Legendary Miami Dolphin left tackle, Richmond Webb, returns to the PhinManiacs PhinCast!
The perennial Pro-Bowl tells Jason Sarney his thoughts on the Miami Draft, and specifically the offensive line overhaul. He also gave his outlook for the Dolphins for 2020 and beyond, and we even talked jersey numbers.
Yea - case closed.
By: Jason Sarney
Last Thursday, the Miami Dolphins ended months and months of speculation, and made the move official. With the 5th pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, the Miami Dolphins selected Tua Tagovailoa, quarterback from Alabama. Even more impressive in my mind was the rest of the draft.
The off-season saw 10 free agents sign with Miami and now those 14 draft picks turned into 11 rookie names and a veteran running back in Matt Breida. We can also add in several undrafted free agents who can make noise in the summer.
Essentially, half of their 2020 roster was built after the Week 17 victory against the New England Patriots. A victory that was not seen in Boston for this franchise in 10 years. The Dolphins have a returning core group of a bit more than a dozen of key personnel, and this 2020 unit can be molded perfectly at the exact right time.
However, regardless of the soft AFC East and exit of Tom Brady, there needs to be a relative management of expectation for this team, as well as fan base. The fan base is rejoicing, as the vast majority, including me, are more than thrilled Tua is the quarterback. Now the arguments shift to the number he will wear, but hey, what's this fan base without a little debate, right?
Also, a few collegiate 99’s will wear a new number, as Curtis Weaver and Raekwon Davis must come to terms that Jason Taylor’s #99 may just be the next retired number for Miami.
Folks, it is not a coincidence there have been no other 99s or 54s recently.
This team was not built in the eyes of fans or football analysts or mock draft simulators. There were reasons Miami didn’t select a running back at #39 like the world projected.
Like free agency, Chris Grier had a price he was willing to pay, and a selection spot he was ready to use and in this case, J.K. Dobbins went just a few picks before the eventual selection of defensive lineman, Raekwon Davis at #56. Sure, if available they may have grabbed him, but if they valued a running back that much, #39 would have been the time. Robert Hunt was the better long-term choice.
When the #56 pick was made those glued to Brian Flores and family during the teledraft, saw the Miami defensive-minded head coach seemingly riding an invisible car, diesel truck, or a huge crimson elephant ready to disrupt the opposing offensive line. He was happy.
Cut from the same model as the 10 free agents, these rookies are all self-less, team players, who would all sacrifice stats for the one number that truly matters…
The number on the chest and the numbers on the stat sheets mean little to most of these Dolphins, I would imagine. Jersey numbers can be tricky, and if those remember the importance of Christian Wilkins’ collegiate number 42, if he can make his peace with rules causing it to be impossible, others can as well.
Of course, certain numerical situations are very, very unique. Just like a former Miami quarterback who wore #13.
The point is, Miami has done what they have failed to do since Dan Marino retired, and left the game as a Miami Dolphin forever, without trying to chase a final Super Bowl run in different colors. (Part of the myth, the man, the legend if you ask me.)
This off-season and draft proved that the long-haul and future vision is to get back to the Miami regular seasons of 10 wins on average across the glory decades. The regular season prowess of Miami teams in the 70’s-90’s and even trickling into this millennium with Ricky Williams and an all-world defense, could be close to returning.
The success of the first season of Brian Flores came at the direct resistance to a false narrative. The team, who arguably had a collective group of talent that can be called a “worst bunch” in the NFL, won five games. And if you think about the season, a converted 2-point conversion against Washington wins another game, and a better called contest by refs at New York could have given them a sweep of the Jets.
That could have led to 7 wins, but of course, everything happens for a reason and either of those two scenarios would have closed the book on the Alabama Southpaw…likely.
We'll take it.
My point is, is that this coach in Brian Flores who now upgraded his staff to his specifications, now welcomes in a half-team of new faces to mesh and gel with returning Dolphins.
This process is still ongoing, and the team still has roughly $20 million in cap space as well as a roster spot or two to play with. There is a long way to go before five brand new offensive linemen gel as a unit.
It is very possible there is a totally different and newly constructed offensive line for Week 1 projected starter Ryan Fitzpatrick and the running back by committee of Jordan Howard, Matt Breida, Patrick Laird, Kalen Ballage (for the moment) and rookie Midshipmen, Malcolm Perry.
Perry, who was listed as a WR at Navy, will be called an RB on the Dolphins roster, and even took snaps as an option QB collegiality. The “Annapolis Package” is something I am praying to see and hear called, especially on short-yardage, gadget-type plays and 2-point conversion attempts.
This offensive line was solidified in expectation, but again. Let us realize Rome was not built in a day. However, it was destroyed much quicker.
This offensive line, much like in another sport where five fresh faces once came together to create a perfect storm of a College Basketball phenomena in Michigan in the 1990s, can be a stellar group.
Sure, different game and different overall situation with three rookies and two free agent signings so the “Fab Five” they may not be.
Call them the “Flab Five.” Respectfully.
This group of 979 additional rookie pounds in Austin Jackson, Robert Hunt and Solomon Kindley adds to the veteran newcomers of Ereck Flowers and Ted Karras. This is a left to right, right to left upgrade, and guys like Jesse Davis and Michael Dieter must be working as hard as ever in their home gyms and garages now…or at least they better.
This offensive line will undoubtedly improve the Miami team that last season was ranked 32nd in rushing yards per carry, sacks allowed, and QB hits.
The lives of pass-targets DeVante Parker, Preston Williams, Allen Hurns, Isaiah Ford, Albert Wilson, and Mike Gesicki may be a lot easier as well as their QB throwing to them.
Defensively, adding to Raekwon Davis on the interior portions of the line is UNC’s Jason Strowbridge, who was a steal in the 5th round. Curtis Weaver was a top-75 pick in many-a-mock, yet he was also a 5th rounder this past weekend. Matt Breida was part of the San Francisco deal, so essentially, he was the 5th rounder there or even better, the compensation for traded Kenyan Drake last year to Arizona. It all makes sense if you track the pick.
The secondary was bolstered even more with Noah Igbinoghene, who is an outstanding lock-down corner, and can now be making NFL slot-receivers have nightmares. Nik Needham, who is primed for a beneficial year with the company of Xavien Howard and Byron Jones, collectively makes this group a bunch of mini-islands that opponents will reluctantly vacation to on Sundays…I call them the “Florida Keys.”
Enjoy your three hour tour...
Texas Longhorn, Brandon Jones was the pick Miami fans were hoping for position-wise in safety after the top four or five prospects were gone, but as they went off the board Jones fit the bill as a “Flores” type player.
That was the theme of the draft. The Dolphins went with “Type” and not “Name.”
There was also a savage, but brutally good business move in the selection of long snapper Blake Ferguson. In what would be a side-bar of unfortunate agony, this led to the waiving of 2019 Dolphin long snapper Taybor Pepper, who quickly became a social media sensation off the field, and quite the player on it with his hustle down-field and snapping ability. Ferguson and Pepper have known each other since childhood, making it a tougher pill to swallow if you are Pepper. The class-act he is, Pepper will shake it off and be fine.
Football is a business, and of course not personal. The business of building a team is what this organization is now remembering how to do. Perhaps the new vision since Stephen Ross took over, through ups and downs and positives and negatives, finally has a foundation in place.
A term real state people need to focus on, because no matter how good a structure looks, it can not sustain anything long-term without the proper support to make it last for the long-haul.
As I have equated this process of Chris Grier’s to a poker game, the general manager slow-played his 2019-2020 hand. Did he score the jackpot over anyone else sitting at the table? We may not know yet, as the hand and overall contest is not over.
Did Grier deal the Miami Dolphins a winning hand? Will this “risk” of folding past hands in traded or released players pay off in the long-term?
As a famous poker player once said…”You can’t lose what you don’t put in the middle…but you can’t win much either.”
Will this hand be the Super Bowl winning hand the Dolphins have been waiting for? Perhaps in the future, and near-future at that, yet we don’t know at the moment how other team’s hands are playing out.
Yet we do know this…it is very tough to beat a full house.
You can follow Jason on Twitter @OrangeAquaman
By: Brandon Liguori
The Miami Dolphins have not had a stable, consistent offensive line in quite some time, so it is pretty clear what Brian Flores and Chris Grier are trying to do: give Tua Tagovailoa as much protection as possible.
Opening the final day of the 2020 NFL Draft, the Dolphins were originally scheduled to hold three fourth-round selections, but an early trade with the Houston Texans that had Miami send two fourth-round picks allowed the Dolphins to move up and grab Georgia OG Solomon Kindley. Standing at 6’3” and 337 pounds, Kindley told reporters he is able to play either side of guard and will play wherever Flores puts him.
