The NFL draft is officially a little over a week away, we can almost hear the clock ticking away as teams scramble to make their selections. The Miami Dolphins have the 13th pick of the draft and there are multiple avenues they could take, they could trade up or trade down, draft an offensive or defensive player, or possibly select the future franchise quarterback.
Below are the selections made by the PhinManiacs writers, do you agree or disagree with our selections?
Pick #13 - Montez Sweat, EDGE, Mississippi State
Miami will most likely be looking to trade down from this spot but landing an elite EDGE player such as Montez Sweat would be a great selection.
Sweat is an athletic freak, standing at 6’5’’, he ran the 40-yard dash in 4.41 seconds. Sweat had high “sack” and “tackle for loss” production in college and with his athleticism this coaching staff could use him as much more than just an edge rusher.
- Oliver Candido (@BrazilCandido)
Pick #24 - Christian Wilkins, DT, Clemson
With Kyler Murray, Dwayne Haskins, and Drew Lock all off the board in the top 10, the Miami Dolphins explore trading down, and find a willing partner in the Oakland Raiders. Dropping eleven slots to the 24th overall pick brings Miami an additional 3rd round (#66) and 6th round (#184) picks this year, plus a coveted second round pick in 2020. The Dolphins then take defensive lineman Christian Wilkins, a 6’4’’ behemoth from Clemson.
- Eldon Jenson (@EJFootball)
Pick #13 - Christian Wilkins
Christian Wilkins has the size and athleticism to line up at multiple positions along the defensive line. Scheme versatility is coveted in today’s NFL. With head coach Brian Flores’s background, he will love to have this guy’s set of skills to confuse opposing offenses.
- Steven Paulsen (@SarcasticPhin)
Pick #20 - Greedy Williams, CB, LSU
The Pittsburgh Steelers are still in search of someone in the linebacker corps to truly replace Ryan Shazier, someone who can cover, blitz, and run sideline to sideline, an all-around stud. There's a linebacker available in the first round who can do all of that well, and that's Michigan's Devin Bush. But the likelihood is that Bush won't be there for the Steelers to draft by the time they're on the clock at 20, and the linebacker depth in this draft is not exactly deep.
So, the Steelers trade up with the Dolphins to get to 13 and draft Bush, which allows Miami to get their hands on an extra third rounder and maybe a pick for 2020. With their new 20th overall pick, the Dolphins select Greedy Williams out of LSU. Xavien Howard continues to negotiate with the team for a long-term contract, and Miami needs someone to be the Patrick Surtain to Howard's Sam Madison.
Williams is the favorite corner in the draft by some analysts, while other have the likes of Byron Murphy or Deandre Baker above him. Nevertheless, Williams is a solid choice, and he (or one of the other two aforementioned corners) is likely to be available after a trade down. With the depth in the draft in the trenches, spending a 1st rounder on a corner still leaves plenty of talent available for later picks on the lines.
- Luis D. Sung (@LuisDSung)
Pick #13 - Greedy Williams
None of the QBs in this draft are worth a 1st round pick, so, instead, Miami needs a CB opposite of Xavien Howard, and the focus shifts to Greedy Williams. At 6’3’’ tall, 184 pounds, Williams has the size to be an excellent corner in the NFL.
He’s shown a knack for getting to the ball with eight interceptions in two years and 19 pass deflections. He also recorded 71 total tackles in two years showing he’s not afraid to make a tackle when needed.
- Dakota Gabel (@DakotasForrest)
Pick #13 - Clelin Ferrell, EDGE, Clemson
Clelin Ferrell would make a great replacement for Robert Quinn and he can even be used as a Trey Flowers type of player in Miami's new defensive scheme. Ferrell is good against the run and pass, he will immediately boost the Dolphins defensive line.
- Tanner Elliott (@Elliott302Tj)
Pick #17 - Rashan Gary, EDGE, Michigan
With the 13th pick in the upcoming NFL Draft, the Miami Dolphins will be trading down in order to accumulate additional picks. We could see any of the later round teams trying to improve their draft position and give up picks to trade with the Dolphins.
Then, later in the first round, the Dolphins will address their defensive line by selecting Rashan Gary, an edge rusher out of Michigan. He probably won’t last too far into the 20s range of the 1st round, but the Dolphins will effectively fill a need right from the start.
- Ian Berger (@ian693)
The Miami Dolphins have recently signed Ryan Fitzpatrick to a two-year, $11 million deal. The Dolphins signed Fitzpatrick to be their starting quarterback for the 2019-2020 season, unless something dramatic happens in the draft. As we all know from last season, Fitzpatrick wowed the world at times and at others just looked like the player he has always been.
With all of the reports saying Miami is drafting a quarterback in the 2020 draft, Miami is likely hoping Fitzpatrick just plays like his normal self this year. If this does happen, Miami will be in prime position to draft a top tier quarterback next year such as Tua Tagovailoa, Justin Herbert, or Jake Fromm. This scenario is the best one for Miami and their fans since they will be drafting their new franchise quarterback and having Fitzpatrick taking him under his wing.
Although that is what we all expect to happen, it is not the only possibility. If Fitzpatrick plays like he did last season when everyone was impressed by him, the Dolphins could challenge the Patriots for the division title. Fitzpatrick played so well at times last season, he was given the nickname Fitzmagic. During that time, the Buccaneers were competing with some of the best teams in the NFL such as the Saints.
"He’s a leader first and foremost." Dolphins head coach Brian Flores said last week. "I’ve watched Ryan for a long time. I played against him, coached against him. Well, I didn’t play against him, but he was at Harvard when I was at Boston College. I’ve known about him for a long time. The one thing you hear over and over and over again is his ability to connect with players offensively, defensively, and lead. I think he’s a great fit for us. We’re excited to have him. Again, I’m just excited to have him.”
During the first three weeks last season, Fitzpatrick threw for 1,230 yards, 11 touchdowns, and four interceptions, with a 72% completion percentage. The last three games he played was a different story; he had 816 yards, four touchdowns, seven interceptions, with a 64% completion percentage. Even though he was inconsistent last season, Fitzpatrick does have the talent to lead the Dolphins to a good record if he plays well.
Miami might be “tanking” this year, but if Fitzpatrick plays like Fitzmagic, Miami might have a better record than people think.
This story was written by Tanner Elliott. Follow him on Twitter: @Elliott302Tj
With the scouting combine over and free agency winding down, we look at the potential prospects that could be drafted in the first round this upcoming April.
Cardinals, Pick 1: Kyler Murray, QB, Oklahoma
Ever since Murray weighed in at the Combine, he has almost been a lock to go first overall. The only question is which team drafts Murray. Here, the Cardinals keep the first overall pick and draft their new quarterback.
New head coach Kliff Kingsbury has not been quiet about how much he loves Murray and drafting him would make Cardinals fans excited about the future. The only way I see the Cardinals moving from the pick or not drafting Murray is if an offer they cannot refuse comes up or if something unknown about Murray comes up.
49ers, Pick 2: Quinnen Williams, DL, Alabama
The 49ers would be drafting Nick Bosa if they were drafting off potential, but since it seems like the 49ers want to win now, they draft Williams. Williams is probably the most NFL ready player in this draft and it also fills a need for the 49ers.
Dee Ford was recently traded to the 49ers which means that interior line is a bigger need than edge rusher for them. The addition of both Williams and Ford could make players such as Solomon Thomas and DeForest Buckner better or make them better.
Jets, Pick 3: Nick Bosa, Edge, Ohio State
With this pick the Jets draft a player that many people consider to be the best in this class. Nick is Joey Bosa's younger brother and many people, even older brother Joey, think that Nick is the better brother. If that is the case, the Jets would get a steal here.
Bosa is a terrific pass rusher and has a terrific build to be a great player. Bosa has few flaws but one big thing that sticks out to people is that he missed all last season with a core injury. If this injury is only a one-time thing and Bosa can stay healthy then the 49ers and Cardinals might regret passing on him.
Raiders, Pick 4: Josh Allen, Edge, Kentucky
The luck of the Raiders continues with this pick when they draft Josh Allen, another player that is first overall pick worthy. Allen would be a great fit with the Raiders because they are desperately looking for a pass rusher since they traded Khalil Mack. Allen has the ability to rush the passer as well as drop back in coverage if needed.
Allen has the same skill set as another former Raider in Bruce Irvin. Allen has the speed to chase down quarterbacks or to drop back in zone and cover the nearest tight end or running back. Allen will be a great addition to the Raiders' already young defensive line, and can hopefully give them all the spark they need.
Buccaneers, Pick 5: Montez Sweat, Edge, Mississippi State
Sweat blew people away at the NFL combine, which is why he is here at the fifth pick. There were reports out that Sweat has a heart condition. This condition is not supposed to scare teams away since he was cleared to participate in the Combine and Senior Bowl.
Sweat was very dominant in college but his recent performances in the Senior Bowl and the Combine has boosted his stock and put him in the top 5 discussion. Sweat ran a 4.41 forty and him being 6’6” and 260 pounds, with that combination of size and speed, Sweat will be a force on an already talented Buccaneers defensive line.
Giants, Pick 6: Rashan Gary, Edge, Michigan
Gary would be a great pick for the Giants, especially since they traded away Olivier Vernon and Damon Harrison. He has the ability to play anywhere on the defensive line, but he is best on the edge. Gary impressed everyone at the combine when he ran a 4.58 in the 40-yard dash which shows he does have some speed.
Even though Gary ran that impressive 40 he does not use his speed in his game. He is very good at setting the edge when needed, so he is good against the run. The only move that he seems to use to rush the passer is his bull or power rush, but after this, the Giants might try to turn him into a more complete pass rusher.
Jaguars, Pick 7: Jonah Williams, OT, Alabama
After signing Nick Foles to a monster contract this free agency, the Jaguars use this pick to protect him. Williams is a top tackle in this draft but what makes him unique is that he can play either side. There have been some concerns about Williams' size and how he is not big enough to play tackle in the NFL.
At 6’4” and 308 pounds, Williams is not the biggest player on the field but he beats players with his technique. Williams has great technique which helps him win battles that some people do not expect. If Williams can get stronger then he can possibly turn into the next Joe Thomas.
Lions, Pick 8: Greedy Williams, CB, LSU
The Lions have many needs and corner is one of them. They already have an elite corner in Darius Slay, and with drafting Greedy Williams they will have two lockdown corners. The Lions could draft a defensive lineman here but due to the position being very deep, they take Williams. Williams is by far the best cover corner in this draft and has perfect size to go along with it at 6’2”.
He does have some concerns about his effort on run plays, as he does not try to get off blockers or does not try to tackle the running back. Other than his lack of effort in the run game, Williams is an almost flawless corner and would give a much needed boost to the Lions defense.
Bills, Pick 9: Jawaan Taylor, OT, Florida
The Bills addressed the receiver position in free agency so they draft Taylor to help protect quarterback Josh Allen. The Bills already have a respectable defense and offensive line is one of their biggest needs.
Taylor is a fantastic run blocker, especially for the tackle position. He is a very aggressive blocker and is very athletic. Taylor showed in college that he can block any type of move that a defender will use, such as a spin move.
Broncos, Pick 10: Devin White, LB, LSU
Denver needs to find a good linebacker that they can build around and White fits that description perfectly. White is a sideline to sideline player and was a prototypical middle linebacker in college.
He is good against both the run and pass which is crucial with the Broncos being in the AFC West. White does have some issues with his instincts but when he starts to get used to NFL speed he will be the anchor of Denver’s defense for years to come.
Bengals, Pick 11: T.J. Hockenson, TE, Iowa
Tight end is not a huge need for the Bengals but it is a position they would like more consistency in. Tyler Eifert was just re-signed by the Bengals on a one year deal, but knowing his history he will more than likely get hurt. Hockenson would be the player they thought they were getting when Eifert got drafted.
Hockenson is the best all around tight end in the draft and one of the most pro-ready players in this draft. Hockenson would be a huge help in the run game as he can block both defensive lineman and linebackers. He would also give Andy Dalton another big target outside of A.J. Green and Tyler Boyd.
Packers, Pick 12: Ed Oliver, DL, Houston
After signing two edge rushers in free agency, the Packers boost their interior line by drafting Oliver. Oliver is a very versatile player, as he can play any position and there are even rumors that he can play linebacker in the NFL.
Oliver is not as highly touted as he was in his earlier college career but he is still a dominant player. People have concerns that Oliver's pass rush has not developed as fast as they wanted but with NFL coaching, Oliver can develop his play more.
Dolphins, Pick 13: Clelin Ferrell, Edge, Clemson
The Dolphins could easily trade this pick so a team could draft Haskins or Miami themselves could draft Haskins. Instead Miami looks to keep rebuilding their team and draft a defensive end to replace Cameron Wake and Robert Quinn. Ferrell would be an excellent pick for Miami since he has some of the same measurables as Trey Flowers.
That is key because new Dolphins coach Brian Flores is from New England and tried to sign Flowers this past offseason. Ferrell would give Miami another defensive player to build around. Ferrell is very good against the pass and even jamming tight ends off the line of scrimmage.
Falcons, Pick 14: Christian Wilkins, DL, Clemson
Wilkins is another Clemson defensive lineman who is expected to go in the first round of the NFL draft. Wilkins has a good size and speed at 6’3” and 315 pounds and ran a 5.03 in the forty. The thing that makes Wilkins so great is that he is a great leader on and off the field. Many of his former players and coaches praised his character which is always a good thing.
As for his play, he is very effective at the line of scrimmage and keep leverage while being engaged with blockers. If Wilkins can play at the level he played at in college he will be one of the NFL’s favorite players.
Redskins, Pick 15: Dwayne Haskins, QB, Ohio State
The biggest question of this draft is, where will Dwayne Haskins go? People have said Haskins can go top 5, while others say the will fall out of the top 10. Here, Washington picks him up with the 15th pick. Even though they traded for Case Keenum earlier this offseason, Haskins would be a great fit in Jay Gruden’s system and could possibly start day one for Washington.
Haskins has rivaled Kyler Murray for the top quarterback in the draft even through the two are completely different. Haskins is everything Gruden would want in a quarterback and then some, making him an excellent pick for Washington.
