Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Reader Mailbag: Draft Possibilities (OL, ILB)

After reading my post about Samson Satele and the future of Miami's center position, a reader sent me these questions:

What do you think about the Dolphins taking Duke Robinson with their first pick? That is if he drops that far. Also, I have read that some people think that the Dolphins may go with the ILB position with the 1st. What are your thoughts on taking an ILB in the 7th round? I'm thinking Ronnie Palmer or Mike Rivera?

As I wrote in the aforementioned article, I think there are better areas to spend the first pick on than center, but I would not be opposed to using that pick on another offensive lineman, especially if the team decides to cut ties with Vernon Carey (I don't think they should).

But a return to health by either Justin Smiley or Donald Thomas is no sure thing at this point and in Thomas' case, he has a very limited (aka about two quarters) amount of playing time that we are basing his potential as a starter off of. Andy Alleman is really the only promising backup on the team at this point, so improving the depth with a player that could challenge for a starting spot immediately or at least develop into one down the road is a must.

To that end, Duke Robinson would certainly be an intriguing option with the team's first round pick, and especially with their first second round pick if he were to fall that far.

Robinson is primarily a guard, but he could probably make the transition to right tackle if Carey leaves in free agency. His forte is power run blocking, which is obviously a direction this team would like to move in.

Even if Carey sticks around, Robinson could be brought in to be the eventual replacement for Justin Smiley, if the team thinks his shoulder issues are going to derail his career anytime soon.

As far as inside linebackers go, we all know about Parcells' penchant for drafting LBs high in the draft.

If Channing Crowder leaves, and it looks like he will, Miami is going to have a gigantic hole in the middle of the defense. The two best remaining players will be Akin Ayodele and Reggie Torbor. Ayodele played adequately in his role this past year, but can he take over Crowder's every-down role and still thrive? And Torbor was thoroughly unimpressive. Things probably won't have gone all that well if he is starting at ILB when the season begins.

So that position is definitely a possibility with the first round pick. One possibility could be James Laurinaitis.

As far as the seventh round, anything is possible, but one key thing Ireland and Parcells will be looking for in those players is an ability to play special teams. Linebackers generally are useful on special teams, so another ILB could be picked up then.

Honestly, I'm not too familiar with either Palmer or Rivera, but from the quick search I did, it seems both will very likely still be around in the 6 and 7th rounds, perhaps even as free agents. The team definitely has a need for more bodies there, so they are certainly possibilities, possibily as practice squad players as well.

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