The Dolphins have done a wonderful job building the offensive line throughout the free agency and draft, including Ereck Flowers, Ted Karras, Austin Jackson, Robert Hunt and now Kindley. With back-to-back selections in the fifth round, Miami elected to trade pick 153 to San Francisco in exchange for running back Matt Breida.
Breida, who spent three seasons in San Francisco, started in five of a possible 13 games a season ago during the 49ers’ Super Bowl run, rushing for 623 yards and a touchdown while averaging 5.1 yards per carry. Breida will enter 2020 under the final year of his contract and will be joined alongside Jordan Howard, acquired this past March.
Miami also sent picks 173 and 227 to the Philadelphia Eagles, allowing the Dolphins to rise up the board and select Boise State’s Curtis Weaver, adding yet another defensive piece. Weaver is the all-time Mountain West Conference sacks leader and when speaking to media members, Weaver said he was projected to go in the first two days so with the Dolphins getting Weaver as a mid-fifth rounder, it will be interesting to find out if this is a potential steal.
The Dolphins also took the first long snapper in this year’s draft, selecting LSU’s Blake Ferguson, graded as the top long snapper. Being that Taybor Pepper is the only current long snapper on the 53-man roster, Ferguson can add some competition. Aside from Tagovailoa and Navy’s Malcolm Perry, whom the Dolphins selected in the seventh round, both Flores and Grier mainly addressed the offensive line and a secondary that immensely upgraded with the addition of cornerback Byron Jones.
You have to tip your cap. With Tom Brady taking his talents to Tampa Bay after spending 20 seasons in New England, it is officially a four-team race for the AFC East crown moving forward.
You can follow Brandon on Twitter @BrandonRLiguori
By: Brandon Liguori
The Miami Dolphins selected Tua Tagovailoa Thursday night in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft, well aware of Tagovailoa’s injury history at Alabama. With that being said, protecting Tagovailoa on a consistent basis will now be the new motto moving forward.
Despite passing up on a dynamic, game-changing running back in the second and third round Friday night, the Dolphins boosted their problematic offensive line by grabbing Robert Hunt with the first of their two second-round options. A Louisiana Lafayette product, the 6’5” 323-pound Hunt will likely compete with Michael Dieter for the starting right guard spot in 2020.
“It’s great. I’m super excited to get on the field with Tua. It’s my job to protect him. That’s what I’m going to do every day,” Hunt said.
Miami had their shot at selecting Wisconsin’s Jonathan Taylor, Ohio State’s J.K. Dobbins, Florida State’s Cam Akers or Boston College’s A.J. Dillon, but elected to improve the offensive line.
Once the pick was finalized, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald had reported that the Dolphins were interested in Dobbins at 56, before Baltimore snatched the Ohio State product a pick prior. Miami grabbed their second Alabama prospect 17 picks later, as Raekwon Davis provides an upgrade on the defensive side of the football. At 6’6” and 311 pounds, Davis will hopefully improve a Dolphins defense that coughed up a league-worst 30.9 points per contest in 2019. When speaking to reporters, Davis said one of his goals in the NFL is to earn Rookie of the Year.
The Dolphins’ lone third-round pick saw the team select Brandon Jones, a safety from the University of Texas, which makes a lot of sense because Miami needed some help at the safety position after cutting 10-year veteran Reshad Jones this past March and keep in mind that the Dolphins have done a phenomenal job at upgrading the secondary throughout the free agency and draft. Entering the final day of the draft, Miami still has two fourth-round picks, three fifth-round picks, one sixth-round pick and three seventh-round picks, giving Brian Flores and Chris Grier nine solid opportunities to improve the roster if a trade does not occur.
You can follow Brandon on Twitter @BrandonRLiguori
Tua Tagovailoa is officially a member of the Miami Dolphins!
Earlier this week, Tua Tagovailoa participated in surprise video calls with Loweâs associates in Tuscaloosa, AL, a place he called home for years. Tua made these calls to personally thank those who have really stepped up to serve the community when itâs needed most, because home is what unites us.
This effort was undertaken to connect with those on the front-lines and thank them for their hard work. During the calls, Tua surprised each Loweâs associate with an offer to host them at one of his future games, no matter where he plays.
Loweâs is using the NFL Draft to launch a new TV campaign that celebrates and thanks their 300,000 associates for how they serve the community every day. Loweâs is the Official Home Improvement Sponsor of the NFL.
You can watch/embed in coverage Tuaâs calls with Loweâs associates via his Instagram post:
By: Jason Sarney
They say in a sport where playoffs consist of a best of seven series, Game 2 is of extreme importance. The Game 1 winner could put a strangle hold on the opponent at 2-0, potentially, while there could be the chance of an evening of the series at 1-1.
Football is not that sport in it's playoffs, but the Draft feels like it in a way.
In the grand scheme of things, Miami essentially could claim a Game 1 victory from Thursday night, as Chris Grier and the Miami front office held tight at number five, despite smoke-signals they were concocting a massive move to get a pair of top-5 selections, and selected Tua Tagovailoa.
The fan-base has not been in this much unison since the Miami Miracle, and it appears a new Savior is here.
At the end of the night, Miami came away with their potential decade-plus-long Quarterback, the second-highest ever selected by the Dolphins at #5. Bob Griese was a #4 pick.
They also found a tackle who could man the left side, or now perhaps more importantly, the right side which is Tua Tagovailoa’s blind-side. Austin Jackson from USC was the 18th pick, and while I will forever link him to a missed opportunity of selecting center/guard, Cesar Ruiz from Michigan, Jackson is a young prospect at just 20-years old, who already received an endorsement from the best to ever do it from either side of the Miami offensive line, Richmond Webb.
The initial confusion to me was two-fold, but each can be fixed Day 2. The Packers trade in giving up the 26th to move back to 30th only netted a 4th, which I believe is a tad too little.
The Packers selected Jordan Love to be the heir to Aaron Rodgers, and now the Packers placed a lineage of Favre, Rodgers and potentially Love. That is impressive, and frankly, no pun intended, I am envious with their Love of the process.
The Packers have potentially shown a masterclass in quarterback continuity through three decades.
Now we get to Noah Igbinoghene, who is a fantastic corner. The only issue I have is the thought-process with an already elite group of Xavien Howard and Byron Jones with a complimentary sophomore of Nik Needham on the rise. I can see how Brian Flores would want lock-down corners all over, so there is a grand-plan to this pick I can live with.
However with need at safety and interior line, not to mention another tackle, the cornerback selection was a mild shocker. Igbinoghene is a tremendous talent and can create a nightmare for league slot receivers. For this pick to sing, Miami must have a safety’s named called on Friday.
Now with Game 1 a solid win overall, this Round 1 works with a few asterisks heading into Friday evening.
*1- Will Grier look at the trade market, and realize those 4th and 5th rounders (5 total) could lead to a pair of extra 3rds, or even better?
*2- Will the line be added to?
*3- Will Tua get new weapons?
First off, when looking at some other deals, it seems as if there could be great opportunity to move around and get more 3rd rounders or even 2nd rounders. Grier could move UP to the top pick or so in the 2nd with, say that GB 4th he got, and select the top safety on their board. That would be a great move, or they could go with another lineman at their choice. They could easily stay put with that talent remaining as well.
Grier could also package a 4th and 5th to move into the 3rd again after his 70th pick and pick up more top-100 talent.
Secondly, the offensive line needs two more members by Friday, close of business.
The third asterisk is when the running back will be taken and perhaps could be a slot receiver.
So, with picks #39, #56 and #70 now, perhaps Day 2 can end with a few more players via trade-up.
Here is the outlook I am hoping for Friday during Day 2.
There is a very little shot Josh Jones lasts the 6 selections before Miami makes the #39 pick. A few teams need offensive line help and he is tough to pass up on here, book-ending the offensive line for Tua.
The safety market, in all honesty, has a big three and I am OK, yet, if the offensive line is addressed or running back is taken at #39 then the #56 spot needs a safety like Ashtyn Davis. If its pick #39, I would be shocked if Xavier McKinney is there, but would fall head over heals if Antoine Winfield, Jr. was the pick there.
The running back class is now turned into chaos with Clyde Edwards-Helaire being selected by the Chiefs to close the 1st round, and not DeAndre Swift. If Miami goes running back at #39, it would be hard to turn down the Georgia runner, but the Lions are in play for both a back and a safety. A trade up could be in the cards here with maybe a team like Indy or even Cincinnati to make the days 1st pick. If it is not a running back at #39, look for Cam Akers or even a slipping of Jonathan Taylor or J.K. Dobbins at #56.
