Sunday, April 27, 2008

Draft Day 2 Recap

Here's the stock of picks Miami has left for Day 2 of the Draft:

DAY TWO (Rounds 3-7)

Round 3 (66, from Detroit) DE Kendall Langford, Hampton
Round 4 (110, from Chicago) G Shawn Murphy, Utah State
Round 6 (176, from Detroit) RB Jalen Parmele, Toledo
Round 6 (195, from Dallas) G Donald Thomas, Connecticut

Round 6 (204, compensatory) RB Lex Hilliard, Montana
Round 7 (245, compensatory) DT Lionel Dotson, Arizona

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Draft Day 1 Recap

I'm going to hold off on any in-depth analysis of Miami's picks until after the whole draft has been completed. But here's a recap of what has happened so far.

Miami acquired a fourth round pick (115) from the Eagles in exchange for RB Lorenzo Booker. I can't say that I'm real high on this trade. Booker was an electric threat who had a lot of versatility. He was just a third round pick last year, so it seems like Miami is losing a bit of value in this deal. Ireland has said that Booker simply doesn't fit the system, so in that sense at least Miami will recoup some value by selecting someone who does, but overall I think they are still losing value.

Here is how day one shaped up and what picks Miami has left on day two:

DAY ONE (Rounds 1 and 2)

Round 1 (1 overall) T Jake Long, Michigan
Round 2 (32) DE Phillip Merling, Clemson
Round 2 (57, from San Diego) QB Chad Henne, MIchigan

DAY TWO (Rounds 3-7)

Round 3 (64)
Round 4 (115, from Philadelphia)
Round 6 (197, from Dallas)

Round 6 (204, compensatory)
Round 7 (209)
Round 7 (245, compensatory)

I can't say I'm that excited about the Henne selection either. I just think that is too high of a pick to invest in another QB after taking Beck last year. I wanted Miami to take a QB in this draft, but I was hoping they'd wait until a later pick.

Dolphins acquire Ayodele and Fasano

On the eve before the Draft, Miami decided to trade away its fourth round pick in order to acquire LB Akin Ayodele and TE Anthony Fasano from the Dallas Cowboys.

To be honest, my first reaction to this trade was displeasure. After all, neither of those players are above average and now Miami's stock of draft selections has a gigantic hole between picks 64 and 197. That's an eternity to go without having a single pick.

Miami's stock of draft picks now looks as such:

DAY ONE (Rounds 1 and 2)

Round 1 (1 overall)
Round 2 (32)
Round 2 (57, from San Diego)

DAY TWO (Rounds 3-7)

Round 3 (64)
Round 6 (197, from Dallas)
Round 6 (204, compensatory)
Round 7 (209)
Round 7 (245, compensatory)

The good side of the this trade is that both of these players are still young and both are coming from the same system that they will be playing in. Furthermore, both players play positions that are relatively weak in this draft. The selling point for me is that Fasano is still only 24 years old, barely older than a senior coming out of college, and it's not likely that Miami was going to select a TE that was much better than him in this year's draft, especially with their fourth pick. Add in Ayodele who will likely challenge for a starting linebacker spot and it seems like a fair deal - not a great deal, but a fair deal.

Let's take a look at the guys the team just got:

Fasano (6'4", 258 lbs.) is a two year veteran out of Notre Dame. He was a second round draft pick in 2006. These are his career stats:


REC Catch %
2006DAL16 6
14 58%
126 9.0 22 0 4 0
2007DAL16 5
14 67%
143 10.2 26 1 6 0
Career 32 11
28 62%
269 9.6 26 1 10 0

Ayodele (6'2". 250 lbs.) is a six year veteran out of Purdue. He is 28 years old. He was a third round draft pick in 2002. These are his career stats:


2002JAC16 3
68 61 7 3 3.0 2 0 1 22 0
2003JAC16 16
116 96 20 4 1.0 0 3
2 15 0
2004JAC16 16
93 80 13 3 2.0 2 1
0 0 0
2005JAC16 11
72 56 16 1 2.5 4 1
0 0 0
2006DAL16 16
84 64 20 4 1.0 0 2 2 2 0
2007DAL16 14
57 36 21 4 0.0 0 0 0 0 0
Career 96 76
490 393 97 19 9.5 8 7
5 39 0

Friday, April 25, 2008

8 players released

Miami trimmed its roster today, releasing the following eight players:
  • QB Casey Bramlet
  • LB Marcello Church
  • S Tuff Harris
  • CB Jereme Perry
  • WR Kerry Reed
  • LB Mark Washington
  • WR Chandler Williams
  • S Cameron Worrell
No real surprises there. I didn't expect any of those guys to make the roster anyway.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Draft Prospect Scouting Reports: Defensive Ends

Here is the fifth installment of my positional draft preview.