Panthers, Pick 16: Andre Dillard, OT, Washington State
Cam Newton has been subject to injuries his whole career. Now whether that is his fault or because he gets hit every play is the question. It is about time the Panthers get Newton some protection. Dillard was a four year starter for a pretty good offense and is a very athletic blocker.
He is an all around good blocker in both the run and pass. He can drive defenders on run plays and can protect your quarterback in the pass game. Dillard will give the Panthers offensive line a very much needed boost.
Giants (via Browns), Pick 17: Daniel Jones, QB, Duke
After the Giants pass on Haskins with the sixth pick they pick their franchise quarterback in Daniel Jones. There have been reports that the Giants do not like Haskins at all and other reports saying they love him. If they are not interested in Haskins, Jones makes the most sense.
Jones has been compared to current Giants quarterback, Eli Manning and because of that the Giants might be interested in drafting him. Jones has also worked out with the coach that coached the Manning brothers. If the Giants are serious about keeping Manning as their quarterback, and keeping their scheme the same, Jones would be the smartest pick.
Vikings, Pick 18: Cody Ford, OT, Oklahoma
After Anthony Barr had a change of heart and re-signed with the Vikings, they need to address the offensive line position instead. Ford is very athletic for his 6’4” and 329 pound frame.
He also has experience to play both guard and tackle which is very beneficial. Ford never gives up on a play and is very aggressive. His pass blocking is not the best but he should still be a day one starter so he can progress through the season.
Titans, Pick 19: D.K. Metcalf, WR, Mississippi
Corey Davis did not turn out to be the player the Titans hoped for when they drafted him. Metcalf on the other hand is one of the most explosive receivers to come into the draft in recent memory.
At 6’3” and 228 pounds, he ran a 4.33 forty and it blew people away. Due to Metcalf’s size and speed combination corners are going to have a tough time covering him. Hopefully with the addition of Metcalf, Davis can turn into the player everyone projected him to be.
Steelers, Pick 20: Byron Murphy, CB, Washington
The Steelers defense was the reason they lost games last year. The addition of Murphy will boost both their run and pass defense. Murphy had seven interception and 20 pass breakups on only 87 targets in his college career.
For a corner he is very aggressive and can be a hard hitter. He is the perfect size for a slot corner but he can play outside due to his aggressiveness. Murphy would also be a great compliment with Joe Haden.
Seahawks, Pick 21: Noah Fant, TE, Iowa
The Seahawks offensive line got progressively better as the season went on last year. That is why the Seahawks draft one of the most exciting players in this year's draft. Fant had one of the most impressive combines and was already considered to be a first round pick.
At 6’4”and 250 pounds he is big enough to block edge rushers but running a 4.5 in the forty he is fast enough to outrun linebackers. The only issue with Fant is that he is not aggressive enough with blocking or when running routes. Once he realizes how to use his body better those weaknesses should go away.
Ravens, Pick 22: Devin Bush, LB, Michigan
With the loss of C.J. Mosley, the Ravens are now looking for a new middle linebacker. Bush would immediately fill the void left by Mosley and is exactly the type of player the Ravens look for. Bush is the prototype of a modern middle linebacker although he is a bit undersized.
Bush has the ability to cover sideline to sideline and is not scared to stick his nose in the run game. The only negative with Bush is that since he is a bit undersized, he can easily be bullied by guards. If Bush can find a way to get off blocks from bigger guys and improve his reaction time, the Ravens will have another star linebacker on their hands.
Texans, Pick 23: Johnathan Abram, S, Mississippi State
Abram would replace Tyrann Mathieu who left in free agency. Abram is one of those safeties that can play as an extra linebacker. He is very aggressive and a hard hitter who is great in the run game.
He is better against the run compared to the pass so he might get moved to linebacker later down the road. His hip movements are not the best so in order for him to be a great safety they will need to improve.
Raiders (via Bears), Pick 24: Brian Burns, Edge, Florida State
The Raiders double down on edge rushers with their first two picks. Burns was very impressive during the combine and pairing him with Josh Allen would be deadly. The Raiders are only lacking edge rushers on their defensive line since they already have Johnathan Hankins and Maurice Hurst in the interior.
Running a very impressive 4.53 forty will give the Raiders the ability to send Burns off the edge and he has the speed to chase down running backs. Burns is very athletic which makes it easy for him to get off or go around blockers. If Burns can set his frame and not give away his position when approaching blockers he can be a very good player.
Eagles, Pick 25: Josh Jacobs, RB, Alabama
The Eagles running back position has been very inconsistent over the years. With Jacobs they get a dependable guy who can do it all. Jacobs has been praised by his coaches for his work effort. He is a traditional runner since he does not have breakaway speed but he makes good use of his blockers.
Jacobs is also very good out of the backfield which is a crucial part of the Eagles offense. The best part about Jacobs' game is that he is very patient with his blocks and attacks the hole at the right time. Hopefully Jacobs will be the player the Eagles need to fix their running back woes.
Colts, Pick 26: Rock Ya-Sin, CB, Temple
The Colts are one of the NFL’s most interesting teams. They are very young and they have a lot of cap space to grow. By drafting Ya-Sin the Colts boost their young defense and give much needed help to their secondary.
Coaches love him and that shows that Ya-Sin is both coachable and a great player. Ya-Sin is great in coverage and can break on the ball at any given moment. He also is not scared to stick his nose in the run game which will help the Colts out as well.
Raiders (Via Cowboys), Pick 27: Irv Smith Jr, TE, Alabama
Jared Cook was arguably Derek Carr’s favorite weapon this past year. He has left in free agency and the Raiders find his replacement in Smith. Even though the Raiders got plenty of weapons in free agency, the way Carr used Cook last year should be a reason why they draft Smith.
Smith is more of a receiving tight end but he can block if needed. His blocking is a bit inconsistent but if he gains more weight and more coaching he will get better. He is not the biggest at 6’2” but he does have a little speed on him with a 4.62 forty. He has strong hands so he has the ability to be a red zone threat as well.
Chargers, Pick 28: Kaleb McGary, OT, Washington
The Chargers are one of the most complete teams in the NFL. The only position they really need help with is offensive line. McGary is a very good player but he has a lot of issues that just need to be worked out over time.
He is a very effective blocker but he is not always consistent. He has potential to be a franchise tackle and with that the Chargers will be picking best player available based off of need.
Chiefs, Pick 29: Dexter Lawrence, DL, Clemson
The Chiefs need all the defensive help they can get, especially since they traded away Dee Ford and released Justin Houston. Lawrence improved every year that he was in college. He is also very althletic and has great size at 6’4” and 342 pounds.
The Chiefs have been looking for a new defensive tackle ever since Dontari Poe left and Lawrence could be that guy. Since the Chiefs do not have many defensive pieces, they could start to build their new defense around Lawrence.
Packers (via Saints), Pick 30: Marquise Brown, WR, Oklahoma
The Packers do not have many receivers outside of Davante Adams. Brown would give Aaron Rodgers a new weapon to play with. With Brown’s explosive speed Aaron Rodgers will have a lot of fun with him.
Brown is the best route runner in this year's draft and with his speed, he should make an impact day one. He does have some recent injury concerns but teams should not worry about that since he did not participate in the combine to stay healthy.
Rams, Pick 31: Garrett Bradbury, G/C, North Carolina State
The Rams are a very complete team but the offensive line is a huge need. Bradbury is the best interior lineman in the draft and would become an instant starter for the Rams. He has great hand placement and once he is locked onto a defender he stays locked on.
Bradbury is a bit undersized and uses the same blocking moves every time, making him predictable. Bradbury’s size is not that big of a concern since he very technical but with NFL coaching he will start to use different blocking moves, which will only improve his game.
Patriots, Pick 32: Zach Allen, Edge, Boston College
All throughout the combine, scouts said that Allen plays and acts like a Patriot. He is very coachable and does whatever he is told. The Patriots draft Allen to replace Trey Flowers who they just lost in free agency. At 6’4” and 280 pounds, Allen can rush the passer and set the edge.
Allen also has incredible football IQ which is something the Patriots look for in players. He does not have great length so he may be on blocks longer than scouts like but Allen always keeps his eyes in the backfield to know where the ball is going. It seems like Allen is a player that the Patriots will love to have and also need.
This story was written by Tanner Elliott. Follow him on Twitter: @Elliott302Tj
With the scouting combine over and free agency winding down, we look at the potential prospects the Miami Dolphins could draft this upcoming April.
Round 1, Pick 13: Clelin Ferrell, Edge, Clemson
If the Miami Dolphins want to boost their pass rush, then Ferrell will be an excellent pick. Ferrell played in a 4-3 scheme in college but should have no problem adjusting to a 3-4 or a hybrid since he is so athletic. Ferrell is very explosive off the ball and uses his long arms to his advantage whenever he is engaged with a blocker.
Although Ferrell does use his long arms to his advantage, he is not the best at getting off of blocks. This could be an issue early in his career, but once he starts to adjust to the NFL and learns how to use his body he will turn into a great pass rusher. Brain Flores could use Ferrell as his new Trey Flowers since they both have similar measurables.
Both players are 265 pounds but Ferrell is two inches taller. Having a player that could act like a Trey Flowers would be a big addition to Miami’s defense in the long run.
Round 2, Pick 48: Jeffery Simmons, DL, Mississippi State
The Miami Dolphins double down on defensive linemen with this pick. After getting an edge rusher at 13 the Dolphins get a player to boost the middle of their defense. Simmons was a projected top 10 pick in this draft before he tore his ACL last month, training for the combine.
Simmons will immediately boost this defensive line as he was a force in college, especially in the run game. His junior year alone he had 63 tackles, 18 of those being a tackle for a loss, two sacks, and four passes deflected and one forced fumble. Due to his injury, Simmons will more than likely be out all of the 2019 season but drafting a player of his potential and skill set at this pick would be a steal, especially with Miami's rebuilding mindset.
Round 3, Pick 78: Trey Pipkins, OT, Sioux Falls
Pipkins is a very small school prospect but he turned some heads at the Senior Bowl. Since the Senior Bowl teams have been doing some research on him and realized he could be a diamond in the rough. At 6’6” and 309 pounds he has perfect size to play tackle in the NFL.
Teams have seen that he is very athletic and has potential to get stronger, so he has potential to be a starter in a year or two. Pipkins is a better pass blocker compared to run blocking but if he gets stronger and improves his technique, him and Tunsil can be one of the best young tackle duos in the league.
Round 4, Pick 116: Jamel Dean, CB, Auburn
Dean turned some heads at the combine when he ran a 4.3 in the forty-yard dash and at 6’1”, with very long arms, he has potential to be a lockdown corner. Dean had 28 tackles, a sack, and two interceptions this past season. Dean is not the most polished corner but has shown flashes of great play. Based off of his size, and speed alone, Dean could turn into a Jalen Ramsey type player.
Dean does have a medical history having three knee surgeries since high school, so that could be why the Dolphins pass on him. Although Dean does have an injury history, if he can break some bad habits he has and turn them into good habits, the Dolphins could have a very scary secondary.
Round 5, Pick 151: Ben Powers, OG, Oklahoma
Powers was a part of one of college football’s best offensive lines in Oklahoma. Powers has experience at both guard spots, which is very important knowing Miami’s history of offensive line injuries. Powers is an exceptional pass blocker but a below average run blocker.
Powers does not play with his lower body much and relies on his upper body to block defenders. He does use his hands well and is always square when blocking. If Powers can learn how to use his legs more and develop his run blocking, he will not be a bad backup and could potentially compete for a starting spot down the road.
Round 7, Pick 233: Dakota Allen, LB, Texas Tech
I had Allen going to Miami in the sixth round but due to his poor combine, Allen falls to the Dolphins in the seventh round. Allen has potential to be a great pick for them but will need time to develop. Allen has been praised by many of his coaches because he is a team player and is a very coachable player.
He is also a good tackler so whenever Allen has someone wrapped up then you know the ball carrier will go down. Allen does have some issues reading plays and over-committing on plays but this can all be changed with good coaching.
Round 7, Pick 234: Jacob Dolegala, QB, Central Connecticut
Dolegala was not even projected to be drafted until he worked out at University of Buffalo’s pro day. After the pro day, many teams wondered who he was and now there are rumblings that he could be drafted. Playing at a small school, many teams will wonder how he plays against NFL competition.
Even playing at the level he is, he did not put up spectacular numbers. Last season he had a 52.9% completion percentage, 1,953 yards, 13 touchdowns, and seven interceptions.
Scouts are just interested in what he has to offer as a quarterback and it would be smart of Miami to draft him to see what he can do. At 6’6” he has NFL height but more than likely will be a practice squad player so he can develop.
This story was written by Tanner Elliott. Follow him on Twitter: @Elliott302Tj
“To stay or not to stay, that is the question.”
A Jimmy Johnson figure appeared in my dream and wouldn’t stop talking about this top-secret Draft Pick Value Chart he made. Then we popped a beer and caught one heck of a Sailfish! Catch and Release of course, we aren’t a-holes.
Then I woke up and realized I just left the NFL Network on when I passed out. But the question remains.
Do the Dolphins trade up, down or stay?
Well, since I have zero influence on the top brass I’m going to assume they won’t be trading up or down and they stay put. Which for the purpose of this article I’m actually quite excited about. There is some great depth that should fall just about perfectly to Miami that will provide a Pro Bowl upside and fill a need. That’s a combination I can get behind.
Every year there is a QB feeding frenzy and this year won’t be different. It’s highly probable that three guys get over drafted much like the year the Dolphins selected Ryan Tannehill. Remember Brandon Weeden? Yeah, he went 22nd that year with talk he might have actually gone third. But I digress, these three guys are excellent additions should they fall to Miami.
Ed Oliver, DL, Houston
I’ve seen Oliver fall to middle of the first round or as early as the top ten in every mock draft. If he were to slide to Miami, Oliver would have the upside of Warren Sapp. Great feet and very technical. He’s got all the pieces to anchor that line and retire a Miami Dolphin.
I love the small school guy who grows up in college even if he was slightly overlooked in the college recruiting process. You can call it “playing with a chip” if you want to, but this guy has a great skill set.