The defensive pass rusher of my dreams, Alex Highsmith, could be in play from #56 to #70, but that is a high-end assessment. There are several teams after him, and I believe a trade-up is needed somehow and somewhere to get him, even if it is in picks 70-90 should Miami live a tad dangerously. I’ll trade up to that in a heartbeat if he is there.
Day 2, like Game 2, is when a win could turn into a dominant sweep of the draft.
You can follow Jason on Twitter @OrangeAquaman
By: Brandon Liguori
After months of speculation, the Dolphins have found their hope-to-be franchise-changing quarterback. In the opening round of the 2020 NFL Draft Thursday night, Miami used one of their three first-round selections on Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa, selecting the left-handed gunslinger with the fifth overall pick.
The Los Angeles Chargers, a pick later, took Oregon’s Justin Herbert. Tagovailoa has endured numerous injuries throughout his three-year collegiate career at Alabama, including a season-ending hip injury against Mississippi State this past November of 2019.
“Man, it was a dream come true, to be able to have this opportunity. This is special for not just me but my family as well,” Tagovailoa said to reporters.
It is the first time since Ryan Tannehill in 2012 that the Dolphins used a first-round choice on a quarterback and the Dolphins are hoping Tagovailoa can become what the Dolphins have been searching for since Dan Marino’s departure before the 2000 campaign.
12 picks later, Miami selected USC’s Austin Jackson, giving Tagovailoa and Ryan Fitzpatrick protection on the offensive line, with Fitzpatrick most likely getting the nod under center this upcoming 2020 season. Jackson saved his sister’s life a year ago by donating his bone marrow.
Originally, Miami was scheduled to hold the 26th pick, but a late trade with the Green Bay Packers, who took Utah State quarterback Jordan Love, resulted in the Dolphins moving four spots down, using their final first-round pick on Auburn cornerback Noah Igbinoghene, beefing up in what is already a strong secondary after signing former Dallas Cowboys cornerback Byron Jones to a five-year deal this past March during the free agency period.
The Dolphins move into the second day of the draft holding on to two second-round choices and the biggest question now remains whether Miami will select a dynamic running back to work alongside newly-acquired Jordan Howard.
By: Jason Sarney
With the uncertainty of the NFL season due to the Coronavirus pandemic, sports as we know it will likely never be the same. Normally on the day before the NFL Draft, major league baseball is in full swing, a NCAA Champion was recently crowned, and the NBA is gearing up for the long championship haul.
Not now, and who cannot predict or even bet when anything will return. The sports world, although without action now has certain things like the NFL Draft as well as, say, Future Wages that are up on websites even prior to new players being selected from April 23rd-25th.
For example, this would normally be an excellent time to invest in certain teams win-totals, or future markets before vastly improving. There are a few books listed at this website that might have NFL odds and props up right now. This is where you can find several options to invest in, especially before teams begin to “load-up” in the draft, thus affecting win-totals as well as overall odd-figures.
Will the NFL proceed? I don’t know. If they do will there be tens of thousands of fans tail-gating and high-fiving with total strangers? I can’t tell you that. However, what I can tell you is that one way of the other, if safety is the utmost priority, the NFL will play games even if it is in front of limited or empty seats.
The television, gaming and fantasy money are all too much to pass up on, albeit that the healthy and safety of league’s players and officials always being paramount.
With optimism always in the forefront of my mind, I write in faith and hope games will be played and taking that assumption will lead me to analyze a few of my favorite WIN TOTAL FUTURES to throw some coin on prior to the Draft.
Top WIN OVERS To take before the Draft
Miami Dolphins OVER 6 wins -140
Green Bay Packer OVER 9.5 wins +100
New York Giants OVER 6.5 wins -105
Jacksonville Jaguars OVER 5.5 wins +125
You can follow Jason on Twitter @OrangeAquaman
By: Jason Sarney
The last mocks are done. The NFL Draft is upon us, and there are no more fake projections and simulators anymore. I have picked my last players, and I am ready for the chips to fall where they may.
I present to you not a Mock Article, and not a list of team selections, grades, or trade analysis. What this will be is a 32-pick-prop-special, as I return to my roots of prognostication.
Without any more lead in, as we have had enough teasing, it is time for my….
32 I Take No Responsibility, Yet Have the Utmost Faith Predictions… for the 2020 NFL Draft.
32. There will be a massive amount of trades, which will break 2019’s number of 40.
31. Teams will place a very heavy emphasis on logistically easy picks, mainly later in Day 2 and Day 3. Local, homegrown, college in same NFL city, get them in.
30. Cesar Ruiz will be a 1st round pick.
29. The Jaguars will make a trade into the top 10 (to make that two top-10 picks), and Yannick Ngakoue will be included.
28. Antoine Winfield, Jr. will be the 2nd safety off the board.
27. DeAndre Swift will be a Chief, and the only 1st round running back.
26. 5 Quarterbacks will be selected in the 1st round.
25. Grant Delpit will be a Saint
24. Jerry Jeudy will play football in New York/New Jersey.
23. Henry Ruggs III will be a Raider. Bet on that.
22. Javon Kinlaw fits the Falcons like a glove.
21. Denzel Mims will fit in perfectly in Philly.
20. Josiah Deguara will be a Raven or a Bengal.
19. K.J. Hamler could be a massive weapon on carpet, as a Colt.
18. Laviska Shenault, Jr. will drop to late-second round.
17. Take the OVER if the WR number in 1st round is 5.5. There may be 7taken.
16. The cornerbacks will be unpredictable after Jeffrey Okudah with the 2-6 choices after him being anyone’s guess. Mine is Henderson, Fulton, Johnson, Gladney, Diggs.
15. The Dolphins will make a trade with the Niners and make a few more overall.
14. The Vikings will be a major trade mover, both up and down the board.
13. Cincinnati will give Joe Burrow a familiar LSU lineman in 2nd or 3rd round. Makes sense.
12. Jaylinn Hawkins will be a steal for someone in Round 6 or 7. His defensive backs coach from California is now in the Miami virtual war room.
11. Jaylon Johnson will be a Viking.
10. I love Kenneth Murray as a Raven.
9. Alex Highsmith will play in the AFC East
8…And will be a top 70 pick.
7. Jordan Love will be selected after a team trades up from him in the middle of 1st round. There are four suitors. Maybe five.
6. The Patriots will trade up for a quarterback...
5. it will not be who you think...
4. Jalen hurts will play football in New England if not Las Vegas.
3. The Miami Dolphins will make the most trades this draft…
2. some will include players and/or 2021 picks.
1. Miami will finish the draft with 11 players, 8 being top 100 picks.
Enjoy the Draft everyone…we are nearly there.
You can follow Jason on Twitter @OrangeAquaman
With all the "news" and "rumors" I wanted to do ONE MORE Dolphin Only Controlled Mock. Up & Down Trades. Playing the board. I EASILY Could have waited for Love - & this model's predictions are what they are here. But tell me - would you not be happy here?
On Monday night, there was no more enjoyable way to kick-off NFL Draft Week than having the honor of appearing on Phinside The NFL over on YouTube! This is a fantastic show, with a pair of hosts who are knowledgeable, passionate, and produce and speak to a large, growing pod of PhinPhans!
You can catch the show on their YouTube Channel, which has started off it's career almost as fast as Dan Marino started his path to record breaking passing numbers. Speaking of good ole' #13, @the_real_reason, @EMdolphinfan and I talk about some Miami history and who are some of the all-time draft steals for the Dolphins.
There was a moment in which I felt I was magical sent back to my glory days of 1994. And for that, and many more aspects of the show, I thank you guys for welcoming me on!
CLICK TO VIEW SHOW
CLICK TO VIEW SHOW
Please give these guys a spot in your daily Dolphins news, as they are rising like an Aqua Wave! They produce their content as professionally as I have seen, and they appreciate your viewership and support! It's a pleasure working with excellent fans, but even better people!
Follow the guys on Twitter: @PhinsideTheNFL
Follow Jason on Twitter: @OrangeAquaman
Donate to the Channel: PayPal.me/Phinside
By: Tom Shannon
Mike Reiss at ESPN reports that the Patriots are having trouble coming to a deal with guard Joe Thuney:
"Thuney holds all the leverage: With the Patriots tight against the salary cap (about $1 million in space), and having surprisingly assigned the franchise tag to starting left guard Joe Thuney at the top-of-the-market figure of $14.78 million, Thuney's future with the franchise bears watching during the draft. If a guard-needy team is willing to deal a second- or high third-rounder to help fill in the Patriots' draft board, that would have to be something Belichick seriously considers with the knowledge that the sides haven't been close to an extension. Thuney holds notable leverage because of the high franchise-tag figure."