The players that I am discussing are those that the Dolphins have worked out, interviewed, or had other such contact with.

Today I'll be looking at defensive linemen. Miami is pretty set with its starters right now with Matt Roth, Jason Ferguson, and Vonnie Holliday penciled in. But they can all be upgraded, and Miami really needs to find some young depth to stash behind them and develop into their replacements.

I will organize the prospects into tiers, as such:

  • First tier: First-round talent
  • Second tier: Second or third-round talent
  • Third tier: Mid-round (4-5) talent
  • Fourth tier: Late round (6-7) or FA talent

1. DE Chris Long, Virginia
  • Pros: nonstop motor, has all the intangibles, strong and powerful, great versus the run, technically sound, durable, lots of experience
  • Cons: not very fast, his senior year was his one big season
  • Compares to: Aaron Kampman
Chris Long is no longer an option since Miami chose to take Jake Long number 1 overall.

2. DE Vernon Gholston, Ohio State
  • Pros: absolute workout warrior, good speed, solid against the run, great intangibles, excellent at bringing pressure around the end
  • Cons: lacks consistency, does not have experience dropping into coverage, questions whether he is more of a workout warrior than an elite football player
  • Compares to: John Abraham longer an option with Jake Long on board.


1. DE Quentin Groves, Auburn
  • Pros: very athletic and agile, fast, solid tackler, very productive in college, good in pursuit, played outside linebacker during his senior season
  • Cons: Like Gholston he may be a workout warrior, very inconsistent, motor runs hot and cold, undersized, sloppy technique, troubling shedding blocks
  • Compares to: DeMarcus Ware
Groves is a great fit as a 3/4 outside linebacker and Miami could certainly use a young player to groom in that spot. Groves may end up going in the first round, which I think is a bit too high for him, but he's an option for Miami at 32.

2. DE Chris Ellis, Virginia Tech
  • Pros: excellent speed and burst, stout against the run, nonstop motor, technically sound
  • Cons: limited pass rush moves, not very powerful, may not be an every down player, character and durability concerns
  • Compares to: Simeon Rice
I'd steer clear of any guy who has both character and injury issues.

3. DE Calais Campbell, Miami (FL)
  • Pros: great size (6'8", 290 lbs.), great against the run, very good motor, solid tackler, durable
  • Cons: not that fast, doesn't have a good closing burst, must get stronger, technique needs work, not a top-notch pass rusher, inconsistent, can't beat double-teams
  • Compares to: Julius Peppers
Campbell is coming out after his junior season which was a significant drop-off from his sophomore season. He has a very high ceiling, but that comes with a floor that is probably just as low. That risk will be worth it if Campbell is available at 32.

4. DE Lawrence Jackson, USC
  • Pros: good size with long arms, very productive in college, good speed, solid against the run, technically sound, lots of experience against top competition
  • Cons: very inconsistent, not real explosive and lacks a burst, limited pass rush moves, has had nagging ankle issues throughout college
  • Compares to: Mark Anderson
Jackson is a streaky player, and he's not a true weapon rushing the passer. He could possibly play inside, but he struggles against double teams. It doesn't seem like there's one good position to stick Jackson where he will bloom into something great, but he'd at least be serviceable. That thing that scares me most is that he's liable to fall into slumps. I don't know if those expected ups and downs are worth it.


1. DE Kendall Langford, Hampton
  • Pros: extremely versatile (can play DT, DE, or OLB), has the ability to add significant bulk, good bull rusher, plays strong against the run, good intangibles
  • Cons: not very athletic, not very fast, does not have much experience against top competition
  • Compares to: Ty Warren
Langford probably won't be much of a pass rusher, but he is stout against the run and he can play multiple positions along the front seven. The Trifecta doesn't necessarily like guys who haven't played against top competition, but Langford would be a good value pick in the fourth round regardless.