Christian Wilkins, DL, Clemson
I don’t think Clelin Ferrell will be there, but honestly, I would take either of the premier guys from Clemson. I prefer the size and scheme versatility of Wilkins a shade more.
6’4” and 310 pounds that has a well-coached game that complements his big man athleticism is irreplaceable. Many guys are saying that Geno Atkins is his comparison but I think a slightly shorter Richard Seymour is more suitable.
Cody Ford, OT, Oklahoma
With the loss of Ja’Wuan James at RT, Ford has the athleticism to play either tackle spot. The jury is still out on Laremy Tunsil - though things are trending up - and one thing we do know is that left guard is a position that Tunsil can excel at. Left tackle we will see how that unfolds but I think having a little left tackle insurance in Cody Ford makes all the sense in the world.
Bottom line, we know that the trenches need the most work for the Miami Dolphins. They have lost all sorts of talent there and this is a priority. They can pick up a center and guard in later rounds. There is always talent to be had later. Finding first round talent at tackle or the defensive line provides the ability to lock a great player up for four years before the big salary cap busting contract comes which many times comes in free agency.
This story was written by Steven Paulsen. Follow him on Twitter: @SarcasticPhin
“The Dolphins could benefit from having an in-line blocking tight end because Miami’s depth at that position is thin.
This particular part of the column bugged me because Kelly consistently and constantly criticized Gesicki’s blocking last year.
Gesicki is a 6’6” 245 pound tight end. His job is to set up mismatches in the passing game, not block. Admittedly he didn’t do as good of a job at that as most would have liked last year, but he’s still developing and it was apparent that he wasn’t ready to take on a bigger role. We shall see what happens this year when you could reasonably expect a second round tight end to bloom.
Personally, I thought Dave Hyde, also at the Sun-Sentinel, provided a more sensible analysis:
“The Dolphins’ signing of tight end Dwayne Allen says: (a) new offensive coordinator Chad O’Shea liked Allen in New England; (b) they’re not happy with blocking tight ends like fourth-round pick Durham Smythe or Nick O’Leary; c) they’re not going to ask Mike Gesicki to be an in-line blocker anymore.
This I can get on board with. Allen is an upgrade to Smythe, who will now be a backup, because he can both block and catch. And, yes, the Dolphins are rebuilding, not tanking. If you are tanking you don’t sign anyone who can help. Rebuilding means targeting only players that you think will be a part of your long-term future.
Which brings me to my only real criticism of the deal. At 29 years old, Allen is just a little older than I’d like. But rebuilds nowadays can happen quickly and it's unlikely that two years down the line at 31 years old the Dolphins will have any major regrets about the signing, particularly if Allen brings a locker room presence that can help younger players develop.
“Sam Young, who filled in admirably for an injured James as the starting right tackle for the final eight games of the 2017 season, is also a free agent. It is unclear at this moment if Miami intends on re-signing the former St. Thomas Aquinas High standout.
None of those veteran options look particularly tantalizing and it's unlikely that the Dolphins are going to find a good solution in free agency.
Given that the current make up of the Dolphins brain trust is very Patriot heavy, you wonder if they aren’t planning to follow the New England offensive line model. New England rarely pays their offensive linemen, preferring to develop unknown players and turn them into Pro Bowlers. Turning Trent Brown into one of the league's top left tackles only to let him go to the Raiders for a record contract this offseason is the latest example.
I’m all in favor of the Dolphins pulling off similar feats but I doubt they can pull it off without New England coach Dante Scarnecchia, who is universally acknowledged as the best offensive line coach in the business. Is Dolphins line coach Pat Flaherty in Scarnecchia’s class? Not that I ever heard.
Something tells me that if the Dolphins are planning to spin straw into gold on the offensive line the way New England does, they are in for a rude awakening.
“’I think that his height was inflated,’ an unnamed scout told Dan Patrick on Tuesday, and Dan relayed the story on the Wednesday edition of his show. ‘Maybe it’s the tin-foil hat theory. I just don’t see it. If he refuses to be measured at the Pro Day, that will be telling.”’
If it's a tin hat theory, then it's going around because I’m wearing a similar one. The possibility that this number wasn’t accurate was the first thing I thought of when I heard the result. Murray was measured at 5’9-5/8” at Oklahoma. Suddenly he is half an inch taller, meaning that his college substantially underestimated his height rather than inflating it as is the more standard procedure.
I’m having a hard time with that.
“I think he just wants to flex his power He has small [man’s] syndrome. I still talk to guys who are there, and trust me, there’s not much respect for him in that locker room.”
Bennett also let it be known that he will be staying in the locker room during the playing of the national anthem this season:
“’I explained to them is that my integrity mean everything,’ Bennett said, according to ESPN. ’I think they respect that about me, they respect who I am as an individual.’”
Yeah, Bennett is an individual alright. Just like his brother Martellus, Michael is an individual to a fault.
There’s a reason why Bennett will be going on the fourth team of his career (the Seahawks twice) and the third in three years. He’s an immature, high maintenance player who can be a handful in the locker room. The Patriots are betting that they have the culture to tame Bennett but it says here that if he plays for them in 2019, he won’t be there in 2020.
Talented as he is, New England could be his last stop.
I have never like the league’s procedures for replay and in my opinion this is a step in the wrong direction. The challenge system for review is hopelessly broken in part because NFL coaches are expected to do both their own job and that of the officials under the current rules.
I really don’t care what sort of system the league implements but it should be one that relieves coaches the responsibility for cleaning up the mess created by poor calls.
Personally, I favor an extra official in the booth who is responsible for deciding whether a play should be reviewed. And, of course, any on-field official should also be allowed to request a review of a call they weren’t sure of.
This story was written by Tom Shannon. Follow him on Twitter: @bearingthenews
With free agency approaching as well as trade rumors heating up, here are five possible players the Dolphins should consider trading for.
This story was written by Tanner Elliott. Follow him on Twitter: @Elliott302Tj
With the NFL Draft a little over two months away we take a look at how the first round of the draft can turn out. This mock draft will be a pre combine one and many things can change from now until April 25th. As we get closer to the draft we will put out more mocks as picks and team needs change, as well as more rumors come out.
Cardinals, Pick 1: Nick Bosa, DE, Ohio State
Nick Bosa is the consensus number one pick in this year’s draft. Bosa has little to no flaws other than he was sidelined most of this past year with an injury. When Bosa got injured, he said that he would focus on the NFL Draft and sit out the rest of the season. Bosa would instantly boost the Cardinals defense and cause a lot of havoc his rookie year.
49ers, Pick 2: Josh Allen, DE/OLB, Kentucky
Josh Allen is not just a defensive end but that is what most teams think he is best at. Allen is one of the best pass rushers in this draft class, but he can also drop back in coverage. Allen has the quickness to cover some of the better tight ends in the NFL if he can get better at man coverage. Just like Bosa, Allen should boost the defense of 49ers with an already young front 7.
Jets, Pick 3: Quinnen Williams, DL, Alabama
Williams is one of the most consistent players in this draft. Defensive line is not a glaring need for the Jets, but with this pick they will be picking the best player available. Some draft experts even think that Williams is the best player in the draft. Williams was very dominant against a good LSU team and playing in the SEC proves he was consistent against good college competition. Williams can play in any defensive scheme and has good size at 6’4” and 290 pounds.
Raiders, Pick 4: Rashan Gary, DL, Michigan
Last offseason the Raiders traded away Khalil Mack and Gary could be his successor. Gary does not have the talent Mack does but the Raiders will still have a solid defensive lineman. Gary is very consistent when he is on the field. That being said, Gary does have an injury history which could cause him to fall in the draft. I would not be surprised if the Raiders trade down from this spot to get more picks in this year’s and next year’s draft.
TRADE: Redskins, Pick 5: Kyler Murray, QB, Oklahoma
Washington trades up to the fifth overall spot to take their quarterback of the future. With Alex Smith out at least all next year, the Redskins draft Kyler Murray to be their new RG3. Murray does have size concerns (which should be mitigated thanks to his combine measurements) but has a great arm and physical attributes.
Murray will already have a solid backfield behind him in Adrian Peterson, Chris Thompson, and Derrius Guice so they can take some weight off his shoulders. Washington can run the same offense they ran with Josh Johnson late in the season since both players are mobile quarterbacks. If Washington can use Murray the right way and drafts a receiver later in the draft, they would have good odds to rival the Cowboys for the division next year.
Giants, Pick 6: Dwayne Haskins, QB, Ohio State
The Giants draft their signal caller of the future in Dwayne Haskins, Haskins is the top quarterback on the draft board, and they get him here at pick 6. There have been reports that Kyler Murray is too short, but at 6’3”, Haskins does not share that concern. Haskins has to clean up some of his decision making skills but with Odell Beckham Jr. and Saquon Barkley leading the offense, Haskins should have time to develop to his full potential.
Jaguars, Pick 7: Dexter Lawrence, DL, Clemson
The Jaguars are expected to release Malik Jackson this offseason, so Lawrence would be a good fit in Jacksonville. Lawrence would already be around a good rotation of pass rushers and young linebackers. Lawrence is one of the best defensive linemen in this draft and with the top two quarterbacks gone they should address the defensive tackle position.
Lions, Pick 8: Clelin Ferrell, DE, Clemson
Detroit will be looking for a new defensive end since Ezekiel Ansah will be a free agent this offseason. With 55 tackles, 11.5 sacks, and three forced fumbles, Ferrell put up good numbers last season. Ferrell is a speed rusher and relies on his quickness, speed, and elusiveness to get around offensive linemen and get to the quarterback. Ferrell could replace Ansah and potentially be a cornerstone of their defense.
Bills, Pick 9: Jawaan Taylor, OT, Florida
Offensive line is one of the biggest needs for the Bills and here they get the best one in the draft. Taylor played on the right side at Florida so he would not be guarding Josh Allen’s blindside, but he would still give a huge boost to a below average offensive line.
Taylor had consistency issues at Florida up until last season which boosted his stock a ton. At 6’5” and 340 pounds, Taylor has the right combination of size, strength and movement to be a franchise tackle in the NFL.
Broncos, Pick 10: Devin White, LB, LSU
White is one of the best prospects in this draft but due to the amount of defensive linemen in this draft, he falls to the Broncos at the 10th pick. White is a complete linebacker and with the Broncos not picking up Brandon Marshall’s option, White would be an instant starter.
White has the potential to be the next great linebacker since he has the instincts, intangibles, and the athletic ability. Denver already has a solid defense anchored by Von Miller and Bradley Chubb so adding White to the mix would only make them that much more intimidating.
Bengals, Pick 11: Cody Ford, OT, Oklahoma
Before the Bengals look to boost their defense or make a change at quarterback, they need to solidify the offensive line. Oklahoma was one of the best offensive lines in college football last year and one reason was because of Cody Ford. Ford is a very athletic offensive tackle, which is very important in today’s NFL.
Ford does have an injury history but does tough it out and did not miss one game in 2018 and only two in 2017. The only way that Ford does not suit up and play is because he absolutely cannot play. Ford also played right tackle but in today’s NFL right tackle is just as important as left tackle.
Packers, Pick 12: Montez Sweat, DE, Mississippi State
Sweat was one of the most dominant players at this year's Senior Bowl. The Packers are a below average team without Aaron Rodgers playing so the Packers would be smart to start rebuilding the team. Their defense already has some young talent and Sweat will just add to that.
The only red flag Sweat has is that he was dismissed from Michigan State due to discipline issues then transferred to Mississippi State. Sweat has stayed out of trouble since and has been a very productive player. Sweat has the size to play both defensive end or outside linebacker depending what defensive scheme the Packers run under their new defensive coordinator.
Dolphins, Pick 13: Ed Oliver, DL, Houston
Oliver at one point was considered the best player in the draft and the Dolphins snag him at 13. Oliver brings a lot to the table such as the ability to play in either scheme. Dolphins defensive coordinator said the Dolphins will run a hybrid defense and Oliver fits right into that. Oliver would line up anywhere on the defensive line depending on the situation or if there are any injuries that week. Oliver would be a dream come true if he falls to Miami due to his versatility and work ethic.
Falcons, Pick 14: Christian Wilkins, DL, Clemson
The Falcons defense was not the best last year and like many other teams so far they will boost their defensive line with this pick. Wilkins will be a good fit in an already young Falcons defense. Wilkins has terrific size at 6’4” and 300 pounds and should have no trouble holding his ground in the trenches. With 51 tackles and six sacks, Wilkins is more well rounded than his Clemson teammates but he also has the lowest ceiling making him one of the last drafted.
TRADE: Buccaneers, Pick 15: Josh Jacobs, RB, Alabama
Tampa trades down in the draft and drafts the player they wanted at 5 at 15. Jacobs is the best running back in this year’s draft and running back is a big need for Tampa. Ever since Doug Martin fell off, Tampa has not had a stable running back.
Under new head coach Bruce Arians, the Buccaneers are going to need one running back that they can depend on. When Arians coached the Cardinals, he had David Johnson to work with and that helped balance out the offense. Jacobs has good size at 5'11" and 200 pounds and does have some experience catching the ball out of the backfield. His combine will really show if he is truly worth a first round pick.
Panthers, Pick 16: Greg Little, OT, Ole Miss
Offensive line is a huge need for the Panthers, especially with Cam Newton’s shoulder injury. Little would play left tackle so the Panthers should feel good about that. Little has not missed one game since he started playing college football in 2016, making him very dependable and not injury prone. At 6’6" and 325 pounds, Little should give Newton a little more time in the pocket, especially since the NFC South’s defensive lines are not the best.
Browns, Pick 17: Jonah Williams, OT, Alabama
The Browns have been looking for Joe Thomas’s replacement since he retired and they found him in Williams. Williams plays either right or left tackle so he will probably be protecting Baker Mayfield’s blindside. Williams has good feet and quickness but lacks lower body strength which could impact his run blocking. Once Williams puts on more lower body strength the Browns can depend on him to be their new Joe Thomas.
Vikings, Pick 18: Andre Dillard, OT, Washington State
The Vikings have weapons all around Kirk Cousins, now it is time to give him some protection. Dillard really improved his stock this year at the Senior Bowl, being one of the best offensive linemen there. There have been reports that Dillard is one of the most athletic tackles in all of College Football.