In my opinion "guard needy team" appears in the dictionary next to the word "Dolphins".
Jesse Davis is currently penciled in at guard but he may have to play right tackle. Michael Dieter did not inspire confidence last year that he is likely to develop into a reliable starter.
Miami has the need, the draft capital, the cap space and the cash budget to pull a trade like this off. Head coach Brian Flores has campaigned for ex-Patriot after ex-Patriot and has, for the most part, gotten his way. I see no reason why Thuney should be an exception.
Tagging Thuney knowing the Dolphins were probably interested and with the specific idea of trading him to get something for him would be Bill Belichick all over.
The only thing working against a deal like this one might be the Patriot's reluctance to trade Thuney within the division. But if they can set that aside, all of the stars are aligned and this is a situation that could bear watching.
A couple other points of view related to the news:
"'If we do the job that we expect to do, [that] we feel fully capable and we’re very excited to do, we can build a strong team here, which we’ve always talked about — competing for a long time,' Grier said. 'Not just one year, build it and fall back. If we build it right, with the right picks and smart picks and do it the right way, we have a chance to have a good team here for a long time.'
"Grier said there are 'eight or nine,' worthy players for the Dolphins’ No. 5 pick. But the centerpiece question remains the quarterback, just as it has been since Dan Marino retired two decades ago."
If Grier isn't comfortable with the quarterbacks available at #5 overall and there are really 8 or 9 prospects that he thinks are worthy of that pick, I would look for him to be trying his level best to trade down.
The NFL draft is about value and if you can get a player that fits your team and that you really think is worthy of the #5 overall pick at #9, you should do everything you can to make that happen.
"Last season, Dolphins coaches kept saying how much confidence they had in second-year kicker Jason Sanders, even though he missed seven of 30 field-goal attempts last season."
"And perhaps the Dolphins remain intent on keeping Sanders as their kicker, without competition this summer. But they’ve certainly invested considerable time on kickers in this draft.
"According to a league source, the Dolphins have done multiple interviews in recent weeks - including a FaceTime session - with Georgia kicker Rodrigo Blankenship, considered one of the best draft-eligible kickers."
"Miami also has been in contact with Utah State’s Dominic Eberle, another of the draft’s top kickers."
It certainly could be that the Dolphins are looking to provide serious competition for Sanders. But there is at least one additional reason to look seriously at the kicker position either in the draft or in the undrafted free agent market afterwards.
There was a dearth of kickers last offseason with a number of teams in need. Indeed, the Bears traded a conditional seventh round pick to the Raiders for Eddie Pineiro, leaving the Raiders with Daniel Carlson, their choice of the two kickers on their roster.
Even better, the Ravens traded Kaare Vedvik to a desperate Vikings team for a fifth round pick. Vedvik flopped and didn't even make the team. He's currently on a reserve/futures contract with the Bills.
Teams that can identify good kickers and get them on their roster can clean up by flipping the kicker they don't want for draft capital.
This has the makings of a smart move if the Dolphins can find the right guy to add to the pre-season roster.
Follow Tom on Twitter @bearingthenews
The PhinManiacs Player Profile features Florida State running back Cam Akers. A career 4.9 yards per carry average with three years of atrocious offensive line play.
An improved line, and a gifted runner in Akers who can catch, and throw (All American High School QB) could be the perfect addition to Jordan Howard in the Miami running attack.
Look for the 2nd round to hear his name called.
Ron Canniff of Dolphins Brawl and @RonCanniffNFL on Twitter, joins the PhinManiac PhinCast! Ron and Jason chat about the upcoming draft. Within a week of a franchise altering selection process for the Miami Dolphins, the guys share their thoughts on players and philosophy for the Dolphins.
By: Tom Shannon
One of the things I look most forward to every year is reading Bob McGinn's scouting reports on prospects. McGinn has the contacts to get what are often very detailed and frank quotes from scouts as he takes a thorough look at the top guys every year at each position. He's been doing it for 36 years and I'm happy to say that he's doing it now for The Athletic, where it’s much easier to justify spending the money to get them.
McGinn's entry on the top quarterbacks in this year's draft was fascinating and, as usual, was full of some controversial quotes from scouts. But the ones about Tua Tagovailoa were, perhaps the most interesting.
Tagovailoa's injury history and how it will carry over to his NFL career is, of course, a major part of the story. But enough of that has been hashed and re-hashed and I won't go into it other than to say that scouts were concerned to a varying degree about it.
But what was really interesting were the comments about Tagovailoa's ability to handle the mental part of the game:
"He’s nowhere close to Russell Wilson as far as escaping pressure and making plays on the move,' said a third scout. 'He’s not Drew Brees. He shies away a lot in the pocket when people get at him. I just never saw this phenomenal, once-in-a-generation talent."
"Some teams are more concerned than others about his 13 on the Wonderlic, the lowest score at the position. 'We interviewed him,' said one scout. 'He’s smart enough, but he’s an RPO guy. (Steve) Sarkisian (Alabama’s new coordinator in 2019) tried to do pro stuff and he (Tagovailoa) couldn’t handle it mentally because all he’d ever done was RPO stuff. So they went back to RPO."
I don’t think a low Wonderlic score is a huge deal to many NFL teams. Many teams understand that the test has its limitations. For many, usage of matrices testing involving shapes and other non-reading material is thought to be more valuable as a measure of football intelligence.
But those quotes about Tua not being able to handle a pro-style offense are damning. I can totally understand Alabama playing to their quarterback's strengths with a lot of RPO. But it’s a bad sign when they ask him to do more and he can't make the adjustment.
Bottom line, Tua might be an effective quarterback in the NFL. But you’ll have to be willing to design your offense around him.
The bet here is that this is common knowledge among NFL teams. If it wasn't, it is now. You wonder how badly this will hurt Tagovailoa's draft stock.
"Obviously, that decision is seemingly made. The Dolphins are going to make the attempt at Burrow. So they must believe it’s worth it to give up multiple picks to try to get Burrow.
"Me? I’m not there.
"Joe Burrow was very good in 2019. And he’s a very good quarterback prospect.
“But he’s not Andrew Luck. He’s not John Elway. He’s not Peyton Manning… So I don’t give up, say, three first round picks -- two this year and one next -- for Burrow."
I can understand Salguero’s point of view. At the same time, scouts were unbelievably positive about Burrow in McGinn's quarterback scouting report:
"I’ve never seen anything quite like this before,' one scout with 30-plus years in the business said. 'He totally dominated college football. He was fascinating to watch. He just reminded me of Peyton Manning. The way that nothing seemed to concern him.'…'He has a good enough arm and he runs pretty good,' said another scout. 'But he has elite, magical ability to process quickly, and his accuracy is unbelievable. Those are the two most important things... He doesn’t have near the arm talent of Matthew Stafford, but I bet he wins more."
"He received a late-round grade a year ago from National Football Scouting. 'Never had a guy in the summer I felt he was a backup and in November I said this guy might be the best player in the draft,' said a third scout. 'I’ve never seen a guy play at such an efficient level. If people had truth serum poured down their throat, they waited all year for him to fall off the wagon. ‘This can’t be real.’ But he didn’t have a bad quarter all season. And you’re talking about Auburn, Bama, SEC defenses."
Burrow really sounds like the guy to take in this draft if you can get him. There's almost no price that's too big. There's only one thing you need to do: be right.
Dave Hyde at the South Florida Sun-Sentinel on quarterback Jordan Love:
"For a while, the idea of the Miami Dolphins wanting to trade up for Joe Burrow had been floated (ESPN’s Todd McShay said Friday he knows it, “for a fact.”) For a while, there’s been reports the Dolphins want Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert.
"Forever, there’s been the Dolphins’ coveting of Tua Tagovailoa.
"But the most practical question of the off-season… is this: Can you fall in love with Jordan Love (because, if not, you’ll probably have to grit your teeth and feel lucky about Tua’s injury history)?
When considering Love, you have to look at the talent that was around him at Utah State Vs. what the two consensus top prospects, Tagovailoa and Burrow had.
Both Tagovailoa and Burrow had some of the best blocking in the nation in front of them. For instance, it was rare to see Tua throwing from anything other than a clean pocket at Alabama and when he did see pressure, he often just pulled it down and ran.
Admittedly I wasn't sitting and watching Utah State play all year the way I was watching Alabama and. But its rare to see a highlight of Love throwing the ball when he doesn't have someone in his face or wasn’t running for his life.
