft is small. So here are a look at some possible guys who could make up the first handful of picks. Oh, and I’m going to tend to the most massive holes first.

FIRST ROUND CHEESES
*S Earl Thomas, Texas. (I won’t pretend that Berry will be here)
*WR Dez Bryant, Oklahoma State.
*NT Dan Williams, Tennessee.

SECOND ROUND CHEESES
*WR Best available. Benn, LaFell, Thomas, Tate. One or more of these huge potential guys should be here. I hope the Trifecta likes who’s there, because waiting longer will get very dicey.
*NT Terrence Cody, Alabama or NT Cam Thomas, UNC. Cody could very well fall to us here, as those moobs are scaring many a GM. Cam would be a bit of a reach, and could be there in round 3, but the Ferguson mess may force our hand.
*FS, I don’t like anyone here, truthfully. The guys who should be there about 30 picks later could be just as promising.

THIRD ROUND CHEESES
*WR Andre Roberts, Citadel. WR Mardy Gilyard, Cin. WR Damian Williams, USC.
*NT Cam Thomas, UNC (may not fall this far), NT Linval Joseph, ECU, NT Torrell Troup, UCF (both promising run-stuffers).
*FS Reshad Jones, UGA, Nate Allen, USF, Morgan Burnett, GT, Darrell Stuckey, Kansas. I like grabbing a safety here much more than in the 2nd round. Better value.

FOURTH ROUND CHEESES (now I’ll include some other holes)
*FS, Not impressed. Maybe a guy listed in round 3 falls here, but otherwise, I don’t know. Might as well wait.
*NT Linval Joseph, ECU, Torrell Troup, UCF. Could fall here. If not, we should wait ’til the 6th to grab some beef.
*WR Jacoby Ford, Clemson, WR/RB Dexter McCluster, Ole Miss, WR Eric Decker, Minnesota, Jeremy Williams, Tulane.
*TE Jimmy Graham, Miami, Dorin Dickerson, Pitt, Dennis Pitta, BYU. All three of these names should excite you. All three will stretch the field. All three would provide nice targets as Henne progresses.
OLB/DE Eric Norwood, South Carolina, Cameron Sheffield, Troy. Both have serious potential. Norwood plays faster than he sprints, which could benefit us here.

THE TRIPLE PLAY IN THE 6TH ROUND
Depending on what we’ve accomplished in rounds 1-4, we could grab three value guys in the 6th who could make a difference down the line. Perhaps an athletic OLB/DE for JT to tutor? A big-bodied NT prospect? A sleeper WR? Or a RB, perhaps the heir apparent when Ricky retires and Ronnie (perhaps) leaves?
*DE/OLB Thaddeus Gibson, OSU, Antonio Coleman, Auburn, Adrian Tracy, W&M.
*NT Jay Ross, ECU, Kade Weston, UGA
*WR Eric Decker, Minnesota, Dezmon Briscoe, Kansas, Danario Alexander, Missouri (intriguing 6’5″ project).
*TE Ed Dickson, Oregon, Tony Moeaki, Iowa.
*RB James Starks, Buffalo, Andre Anderson, Tulane, LaMarcus Coker, Hampton (5’11”, 205LBS, 4.32 40 yard dash, four failed drug tests in college. I swear he’s worth a late rounder).

IF I WERE IN CHARGE…

ROUND 1 – Based on the way this draft is shaping up, I’m becoming more and more interested in Texas S EARL THOMAS. I see a big drop-off after him (yes I know, Taylor Mays runs a mean 40, but his coverage skills don’t approach Earl’s). I don’t see a second round stud at the position either. Earl, with Sean and Vontae on the corners? I’d like our future in the defensive backfield. A lot.

ROUND 2 – This is where I’d hopefully go with Georgia Tech WR DEMARYIUS THOMAS. The handful of wideouts after Dez are closely lumped, and not far behind when you consider Bryant’s off the field shortcomings. If Demaryius isn’t there, I still go best WR available. This is the value spot here.