1. DE Curtis Johnson, Clark Atlanta
  • Pros: natural athlete, fast, explosive hitter, great pass rusher, has special teams potential
  • Cons: will have to transition to LB in the NFL, did not play against top competition, needs to improve his technique, questions about his intelligence
  • Compares to: Joey Porter
Johnson is a very intriguing sleeper prospect from a DII school. Even if he doesn't pan out as a linebacker he should be a good special teams contributor. Johnson is going to need a patient coach, and Miami certainly has time to develop young players. Miami should definitely look at this guy in the sixth or seventh round.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Jake Long officially signed by Miami

At a press conference at team headquarters today, the Miami Dolphins announced that they have signed T Jake Long as the number one overall pick in the NFL Draft.

The contract is for five years and is worth $57.5 million with $30 million guaranteed.

In the press conference, Tony Sparano declared that Jake would be playing left tackle which presumably means that Vernon Carey will be moved back to right tackle. If that is the case, Miami's offensive line should have two tremendous bookends. The only starting spot left to fill on the line is at left guard.

This is a great signing and I'm very glad that Miami didn't take Vernon Gholston. Signing Jake is both a smart and safe move which fills a dire need while not sacrificing any value. I would have liked to see Jake sign a six year deal, but at least this way he won't be holding out and missing any training camp practices.

Now it's time to start thinking about pick 32...

Reader Question: Possible Trade Scenario with Atlanta?

A reader recently sent me this question, looking for my thoughts on a possible trade scenario with the Atlanta Falcons. Before I answer it, I just want to thank Herb for the question, and if anyone else has any questions they'd like to see answered here, just shoot me an email (samlef [AT] hotmail [DOT] com).

Here is Herb's question:
"What is your take on the Dolphins locking up Jake Long in a contract and then trading him to Atlanta? Most mock drafts have Jake going to the Rams at number 2. Some sites say that the Falcons top need is an offensive tackle. Atlanta has a few second round picks and can afford to trade up."
My response:

It's certainly an interesting idea, Herb, but I just don't think it's likely. Sure, Atlanta needs an offensive tackle or two in a real bad way, but they need a quarterback even more, and they could use a defensive tackle as well. No matter who Miami ends up selecting first overall, a player that represents both need and value will be available to the Falcons when they pick. I'm not sure that Atlanta is so enamored with Jake Long that they'd be willing to trade up to take him, when they could just take a guy like Glenn Dorsey or Matt Ryan at number 3 and then use any of their second rounders to take one of the second-tier offensive linemen. The depth at OT is relatively deep this year. The same cannot be said for defensive tackle. Would it be better for Atlanta to take Dorsey and a second-tier OT, or trade up for Jake Long and nab a second or third-tier DT later on? I would say the most value would be had by taking Dorsey, since the second-tier DTs represent a much bigger drop-off in talent than the tackles do.

Still, if I were the Dolphins' G.M. and Atlanta offered me their first-round pick (3rd), one of their first two second-round picks and their third-round pick to move up to the first spot, I'd take that deal in a heart beat. Sadly, I don't think Miami is going to get any enticing offers for their first pick.

But we shall see for sure on Saturday...

Thanks again for the question, and feel free to send me an email if anyone has any more questions they'd like answered here.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Draft Prospect Scouting Reports: Offensive Line

Here is the fourth installment of my positional draft preview.

The players that I am discussing are those that the Dolphins have worked out, interviewed, or had other such contact with.

Today I will be looking at offensive lineman. Currently Miami has three sure starters in Vernon Carey, Samson Satele, and Justin Smiley. However, there are gigantic holes at left guard and right tackle (or left tackle depending on where Carey ends up). The quality of the depth is sorely lacking as well. Suffice to say, Miami will be picking some offensive linemen in this draft.