What's really interesting and what's really going to drive Love’s value up are the comparisons to Patrick Mahomes. Here's what Lance Zierlein at NFL.com had to say about Mahomes in 2017 with some selected strengths and weaknesses in the table below:
"…Mahomes' ability to improvise and extend plays can lead to big plays for his offense, but he will have to prove he can operate with better anticipation and be willing to take what the defense gives him in order to win from the pocket. Mahomes will be a work in progress, but he's a high ceiling, low floor prospect."
And here is what Zierlein has to say about Love:
"…Love's accuracy took a step back [in 2019], and his delayed reaction from ‘see it’ to ‘throw it’ when making reads is troubling. He has the arm to stick throws into tight windows but needs better eye discipline and anticipation to keep windows open. His size, mobility and arm talent combined with his 2018 flashes could be a winning hand that leads a team into the future or a siren's song of erratic play and unfulfilled potential."
The similarities, both strengths and weaknesses are all there. Love is the same athletic, big armed project that needs work with the mental part of the game. He's got Mahomes-like boom or bust potential that will entice a lot of teams to take a chance on him in the hopes of getting a similar type of player.
If Love is drafted in the top 15 slots in this draft, he should send half of his signing bonus to Kansas City. Because it will be visions of getting another Patrick Mahomes that will have pushed him up the board.
"And then, why not Herbert? Well, because I cannot get last year’s game against Arizona State out of my mind -- the one in which the Oregon Ducks needed a big play from Herbert to pull out a close game that would have put his team in the national championship playoffs.
"In that big moment, Herbert, who threw two touchdowns and two interceptions and missed key passes, was outplayed by a freshman quarterback who threw three touchdowns without an interception.
So big moment, but not a big response. And this wasn’t the only time I was bothered by Herbert not rising above the fray in a big moment."
I'm afraid that these are exactly my thoughts as well.
Many have criticized Herbert for being an introvert. I really don't think that matters that much. Hyde quotes ESPN's Todd McShay on the topic.
“He’s an introvert; the guard is the one sitting close to us talking to us and Herbert is in the back corner,” McShay said. "He’s working on it , but he’s not your typical quarterback. There are some teams that are OK with it and some teams that say that’s not what we want in our quarterback.”
Indeed, some teams probably don't care about it. I don't think I would care that much.
But what every team absolutely does care about is a quarterback's ability to respond under pressure.
I'm not a scout and I haven't reviewed a whole lot of Oregon video. I don't see a lot of PAC 12 games because they're on late and I go to bed early. But the ones I have seen are the big ones. And outside of the Rose Bowl I've seen nothing but Herbert coming up small.
I keep trying to visualize Herbert driving the team down the field for the game winning touchdown with less than 2 minutes left. I can't see it.
Armando Salguero at the Miami Herald advocates for a running back in the draft:
"I like bigger backs. To put it in New England Patriots terms -- something the Dolphins are very much about these days, if you notice their roster -- I want running backs like LeGarrette Blount or Antowain Smith or Corey Dillon on the roster."
"So I look at the running back prospects in this year’s draft and I really, really like AJ Dillon from Boston College."
"Dillon is not a first day pick. He might not be a second-round pick, either, if the experts have their way."
"But I’d take Dillon in the third round all day long. And did I mention he’s 6-foot and 247 pounds?"
I'm sure Dillon is a fine back but he's not the type of back that the Dolphins need right now. They already have Jordan Howard, who will serve the Dolphins well as an early down back. Howard is a one cut back with good vision and he runs with power.
What Howard does not do well is catch passes out of the backfield. The Dolphins need a third down back who can pass protect and make a reception when needed to get a first down in the open field. That's not going to be Dillon's area of strength.
"This is the one position on Miami’s roster that seems fairly stacked from a talent standpoint if Parker (11) replicates last year’s productivity (1,202 yards and nine touchdowns on 72 receptions), Williams doesn’t suffer a setback from the ACL injury he suffered in early November, and if Wilson evolves into respectable slot receiver. Wilson’s roster spot isn’t guaranteed because he’s due $9.5 million, but he’ll likely get a chance to earn it in training camp. Grant, a return specialist, should be considered safe if he’s productive in training camp, so the rest of Miami’s receivers are competing for one or two spots on the 53-man roster. Hollins is a special-teams demon, and Jennings Jr. and Ford have potential as slot receivers, so those three should be considered the front-runners for the final spot heading into training camp. Adding a young receiver from this talented draft class would complicate things further."
I'm going to disagree with this.
I think depending upon Parker after one good year to lead this group wouldn't be prudent. The history of the league is stacked with one-year wonders who performed after years of mediocrity only to return to the proper level after it was over. I would agree that Albert Wilson is a solid second receiver when used properly. But the rest of this group lacks play making ability.
In a year where the wide receiver talent supposedly runs extremely deep, I think looking to add talent here is the right thing to do.
That aside, looking further into this roster evaluation going into the draft, I'm thinking that the Dolphins need to get stronger up the middle. They had what was for my money the worst run defense in the league last year and they did nothing in free agency to improve it. Defensive tackle, inside linebacker and safety are major needs that need to be filled early and in some cases with multiple prospects.
I would definitely be looking to add to the interior of the offensive line as well with at least one guard. Jesse Davis may have to play right tackle and Michael Dieter didn't have the look of a player who was likely to develop last year.
"Rank these scenarios with the No. 3 pick in order of the likelihood of the Lions doing them: Trading back; drafting a quarterback; drafting a non-quarterback.
"1. Trading back. Working with the likelihood that Joe Burrow and Chase Young go 1-2, Detroit could command trade value for No. 3 with quarterback-needy teams. Provided one or two of those teams is interested in making sure they secure Tua Tagovailoa, the second-ranked QB in this class, the Lions could land a lucrative package by trading back."
"2. Drafting a non-quarterback. If Tagovailoa goes No. 2, it would leave Young for Detroit at No. 3. Even if Young goes No. 2, if the Lions fall in love with Ohio State cornerback Jeff Okudah, Clemson linebacker Isaiah Simmons or Auburn defensive tackle Derrick Brown, they could make sure they nab an elite talent at No. 3."
"3. Drafting a quarterback. It's not impossible to see the Lions taking Tagovailoa but considering the team's needs and the expectation of winning in 2020, this seems like the least likely possibility."
Every instinct I have tells me there's no way the Lions take a quarterback at #3 overall. Matthew Stafford is still a good quarterback at age 32 and the cap hit would be massive if they traded him under the current conditions of his contract.
Just one thing gives me pause. The odds in Las Vegas that the Lions will take Tagovailoa? -110. That's tied for the top spot with the Dolphins.
I've done nothing but lose my shirt betting the NFL and I don't do it much anymore. But there's one thing I've learned. Never, ever bet against the bookie.
As an outsider looking in, I have learned to always follow the money. When looking for the real deal, I always look at the people who get paid to be right. That means ignore the media “experts” and listen to the scouts (when they’re being honest) and, above all, look to the people in the desert.
I hear it all the time. Bookies are just trying to get 50% of the betting on either side so they can collect the fee as profit. And sometimes they are. But you don’t get paid to play it safe. You get paid to maximize profit and sometimes they set the odds to sucker the public into betting the wrong way. When I see lines like this, my antennae go up.
If the odds don't make sense, there's usually a reason for it. Watch out for the Lions.
"Dolphins' depth chart - QB (3): Ryan Fitzpatrick, Josh Rosen and Jake Rudock"
"The Dolphins have a little over $10 million committed to Fitzpatrick (14), the team’s Most Valuable Player in 2019, and Rosen, who Miami traded a 2019 second-round pick and a 2020 fifth-round selection to acquire during the last year’s NFL draft. There’s a chance Rosen, who struggled as Miami’s starter last year, will improve in his third season, but the Dolphins’ decision-makers openly acknowledge that they need to find a young quarterback they can groom for the future so don’t be surprised if Rosen, who is 23, is traded again. The Dolphins are searching for a quarterback with athleticism because that’s the type of player new offensive coordinator Chan Gailey prefers."
This isn't going to be a popular opinion but depending upon Ryan Fitzpatrick to perform again in 2020 the way he did in 2019 seems to me to a mistake.
Fitzpatrick has been up and down over the course of his career. In 2011 Fitzpatrick earned a six-year, $59 million contract extension including a $10 million signing bonus with the Buffalo Bills. Head coach Chan Gailey was fired the next year.
After bouncing around a bit Fitzpatrick landed in New York with the Jets. He started in all 16 games of the 2015 season and had his best year as a pro with 3,905 passing yards and 31 passing touchdowns along with 15 interceptions. In 2016 the Jets went 5-11 and Fitzpatrick’s contract was voided after the season.
