Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Reader Mailbag: CB at 25?

Here's a good question I received from a reader:

With the acquisitions the Dolphins have made in free agency it seems probable that the greatest need is cornerback. If they do pick a corner at #25, which player would best suit the Dolphins? Do you think that the competition (Randy Moss and Terrell Owens) has any effect on who the Dolphins may select with the 25th pick?

I agree that CB is this team's biggest need at the moment, although I'd put it in a tie with wide receiver as well.

Will Allen is the only proven starter this team has, and while he's been very good, he's going to be 31 when this season starts and no one can be sure when his production will start to slip. He's also only under contract for one more year, meaning he could be gone after 2009. Thus, even if you feel okay about the CB situation as it stands right now, you have to be concerned about what it will look like next year at this time. It is absolutely imperative that this team bring in at least one young CB prospect with a high ceiling in this year's draft, but preferably at least two.

And Miami's first round pick (#25) is probably going to be an ideal spot to take a player who fits that description.

By my estimation, there are five CBs who could go in round 1 - Malcolm Jenkins, Vontae Davis, Alphonso Smith, Darius Butler, and Sean Smith. The first three are probably locks to go in round 1 while the latter two have a decent chance to still be on the board in the second round.

Malcom Jenkins is the most highly touted of the bunch, and he should be gone when Miami picks. But that's fine because I don't get the sense that the Dolphins are that interested in him anyway. A lot of experts are saying that he may not cut it as a CB and may have to switch to safety, much like Antrel Rolle. Miami definitely needs a pure CB, not a safety hyrbid.

Vontae Davis probably deserves to be picked before #25, but he is a player who could fall based on character concerns. He's a lot like his brother Vernon who plays TE for the 49ers in that he's an absolute physical beast, but his mental approach may prevent him from ever making anything of all that potential. He's certainly a risk, but at 25, it wouldn't be a reach at all. His potential is bigger than any other CB in this draft. He's my pick for who the team should take with its pick.

Alphonso Smith is also an interesting option because there's a good chance he will be on the board at 25. The problem is that he lacks the size that Ireland and Parcells want (he's only 5'9). That being said, he might make more plays than any other CB in this draft. So if they can look past his size, he should be an option, if Davis is already off the board.

As far as Darius Butler, Sean Smith, and D.J. Moore go, I think 25 is a bit of a reach for them. Of course, they might not all last until 44, but I think at least one of them will.

As far as your question about competition within the division goes, I'm sure it's a factor. Of course, even if Moss and Owens weren't in the division it would be unwise to think that CB is any less of a need. Even without Moss, the Patriots can still tear this secondary apart as presently constructed. Any team that has enough competent WRs to spread Miami out can make them pay dearly. The Dolphins simply don't have enough talented depth to deal with spread packages. Having to face big imposing guys like Moss and Owens only adds to the immediacy with which this team needs to address this glaring problem.

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