I will organize the prospects into tiers, as such:

  • First tier: First-round talent
  • Second tier: Second or third-round talent
  • Third tier: Mid-round (4-5) talent
  • Fourth tier: Late round (6-7) or FA talent

1. T Jake Long, Michigan
  • Pros: huge size (6'7", 313 lbs.), always finishes blocks, dominant run-blocker, has experience in both zone and man blocking schemes, smart, strong and powerful, experience at both right and left tackle, lots of experience, fantastic work ethic
  • Cons: lacks quickness, pass blocking skills are not at the level of his run blocking skills, may be better suited at right tackle than left, will allow some inside penetration
  • Compares to: Jamaal Brown
Jake Long will potentially be the number one overall selection, and if that's the way Miami decides to go, I'll be in full support (though I wouldn't mind Chris Long either). Long isn't suited for a zone blocking scheme, but the Dolphins don't need to worry about that since they don't utilize one. There's also some concern that Long won't be a great left tackle. While that is a bit troubling, Miami already has Carey who played pretty well at left tackle this past season and could continue to do so if Long could not pass him in training camp. Either way, Miami's tackles would immediately become one of the best duos in the league. Long has all the character intangibles that you look for, and he'd make an excellent foundation for this rebuilding team.

2. T Gosder Cherilus, Boston College
  • Pros: huge size (6'7", 315 lbs.), long arms, dominant run blocker, agile, lots of experience, strong and powerful
  • Cons: struggles with speed rushers, probably not a left tackle, minor character concerns, too many penalties
  • Compares to: Cornell Green
If Cherilus somehow makes it to pick 32 and Miami doesn't take Jake Long, Cherilus would be an excellent choice. He can immediately man the right tackle position and be a dominant force in the running game. I doubt he drops that far though.


1. T Carl Nicks, Nebraska
  • Pros: massive size (6'5", 341 lbs.), has played both left and right tackle, very athletic and quick, aggressive and strong, mauling run blocker, good at getting to the second level, high upside
  • Cons: only started about one season, technique is often sorely lacking, questionable intensity, will need time to develop
  • Compares to: Flozell Adams
Due to his lack of experience, Nicks will need some time to be developed, but even with his raw technique he was able to both excel as a run blocker and handle speed rushers. He could probably start at right tackle immediately, although there would be a definite learning curve. If he's there in the second round, Miami must consider him.

2. T Oniel Cousins, UTEP
  • Pros: very athletic, quick and agile, good range, can probably play guard as well as tackle
  • Cons: average size, average strength, sloppy technique, doesn't get good push
Oniel Cousins is a definite project. He doesn't have all that much experience, but his upside has led to his draft stock rising into the second tier of tackles. He's a risky pick that could pan out as a solid starter, but I think that Miami has safer, more reliable options at tackle in this range than Cousins.


1. T Daune Brown, Virginia Tech
  • Pros: has played both left and right tackle, long arms, very athletic, moves well, effective at reaching the second level, above average in pass protection
  • Cons: not very physical, technique needs work, doesn't get a good push when run blocking
  • Compares to: Brandon Frye
Brown is a much better fit in a zone blocking scheme. He doesn't really fit in with Miami's philosophies.

2. G John Greco, Toledo
  • Pros: good size, good technician, strong and powerful, excels as a run blocker, smart, excellent intangibles
  • Cons: short arms, not real athletic, struggles in space against pass rushers, limited upside
  • Compares to: Nick Kaczur
Honestly, I'd rather have Shawn Murphy (see below) than Greco, simply because Murphy has more upside. Greco may only be backup material in the NFL and while that's certainly worth a late round pick, I wouldn't want Miami spending its fourth rounder on Greco. That's too high for him to go in my estimation.


1. G Shawn Murphy, Utah State
  • Pros: good size and strength, has played both left tackle and left guard, solid work ethic, gets a good push in the run game
  • Cons: doesn't have long arms, lacks explosiveness, very raw technique, not a lot of experience, older than most prospects (Mormon mission)
  • Compares to: Justin Smiley
Even though Murphy has played tackle in college, he's not going to make it there in the NFL. However, he could challenge for Miami's open left guard position. He relies a little too much on finesse rather than physicality and is a very raw prospect in general. But his potential makes spending a sixth or seventh round pick on him very attractive.