I think you see where I'm headed here. The Dolphins seem to have tied themselves to Fitzpatrick for the coming season as the starter, at least until a rookie is ready to go. But every instinct I have screams that the Dolphins had better be ready for Fitzpatrick to lose his mind sooner rather than later again this year.
The rate at which former Patriots either become very average or, even worse, flat out fail once they leave the organization to go to another franchise is alarming. Former Patriots coaches dot the map of the NFL and the only ones that have been at all successful are the ones that have been able to see beyond their former place of operation to identify talent outside of that realm.
To some extent this is all understandable. Head coach Brian Flores spent his whole career with the Patriots and that’s all he knows. That limited vision extends to his coaching hires, which focused almost entirely on former Patriot coaches his first year. In his second year he hired an offensive coordinator that he knew because he faced him when he was part of the Bills organization in the AFC East.
A head coaches’ primary job is to manage personnel, both players and coaches. When you are hiring one who spent all his time with one team, this is what you get.
In any case, as ex-Patriot after ex-Patriot signs with the Dolphins because of the familiarity of head coach Brian Flores with the players, you wonder where the general manager and the pro personnel department are in this process and why they aren't pushing forward a more diverse pool of talent.
I find it all to be mildly concerning.
"TE (4): Mike Gesicki, Durham Smythe, Michael Roberts and Chris Myarick."
Gesicki (80) had a solid 2019 season as Miami’s pass-catching specialist. He was second on the team with 51 receptions, which he turned into 570 yards and five touchdowns. Smythe (seven receptions for 65 yards) has been adequate as Miami’s in-line tight end the past two seasons, but he now has competition from Roberts, a third-year veteran Miami claimed off waivers earlier this year. Myarick showed promise on the practice squad last season, so he could be ready to push for a spot on the 53-man roster this fall. If Gesicki is going to remain the featured player at this position, it would help if he became a respectable blocker."
Kelly is a football writer. Unlike others who get paid to pop off with their opinions, he actually spends his time in the locker room. Because of that, I like him better than most Dolphins followers.
But he really pushes my buttons with his constant harping on Gesicki’s inability to block.
Gesicki. Is. Not. A. Blocker. He wasn’t drafted to do it.
Not all tight ends are expected to block effectively in 2020. Gesicki is a tight end who will create mismatches by spitting out in the slot. That's his strength and when he's used properly, he can be pretty good at it. But he's never going to be expected to block and putting him into a position where he has to do it is not playing to his strengths.
That's OK. Jimmy Graham couldn't block either and there are many others around the NFL playing the “U” tight end who aren't expected to do it.
Welcome to the modern NFL, Omar. Get used to it.
Follow Tom on Twitter @bearingthenews
Cincinnati BearCat TE, Josiah Deguara, is a 50/50 special of equal parts blocking and receiving. Powerful blocker, fine set of hands and runs nice, crisp routes. He'll fight for extra yardage, lunge for the pylon, make a one-handed catch, and finish his blocking assignments.
He is a perfect pairing to the receiving talents of Mike Gesicki as well as current co-TE, Durham Smythe. An outstanding kid on and off the field, and current Graduate Student.
He can be an early Day 3 pick, or even a late 3rd round pick.
The @PhinManiacs PhinCast welcomes @bleedaquaorange who shares his Draft mindset, especially a fantastic thought process on the "Prototypical QB." We took a half-hour and went over several options and analyzed the "risk" for the top QBs in the class.
By: Jason Sarney
The NFL Draft is within a week from touching down in living rooms, Zoom conferences and social media groups all over the world. In a time of social isolation and self-quarantining, April 23rd-25th will bring us together, and undoubtedly, rip us apart at the same time.
The Miami Dolphins fan base is one of the most passionate in football, nay, sport. Those who witnessed the 1970’s have been reeling in pain since the last Super Bowl Victory, which was the 2nd in a row and the 3rd appearance in a row from the 1971-1973 seasons. They lost to the Cowboys before the magical perfect season of 1972 and cemented the NFL’s first dynasty when they beat the Vikings in Super Bowl VIII. The Miami Dolphins were the 1st team to appear in three straight Super Bowls.
Miami and those fans waited nearly 10 years to see another Super Bowl, but the 1982 season ended against the Redskins in the Rose Bowl of Pasadena, California with no trophy. Just two years later, a young kid from Pittsburgh electrified the NFL, and sent a shock-wave to all future passers, as although runner-up in the 1984 season, Dan Marino became the face of the next generation of Miami Fans.
As the Niners, led by Joe Montana, raised their arms in victory, little did Marino know at the time, he would never see the big game again. That didn’t stop him from carving out a legendary career, as many would argue was the best of any “passer” the game has ever seen.
As an organization, from that Super Bowl loss, say what you want about the building of the team around him, through several regimes and general managers and even coaches. The decades leading into the end of Dan Marino’s career, unfortunately, didn’t have a transition plan.
In fact, Miami and Jimmy Johnson accumulated a total of 25 picks between 1996 and 1997, with zero quarterbacks taken to be the heir-apparent to the king of the air attack. In fairness, those draft classes were rather poor in quarterback talent, but you get the idea. Imagine if Jake Plummer learned for a few seasons under Marino? I digress.
The next, new generation of Miami Dolphin fans may not have seen the full story of the great number 13, just clips, highlights and movie rentals. However, the scope of his greatness can’t be overlooked, however, the lack of rings was not his fault.
In a team game, it is hard to place blame on one player, or a coach or the people hiring those men. On a team each player must pull their own weight, and the better the overall roster is, the easier the leader’s job of making it work is.
Miami has seen a Dynasty with a team of Hall-of-Famers. They have seen a legend at quarterback for 17 years, but 0-1 in his Super Bowl efforts. Miami has also seen a dominate defense in the late-90’s and even better as they fine-tuned their core, and became a lethal unit in the early 2000’s. The team welcomed Ricky Williams, and finally there was a power running attack to match a mind-bending defense for the opponent.
Alas, no overall success.
Why? Perhaps the weights were scaled towards one direction. One era, it was all about the QB and another era it was all about the defense. There needs to be a happy middle here for success in 2020 and beyond.
Of course the game has changed, and players skills and attributes are heightened and advanced in today’s world versus the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s. However, evaluation hasn’t. The ultimate evaluation is near its peak, and the Draft is upon us. The Miami Dolphin fans of every generation seem to be in their own sects of how they want their beloved team to select the next “savior.”
I am guilty of idolizing a few potential saviors but let us look at what has happened in the past, and let us look at the patterns made by Chris Grier and his front office. Listen to his words or read them, about the importance of “team” as well as long-term success.
The following Mock Draft has that in mind, building a team, from the inside, out. An old-school mantra, that could take the Dolphins to a promised land not seen since 1974, in January in Houston Texas, as Coach Don Shula hoisted the Lombardi Trophy, for the last time in Dolphins history, so far.
Will the Dolphins return to the game they once appeared in five times in 14 years? We can’t guess that, nor can we guess each and every player selected by them in the coming week. What we can do is hope that all of the picks, (14 or around that number based on potential trades) will lead to what this franchise needs to win the “big-one.”
The Mock Draft - April 17th, 2020
The Draft began with a familiar top-3, as perhaps a few phone calls were mad, but the Lions are in love with Jeffrey Okudah, and a deal to move back didn't materialize.
However, a conversation that has been going on for weeks between Jacksonville and New York is about to close.
The Jags having several trading chips, including franchise-tagged Yannick Ngakoue, and I am not sold on Gardner Minshew as a "franchise quarterback." Can he lead a team for a year, and see what 16 games could bring while having a rookie red-shirt QB learn and get ready to take over? Perhaps.
It is a shocking "dart-throw" here, but as we have seen in nearly every draft, shocks happen, and more times than not it is involving a quarterback. The Jaguars pull a stunner, and trade for Tua, as not many are expecting it, and that is the theme...expect the unexpected this year.
This scenario means Miami can choose the next QB on their board, or they can do what Grier has been doing in reacting and not over-reacting to a move around the league. He will get the best player available, and that is "football player" Isaiah Simmons. Simmons can be a superb hybrid of a player for Brian Flores, who is a master defensive planner. The Chargers "settle" for Justin Herbert, as Miami's "Plan B" starts to take shape.
Other than the blockbuster Giants and Jags trade, which landed New York a offensive tackle to protect Daniel Jones as well as a franchise pass-rusher in Yannick, the next section of picks were relatively calm and on par to the board. One could argue that Javon Kinlaw slipped, but the Bucs pounced, as Kinlaw can help keep the offense, and Tom Brady on the field more than their opponents.