Dillard has excellent feet, quickness, and technique which are all positive for an NFL prospect. Dillard does play on the left side so he will have to protects Cousins' blindside against some mediocre defensive lines in the NFC North, although the Bears have one of the defensive lines in the league.
Titans, Pick 19: D.K. Metcalf, WR, Ole Miss
Receiver is a huge need for the Titans since Corey Davis is not producing like we all envisioned. D.K. Metcalf has elite height at 6’4” and could be Marcus Mariota’s new favorite target. Metcalf put up good numbers this season with 26 catches, 569 yards, and five touchdowns in seven games before a neck injury kept him out for the rest of the season. He also has big play ability with his longest catch last season being 75 yards, and the Titans need big play ability.
Steelers, Pick 20: Greedy Williams, CB, LSU
Due to the amount of dominant defensive linemen and offensive tackles, the Steelers grab the draft's best corner at pick 20. Williams has elite height at 6’3” which makes him very good at both man and press coverages. The Steelers will love how they can use Williams since he is long and physical. With 33 tackles, two interceptions, and nine pass deflections, Williams was a shutdown corner in college and many teams expect that to transfer over to the NFL.
Seahawks, Pick 21: Nasir Adderley, S, Delaware
Seattle finds their Kam Chancellor replacement in Adderley. Adderley has the best ball skills in this draft and also is not afraid of contact. Chancellor was great at finding the ball and attacking it and Adderley is the same way. Adderley does have some trouble reading plays, but he should get better with time. At 6’0” and 190 pounds he has decent size but has room to get bigger.
Ravens, Pick 22: Jachai Polite, DE, Florida
Polite will be a good player for an already solid Ravens defense. Polite has a very explosive first step which is important in the NFL. Polite is more of a speed rusher than a power rusher but can make offensive linemen unbalanced if he needs to. Consistency and effort are two things people see as red flags but playing for the Ravens he should get plenty of rest and always give full effort playing for a playoff team.
Texans, Pick 23: Tytus Howard, OT, Alabama State
Howard is a small school prospect but has nice film against bigger schools such as Auburn. He has played both left and right tackle so the Texans can put him wherever they feel he would help the most. Protecting franchise quarterback Deshaun Watson is very important for the Texans and they would be making an excellent pick here. Howard might be a developmental player, but he should turn out to be a great player for the Texans.
Raiders (via Bears), Pick 24: Deionte Thompson, S, Alabama
Thompson will not participate in the combine because of a wrist injury that requires surgery, but there will be no long-term issues. The Raiders are boosting their defense with this pick and rumors of Karl Joseph getting traded and Reggie Nelson being a free agent, this pick makes a lot of sense. Thompson has great speed and hip movement and is a fantastic tackler, but the trend with Alabama safeties in the NFL is that teams see they lack coverage skills and eventually move them to linebacker.
Eagles, Pick 25: Deandre Baker, CB, Georgia
Corner is one of the biggest needs for the Eagles and they address it here with Baker. Baker is considered by some people to be the best corner in the draft but does have some off-field concerns. He is not as tall as Greedy Williams at 5’11” but Baker is a more well-rounded corner. Baker can play slot, man, press, or zone and only allowed a 40.9 passer rating this past season. Baker should have a tough rookie season going against Odell Beckham Jr. and Amari Cooper twice a piece.
Colts, Pick 26: N’Keal Harry, WR, Arizona State
Harry would be a perfect compliment to T.Y. Hilton. Harry is a big and physical receiver that would pair nicely with Hilton’s small and fast build. Harry has terrific hands and at his height he could be making Calvin Johnson type plays. Harry is not as good at changing his direction but that should not be that big of a concern since he will be playing alongside of Hilton.
Raiders (via Cowboys), Pick 27: T.J. Hockenson, TE, Iowa
With Jared Cook being a free agent, the Raiders give Derek Carr a new weapon. Hockenson is one of the best tight end prospects to come out of the draft since O.J. Howard. At 6’5” and 243 pounds he is a big guy who should become an instant redzone threat. He is a very balanced player with great hands and run blocking. If Hockenson can adjust to the NFL quickly he become a household name just as quick.
Chargers, Pick 28: Daniel Jones, QB, Duke
Quarterback is not a glaring need for the Chargers, but it is a position that the they will need in the upcoming years. Jones is a not a day one starter, but he can develop under Philip Rivers. Jones has good accuracy and good throw power. If Jones can develop and learn the offense under Rivers, quarterback will not be a need for a very long time.
Chiefs, Pick 29: Byron Murphy, CB, Washington
Murphy is viewed by some as the best corner in the draft. Corner is a huge need for the Chiefs as the defense is one of the league's worst. Murphy could be Marcus Peters' replacement after he was traded last offseason. He is a great zone coverage corner and knows his strengths since he is 6’0” and 175 pounds.
At that height he could play man but against the bigger receivers that would not be ideal. Murphy is also not the best in run support which could be an issue if the Chiefs do not fix their defense.
Packers (via Saints), Pick 30: Devin Bush Jr., LB, Michigan
Bush is a great player who would instantly become a leader on this young Packers defense. Bush excels in both pass coverage and run stopping which is very important playing in the NFC North. He would have to cover tight ends such as Kyle Rudolph and Trey Burton but also hunt down running backs like Jordan Howard and Dalvin Cook. Bush has great speed and instincts and will excel early in his NFL career.
Rams, Pick 31: Mack Wilson, LB, Alabama
Wilson is not getting as much hype as other Alabama linebackers but he's still just as good as the other ones. At 6’2” and 240 pounds, Wilson has the size to be a great linebacker in this league. He has good speed with his size and is just as good in pass coverage as he is in run support.
It will be interesting to see how Wilson fits in with the Rams defense since they will be reshaping it due to salary cap. The Rams might even make him a cornerstone in their new look defense with Aaron Donald.
Patriots, Pick 32: Brian Burns, DE, Florida State
The Patriots will more than likely trade this pick as they trade out of the first round almost every year, but if they do not, they draft a very talented edge rusher. With recent reports saying that the Patriots will not be re-signing Trey Flowers, Burns would instantly fill in as the starter. Burns is an exact copy of Flowers but with Burns' speed he could be just as - if not more - effective. Compared to Flowers, Burns is tall but weighs about 30 pounds less so it will be interesting to see how effective he is in the run game.
This story was written by Tanner Elliott. Follow him on Twitter: @Elliott302Tj
So, recently the NFL awarded compensatory picks to certain franchises. You could almost look at this metric and understand why our Miami Dolphins are in the situation they are. The first compensatory pick is pick 96. New England received picks 97 and 101 of round 3. The Los Angeles Rams received picks 98 and 99 respectively.
The Miami Dolphins receive pick zero of round zero!
Washington (96), Carolina (100) and Baltimore (102) received the other third round compensatory picks. Atlanta was the first non-playoff team from this past to receive a pick which would be the 10th such pick assigned. In fact, only 17 of the 32 compensatory picks given out were to non-playoff teams this year.
Let’s start with how you gain a compensatory pick. According to my research, under the rules for compensatory draft selections a team losing more or better compensatory free agents (CFA) than it acquires in the previous year is eligible to receive compensatory picks via NFL Communications letter.
What the heck does all this mean? It means if you lose players of value you have the opportunity to draft possible replacements. It doesn’t matter who you draft just that you have more opportunities to hit on guys. How is it that the Super Bowl teams are allocated four of the top six compensatory draft picks?
It really goes back to that “letting a guy move on a year early instead of a year late” concept!
Teams are rewarded for drafting well and grooming the next man up. Where are the Miami Dolphins in this process?
Nonexistent is the word of the day. That’s the difference between drafting well and losing a few guys who have replacements in the pipeline and a team like the Miami Dolphins who give record contracts to guys on their own agenda who barely move the needle.
The league has a recipe for success and the compensatory pick process is part of it. Dig deeper and you will find that the Miami Dolphins didn’t receive any compensatory draft picks last year either.
Bottom line, if you draft well you have a pipeline of players to replace the departures. The league then rewards you with replacements. The draft position almost doesn’t matter in today’s league. How many guys named Antonio Brown, Shannon Sharpe, Terrelle Davis, Jared Allen, Richard Sherman, Zach Thomas, or Tom Brady need to be drafted for this franchise to understand the importance of stockpiling picks.
This story was written by Steven Paulsen. Follow him on Twitter: @SarcasticPhin
"A year after Bob Costas was conspicuous by his absence from NBC’s broadcast of Super Bowl LII, the longtime face of the network’s sports telecasts explained that he was told "you’ve crossed the line" with commentary about the NFL.
Boren’s expansion in the last paragraph pretty much says it all in this situation. The line that Costas frequently crosses is, indeed, a fine one. It seperates “critic” from “self-righteous.” It’s a line that we all sometimes cross, I think, but Costas has turned it into a habit.
Costas defines himself as a journalist, which is fine. The problem is that he does it by treating sports like world peace depends upon defending its dignity. It leads to inflamatory language such as that above addressing the NFL’s concussion problem. It’s this tendency that turns off not just the NFL but those of us who are just watching for a little entertainment, not what amounts to something akin to a political tirade.
My guess is that we have seen the last of Costas on any major network for any sport, not just the NFL.
I won’t give this too much time except to say that this was a poorly thought out piece that looked like it was supposed to be about Hunt but which Jenkins couldn’t resist using to take a shot a the NFL no matter how it conflicted with her point.
For the record, I think Hunt is an animal who doesn’t “deserve” a second chance at anything not guaranteed him under the law.
“[Browns general manager John] Dorsey released a 245-word statement as part of the Browns’ announcement of the signing. He acknowledged the complexity of questions about signing Hunt but cited his relationship with Hunt in explaining the decision that ’he deserves a second chance.’
Hmmmm... he took full responsiblity, eh? Like when he lied to the Chiefs about the incident and only came clean after video of the incident came out and he knew the jig was up?
Hunt strikes me as being similar to many athletes in situations like this such as Ray McDonald, who was briefly a Chicago Bear before once again finding himself in trouble for allegedly attacking a woman. He’s a con man who has grown up as an athlete who people believed because they wanted to believe him.
Hunt is a talented running back. People who want talented running backs on their team are apt to believe that he “took full responsibility for his actions” even though the evidence clearly shows that was not the case until he could no longer deny his guilt.
Let’s tell this like it is. This wasn’t a Ray Rice situation where an instant of anger led to a fist being thrown faster than the brain could catch up. The video showed Hunt as an out of control animal who attacked this woman like a mad dog for almost two minutes.
Professional help or not, Hunt is a ticking time bomb who is just waiting to explode again.
Knowing this, signing players like this puts fans in a terrible position. You want to root for your team. But how do you do it knowing that they signed such a player? To this day, I can’t watch Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger without visions of a college girl being raped in the back room of a bar in Georgia. Having to watch players like this prevents fans from fully enjoying what should be an entertaining experience.
So, as if there weren’t enough reason already, thank heavens you aren’t a Browns fan. The Dolphins and their fans are better off without Hunt and his ilk.
"’We’ve got to develop a strong passing attack,’ Roman said. ’Lamar’s got to develop and everybody around him has got to get better in that area. Obviously, there will be more emphasis on that.’"
Jackson is problematic because he lacks arm strength and he’s not always very accurate, particularly outside the numbers. Though he had some good throws over the middle in the intermediate range in 2018, his weaknesses showed and will likely continue to be a problem as the Ravens work to build a power running game to counter the game plan with seven defensive backs that the Chargers used to beat them in their AFC Wild Card game.
Teams will undoubtedly do what they can to take the middle of the field away from Jackson and, as Brooks points out, a strong running team needs to be able to complete deep throws when they do pass the ball to get chunks of yardage. Whether Jackson has the arm to take advantage of a good play action passing game will be an open question until he proves he can do it.
“Eagles: The team reportedly is considering the use of the franchise tag on Nick Foles, with an eye toward trading him. Although this approach would violate the CBA, Foles seems to be OK with it — possibly because his agents already know that he wouldn’t get on the open market a long-term contract worth more per year than the franchise tag will pay.”
I would agree with this. My gut tells me that the payday for Nick Foles might not be what many people believe it will be.
For one thing, you need at least two teams to drive the price up for Foles. Right now, the only team that currently makes sense for him is Jacksonville.
But the major reason has to do with Foles’ performance itself. He struggled for years with the Rams, admittedly under a defensive coach with a stagnant offense. But Foles wasn’t good in those years and really hasn’t been good anywhere but Philadelphia. The fear is that you end up signing a Case Keenum, who had one good year with the Minnesota Vikings in 2017, cashed in big with the Denver Broncos in the offseason, then reverted back to under-perform in 2018.
Admittedly, Foles has come up big at the tail end of not one, but two seasons in a row now. But it's what he did at the beginning of the 2018 season when subbing in for Carson Wentz that would worry me if I were considering him as a signing. Foles wasn’t impressive. In particular, his 50.7 passer rating against the Falcons in the first game of the year sticks in my mind and makes me wonder if his days as a subpar quarterback will always be limited to those with the Rams.
Admittedly it was only two games. But I would hesitate to commit too much to Foles right now.
This story was written by Tom Shannon. Follow him on Twitter: @bearingthenews
“2. Strategically trade Xavien Howard if you’re not drafting a quarterback this spring. Howard is the best player on Team Teardown. He’d be the most expensive, too, at north of $15 million a year with a needed, new deal. At 25, he is in his prime. Of the eight Pro Bowl cornerbacks this year, one was 29. Do the timeline math, add in football risk and moving him is the best option. But don’t just trade Howard for a first-round pick (if Amari Cooper is worth one in midseason, Howard is worth more).
First, Howard is, indeed, your best young player. Which in my opinion means he’s exactly the kind of player you keep in this rebuild. He’ll still be in his prime when the Dolphins are good again and once you get done replacing veteran talent, cap space won’t be a huge issue. Yes, he’ll cost money. But you are going to have to spend money and these are the kinds of players you want to invest it in.
I will add one caveat to the above. If the deal involves accumulating picks because you have targeted a quarterback you like, either in 2019 or 2020, then I would support the trade. You do what you have to do to make that happen.