2. G Andrew Bain, Miami (FL)

3. G Derrick Morse, Miami (FL)

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Complete 2008 Game Schedule Released

The full 2008 game schedule was released today. Here is how Miami's slate of games looks:

2008 Preseason Schedule
Date Opponent Time* TV
Aug. 16 at Jacksonville Jaguars 7:30 p.m. WFOR
Aug. 28 at New Orleans Saints 8:00 p.m. WFOR
2008 Regular Season Schedule
Date Opponent Time* TV
Sept. 14 at Arizona Cardinals 4:15 p.m. CBS
Sept. 21 at New England Patriots 1:00 p.m. CBS
Oct. 12 at Houston Texans 1:00 p.m. CBS
Nov. 2 at Denver Broncos 4:05 p.m. CBS
Nov. 30 at St. Louis Rams 1:00 p.m.# CBS
Dec. 7 at Buffalo Bills (Toronto) 4:05 p.m.# CBS
Dec. 21 at Kansas City Chiefs 1:00 p.m.# CBS
Dec. 28 at New York Jets 1:00 p.m.# CBS

*All games are Eastern Time.
#Games that can be potentially moved to Sunday at 8:15 p.m. on NBC-TV.

It's interesting to note that Miami will be playing in two stadiums this year that they've never played in before - Arizona's University of Phoenix Stadium and Toronto's Rogers Centre.

Billingsley signed

Yesterday, the team announced that it had signed S Will Billingsley.

There's really not that much known about this guy. Billingsley (5'10", 195 lbs.) played college football at North Carolina A&T from 2004-2006 and was eligible for the NFL Draft last year but was not selected.

During his college career, he played in 26 games, collecting 109 tackles, 2 INTs, and 10 passes defensed.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Draft Prospect Scouting Reports: Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

Here is the third installment of my positional draft preview.

The players that I am discussing are those that the Dolphins have worked out, interviewed, or had other such contact with.

Today, I will be looking at wide receivers and tight ends. Miami's wide receiving corps especially needs an overhaul after parting ways with Chris Chambers, Wes Welker, and Marty Booker.

I will organize the prospects into tiers, as such:

  • First tier: First-round talent
  • Second tier: Second or third-round talent
  • Third tier: Mid-round (4-5) talent
  • Fourth tier: Late round (6-7) or FA talent

1. Devin Thomas, Michigan State
  • Pros: good size, 4.40 speed, runs well after the catch, very good abilities when the ball is in the air, excellent kick returner, lots of upside
  • Cons: only one year of great production, will require time to reach his full potential, sloppy route running, he may be fast but he doesn't have that elite separating speed
  • Compares to: Koren Robinson
Thomas is likely going to go too high in the draft for Miami to consider him. I could see him being an option if he somehow fell to #57, but that's near impossible. Miami doesn't really need to spend this high of a draft choice on a WR.

2. Andre Caldwell, Florida
  • Pros: Very fast (4.37) with a burst, can make the circus catches, can beat the jam, strong after the catch, can return kicks, great work ethic
  • Cons: not a vertical threat, doesn't change directions quickly, drops too many catchable balls, his blocking needs work, durability concerns
  • Compares to: Hines Ward
Caldwell is most dangerous when he's running straight ahead since he doesn't change directions quickly. That lack of versatility and one-dimensional aspect of his game might hurt him bad in the NFL. That can probably be coached up. What scares me the most is his tendency to drop catchable balls. Miami already had a guy who made all the circus catches and dropped the easy ones in Chris Chambers. Do they want that again? As a second or third option, maybe.

3. Dustin Keller, Purdue
  • Pros: vertical threat, good hands, above average skills after the catch, lots of experience, great intangibles like work ethic
  • Cons: not a good blocker, some durability issues, won't fight for the ball in a crowd, has trouble beating jams at the line
  • Compares to: Eric Johnson
Miami can certainly upgrade their woeful TE group, but I'm not so sure that getting such a one-dimensional player would be the right direction to go in. Keller is not a good blocker, and that's not going to help the running game or the pass protection. I'd rather get a player who may not be quite the downfield receiving threat that Keller is, but who is a more well-rounded and complete player.


