The NFL Draft will begin on Thursday, April 30 and with Mike Tannenbaum now in the mix for the Miami Dolphins, none of us are quite sure what to expect. While they will publicly say that general manager Dennis Hickey has the final say, makae no mistake that Tannenbaum's draft philosophies will have a major impact as to which way the Dolphins shape this franchise over the next several days.
With that said, past behavior is usually the best indicator of what one does so we're going to take a look at the drafts when he was general manager of the New York Jets from 2006 - 2012. We'll look at what positions he drafted, where he drafted them, what conferences he drafted from and where those conferences match up compared to draft rounds.
I also considered breaking it down by position compared to the conference that player competed in. However, times have changed since Tannenbaum was a general manager and we see talent coming from all over the place. Therefore, I kept it limited to just our basic factors and indicators.
With all that said, there are several factors to consider. First, keep in mind that head coach Eric Mangini had significant input in the drafts when he was head coach from 2006 to 2008. Second, it's been documented and reported by Newsday in this article that Tannenbaum used to get his coaches involved in the process and sometimes let the head coach make the picks. For example, Tannenbaum wanted Josh Freeman over Mark Sanchez but he went with Rex Ryan's choice. He also wasn't fully on board with drafting Vernon Gholston but Mangini was very adamant about selecting him.
You also need to factor Hickey and head coach Joe Philbin's philosophies tied in with Tannenbaum. That, in addition to what Tannenbaum has learned since his tie as general manager, will all come into play this coming weekend.
There are so many variables involved in this process so this doesn't come close to telling us the whole story, but it does give us some sort of idea of what to watch and look for to see if these patterns come back in the 2015 NFL Draft.
First Round Position Breakdown
First Round Conference Breakdown
In terms of positional breakdown, it is basically split as to which way the Jets went with offense and defense. What I did find interesting is that they went with five players on either side of the defensive line and only picked two skill players on offense, with one of them being a tight end. Also, we have heard how much Tannenbaum likes cornerbacks. We see that he drafted two of them during his time as general manger. It's not a lot, but he has the history of making a move for them.
In terms of school breakdown, I found it very interesting that he has never selected a player from the SEC in the first round. Now, that could have been from the way the board and players fell or it could have been done on purpose. Some names that have been linked to the Dolphins include Amari Cooper, Todd Gurley and La'El Collins. All three of them are from the SEC. Some other names include Devante Parker, Nelson Agholor , Jaelen Strong and Melvin Gordon. They are from the Big East, Pac-12, Pac-12 and Big Ten, respectively.
Of course, this isn't a definite rule as to what the Dolphins are going to do on Thursday but it gives us a little insight as to which way Tannenbaum and the rest of the front office might be leaning.
Second Round Position Breakdown
Second Round Conference Breakdown
The second round is hard to look at because the Jets just didn't have a lot of them during Tannenbaum's tenure in New York. The reason for this is because he liked to trade up and had to give up those second round picks because of it. There is no pattern here, with the exception that he preferred offense over defense in round two. As far as schools go, it's split evenly but again, not one player from the SEC.
Third Round Position Breakdown
Third Round Conference Breakdown
It's round three and again, the Jets didn't have a whole ton of picks because of the way they moved up in drafts and traded for players over the years. We can see that they preferred defense over offense, with four picks going that way and only one pick on the offensive side of the ball. What's interesting is the school breakdown. We see three players from the Big Ten drafted here. More importantly though, that's seven players from the Big Ten drafted in the first three rounds of the draft. It appears that Tannenbaum loves guys from that conference. Take note though that no player from the SEC was drafted in the first three rounds during Tannenbaum's time as general manager.
Fourth Round Position Breakdown
Fourth Round Conference Breakdown
The Jets are basically split down the middle here in terms of offense vs. defense but what I do find interesting is that they drafted three running backs in this round from 2006-2012. Was it the way the board fell or does Tannenbaum believe that you can find good value late in the draft at this position? That's definitely something to keep an eye on. In terms of school breakdown, it's split all over but we finally get an appearance from the SEC!
Fifth Round Position Breakdown
Fifth Round Conference Breakdown
The Jets didn't draft a single defensive player in round five from 2006-2012. They didn't favor any one position on offense but they did select all skill players here. We get a small run on SEC players with two being selected int his round. The Big Ten makes another appearance and we see our first one from the Big 12.
Sixth Round Position Breakdown
Sixth Round Conference Breakdown
We see a big tilt in terms of offense vs. defense with five players being selected on offense and only two on defense. We have three offensive linemen drafted here so it's possible that Tannenbaum likes to develop trench guys deep in the draft. It's also possible that it's just the way the board feel and there's no rhyme or reason to it. We also see two defensive backs, which we all know Tannenbaum loves, as I mentioned earlier. There's a big run here on players from the Big 12 with four of them being selected in this round. We see a small school player and yet again, another player from the Big Ten.
Seventh Round Position Breakdown
Seventh Round Conference Breakdown
Another big shift here with five players on offense and only two on defense. There were quite a few skill players selected here as well with four on offense and one on defense. As far as schools go, Tannenbaum took a heavy dip into the SEC pool, selecting three players from that conference in this round. The rest are split. Under Hickey, we saw the Dolphins take a chance on small school guys in the later rounds and in the seventh, they came out with Terrence Fede, who has shown a lot of promise in just one year.
Total Position Breakdown
Total Conference Breakdown
There are a lot of numbers here to digest and it's hard to do so in an overall picture, which is why we broke it down round by round. However, we can see that Tannenbaum barely touched linebackers in his years in New York. That could have been due to the fact that Rex Ryan had a scheme in place and trusted his guys that were brought in during free agency. They also didn't touch tight ends very much. The one thing that jumps out is that they drafted seven defensive backs and seven offensive linemen. Again, Tannenbaum loves his guys in the secondary.
There were 15 players selected on the defensive side of the ball and 26 players selected on the offensive side of the ball. Again, this could have been because that Ryan had a lot of confidence in his schemes or it could have been that they were trying to beef up the other side of the ball where Ryan's weakness was. That will be interesting to watch because it could flip in Miami with Joe Philbin being an offensive minded coach.
In the end, this doesn't tell us what the Dolphins plan to do or where they will go with this. However, it does give us a good foundation of what to look for and gives us a look at the past tendencies of Tannenbaum.
This column was written by Matthew Cannata. Follow him on Twitter: @PhinManiacs
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