The other comment I’ll add is that I don’t think Howard brings more than a first round pick. In fact, he might not even bring that. Don’t get me wrong, he’s a good young player on the rise. But he didn’t really completely blossom until this season and I don't think he’s in the Deion Sanders class yet.
“8. Don’t sign anyone just to change “culture.” The coach sets the culture. Yes, some good veterans will help. But this is Brian Flores’ job by the standards he sets and decisions he makes. The Gase era went sideways when he began looking for other people to set his culture for him. If you can’t do that, you’re not a head coach.”
This I agree with but only to a point. You can’t just bring in “good guys.” But I don’t think you want to make the job of your first time head coach tougher by bringing in headaches that, for instance, refuse to enter a game against the Jets. I’m looking at you, Reshad Jones.
Adam Gase had some players to deal with that required delicate handling. I’m not saying he shouldn’t have handled it better but it made his job more difficult than it had to be.
I’d rather say, “sign solid pros.” They don’t have to be angels and they don’t have to be ideal. But they should be able to set an example and show young players how to win through a couple years where there might not be a lot of winning to be had.
“9. Don’t sign anyone in the first week of free agency. Or over 29 years old to be more than a one-year stop-gap.”
There are going to be a lot of holes to fill on this team and I think you want to acquire good young players anyway you can, including free agency. But you do have to be careful who you target. As I said above, no headaches. I think instead of setting the limit at 29 years old, I’d say 27 unless he’s a one-year stop gap.
The ideal candidate would be a rising young player coming off of his first contract who has not yet reached his peak. You may have to overpay a little. That’s the nature of free agency. But if you do it right, he won’t be over paid for long as he reaches his potential over the length of the contract.
“5. 'Only pay great players big money,’ [Johnson] said.
This is, I think, where Adam Gase came up short. It’s a bit speculative but my guess is that all of those contracts are ones that Gase wanted. Gase worked under the false assumption that this would make those players grateful and play harder. Show them you love them and they’ll love you back. Unfortunately it generally didn’t work that way. Just two years later Gase found himself criticizing the team for not working hard enough. Jones even flat out quit on him for one game during the 2018 season.
This balance between paying players to keep them happy and withholding money to keep them hungry for more is a very delicate one and I don't think there are easy answers. But generally speaking my guess is that Johnson has it right. Pay your great players who make plays big money. Sign the rest to team-friendly deals or replace them. Don’t get too caught up in your personal feelings over the matter.
"’Josh (Rosen) is our guy.’ – Kliff Kingsbury, Feb. 12
A couple things here:
1. In my opinion, you absolutely don’t take Murray with the first round pick. Yes, I know that Kingsbury effused that he would take Murray with that pick as the Texas Tech coach. But it was easy to say that then and, as Brooks points out later in the article, people can’t always be taken literally when commenting on such things as an opposing college coach. They are expected to exaggerate.
More to the point, where you take a player in the draft has little to do with where you think he should go and it has everything to do with where other teams will take him. Murray is almost certainly less than 5-foot-10 and has yet to show that he can throw from the pocket. He’s a risk that you don’t take with a top five pick. if you want him, you find a way to trade down and then take him.
2. It's possible that Kingsbury is smart enough to understand what he’s got in Rosen. People like to think that getting a franchise quarterback is just a matter of choosing the right guy. In my opinion, they couldn’t be more wrong. It's about developing the right guy. That means good coaching at the very minimum.
Rosen had a miserable year but he was on a miserable team with a defensive head coach who had no clue how to develop him. Whether Kingsbury has a clue remains to be seen. It seems evident to me that as the need for quarterbacks has become more acute, the NFL has gotten better at developing them with some very good young quarterbacks like Patrick Mahomes, Jared Goff, Mitch Trubisky, and Deshaun Watson coming to the fore in recent years. But either way Arizona is still going to be a bad team and probably a bad situation.
Rosen is a classic NFL quarterback. He’s got the size and physical ability. He’s accurate and by all accounts he’s smart. He simply hasn’t had a chance to show what he’s capable of. If he is traded, here’s hoping it's to a team that can fully develop him and utilize his talents to give him the best chance to succeed.
Rosen doesn’t fit what I figure is general manager Chris Grier’s physical profile for an NFL quarterback. But it says here he’d look pretty good in a Dolphin uniform and wouldn’t be a big risk for a mid-round pick.
“’What percentage of the time,’ I asked Oklahoma coach and Murray mentor Lincoln Riley the other day, ’would you guess Kyler threw from the pocket this year?’
A lot of those throws were quick hitters and running an NFL offense where you frequently have to stand tall while the pocket collapses around you is quite a bit of a different story.
Having said that, it’s clear that Murray is a different kettle of fish when compared, for instance, to Johnny Manziel. Manziel not only didn’t show that he could throw from the pocket in college, it was proven conclusively that he couldn’t as the teams that beat Texas A&M his last year with the team were the ones that kept him there.
Murray could prove to be one of those rare athletes like Russell Wilson who can overcome his lack of size to succeed in the NFL. Murray is shorter than Wilson and has more of an uphill battle. But you can see why a team might pick him in the top ten. Indeed, Brooks has Murray as his #6 overall prospect which, for a quarterback, means top 5 pick.
Murray has been connected to the Dolphins in several mock drafts and where he is selected is going to be one of the more interesting draft stories in years. I’m looking forward to seeing him at the combine.
Frankly, I don’t understand Brown. He’s got a lucrative contract and this doesn’t appear to be about money. When he’s asked to explain his problem he’s all over the place. Take this response when he was asked to explain his strained relationship with Ben Roethlisberger.
“No conflict just a matter of respect!. Mutual respect! He has a owner mentality like he can call out anybody including coaches. Players know but they can’t say anything about it otherwise they meal ticket gone. It’s a dirty game within a game.”
The best I can tell he just doesn’t like criticism and doesn’t like having to work as part of a team. He reminds me a little bit of former Chicago Bear Martellus Bennett.
Wide receivers in general tend to be head cases, I think. But Brown seems to take it to a whole new level.
This story was written by Tom Shannon. Follow him on Twitter: @bearingthenews
“The Dolphins do not have tons of talent that would start on other contending teams besides Howard, [Laremy] Tunsil, [Rshaad] Jones and [Minka] Fitzpatrick. Would giving away homegrown and young talent hitting his prime be wise on a roster that lacks star power be wise? I mean, it would create a huge hole that Miami would have to fill with an unknown (in addition to the other holes the team has at corner and other positions). I’m not 100% convinced that this route is wise.”
Nor am I.
A few things to point out here:
“And while [Daniel] Jones gets the MVP hardware, those watching know that Lock was the real star. He started the game and was composed from the first snap when he rolled right only to find Montez Sweat in his face, made an arm-angle adjustment to find McLaurin for a 12-yard gain. First down. Two plays later Lock pump-faked the defense out of position and came back to NC State’s Jakobi Meyers across the middle, but Meyers couldn’t hang on.
“Yes, that’s an incompletion but Lock put it the only place he could and McLaurin couldn’t come up with it. That’s the throw scouts will be talking about.”
So let me say up front that I’m a proud University of Missouri alumnus.
Having said that, I love what I’ve been seeing from Drew Lock. He did, indeed, look good in the Senior Bowl. Missouri switched to a pro-style offense this year and by the end of the year Lock looked pretty good in it to my eye.
I didn’t feel the same way about Blaine Gabbert or Chase Daniel when they came out. Both are from Missouri. So I think this is different.
If he falls to Miami, there could be better times ahead. Of course, that’s unlikely to happen. Quarterbacks like Lock tend to fly up the board late in the process, not fall back.
Of course, they could get creative and go up and get him. There’s every indication those are the kinds of aggressive moves owner Stephen Ross wants to see.
Many will say that the Dolphins should sit and let the draft come to them. Generally speaking, I’m in favor of this. But not when it comes to quarterbacks. A few things to consider.
Caldwell does have some college coaching experience as well and that can’t be completely discounted. But overall the picture is one of a coach who has spent the vast majority of his time coaching experienced veterans, one who sometimes got a lot out of them as they won Super Bowls and went to Pro Bowls, but who also sometimes didn’t.
Whether he can develop a young quarterback is still a complete unknown 18 years into his professional coaching career. This is going to be an interesting situation to keep an eye on, especially if the Dolphins draft a quarterback.
“The biggest hype in this NFL offseason so far for the Miami Dolphins is what will the team be doing with the quarterback position. Will it be another 'show me' year for Ryan Tannehill, a one or two season rental in Nick Foles, or will it be any one of the many young quarterbacks available in the upcoming NFL draft? Well, without an offensive line to protect whoever the Dolphins signal caller will be, you can almost guarantee another failing quarterback season without the necessary protection.”
Fair enough. But an organization that knows what it's doing can find offensive linemen and they can do it outside the first round. Well, except for left tackle, a position that the Dolphins already have filled.
I’m not saying don’t build the offensive line. But I’ve got a better suggestion if you are going another direction in the first round. How about defensive line? Specifically defensive tackle.
It's a perfect year to fill what is arguably Miami’s greatest need.
This story was written by Tom Shannon. Follow him on Twitter: @bearingthenews
Over the last decade, small, elusive scat backs have been emerging onto the NFL scene like a California wildfire. Guys like Darren Sproles, Danny Woodhead, Alvin Kamara, Dion Lewis and Tarik Cohen have made a living out of breaking their opponents’ ankles. They are so quick and elusive and hide so well behind the gigantic offensive linemen that they have become X-factors and game breakers. They also give the bell cow backs a good break through the course of the season.
The 2019 NFL draft is loaded with a bunch of talented X-factors, so I thought it would be fun to evaluate some of these types of running backs.
I know what most of you will say: “We have Kenyan Drake!”
Well, Drake is 6-foot-1 and 213 pounds, hardly the small, elusive, shifty scat back that fits the Alvin Kamara or Darren Sproles-like role. Drake is big for a running back to go with his 4.45 forty time which is elite. He has low miles on his legs because he was tucked in the back of the line at Alabama behind T.J. Yeldon and Derrick Henry, which, in Drake’s defense, Yeldon and Henry were just better suited for the scheme that Nick Saban ran.
If Drake went to LSU, Georgia, Florida or Ole Miss, he very possibly could have been a Heisman candidate. Drake has shown Dolphins fans a lot of promise and will go down in the history books for the Miami Miracle at the very least. I believe with the right scheme, Drake could be the bell-cow back that Le’Veon Bell is. He just needs the right system in order to excel. Do you remember Jerome Bettis? The instant he was traded to Pittsburgh in an offense designed around his strengths, he maximized his talents, winning a Super Bowl and being enshrined.
In the last five games of the 2017 season, Drake showed a rare combination of power, suddenness and versatility. He demonstrated with the right playcalling that he could be “the guy.” But like all great running backs, they need a sidekick. They need somebody to spell them and give them a breather without losing production. Since the NFL is brutal on the lifespan of a running back, I have put together some draft diamonds that could “complement” Drake.
All of these running backs are much smaller and would only be able to handle 10-15 touches per game due to their small size and could be had between rounds 3-6. I’m not asking for a big investment in the running game, I’m asking for an electric, change of pace, small back that could hide well behind the OL and find a crease and burst through.
Local Fort Lauderdale running back Devin Singletary of Florida Atlantic fits this mold like a glove. He is 5-foot-7 ½ and weighs 199 pounds. He averaged 5.2 yards per carry and rushed for 1,400 yards and 22 touchdowns in 2018 for the Owls, surpassing former Florida QB Tim Tebow for most rushing touchdowns by any player who attended a Florida FBS school.
He runs a 4.5 forty-yard dash and has solid speed, ankle-breaking moves with great balance and vision. The Dolphins should have scouts all over this kid leading up to the draft in April. He would be ideal running behind Laremy Tunsil and Ja'Wuan James (should he be retained).
Myles Gaskin of the University of Washington is another type of back that fits the bill of an elusive scat back. I watched every Huskies game this season and he was as impressive as any RB I’ve seen this season.
He is listed as 5-foot-9, 193 pounds and runs a 4.53 forty-yard dash. He made some acrobatic catches and flashed as a WR out of the backfield. Gaskin also comes with a lot experience having started for three seasons under dynamic head coach Chris Peterson.
Darrell Henderson out of Memphis University is one of the most electrifying players I’ve ever seen. He is 5-foot-9, 200 pounds and runs a 4.47 forty-yard dash. He averaged 8.9 YPC for 1,909 yards and 22 touchdowns. He also caught 19 passes for 300 yards and 3 touchdowns. He is an excellent target in the mid rounds of the draft and could be a great compliment to Ballage/Drake.
Darwin Thompson out of Utah State showed flashes of brilliance all season. Many scouts think he should have gone back for another season but he was eager to make the jump. He is listed as 5-foot-8, 200 pounds and he averaged 6.8 YPC and ran for 14 touchdowns this season. I watched him in a few games this year and it was nothing short of spectacular.
He is described as having elite contact balance while bouncing off defenders like a pinball. His game is a mix of elusiveness, shiftiness, top speed and his receiving ability is off the charts. He could be a lethal force in the screen game and create a huge mismatch in the slot.
Tony Brooks-James, RB from the University of Oregon could be just what the doctor ordered. He is listed as 5-foot-9 and 180 pounds who runs a low 4.4 forty-yard dash. He is a speed demon who is a homerun threat every time he gets his hands on the ball especially when working the boundary.
He has kick returner-like bursts and amazing contact balance. While he doesn’t like to get hit and prefers going down on his own terms, he is a weapon that could be used in all kinds of packages. He would be ideal in a Kamara-like role but will need to add some weight to his frame to minimize injury.
While I like the Drake/Ballage combo, the Miami Dolphins are starving for that elusive gamebreaker and I am hoping that the new regime will add all the pieces around a QB that they will soon select. You can never have too many weapons for a QB and a scat back like these guys could bring the Dolphins to a whole other level.
Coupled with Albert Wilson, Kenny Stills, Mike Gesicki, Danny Amendola and Jakeem Grant, any of these mentioned backs would certainly make defensive coordinators a bit nervous as they are all small, potential homerun threats.