1. Eddie Royal, Virginia Tech
  • Pros: excellent speed (4.39) with a burst, vertical threat, strong and tough to bring down, dangerous after the catch, excellent return man
  • Cons: Short (5'10"), durability concerns, route running needs work, struggles to beat the jam
  • Compares to: Roscoe Parrish
Royal seems a bit like a poor-man's Ted Ginn, and so I don't think he complements Miami's receiving corps that well. Of course, if the Dolphins want to find a new return man so that Ginn can concentrate solely on being a No. 1 receiver, then Royal will be worth a look. However, he doesn't possess the size that Parcells and Co. covet, and thus I think they will probably look elsewhere.

2. William Franklin, Missouri
  • Pros: very fast (4.37) with a burst, great leaping ability, a deep threat who is also not afraid to go over the middle, dangerous after the catch, good character, still has upside
  • Cons: route running needs work, not very strong, catching technique can be improved, not a good blocker, minor durability concerns
  • Compares to: Roddy White
Franklin may go in the fourth round, which is too high for Miami to take him, but if he falls into the sixth round, Miami will have to look hard at him. He's a versatile receiver who can go deep as well as run routes across the middle of the field. He's a developmental project and he has a learning disability that may cause him to learn the playbook slower than most, but if the coaching staff can be patient with him, they may be able to get a steal on draft day. I like Franklin, and if he's there in the sixth, hopefully Miami likes him enough to pull the trigger.


1. Justin Harper, Virginia Tech
  • Pros: great size (6'4", 213 lbs.), very athletic, can make the spectacular catch, superb leaping ability
  • Cons: drops too many balls, not that fast (4.56), struggles to separate
Again, this is another guy that drops more balls than he should. But Harper's price tag makes him very much worth a look. If Miami can snag him in the sixth or seventh round, they should. He's got the size that Parcells loves, and he could probably become a solid red-zone threat.

2. Josh Morgan, Virginia Tech
  • Pros: very athletic, good hands, creates separation, good leaping ability, can play special teams, still has upside
  • Cons: speed is just average, not a vertical threat, not a good blocker, has character and work ethic issues
  • Compares to: Johnnie Morant
Morgan still has significant upside, but he is far too inconsistent. On top of that, he's run into trouble off the field and he has personality issues. That should lead Miami to steer clear.

3. Lance Leggett, Miami (FL)
  • Pros: good speed, good size (6'3"), great leaping ability, vertical threat, can make the circus catch, still has upside
  • Cons: route running needs work, struggles against the jam, durability concerns, inconsistent
Leggett is a track star, there's no doubt about that. The question is whether he is a football player. He certainly wasn't helped with the QB play in Miami, but some of the blame must also fall on him. Still, his problems are correctable with good coaching, and he could prove to be quite a steal. There's just as much a chance that he will be cut before the season even begins as he will become a solid player, but his high potential is worth a late-round flier or free agent contract.

4. Pierre Garcon, Mount Union
  • Pros: good bulk (210 lbs.), solid speed, great leaping ability, good blocker, strong, can return kicks, still has upside
  • Cons: he's a Division III standout and so he did not play against top competition, struggles to beat the jam, sloppy route running, lots of questions about how he'll translate to the pros
Garcon is somewhat intriguing since he has a lot of the physical tools you want in a receiver, but since he only played Division III, it's tough to tell how he'll match up against elite defenders. He dominated at the level that he played, but how will he do in the NFL. I think it'd be worth a seventh-round pick or a free agent contract to find out.

5. Darnell Jenkins, Miami (FL)
  • Pros: great route runner, knows how to get open, not afraid to go over the middle, solid blocker, can return kicks
  • Cons: short (5'9"), rather slow (4.60), not very strong, struggles with the jam, some durability issues
With the seventh-round picks that Miami has, they should have better options at WR than Jenkins. I'd rather Miami look at guys with more upside with their late round picks. I don't think Jenkins has too high of a ceiling. Still, it might be worth it to bring him in as a free agent if he's available.

6. John Dunlap, North Carolina State

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Mauia arrested

Early Friday morning, FB Reagan Mauia was arrested on simple battery charges for punching a man in the face outside of a bar.

According to reports, the exchange between the two men was particularly humorous (if greatly idiotic). It went a little something like this:


Mauia: What the fuck are you looking at?

Random guy: I'm not looking at anyone.