ROUND 3 – Cam Thomas is off the board, but I’m not waiting. NT LINVAL JOSEPH will have his name called right here. He’s a fast riser out of a smaller school. 6’5″, 325lbs. I believe he’s a guy who we could lock into the middle between Langford and Starks, and enjoy the havoc they wreak. Ferguson’s starting spot on the D-line could be long gone by week 9.

ROUND 4
If he’s here, I’m not passing on TE DORIN DICKERSON of Pitt. Shannon Sharpe fell to the 7th round, and I’m not letting that happen again. Amazing hands, not to mention he outran most wideouts at the combine. I’d love Pitta from BYU as a consolation prize, if Dickerson is gone. Ex-Cane Jimmy Graham is a physical freak as well, though he may be a bit of a project.

THE SIXTH TRIPLE PLAY
OLB/DE ANTONIO COLEMAN, AUBURN
RB LAMARCUS COKER, HAMPTON
WR DANARIO ALEXANDER, MISSOURI

SEVENTH ROUND SIZZLER?
WR/KR TRINDON HOLLIDAY, LSU. Worst case he’s an insanely good (and affordable) kick returner with track star speed. But perhaps he could be used in some interesting ways on offense? We need points, darn it! Oh, and if Holliday made the roster Ted Ginn might be packing by the time the season starts.

THE BOTTLENOSE’S HOLE-PLUGGIN’ DRAFT-O-RAMA!

1st – EARL THOMAS, FS, TEXAS (starter)

2nd – DEMARYIUS THOMAS, WR, GEORGIA TECH (starter)

3rd – LINVAL JOSEPH, NT, EASTERN CAROLINA (starter)

4th – DORIN DICKERSON, TE, PITTSBURGH (starter)

6th – ANTONIO COLEMAN, OLB/DE, AUBURN (JT’s understudy)

6th – LAMARCUS COKER, RB, HAMPTON (stud potential)

6th – DANARIO ALEXANDER, WR, MISSOURI (stud potential)

7th – TRINDON HOLLIDAY, WR/KR, LSU (the next Dante Hall)

7th – BORIS LEE, ILB, TROY (some sideline to sideline potential, depth)

Simply one man’s caffeine-induced ramblings, but I think there’s some merit to the above drivel based on the way the draft deck is stacked. Henne gets a stud young WR to work with and a gamebreaking TE. Earl Thomas completes a hell of a defensive backfield, while we add a young monster on the D-line. If things fell this way I would be skipping through greater Santa Monica in head to toe Dolphin gear. Not that I don’t normally, but I’d skip…even…harder than usual?

No more coffee for me, thanks. It’s almost nighty night.

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2 Responses to “Our Many Holes, and How the Draft Could Fill Them”

  1. InFINcible March 12, 2010 at 12:37 pm #

    The closer we get to the draft the less I feel like I know which direction we are going to go. FS is the new QB of the defense in this ever more apparent pass happy league. But do we spend another draft pick for the second year in a row on an FS? I would hope not, but Earl Thomas is a tempting prospect.

    Defensively we have holes for sure, I’m just hoping some of them can be filled with the roster we have with better coaching. I was thinking about this last night: if Rex Ryan were our HC last season, how much better would our defense have been with the talent we had. Granted he had a shut down corner in Revis, but he had nothing like the pass rush we were able to muster. And although it was definitely lacking at times, I’m sure he would’ve gotten more out of it.

    So I guess my point is, with a much better and truer DC running our D, would the status quo still not improve? My mantra this offseason is let’s coach ’em up and see what we’ve got. Add some talent through the draft, for sure, but the biggest glaring need that we know is NOT on our roster is a #1 WR. As for the D, we don’t know if the talent is already there.

  2. danewen March 13, 2010 at 11:02 am #

    It will be interesting to see The Nolan Effect. His reputation is sterling, and I expect much improvement on defense. But I think two of the top four picks should probably go defense, with a WR and TE in the mix as well.

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