This story was written by James Barbaro. Follow him on Twitter: @thebigbear1977
The great Ron Wolf once stated: “it is worth drafting a QB every year no matter the current roster situation. While there is only room for one starter, you can never acquire too many.”
This is one of the most profound philosophies that this writer has ever heard and it makes complete sense. Let’s take a look at this.
First, in today’s NFL, the most important position is QB. While QB has always been an important position, the truth of the matter is that the NFL has changed drastically over the last 30 years. And it is a QB driven league. The teams who made it to the top four in the playoffs have marquee QBs in Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Patrick Mahomes and Jared Goff.
All top tier QB’s in 2018.
Since the game has evolved into an up-tempo, hurry-up air-raid style offense, teams with these kind of QBs are separating themselves from everybody else.
Over the last 18 years, the Miami Dolphins have drafted six quarterbacks: Brandon Doughty (7th round), Ryan Tannehill (1st round), Pat White (2nd round), Chad Henne (2nd round), John Beck (2nd round) and Josh Heupel (6th round). These names tell me that the Miami Dolphins organization haven’t developed anything except for a fractured fan base and a horrendous case of hemorrhoids.
While Tannehill was the best of the bunch, he is an average NFL starter at best and we find ourselves in 2019 looking at a rebuild. My biggest question is who they are going to tap as QB coach? I hope it’s somebody who has a track record of developing QBs not named Peyton Manning, Drew Brees or Tom Brady.
While reports are out there that Brian Flores will be the next Dolphins coach, we do not know this with 100% certainty. If Flores is the next head coach, what kind of offense does he plan on implementing? This will almost certainly determine which QB is the right fit. I have said for years that QBs are all system players.
A great offensive coordinator will tailor the offense to the QBs strengths instead of having a talented QB learn a whole new system. All QBs process information differently and some just simply cannot adjust to a system that isn’t designed to their abilities.
Peyton Manning and Tom Brady would not have been as successful running an offense in Green Bay that required more mobility and elusiveness and the ability to get outside the pocket. In one season, Jared Goff went from looking like the biggest bust to an All Pro…all because Sean McVay overhauled the offense and tailored it to Goff’s biggest strengths.
In 2019, I am not sold on ANY QB as being a high first round draft pick. Many QB needy teams are going to reach and grab a guy who tests well at the combine. We have seen this over and over again. Jake Locker, JaMarcus Russell, Ryan Leaf, Heath Shuler, Rick Mirer, Cade McCown, Rex Grossman, etc. As a college football fanatic, the year to grab a top tier QB is 2020. Who could Miami bring in for some competition and a chance to make the roster in 2nd-5th rounds?
Will Grier is an intriguing prospect and will most likely be there by the third round. He was a transfer from Florida and set the Big 12 on fire in 2018 for the West Virginia Mountaineers. He completed almost 70% of his passes for nearly 4,000 yards, 37 touchdowns and eight interceptions. In two nationally televised games against top tier programs such as Texas and Oklahoma, he threw for 346 yards and four touchdowns against Texas and 539 yards and six touchdowns against Oklahoma. While Oklahoma’s defense was subpar this year, it was an opportunity for Grier to shine and he did not disappoint.
Josh Rosen, starting QB for the Arizona Cardinals could be another option. New head coach Kliff Kingsbury has stated previously that he would draft Kyler Murray 1st overall…does he want to hitch his wagon to Rosen who he did not draft and had run three different schemes at UCLA under three different offensive coordinators.
Speaking of Murray, he was electrifying in 2018. Depending on the type of offense the Dolphins new regime will run, Murray could be an option if he wows scouts at the combine and isn’t playing the NFL against Major League Baseball's Oakland Athletics for a salary increase.
Is Murray worth the risk in 2019 knowing the plethora of QBs available in 2020?
Jordan Ta’amu of Ole Miss has been impressive at the Shrine game. He was a bit banged up this year but still put together a solid season. He will certainly be available in the third round and is worth a flyer. He completed 64% of his passes for almost 4,000 yards with 19 touchdowns and eight interceptions. He will need developing but has all the physical tools to succeed at the next level.
As one of the biggest critics of the Dolphins organization over the last 15 years, I am cautiously optimistic that Chris Grier will have a plan and will not stop until Miami has their QB. It is a must that they draft a QB in 2019, 2020 and 2021. The focus needs to completely be on getting the right guy to become the cornerstone of the franchise. If the Cleveland Browns could do it, I am certain that they will get it right under Ross or after his departure.
This story was written by James Barbaro. Follow him on Twitter: @thebigbear1977
There has been talk about the Miami Dolphins preparing to move on from Ryan Tannehill. If that is the case, most NFL executives think Miami will not get anymore than a mid-round pick for him.
Although that may be the case, the price could increase if teams start a bidding war for him. Here are some teams that could potentially be interested in acquiring the 30-year old QB.
This story was written by Tanner Elliott. Follow him on Twitter: @Elliott302Tj
These are not bad words but rather words of hope and inspiration. The same hope and inspiration we have all grown to embrace the last 20 years. It’s a usual song with similar lyrics, one that speaks to just how much more or less mediocre the upcoming season will be. The song's chorus rings loud, “Suck for Luck.”
I remember that one where we finally get the top draft pick, one that even Camarillo can’t deny, just to negotiate salary early on a left tackle whilst drinking Henne just to make the tears subside. Who wanted a franchise QB with that pick anyway. Who really cares that he’s still in the league, am I right?
As I push aside the sadness and hang on every Dolphins decision of the offseason, I think of teams that simply bite the proverbial bullet and suck for a time. This franchise needs to understand a thing or two about today’s NFL. As an armchair quarterback, I’m here to make my voice heard all the way up to that front office.
A rebuild is not letting a few young guys play whilst bringing in a couple of veteran retreads to balance out the average age. Bringing in some false narrative about veteran leadership just so fans feel a certain type of way. A rebuild is a commitment to sucking for a time, collecting draft picks and picking best player available. The Miami Dolphins have a few guys worthy of getting paid who can be our veterans.
The Xavien Howards of the world deserve to be paid, he is a franchise guy hitting his prime. He is your leader, he’s earned it. There are very few players with untouchable status on this roster but there are a few. Let the young guys play and coach them up. Let them transition to their prime and fail forward fast.
The 2019 Miami Dolphins do not have a bright future so why bring in someone else’s discards? You end up having to give them a deal that forces tough roster decisions elsewhere and it’s never worth it. Name me the last free agent signing that lived up to their contract? I simply can’t handle another knee jerk reaction sold as sizzle.
Miami has holes all over the roster. Did you know Kenyan Drake barely had 500 yards rushing this past season? That he lost carries to a guy in Frank Gore who’s turning 36 years old this year? Thousand-yard seasons fall off trees in this league for crying out loud. At this point the list of who to keep would be much more manageable than asking who to move on from.
See, I’m already thinking ahead by working on my fantasy football team name for next year. I already have a few I’m kicking around like, “Bring Me Tua Ring” or how about “Tagovailoa You’re It."
I am not disloyal or a bad fan for feeling this way. I am simply being realistic about today’s NFL and the path to success we see in the league year in year out. Eagles, Seahawks, Steelers, all come to mind. Teams that built out their roster whilst enduring bad quarterback play. Then the time came for those franchises to draft their guy. A guy who was elevated because the positions around him were already progressed.
That’s the vision I would like to see the Miami Dolphins employ. Let’s get back to a top 5 defense. Let’s get back to a top 5 run game. Let’s focus more on the 21 other positions this upcoming year and maybe just maybe we will hear the sweet strings of that “Vailoa-In 2020!”
This story was written by Steven Paulsen. Follow him on Twitter: @SarcasticPhin
According to former Dolphins head coach Adam Gase in a June 9, 2018 article published by the Palm Beach Post, regarding 1st round draft pick Charles Harris’ disappointing 2017 rookie season, Gase said this:
“He’s of the guys I’m least worried about."
That statement, Dolphins fans, sums up why Adam Gase, and soon Matt Burke, are no longer a part of the Dolphins organization. In 25 career games, Harris has two sacks. Two. Furthermore, Gase also stated this:
“The more football he plays, the better he’s going to get. I thought he had a pretty good year. He did a lot of good things and we’re excited about what he showed us.”
For the sake of argument, we all know that NFL head coaches lie like cement with the media. Was the scouting department, Mike Tannenbaum and Adam Gase wrong?
It certainly appears that way.
Let’s examine the rest of the defensive ends in 2018. The predicted “four-headed monster" of veteran DE’s Cameron Wake, the addition of Robert Quinn, William Hayes and second year first round pick Charles Harris was anything but a monster. The lack of pass rush, QB pressures and sacks were some of the key reasons for a mid- season skid that made a mess out of Gase’s underwear.
Imagine if the DE’s were actually getting pressure on the QB, Xavien Howard may have had 12 picks. Hayes went on IR, Robert Quinn became the Julius Thomas of this year’s Gase signings, and Wake played like an aging 37 year old DE who made it clear he wasn’t happy. In this writer’s opinion, DE must be addressed in the NFL draft or through free agency.
I can live with bringing Harris back under a new regime due to his age and freakish athletic ability, but Wake, Robert Quinn and William Hayes should be jettisoned out of South Florida. Thank you to Cameron Wake for your amazing career but you were unfortunately imprisoned by one of the most dysfunctional franchises in professional sports…and now Father Time has finally caught up with you.
The 2019 NFL draft is loaded with quality pass rushers, led by the consensus top pick, Ohio State All-American Nick Bosa, brother of Chargers DE Joey Bosa and son of former Dolphins DE John Bosa.
Most likely, Bosa will go in the top seven picks and Miami is in no position to move up for a DE this year with a rebuild on the horizon. But not to worry, the talent at DE this year is rich with talent. Most likely, if Brian Flores is named head coach of the Dolphins, he will be running a 3-4 style defense.
The best alternative options other than Bosa in a 3-4 scheme are Michigan’s edge rusher Rashan Gary, who is 6-foot-5, 285 pounds, and ended the season with six sacks, 12 tackles for a loss and 65 total tackles while missing four and a half games with an AC joint sprain. His size, speed and athleticism make him a rare athlete who could turn into a dominant defender.
Clelin Ferrell, DE from Clemson is 6-foot-5, 270 pounds and runs a 4.77 forty yard dash. He finished 2018 with 55 tackles, 11.5 sacks, 19.5 tackles for a loss and three forced fumbles. He had a highly productive career at Clemson and will be an impact rookie wherever he lands.
Montez Sweat, DE from Mississippi State is another option for the Dolphins. He is 6-foot-6, 250 pounds and runs a 4.6 forty yard dash. He is built like Jason Taylor but much more explosive off the edge. Scouts are drooling over his footwork and hand techniques.
Other DE’s that are worth mentioning are: Jachai Polite, Florida; Zach Allen, Boston College; Brian Burns, FSU and Jaylon Ferguson out of Louisiana Tech. Honorable Mentions include Oshane Ximines, Old Dominion; Carl Granderson, Wyoming; Austin Bryant, Clemson.
The pure lack of a pass rush makes the rest of the defense vulnerable. In today’s NFL with the amount of mobile QBs who are playing out of their minds, a fierce pass rush is the essential ingredient to preserving the LBs and DBs. We need guys with speed on the ends who are explosive when chasing down QBs and I haven’t seen any of that for a while down in Miami.
Applying pressure in most cases creates panic in a QB’s psyche and that is one of the best friends a defense could ask for. While we have many glaring needs, pass rushers should be at the top of the organizations priorities this off season.
This story was written by James Barbaro. Follow him on Twitter: @thebigbear1997
Per reports coming from Albert Breer and Ian Rapoport, looks like Jim Caldwell will be joining Brian Flores and the Miami Dolphins staff. As of now it doesn’t look like Caldwell has a set position. with Breer simply reporting Caldwell will be on the staff with no disclosed position as of yet.
"I expect him to be a part of the staff, but maybe not as OC. Even if Flores had landed Roman or Kingsbury, my understanding is that Caldwell likely still would have been in the mix in an associate head coach-type role."
No matter the position that Coach Caldwell is placed in we should all be excited as Dolphin’s fans.
To emphasize the hire expected to be made by Flores, investigate the staff changes made by Adam Gase. There is a long list of questionable changes made by Gase, but they all fit a similar mold: most of them had a history with Adam Gase but they weren’t winners. Most notably is Dowell Loggains.
Replacing Gase as the offensive coordinator in Chicago, Loggains led a poor offensive attack that lacked any bright spots. Before being the coordinator for the Bears, Loggains was the QB coach while Gase was the coordinator. Together they helped elevate Jay Cutler to his best year, but as Dolphins fans know, this doesn’t translate to wins.
Follow the trail for Loggains in his NFL coaching career and you don’t see playoff wins or championship caliber teams, you can say the same for most of the staff brought in by Adam Gase.
Jim Caldwell yields an impressive resume that boasts three Superbowl appearances and two wins. Caldwell was brought over to the Colts with Tony Dungy from the Buccaneers and held many titles, including QB coach, offensive coordinator, and assistant to the head coach. He was an important part of the staff that assisted in bringing the Lombardi Trophy to Indianapolis in 2007.
Following Tony Dungy’s retirement in 2008, Jim Caldwell was promoted to Head Coach for the 2009 season. In his rookie season the Colts went 14-2 with their two losses coming at the end of the season while they sat their starters. With one of the best regular season campaigns by a rookie head coach, the Colts marched on to the Super Bowl.
Although they were handed a defeat from the Saints, this season showed much promise for the future. Next year they marched right back into the playoffs and this was a common occurrence for Caldwell, making the playoffs twice with the Colts, twice with the Lions, and was the offensive coordinator for the Ravens during their Super Bowl win. Coach Caldwell has proven to be a winner, being an integral part in these Super Bowl campaigns by the Colts and Ravens.
Coach Flores is bringing along respected staff that not only have head coaching experience but are proven winners. Who you surround yourself with speaks volumes to who you are and if Flores wants to make Miami into winners, they need staff and players who know what it means and what it takes to win.
This story was written by Oliver Candido. Follow him on Twitter: @BrazilCandido
So...Brian Flores will most likely be the head coach for the Miami Dolphins, huh? Well, for those of you who see this as a forgone conclusion and wonder what that means next, it's your lucky day. I want to gloss over what his assistants would look like (Because let's be honest, nobody truly knows for certain until the announcement is made) and think about free agency.