Mauia: You should know. (WHACK!)


Reagan, what are you doing!? Your roster spot was tenuous to begin with and now you're pulling a stunt like this?

I must say though, that the line "You should know" is one of the better lines I've heard in some time, largely because it makes absolutely no sense in the context of this "conversation."

It will be interesting to see what Parcells and Ireland decide to do with Mauia now, given that this is his first indiscretion. I'd like to see him get some more time to develop as a player, but this slip up may prevent that from happening.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Draft Prospect Scouting Reports: Running backs/Fullbacks

Here is the second installment of my positional draft preview.

The players that I am discussing are those that the Dolphins have worked out, interviewed, or had other such contact with.

Today, I will be looking at running backs and fullbacks. Of course, this is one of the few positions that Miami can considered a strength. Even so, it's possible a RB might be taken with a late round pick or as a free agent.

I will organize the prospects into tiers, as such:
  • First tier: First-round talent
  • Second tier: Second or third-round talent
  • Third tier: Mid-round (4-5) talent
  • Fourth tier: Late round (6-7) or FA talent

1. Kevin Smith, Central Florida
  • Pros: Excellent agility, tough, capable pass-catcher, good vision
  • Cons: Running style is too upright, needs to add bulk, some character issues
  • Compares to: Justin Fargas
Smith will likely be selected by round three, which is simply too high a price for Miami to invest in a position that is already a strength, and one in which lower draft picks often perform capably. Smith can do a lot of things well, but he's not an economical choice for Miami.


1. Owen Schmitt, West Virginia
  • Pros: Classic bruising lead blocker, very strong and powerful, solid pass catcher, excellent work ethic, good short-yardage runner
  • Cons: Not very athletic, average speed, not much upside
  • Compares to: Larry Csonka
Schmitt is quite an intriguing prospect, and he's a guy I would have loved for Miami to take in the fourth or fifth round if they hadn't selected Reagan Mauia last season. Schmitt is as old-school as they come, and while he doesn't have much upside, what he offers right now is still pretty valuable. Still, I think Mauia is solid and should be given some more time to develop as a lead blocker. Choosing Schmitt would be luxury pick, and Miami can't afford many of those this year.


1. Tim Hightower, Richmond
  • Pros: Can play RB and FB, good special teams player, powerful runner, good vision, hard worker
  • Cons: Average speed, below average hands, concerns with ball security
Hightower is a versatile back who could provide some injury insurance at the RB and FB position while offering another special teams piece. That versatility may be worth one of Miami's two seventh-round picks or signing him as a free agent if he isn't drafted.

2. Rolly Lumbala, Idaho

Lumbala is another versatile back who can play RB, FB, H-back, or tight end. In the NFL, his best position will be at FB, where he'd be a solid lead blocker. He can play special teams as well. I'd rather take Hightower over Lumbala, but Lumbala would certainly be an option if he's available as a free agent.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Contract talks begin with Jake Long and Gholston

In anticipation of the fast-approaching draft, the Dolphins have begun discussing contracts with T Jake Long and DE Vernon Gholston.

It's definitely beneficial to get some of this groundwork financial discussion out of the way now so that whoever is ultimately the pick will be less likely to hold out.

I would expect the team to start these discussions with DE Chris Long shortly. They may also start these talks with QB Matt Ryan and DT Glenn Dorsey.

Some people are saying that these discussions are just smokescreens, but they are simply precautionary measures to avoid a holdout from whoever is selected. Assuming the Dolphins stick with the No. 1 pick, I think it's safe to say that one of the above five players will be the pick. It only makes sense to start hammering out contract details as early as possible. Then, if one agent stubbornly makes signability a huge issue, Miami can move on to the next player on the board if they deem that to be the best move.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Draft Prospect Scouting Reports: Quarterbacks

After a rather uneventful March, it is now time to jump into draft coverage headfirst. I'm going to start my draft coverage by going through the players who either the team or the local papers have identified as those that the team has interviewed, met with, or attended workouts for. If the team has already put in resources to look at these guys, then we should too.

I'll start today with the quarterbacks. Again, these are simply the QBs that have already had some type of contact with the organization, that I am aware of.