The Raiders love speed, as it kills, and Henry Ruggs III is a blazer who would like amazing in Silver and Black. It's a safe bet Las Vegas calls a wide-receiver's name in round 1.
The Dolphins draft Jordan Love at #18, and the polarizing quarterback will certainly learn from Ryan Fitzpatrick, and even Josh Rosen about life in the NFL. Two extremes and two different players and people to help do a job unseen on stat sheets. Tutor, help, and assist a younger player progress.
Love, may not see the field in 2020, but in a year with 6 top 70-picks, the Dolphins do not have to "rush" their new signal-caller. At all.
The Jags pick up Grant Delpit, as they are rolling so far in Jacksonville, as people are still shocked and picking themselves off the floor.
21-26 sees back-to-back WRs and this could easily be flipped from Mims and Jefferson on those teams. It's a preference for Philly, but both teams needs help for their passers. The Patriots get a great kid in Epenesa and the Saints go local with a linebacker need in Queen, who could be the King of New Orleans after a great run at LSU. Look out for high-rising corner, Jaylon Johnson who could fit in Minnesota like a defensive glove on NFC North receivers.
The Dolphins take a major prospect who can excel at potentially three positions. Cesar Ruiz can play either guard spot and center as well. This is perhaps 10 picks early for him, but Miami does not want to miss him by three or five selection spots. Ruiz, a Michigan Wolverine, makes Mr. Ross happy, and any Quarterback and running back as well. Ruiz was named the nation's top pass-blocking center in 2019 and can certainly improve Miami's dead-last rush attack from last season.
The end of the 1st round has need matching prospect towards the team selecting, perfectly. Seattle gets their edge rusher in Gross-Matos, as the Ravens take a picture-perfect player for them in linebacker Kenneth Murray. Josh Jones is a terrific tackle, with massive frame as well as upside, and will help the Titans protect their quarterback as well as help their runners.
Jalen Reagor is Aaron Rodgers' new pal, and his presence will be helping Davante Adams, and vice versa. Rodgers has a few runs left, so might as well re-load his arsenal. And now another surprise...but is it?
The San Fransisco 49'ers are void of picks in the 2nd, 3rd and 4th rounds and have needs beyond their two 1st rounders. Miami knows this, and they can help with picks #39, a 3rd and a 6th. They move back into the 1st to select their 4th player in the top 31, Alabama Safety Xavier McKinney. They will still have picks #56, and their 4th, three 5ths, and three 7ths. They can use the 4th rounder and those 5ths to move back into the end of the top 100.
This model has a few shocks, but a number of solid fits for other teams as well as for Miami. The need is still there in more offensive line, particularly tackle, which is pick #56 in my mind. Edge pass-rusher can see a trade up to the end of the 3rd, and Day three can get running backs, defensive back help, a slot receiver and more line help.
Like any other Mock, this is simply a few dart-throws, with a few educated-guesses and some lite guidance chips from connecting the dots across cyberspace.
You can Follow Jason on Twitter @OrangeAquaman
The Phin Maniacs Approved Player Profile series continues with Cesar Ruiz, Michigan's do it all interior offensive lineman! A stud prospect from his prep days at IMG Academy in Florida, Ruiz can play center or either guard spot.
Miami can certainly use their next future potential Pro-Bowl center and after a year or two at guard and some tutelage from new Dolphin Ted Karras can make that a reality. He makes for a perfect late 1st round or early 2nd round pick.
By: Jason Sarney
With just one week until the NFL Draft, Dolphin's General Manager Chris Grier told Miami reports Thursday afternoon, that whatever happens on April 23rd he will, “Do what’s best for the Miami Dolphins.”
In terms of the specifics of what player or what position, of course Grier played the hand as he has all year and that is steady, calm, and collected. In his answering of numerous questions ranging from process to player to potential trades, a few common denominators rang loud and clear.
The team concept is not just 53 players. There is a coach, his staff of positional coaches, regional scouts, national scouts, assistant GM’s and all the evaluators to go with them.
This is truly a team war-room, even if virtually together and not under the same bunker.
Grier not only compliments his direct scouting and coaching staff, but also goes as far as to shouting out the most important member of the Miami Draft team next week, the I.T. Department.
Communication is clearly key, in a time of uncertainty and teleconferencing unlike any other draft. Grier, similar to coach Brian Flores, seems to be prepared for anything. He even mentioned the team will be taking a “Dry-Run” at their communications for the draft process.
This is part of the confidence Miami Dolphin fans should have, as their General Manager seemed to have the confidence of a World Series of Poker champion, and frankly, no one has a clue what his cards are or what's coming on the flop, and turn with cards 1,2,3 and 4.
Did he tip a hand? Honestly – I don’t know.
He was diplomatic in his answers and while not specific, his message was clear. He has put in the work, as did his department, like most NFL organizations from now until the 23rd.
"In terms of moving up, trading up; teams call us, we call teams. Every team calls every team. Teams do their due diligence," Grier said.
With Miami being in the unique and beneficial situation of picking at #5, as well as two additional 1st round selection, Grier said with an even-keel demeanor, that having an early pick is something they can "take advantage of."
Does that mean he is holding a Full house? Couldn’t tell you.
But what I can tell you is what Grier told us, and that is, there are about 8 or 9 players they "feel really good about at #5.”
You can take that for what it is worth, as well as what players are worth to Grier and his staff. In terms of evaluating, Grier said plain and simple, "at the end of the day, it's what the guys do on film."
He never mentioned jersey sales or getting multiple national games on the television schedule.
Grier also has to factor in his current quarterback room of Ryan Fitzpatrick and Josh Rosen. In talking about his veteran leader in Fitzpatrick, Grier says he has had a tremendous impact on young players as well as fellow veterans. He added that he is proud of Rosen for his progress and feels for him, having the unfortunate last few seasons of going from a top-10 pick to being traded.
Leadership and experience are important, as is relationships in this business within a game. Assistant General Manager Marvin Allen, is working with Grier now in his front office. Allen is a former Patriot with both player and personnel credentials. Grier and Allen go back a long way, and as a scout, Allen has “rarely missed the playoffs,” Grier referenced proudly.
The 2020 NFL Draft is arguably the franchises most important in it's existence. Grier thinks it is "very important" to hit a home-run in this year’s draft and even mentioned next year’s draft. He believes he can "build a strong team here, and be good for a long time.”
That isn’t just a goal of a home-run and going 1-4 the other at-bats. This is a seasonal, career and long-term plan. If Grier had any slip of a message to Dolphin fans, it was not in the form of a player, a position or a specific plan.
What he did “tell” us with his unseen hand, is that he is prepared, as are his scouts and coaches and even the guy to help defend the firewall is ready for anything. This front-office is locked, loaded, full downloaded, and ready to Draft.
The man to push the button on Thursday will do so with as much confidence as he has in his staff, and his coaches and his players.
You can follow Jason on Twitter @OrangeAquaman
The PhinManiacs Phincast welcomes back www.FootballDiehards.com, John Laub! John joins Jason Sarney in a return appearance on the show as they run a live 1st round Mock Draft with all 32 teams!
John and Jason pull of trades, walk away from some, and discuss the aspect of controlling what a team can control, as a mock trade was made that left the Miami Dolphins with one less QB to choose from.
The guys pull off some shockers, but that is what the draft is....a shock.
By: Jason Sarney
The NFL Draft is approaching with the momentum of a juggernaut as a football selection show is the only action in town these days, thanks to the horrible Covid scare we are all dealing with.
A welcomed distraction, the Draft creates hours and hours of content to absorb, Mock Drafts to simulate and opinions to disagree with. Regardless of who the quarterback is that the Dolphins select, I would say Day 2 and 3 could be more important in the overall team development of this franchise.
The Dolphins have had one of the best to ever do it, but arguably didn’t have the proper components during his prime, save a few magical, yet unfortunate later heart-breaking seasons in the mid-1990’s.
The Dolphins have also had potent defenses in the early 2000’s with an arguably decent, but less-than gifted of a passer, in Jay Fiedler. The team also gave him Ricky Williams, making Miami a fearsome foe with a top-end ground game as well as defensive unit.
Timing is everything, and the stars didn’t align in time.
So, what Miami needs to do, is find a way to make this nucleus around any quarterback so good, that the signal-caller will have to try very, very hard to be the deterrent in the team’s progress. This team needs a core of players so built-up and coached up with the right people, that QB 1 or QB 2 can win games.