I know it's still a long ways away and there's still so much that could change. But, what's more mouthwatering for me at the moment is what this Miami Dolphins defense could potentially look like.
Flores obviously specializes on the defensive side of the ball and we all know the Patriots play a combination defense with lots of 3-4 elements, perhaps even mainly so. Given the current needs of the team, the Dolphins most likely need to add at least one player at each layer of the defense aside from safety (that means DT, DE, LB and CB).
And I have an idea that most people won't like...I want to poach three specific players from the dark side.
Now let's think about this logically and start with Flowers. Flowers will be considered one of the top 10 (possibly top 5) free agents available this offseason. Yes, I know he will command at least $14 million dollars. I get it, but hear me out.
He is young (26 years old), Flores knows and has a relationship with him, he is able to play multiple positions and assignments, he fits an immediate need the Dolphins have.
This is different from rationalizing a huge contract for Ndamukong Suh or Mike Wallace. The Dolphins, where they stand, have approximately $22 million for free agents. This is without including possible relief that can fluctuate this number by moves that include releasing or trading guys like Ryan Tannehill, Robert Quinn, Andre Branch, and DeVante Parker.
That list also doesn't include guys like Reshad Jones, Kiko Alonso, T.J. McDonald, Cameron Wake, and more who at some point or another we have heard whispers about.
So money is honestly not an issue. And no, dropping money on a guy who will have the trust of our rookie head coach, knows the scheme, and inevitably weakens our rival's defense gives us plenty of reason to strongly consider this. Not to mention he will still be under 30 in four seasons. Plenty of time to draft the next great Miami Dolphins DE...right?
Also, this signing, albeit an expensive one, would allow the Dolphins flexibility in the draft. Drafting BPA is better because we have a plan for an edge rusher who can move around, and the sexy pick will be that Miami needs to draft a QB. Signing Flowers (along with the others mentioned) relieves the pressure of needing to address several holes the team has. It sets up flexibility to trade up, down, or stand pat (no pun intended) without feeling desperate enough to sacrifice the rest of the team's needs for a QB.
Now, let's move on to Brown and Rowe. These two are bunched together because they are not particularly considered high price and/or elite talent. But, that's not what this team needs. These two have shown a tendency to play within a system that will be foreign to players currently on our roster.
They know their assignments, they know the responsibilities of their position, and again they are trusted by Flores to do their job. They don't need to be top of the line talent. They won't impede Miami's ability to draft at those positions in the next couple of years due to their ages (both are under 26 years old). Imagine a rotation of Brown, Godchaux, and Taylor. Imagine Xavien Howard with Eric Rowe opposite of him with Jones and Minkah Fitzpatrick playing deep.
Doesn't sound so bad after putting that out there, huh? Again, these moves just make sense on multiple fronts.
Rebuilding does not mean we cannot look to free agency to supplement building our team. Like I mentioned earlier, guys like Suh, Wallace, and more have damaged our thinking about free agency. We used free agency with the thought that we were one player away, not to mention disregarding the future consequences of the roster.
At worst, all these guys get cut in 2-3 years and they filled their roles long enough for Miami to draft and develop the most important position: quarterback. Best case scenario these guys play a huge role as consistent contributors on defense with a developed QB and a balanced team ready to truly (and finally) compete long-term. Would that really be such a bad thing?
This story was written by Carlos Camacho. Follow him on Twitter: @DolfansVoice
Dear New York Jets Fans,
Congratulations! You’ve done it again! You’ve taken an ex-Miami Dolphins coach to lead your team for the foreseeable future following in Todd Bowles’s footsteps. Although Adam Gase may not be the new coach who many of you had hoped for, ultimately, he’s now yours. The Jets leadership, after interviewing many prospects, have decided that coach Gase is the guy who will lead your team to make the Jets great again.
But, let me be the first person to warn you about the coach that you are getting. After three seasons with the Miami Dolphins, Fins fans witnessed many issues that will most likely carry over to the Jets franchise that will also most likely lead to a short tenure for coach Gase with your team.
First, who’s your favorite player? Trumaine Johnson? Leonard Williams? Jamal Adams? Don’t get used to them for too long. If they have a voice on the team which differs from coach Gase, chances are that they won’t be with the Jets for too long. Just ask the ex-Miami Dolphins players Jay Ajayi, Jarvis Landry, Mike Pouncey or Ndamukong Suh.
Coach Gase felt that these players were “cancers” in the locker room, although they were most likely players who had personalities that differed from the other players. Coach Gase had a major challenge with managing different personalities within the Dolphins locker room.
Second, do you like aged veterans on your team from the 2014-2016 Bears or Broncos? Coach Gase is the type of leader who is loyal to players and coaches who he worked with in the past that were good at one point. Jay Cutler, Julius Thomas, Brock Osweiler and Josh Sitton were all brought in from Gase’s prior teams. But, they each failed to have an impact with the Dolphins. Don’t be surprised if Gase brings in some retread players from the Bears, Broncos, or even the Miami Dolphins.
Third, its going to frustrate the New York Jets fanbase when Gase can’t be found on the sideline during a game. Gase is the type of coach that insists on being the offensive play caller. While in the head coaching role with the Dolphins, there were many games when he would be found on the player’s bench during pivotal moments of a game (mainly on defense) sitting down and writing up plays for an upcoming drive.
This created an issue as he would miss the action on the field. In addition, as an offensive play caller, you would rarely see him engaging with other player groups. This was evident midway through the season when Reshad Jones, the Dolphins top safety, had a disagreement with the defensive coordinator and sat out the second half of the game against the Jets. Gase stated in the post-game press conference that he did not know that an issue had come up.
Also, if you are a fan of the bubble screen play call, running the ball on 3rd and long, and not being able to pick up 3rd and one first downs, you are going to love coach Gase. Although he can be creative with his play calling, it became evident that he was infatuated with bubble screen plays. Maybe it was a lack of talent, or maybe it was Gase’s love of the play, whatever it was, the Miami Dolphins team ran the bubble screen play at least five to ten times per game. It became as predictable as the hat on his head covering his eyes.
And, Gase is VERY loyal to his quarterback. Sam Darnold is very raw. He had a tough rookie season, based on statistics. Similar to Ryan Tannehill, Darnold has shown moments of brilliance and moments of boneheaded decisions. Tannehill did show improvement under Gase, but nothing that led to consistent success.
In addition, some new reports after the end of the season reported that Gase lost some locker room players due to how he treated Tannehill like he was on a pedestal but did not treat others on the team similarly. If true, this would have easily created animosity within the locker room.
Lastly, you are going to get sick of Gase’s press conferences. At first, you’re going to love his “screw you” attitude during press conferences. But eventually, it’s going to get old. At the same time you get sick of his attitude, you’ll start to hear Gase come up with the many excuses why the Jets lose.
Some of the excuses Dolphins fans heard toward the end of last season were; the Dolphins caught the (put opponents team name here) on a hot streak, or our guys weren’t effective enough, or the other team had more to play for than we did, or the weather affected our guys, or the government shutdown affected our players (I’m kidding about that last one).
In closing, I’ll be honest. As a life long Miami Dolphins fan, it’s bittersweet to see Adam Gase now be coaching the New York Jets. Bitter for the Jets and sweet for the Miami Dolphins. I would have said that maybe giving Adam Gase a fresh start would have been good for him. Maybe with a new set of assistant coaches and a new team, it would be what he needed.
But, my understanding is that he is looking to take prior Miami Dolphins offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains and probably other Miami Dolphins coaches and players. So it appears that Gase is planning to do the same thing in New York as he did in Miami.
Although there is not a lot of love between the Jets and the Dolphins, I wish you and your team luck in the upcoming season. We may not have a lot in common, but now we will have had coach Gase run our team and we’ll always hate the Patriots!
This story was written by Ian Berger. Follow him on Twitter: @ian693
Owner Stephen Ross flew home in record time after the disappointing 42-17 thrashing the Miami Dolphins took Sunday afternoon from the Buffalo Bills. Here it was, the end of another losing season: Another embarrassment. Another lackluster effort from the players. Another late season team collapse.
And, another bad display of coaching. Ross had a lot to think about. Did he need to hit the reset button or should he stay the course? Make no mistake that the decision to fire coach Gase was two years in the making and it had to happen.
In the first year of coach Gase’s tenure, a euphoric vibe was present with the Miami Dolphins. An unknown running back named Jay Ajayi emerged as a driving force to a Dolphins Wild Card playoff berth. Many things seemed to work. Every player that was cut during the season was a significant liability to the team (Dallas Thomas, Billy Turner, etc). Coach Gase’s first draft consisted of Laremy Tunsil, Xavien Howard, Kenyan Drake, Leonte Carroo, and Jakeem Grant which were all contributors.
And, coach Gase had a strong relationship with players within the locker room and during game day, which you could see during his game day emotions. When things went wrong with the team, he took responsibility for not coaching his team up enough. When things went right, it was due to the hard work by the coaching staff and the team.
But something happened during his second year. Obviously, the Ryan Tannehill injury in training camp was a huge wrench in coach Gase’s plans.
But then the bad decisions started piling up one after the other. First, bringing in a 29 year old Julius Thomas, who had not been a relevant NFL player for four years. This was a loyalty selection, as Gase was familiar with Thomas during his Broncos days.
Then, a substandard draft with the only contributor being Raekwon McMillan, who ended up missing the entire season due to an injury in preseason. Then, paying an exorbitant amount of money to Jay Cutler, who clearly had no interest in playing football. (Passing up $10 million was a little hard to pass up). Cutler was another loyalty pick for the coach.
Then coach Gase aimed his focus on the culture within the locker room. It became evident that there was only going to be one Alpha Dog on the team, and that was coach Gase. Trading Jay Ajayi had more to do with Gase not wanting to deal with Ajayi’s A type personality than it did with what Ajayi was able to do on the field. Instead of adjusting his leadership style to coach these players with different personalities, Gase’s choice was to let the players go.
The Dolphins ended the 2017 season a depressing 6-10.
The 2018 season was supposed to be the big bounce back year. Alpha Dog coach Gase cleared the locker room of any player who appeared to have an opinion about the team which differed from his own opinion. Jarvis Landry, Ndamukong Suh, and Mike Pouncey were no longer with the team. Ryan Tannehill, who Gase always stood behind, was to return from injury. The team picked up some veteran free agents to help shore up the offensive and defensive lines, and they had some solid selections during the draft in Minkah Fitzpatrick, Jerome Baker, and Jason Sanders.
After the team started 3-0, things couldn’t look brighter. But, after a 38-7 shellacking at the hands of the New England Patriots in Foxborough, the wheels began to come off. Injuries began mounting and the backup players weren’t good enough to compensate for the missing starters.
The offense struggled, especially when Tannehill was injured. The defense had significantly more bad games than good games. And, instead of blaming the coaches for the poor team performances, Gase’s blame was placed on other factors (the weather, the opponents' winning streaks, the opponents' health, the opponents' effort, etc).
And again, the coaches didn’t know how to effectively address players with individual personalities. This boiled over when Reshad Jones pulled himself out of the Dolphins vs. Jets game midway through and did not return. The 2018 season ended with a disappointing 7-9 record.
Stephen Ross needed to fire Adam Gase. Not because of the Dolphins unacceptable records the past two seasons, but because Gase made too many bad decisions, couldn’t be an offensive coordinator and head coach at the same time, and he lacked in one of the most important skills that any leader is required to have when managing people – good communication skills.
All in all, Adam Gase will probably be a great head coach somewhere. But, unfortunately, it wasn’t meant to be in Miami.
This story was written by Ian Berger. Follow him on Twitter: @ian693
Dolphins fan, I am sorry. I apologize for the current state of our beloved franchise and football team. I know none of us are at fault, but sometimes it feels like it’s something we did. We either didn’t cheer hard enough, or get to the stadium early enough, or wear the right socks. I don’t know, but what I do know is that this era of ambiguity in which we are currently stuck, needs to be resolved.
Allow me to be clear: a team being at 4-4 is not a death sentence by any means, neither is the talent—yes, there is still significant talent on this team—that is present in Davie. No, I am not attempting to paint a picture of the sky falling, or a reason for fans to stop supporting their team. All I am saying is that it is okay to be frustrated, confused, and shell-shocked.
After all, are there many other fanbases that have gone through what we have the past 5-10 years? The turnstile offensive lines, the recent injuries to prominent players, the inability to find consistency in any unit or player not named Denney?
The answer to that depressing question is likely no; not many fanbases like that exist. And yet, we are still here. We are still wearing our aqua and orange proudly, and we still love our Fins. So for those of us that are with the team through thick and thin (literally thin…as in we don’t have enough healthy players to fill out our roster), allow me to give you my opinion of how we get out of this era of ambiguity.
Go on Twitter and search “Fire Gase” as soon as you finish reading this sentence, and then come back to finish the article. Did you do it? Okay. What you likely found was about 3,536 tweets on how Gase needs to go and on how Ross is making a mistake by continuously trusting in the Head Coach.
I empathize with the fans that share that opinion, but I simply don’t agree with them. If you want to get out of ambiguity, the first step is to not create more if it. See, firing your coach is not an answer to the questions, it is solely another question being added to the pile.
If you want consistency, you need to start somewhere; and no, the owner doesn’t count. So then you get to be the judge, from the following members of the organization, who do you keep for consistency: Adam Gase, Mike Tannenbaum, or Chris Grier? To me, the answer is a resounding vote for Adam Gase. You do not keep Gase because of what he’s done, but rather because of what he can do.
It’s the same philosophy of not paying a free agent for the back of his baseball card, but for what he will bring to you in the future. Gase can and will be successful in this league, my hope is that he does so while wearing aqua and orange.
You want to be better? First step is consistency, and the first choice there is Adam Gase.