I will organize the prospects into tiers, as such:
  • First tier: First-round talent
  • Second tier: Second or third-round talent
  • Third tier: Mid-round (4-5) talent
  • Fourth tier: Late round (6-7) or FA talent

1. Matt Ryan, Boston College
  • Pros: Strong leader, intelligent, good size, excels with short to intermediate passes
  • Cons: Inconsistent accuracy, relatively immobile, lacks a solid deep ball, average arm strength, limited upside
  • Compares to: Matt Schaub, Chad Pennington
I'm not real high on Matt Ryan. I think he's benefiting a lot from being the best quarterback in a pretty weak draft class for that position. And given the importance of the position, it's inevitable that the best prospect each year will have his status elevated, even if he perhaps doesn't quite deserve it. Now I'm not trashing Ryan. I think he's a great prospect, but he has far too many holes and deficiencies for Miami to take him number 1 overall - and with the picks they have now, that is the only chance they will have to take him.

2. Brian Brohm, Louisville
  • Pros: Intelligent, good size, lots of experience, good accuracy and touch
  • Cons: Limited upside, average leader, injury-risk, lacks mobility, could be a system-player
  • Compares to: Drew Brees
If Brohm were to slip into the second round, he would represent good value for Miami, but I still don't think they should be investing another high pick into a QB when the verdict is still out on John Beck. Brohm is the type of player who is just as likely to turn out a bust as he is to be a solid starter. The system he played in during college certainly inflated his numbers and that might be masking some deeper inefficiencies in his game.


1. Joe Flacco, Delaware
  • Pros: Excellent size, strong arm and good deep ball, smart, durable, decent upside
  • Cons: Not much experience against top competition, mechanics could use some work, did not play in a pro-style offense
  • Compares to: Derek Anderson
Like a lot of people, I'm pretty high on Flacco. I like him much better as a prospect than either Ryan or Brohm. Granted, Flacco will require some significant development time, but Miami can afford him that time. I am a little scared about his experience coming almost exclusively out of the shotgun formation. As a physical specimen, he has everything you are looking for, but the mental aspect of the game needs work. If he reaches Miami in the second or third round, they have to consider him, although I don't think he's worth Miami's first second-round pick (32 overall).

2. Chad Henne, Michigan
  • Pros: Strong leader, great arm strength, loads of experience
  • Cons: Decision-making is spotty, pocket presence needs work, sloppy fundamentals, average accuracy
  • Compares to: Joey Harrington
I don't think Henne has enough upside to justify drafting him in the second or third round. He tends to get jumpy and break down in the pocket, and far too many of his passes get broken up or intercepted. He is too erratic to be a franchise signal caller.

3. Andre' Woodson, Kentucky
  • Pros: Strong arm, avoids turnovers, handles pocket pressure well, some scrambling ability, significant upside remaining
  • Cons: Mechanics, inconsistent, trouble reading coverages, leadership is not where it needs to be
  • Compares to: Jason Campbell
Like Flacco, Woodson needs a lot of time to develop himself into an NFL starter. He may have the highest future potential out of any QB in this draft, but it will take time to bring that level of play out of him. While the physical tools are there for the most part, his lack of a strong leadership mentality may cripple his development. A lot will depend on the kind of coaching he will receive in the NFL, and Miami certainly has the staff to bring out the best in Woodson. Using the third round pick on him is an option.


1. Kyle Wright, Miami (FL)
  • Pros: Good size, mechanics, and arm strength, significant upside
  • Cons: Poor decision-maker, too easily flustered under pressure, very inconsistent, lacks leadership, wasn't very productive at the college level
Wright essentially lacks all the intangibles that a QB needs. With the physical tools he has, there is still upside there to be tapped, and for a seventh-round pick or as a free agent, it may be wise for Miami to pursue the local product and see if they can't develop him into something of value.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

2008 Preseason Schedule Announced

The Dolphins' 2008 preseason schedule was announced today.

Here's how it shapes up:

Saturday, August 9, 7:30 PM - vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
TBA August 14-18 - @ Jacksonville Jaguars
Saturday, August 23, 7:30 PM - vs. Kansas City Chiefs
TBA August 28-29 - @ New Orleans Saints

Luckily, Miami doesn't have to make any long road trips during the preseason schedule.