It is funny how one personnel decision will haunt a team for a long time. The Miami Dolphins have a couple that has haunted me for a while. Let me start by naming a few that I can vividly remember saying “this will turn out bad for the Fins”.
Warning, this may be very painful for some fans. The first one I remember is selecting Jamar Fletcher over Drew Brees. The next one was selecting Eddie Moore over Anquan Boldin. We then took Daunte Culpepper over Drew Brees again.
Let us not forget taking Ronnie Brown over Aaron Rodgers. The trend is that all the names I mentioned that Miami Dolphins choose over guys I really wanted washed out of the NFL with little to no success once they became Dolphins, while the other names that we avoided have great careers and have enjoyed winning Super Bowls with their teams. The next guy that is leaving that familiar bad taste in my mouth is Earl Thomas.
The year Earl Thomas was in the NFL Draft, I wanted the Miami Dolphins to select him so badly. I actually didn’t think he would fall to us, but he did. I was so excited, I knew the guy was a true centerfield safety, who had the same ball-hawking skills as Ed Reed. So do I get my wish? Nope, we trade down and take Jared Odrick, who is a good player but not elite.
Another thing Odrick isn’t is a Miami Dolphin anymore. With that trading down we added a pick and drafted Koa Misi who is an average to above average player but would not surprise anyone if he wasn’t on the team after this season. Earl Thomas on the other hand is one of the best defensive players in the NFL, one of the true elite players at the safety position, and has led a dominant defense to two straight Super Bowls.
Why do I bring this up and risk sending me and other Miami Dolphins fans on a downward spiral of depression? I pick at these scabs to show what happens when you avoid picking elite players and pick “safer picks” or pick for need. How many WRs have the Fins overspent in free agency and whiffed on drafting since Anquan Boldin wasn’t selected? How many QBs have we brought in since Brees has been in the league? That brings me now to the safety position.
I do believe we have found a very good player in Reshad Jones, but his skills are not elite to play centerfield sideline to sideline free safety. We have had questions at the free safety position since we skipped on Earl Thomas. Did they answer the free safety questions with Louis Delmas?
In my opinion, after breaking down his film I will say yes and no. I know that saying that is a cop out but it will make sense. Delmas in my opinion does not play great as a center-fielding free safety. In fact my biggest knock on Delmas is his inability to play sideline to sideline as a cover one free safety.
So why do I say yes we found our free safety? I say yes because first, Delmas is a leader, and took control of putting players in correct positions even though it was his first year in the defense; he also does exactly what defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle wants his safeties to do.
Coyle wants his safeties to mirror each other. That means Coyle puts more emphasis on safeties being able to do a little of everything. He doesn’t want the opposing QB to know what safety is the free safety (deep zone) and what safety is the strong safety (in the box). Delmas and Jones are above average at both responsibilities. So Delmas’ leadership and the fact that he is a scheme fit are the reasons why I think he is the Miami Dolphins free safety of the future.
This film analysis was completed by Matthew Knowles. Follow him on Twitter: @blueflamespcl
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