OH – the Dolphins also once had Earl Morrall as a back-up on an undefeated team of Hall-of-Famers. Morrall, a 17-year professional football veteran in 1972, stepped in for the 4-0 Miami Dolphins after an injury to Canton-QB, Bob Griese. The Dolphins finished the regular season 14-0, thanks to Morrall salvaging the season, as the team went 10-0 under his leadership, before he handed the reigns back to Griese for the playoffs and title run to cap perfection.
The point is, pick #5, or whatever the QB pick may be, is very important. However, the importance will be weighed a little less, or a little more, based on what this regime does from Round 2 and beyond.
In a loaded class, Day 3 should be a tone of fun for Dolphin fans, as Miami has 8 picks at the moment on the Draft's final day in rounds 4-7.
Here are The Day 3 Amigos I have gotten friendly with, thanks to the ease of watching their film. We all have our coping mechanisms during this time, and for me, a slot-receiver picking up a 3rd and 6th over the middle while covered like a blanket, is just what my Doctor ordered.
Day 3 (Rounds 4-7), and even the undrafted free agency market has been fairly kind to Miami over the last few decades if you really think about it. Some hits, some misses, but certainly some favorites since the late ‘90s.
Zach Thomas, Randy McMichael, Yeremiah Bell, Brian Hartline, Reshad Jones, Lamar Miller, Jay Ajayi, Jakeem Grant, and Davon Godchaux to name a few. Of course, these names were spread out since 1996 to 2017, but also let’s throw in last season’s undrafted impact rookies, Nik Needham and Preston Williams. Yes - more drafted hits are needed, but give Chris Grier credit for the last few seasons and not blame for the previous 15 or so.
Day 3 is not the time to pack up, look at the first three round haul and call it a draft. This is when the fun starts for many…especially a team with a season’s worth of picks on Saturday, April 25th when Round 4 begins.
The Day 3, Amigos:
Devin Duvernay – WR TEXAS- Miami needs a slot-receiver and not an “X” or a “Z” like DeVante Parker and Preston Williams. The Texas Longhorn can fit in nicely as a complimentary weapon with great speed and excellent hands. A perfect chain mover.
James Proche – WR SMU – As recently as a day prior to this article, a profile was put out on Proche. A 4-year starter with 39 touchdowns. As a senior he scored at least once in 12 straight games. A spectacular catch machine, and gritty, over-the middle reception maker. A threat to score anytime, and a carbon-copy in height, weight and ability to Jarvis Landry. Seriously.
Kalija Lipscomb – WR – Vanderbilt – Vandy kids are smart, so the football intelligence Brian Flores is looking for is evident. Lipscomb can bring a return aspect to his game, and if the QB pick Day 1 is Tua Tagovailoa, Lipscomb was one of the wide-outs receiving passes from the Alabama QB last week in a training video. There is at least some familiarity there. An intangible certainly this year, as logistics will play a role with travel bans and social distancing.
Julian Blackmon – Safety Utah – Blackmon is being lost in the shuffle in a top-heavy class at this positional area, but don’t sleep on him. He can be shuffled in at cornerback, and with that flexibility, look for him to be a young player who can learn from Xavien Howard and Byron Jones, as well as current safety Bobby McCain and fellow hybrid, Eric Rowe.
Jaylinn Hawkins – Safety – Cal – Speaking of converts, Hawkins is a converted receiver and has very goods hands, excellent smarts and could be a centerfield like interception machine at free safety. I love that he has been training with NFL receivers this off-season and has done a fine job keeping them social-distanced from the ball. Hawkins could potentially be reunited with his California DB coach, Gerald Alexander. His former coach is currently on Flores’ staff, as he returns to Miami, this time in coaches gear and not a uniform.
A.J. Green - Cornerback - OSU - Forget name recognition, the defensive A.J. Green can play. He takes risks, and does have a propensity to get beat deep, but discipline and coaching could help this physical corner. He plays his best when in pressure situations, and had several pass-defended or even interceptions in protection of this team's end-zone. Green plays fast and physical and with a little tutelage can make him a 4th or 5th rounder with 2nd or 3rd round potential.
Harrison Hand - Cornerback - Temple - There is a theme with corners that I look for and that is physicality and a nose for the ball. No pun intended, Harrison has a pair of hands and tenacity to go with them. A local kid in the Philadelphia area, he stayed close to home at Temple, and I do like that Northeast mentality and weather assimilation to those late-season in-division games up in enemy territory. Hand is another hybrid, who Flores and Alexander can work with and shape in their image.
Josiah Deguara - Tight End - Cincinnati - Mike Gesicki is the lead tight end on the Dolphins and he is heading for a statistical breakout campaign to build on a mini-hello-party in 2019. Enter the next tight end, to make what has become trendy in the NFL lately, to be a part of Miami's offense. Teams like New England, Baltimore and Philadelphia have all deployed a dual TE look at times, and even when having excellent players already at the position, these franchises drafted more to mix it up. Deguara is a better blocker than Gesicki, and that is said respectfully. Deguara can be more physical to help run and pass-protection, while at the same time is a crisp enough route-runner to factor within the air attack. He is an excellent kid, quality person in all forms, and a hard worker. He is a major Flores guy, and a riser to the very early parts of Day 3.
And lastly, there is something those three teams have in common beyond dual-tight end sets...Super Bowl rings. A combined five over the last decade.
You can follow Jason on Twitter @OrangeAquaman
The Phin Maniacs Approved Player Profile series continues with SMU's 4-year starting wide-receiver, James Proche. 39 career touchdowns to go with nearly 4,000 receiving yards, Proche is a spectacular catch, slot threat. Day 3 at any moment could be when this Jarvis Landry clone of nearly identical height, weight, and game could be called.
By: Jason Sarney
They say in real estate it’s “location, location, location.” In the NFL Draft, many say go “Best Player Available. With that said, looking at this situation of no live gatherings, and logistical difficulty with limited meetings, limited live-workouts and limited physicals with team doctors, “Geographical Drafting” could factor in here.
What do I mean by that? It is the fact that a tie could simply be as easy as a) who have we seen lately live? And b) who can we get to our facility the quickest and safest.
Having laid that foundation, I am not saying this is the golden rule, but if the Saints are looking local, there is a New Orleans kid and LSU star, Grant Delpit, that may entice the safety needing Saints. With that said, cornerback Kristian Fulton is also a triple-threat for them. Local New Orleans kid, an LSU stand-out, and plays a need position.
While not the gospel for each and every pick of course, those later rounds and those 50/50 toss-ups in the earlier rounds at the same position can have a slight edge going to the defensive back from Clemson for the Panthers, instead of a prospect from a West Coast school and/or being home-based there.
So here are just some prospects that could make logistical sense to be drafted by “home-town” teams, and/or local products of an area that is close to their University and/or NFL represented city.
*Some cases, not at all every case.*
Grant Delpit – Safety – LSU – Hometown - New Orleans, LA – Prediction = Saints
C.J Henderson – Cornerback – Florida – Hometown – Miami, FL – Prediction = Jacksonville
Zack Baun – Defensive End – Wisconsin - Hometown - Brown Deer, WI – Prediction = Packers
Jeff Gladney – Cornerback – TCU – Hometown – New Boston, Texas - Prediction = Texans or Cowboys (DAL is early for him in 1st round – could slide to #40 with HOU)
Van Jefferson – Wide Receiver – Florida – Hometown – Brentwood Tennessee – Prediction = Buccaneers OR Titans both make sense.
Kenny Willekes – Defensive End – Michigan State – Hometown – Rockford, MI – Prediction = Lions
Devin Duvernay – Wide Receiver – Texas – Hometown – Sachse, TX – Prediction = Cowboys
Cole Kmet – Tight End – Notre Dame – Hometown - Lake Barrington, Illinois - Prediction = Bears (Graham could groom him)
A.J. Terrell – Cornerback – Clemson – Hometown – Atlanta, Georgia – Prediction = Falcons and Panthers need a CB.
Harrison Hand – Cornerback – Temple – Hometown – Cherry Hill, NJ (may as well be Philly) – Prediction = Eagles
A.J. Green – Cornerback - Oklahoma State – Hometown – DeSoto, TX – Prediction = Cowboys
Ben Bartch – OL – St. Johns (MINN) – Hometown – Datyton, OR – Although far from Minnesota, the Vikings have seen plenty of the Minnesota college, Division III star - Prediction = Vikings
You can follow Jason on Twitter @OrangeAquaman
The Phin Maniacs Approved Player Profile series continues with PSU's KJ Hamler!
A slot WR/KR/can do it all? From PSU?
Where have we seen this before, Anyone? KJ Hamler would be a heckuva pick if MIA is looking for a slot man in round 2.
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