Invest in the quarterback
I could write a twenty page article, with the winning lotto numbers, the cure for illnesses around the world, and the location of the Holy Grail…and yet this is the section that would get the most engagements and views. Quarterback talk…yikes…this should be fun. The following are a few opinions that I believe to be true:
1. Miami needs to draft a quarterback in either the 2019 or 2020 Draft. This opinion is controversial, but really shouldn’t be. Even over the offseason, and even with the belief that a healthy Ryan Tannehill is a franchise quarterback, Miami should always be investing and searching for the next Dan Marino. The issue? Miami has had so many holes in their roster, that they cannot be blamed for not always going quarterback.
With that being said, that excuse will not fly over the next few years; Gase needs to draft a prospect, and he needs to do it soon. I love that they were able to sign Falk for this year—I clamored for him during the draft—but he’s not becoming Marino.
2. Ryan Tannehill has 11, 10, 9…8 games to earn himself a spot on the 2019 roster. Allow me to re-iterate something I previously stated: Ryan Tannehill, when healthy, is a franchise quarterback in this league, and you can win with him. With that being said, he may be winning on another team. Miami would be foolish to detach from Tannehill without a clear successor—and no, trading for Carr is not the answer—but due to injury, lack of support, a begruntled fanbase, and football being about business $$$ more so than solely football, Tannehill’s time in Miami may be coming to an end.
For some fans, there is nothing Tannehill can do this season that will keep him on this roster; I don’t agree. He has 8 games to show that he is what many believe he is, and show Gase that he is worthy of the starting job heading into next year.
3. No single quarterback, not even Dan Marino is fixing this team as currently playing. If this was a Ryan Tannehill article, the bots would now tell me that this point is all about excuses and covering for him…blah blah blah. But here is the truth, regardless of who is back there, Miami will not win meaningful football games until the people in Davie figure out how to pass protect, run block, and win the battle in the trenches.
Also, your defense shouldn’t be giving up 27+ points a game. Oh, and you probably shouldn’t have your quarterback be the leading rusher; like Tannehill was during that 3-0 start. This is the franchise that ruined—as in never allowed for Super Bowl success—the best quarterback of all-time in Dan Marino…so it’s somewhat hard to blame any quarterback for their failures when they come here.
I don’t know if it is Ryan Tannehill (my guess), or a draft prospect, or a free agent who starts Week 1 in 2019…but I do know that they won’t be successful without support. Support which Miami hasn’t provided a quarterback of theirs in a very very long time.
In sum: keep drafting until you find Dan Marino, Ryan Tannehill may still be the guy but he needs to show it, and whenever you figure out the QB position, also remember that the other guys on the team should be competent too.
Develop an identity
My most significant gripe with this franchise is their inability to develop a true identity throughout the years following the early 2000’s. Make no mistake, this comes from some of the things discussed above such as lack of consistency and a revolving door at quarterback prior to Tannehill and during his injuries, but it also comes from continuously resetting prematurely.
This is eerily close to my first point that discussed the need for consistency, but is slightly different. The first one had to do with football ops, but this one is about the organization.
From marketing, to stadium management, to public relations, to football operations, the Miami Dolphins need to choose a path (e.g. rebuilding versus going for it) and stick to it. They are continuously in this cycle of 9-7, 8-8, or early elimination in the playoffs, and that cycle does not lend itself to success. Here’s a scary thought to many, but is likely true: you know those pesky Miami Marlins that operate in Little Havana, the franchise run by Derek Jeter, the same franchise that the national media killed all last year? Well those “little guys” in Little Havana currently have a proven plan to success, and are implementing at a high level as we speak.
That plan has many, possibly including myself, confident that they’re likely the best suited South Florida team to take the next step and bring consistent winning to South Florida. If you give me an offer on season tickets to either the Fins for the next five years or the Fish; my answer is the Fish 10 out of 10 times. Think about that for a few seconds…ponder that reality, and then realize that you can’t really even debate it much…because at least they have an identity and a plan. What identity do our beloved Fins have?
The Dolphins will eventually have answers to their current state of ambiguity, it will happen. If you want it to happen slightly quicker than Brock Osweiler trying to run out of the pocket, then let’s hope that they find their consistency, resolve their quarterback situation, and learn that they need to develop an identity.
We will always be wearing our aqua and orange. We will always be cheering for our team. But we will also be asking ourselves why? Why the ambiguity? Why the inconsistency? My hope? That we get the answers sooner rather than later.
This story as written by Daniel Martinez. Follow him on Twitter: @all_right_Miami
Here we are. The moment we’ve all been waiting for. Well, one of the moments. The fourth and last preseason game is behind us and now comes the time for our Miami Dolphins to choose who they’ll move forward with during the regular season. I always enjoy putting this list together and will confess I did it out of pure joy well before I did podcasts or wrote the occasional article.
Without further delay, let’s get to the good stuff.
I’m sure many of you clicked off this article the moment you saw Brock. I’ll admit none of the backups to Tannehill give anyone the warm fuzzies. Osweiller has been dreadful in practice but a little better in the preseason. He looked sharp in Thursday night’s game against the Atlanta Falcons going 16 of 25 for 147 yards and 2 touchdowns. But my thoughts go more to the fact he was the one who got the start in the first place last which lends me to believe he already had a leg up and last night did nothing to change Gase’s mind.
If they’re only keeping two quarterbacks it’s much too risky to keep Fales. He has so little experience. Perhaps the backup QB isn’t currently on the roster but Gase has been quoted stating it is.
Running back (4)
This group wasn’t that tough to pick. We know where these guys stand. Drake gets the start and should see the larger share of the carries. Gore is the veteran presence and the change up back. Ballage has done a decent job for a rookie and will get in the mix as the season progresses. It may be him vs. Gore for some of the goal line stuff.
Perry, is a big contributor on special teams and won’t see much in the way of offensive snaps unless an injury to one of the other three occurs but has shown enough talent to be kept.
Tight End (4)
This might be the most improved position on the roster. Mike Gesicki has shown the physical ability the Miami Dolphins have lacked at this position for many years. The questions on his blocking ability have not really come into play and even though he’s been announced as the starter the other tightends will get plenty of playing time. Miami now has the talent at the position to run more two tightend sets (12). A formation that Tannehill has seen some of his best numbers out of and should also help our running game. Derby clearly beat out the rest of the gang for the fourth spot in this group.
Wide Receiver (6)
Dolphins fans have been debating this position for three months. The wait is almost over. Five of these guys are obvious. The question has been from the beginning: Will the Miami Dolphins keep six wide receivers and if so who will be that last guy. My prediction is they now have no choice but to keep six.
Injuries to Parker and Grant going into week one makes it an almost impossibility to keep five now, or at least for the time being. Why is Ford the sixth guy? The answer: he’s outplayed the others as well as has been a Gase favorite along the way.
That’s a powerful combination to make the 53. I did consider Carroo however. He’s been that guy who won’t go away for a while and has a special teams role. But Ford is simply better at wide receiver and has the height to perhaps replace Parker this season. So, my original prediction coming into the season stands.
Offensive Line (9)
Sam Young does a good job filling in at tackle when we need him. Davis can also play tackle if necessary. Asiata is getting one more season to prove he was worth the draft pick. Eric Smith gives us a little more insurance on the line. Brendel might have had a shot here if it wasn’t for the injuries. He’ll likely remain on the team with an injury designation but doesn’t factor into the initial 53.
Defensive end (5)
I believe this group could wreak some havoc on opposing offenses this season. Quinn appears to be more suited for our Wide-9 defensive scheme (where he made his name in the first place). Charles Harris showed some flashes last year and now has the opportunity to develop more behind the starters.
Branch is there mostly because it’s too expensive to move on from him but he can contribute in spots. William Hayes is more of a run stuffer which is something this team needs desperately. Oh, did I need to mention Cameron Wake? Guess I should just out of respect. He hasn’t shown a bit of slowing.
Defensive tackle (5)
It would seem Miami had plans to move on from Suh even last year, making two selections on this position in the same draft. Although I’m not sure if the starters have been completely sorted out, not sure how much that matters. This is a position that usually sees a heavy rotation of guys.
Kendall Langford was a last minute add and worked himself into the lineup quickly. I’m not sure if Spence is good enough to start or average enough to move on from considering the addition of Langford and the performances from the other guys. But I believe they’ll keep five so he makes it.
I don’t know if anyone stands out in this group, but I don’t believe anyone is a bad player. This unit should perform better than people are thinking.
I’d like to say this group has potential. Maybe. But the problem is they also have potential to be very bad. Kiko still shows he can’t hang with backs coming out of the backfield. McMillan is pretty much a rookie and hasn’t played one snap of regular season football yet.
Same goes for Baker who actually is a rookie but did impress in moments during the preseason. Stephone Anthony is average at best and was easily pushed from his possible starting role by Baker. Chase Allen keeps hanging on. This may be a position the Dolphins use some waiver claims on so I wouldn’t get too attached to anyone but the first three.
The Miami Dolphins went into training camp wondering which one of these exciting young guys (Tony Lippett, Jalen Davis, Cordrea Tankersley, Torry McTyer) was going to grab hold of the boundary corner spot opposite Howard. When it was all said and done the Dolphins didn’t feel comfortable giving the spot to any of them.
Instead last year’s starting nickel corner, Bobby McCain, will be moved to the outside and our first-round pick Minkah Fitzpatrick gets the nod at the nickel spot. McTyer likely did enough to make the team. A case could be made for Jalen Davis and if he is cut it a very likely practice squad candidate.
Lippett will last through the initial cuts but Miami will be scouring the waiver wire for cornerbacks as well and I don’t think he makes it to Monday.
This group was sure to include Fitzpatrick when heading into the season but his move to the nickel spot means there may be an opening for another guy. Maurice Smith is that guy. He played well during preseason and should be on this team once we cut down to 53.
Walt Aikens is a special teams guru and can back up on safety and even corner when necessary.
Jones and McDonald will be the thumpers in the middle with McDonald coming down in more of run support role if the linebackers struggle.
Even though he’s not listed in this group, Fitzpatrick is still the likely candidate to replace either Jones or McDonald should one of them get injured.
Special Teams (3)
Yes, I know Sanders has already been named the starter before this article was released. But he’s still a lock. It was close between him and Joseph who Gase was quoted as saying is also an NFL kicker, but Sanders gets the nod.
Haack did a much better job this preseason than I thought he was capable of especially after watching that bad performance during the scrimmage.
John Denney, need we say more. He’ll remain our long snapper for yet another season. Maybe forever.
There’s plenty to be excited about and plenty of questions to ask. I think we will see an active Miami Dolphins on the waiver wire in the next few days. Perhaps we even grab a released vet or two to fill in some questions at cornerback and linebacker. Will be interesting to see how close I come.
This story was written by Ron Canniff. Follow him on Twitter: @FinsBroadcaster
Welcome to the third and last—sad face—installment of our 3-part series on who Ryan Tannehill has been, who Ryan Tannehill currently is, and who Ryan Tannehill can still become. Today we take a look at a predictive ceiling and career trajectory of the signal caller in Miami.
But first, let’s review what we’ve learned in our first two sections. In our first article, we dissected cohort comparisons to other franchise quarterbacks, age to age appraisals with tier 1 signal callers, while also analyzing his most recent performances. Our conclusion: Ryan Tannehill has been an average to slightly above average quarterback, with well below average pass pro and defense.
In our second article we took a look at some of the questions regarding who QB1 currently is. Specifically, assessing his health, mechanics, knowledge of the system, and recent output. Our conclusion: Ryan Tannehill is currently a healthy, system-mastering quarterback, who is displaying footwork and mechanics that could be considered his career best, all while coming off a season where he was objectively above average.
But what about the future?
Ryan Tannehill can be a Top 10 Quarterback who leads the Dolphins to accolades that Miami hasn’t experienced in decades
In my own field of work, research and predictive analysis is just a daily aspect of life (I can’t tell you how much money I’ve given to SPSS over the years, and if you’re familiar with what that program is…then please know that I feel for you). So being that I deal with analysis every day, it becomes gut wrenchingly angering when I see tweets or posts about “knowing what he (Ryan Tannehill) is.”
Or seeing a talking head on NFL Network—still much better than ESPN—saying how “Tannehill is what he is, no reason to think he will ever take the next step.”
See, it’s gut wrenching because it makes absolutely zero objective sense. There’s no analysis in that type of thinking, or film study, or even critical thought. In contrast, those takes are entirely subjective, too linear, lacking—even elementary levels of—nuance, and generally basic. Is that judgmental of me? Sure. But I might as well be saying that 2+2 = 4, because that’s how straightforward that assessment of the detractor’s hot takes are. So why am I so confident that the detractors are wrong when it comes to his ceiling?
Well…because Mr. Math says otherwise.
Mr. Math and Ms. Common Sense dictate the following: when you have a myriad of dynamic variables working together (dynamic variables: different units on the football team), you cannot isolate one variable’s significance (one variable: Ryan Tannehill) without controlling for the confounding variables that are present (confounding variables: pass protection, defensive units, coaching, etc.)
For those of us without a history of stats or research, this roughly translates to the following: you objectively cannot judge Ryan Tannehill and his ceiling, when he has not ever been assisted with even average support.
It is a concept that I would imagine fans would understand off the get-go, I don’t believe that you have to attend a Doctoral program to understand the following: there is NO way of assessing a quarterback’s ceiling, when the walls around him have yet to stand upright. (See: that’s a house imagery that I’m giving you there). The detractors keep standing in the house, pointing out the low ceiling or leaks from the rain, without realizing that the ceiling being low has much more to do with the crippling walls than the actual roof.
So when the rain comes down, and the house gets flooded, it’s not necessarily because of a leak in the ceiling, rather because you’re in a house with a ceiling that has no structure beneath it. The ceiling has never been the problem, give Tannehill some upright walls and watch 2014 and 2016 not just become constants, but eventually just another stepping stone from a tier below.
If you want to know what a player’s ceiling is, then assess their performance when given average to above average support (when the confounding variables are controlled, as Mr. Math would say). For instance, want to know about Derek Carr, then look at his 2016 season when he had an elite—as in a generational type—offensive line in front of him, and a defense with the 2nd most takeaways in the league.
Do I believe there is ever a hard ceiling on a player? No (so don’t get angry OAK fans), but we all saw what happened to Carr when he suddenly didn’t have the Great Wall of China blocking for him in 2017.
But then how do we assess a player’s ceiling when they have never received that average to above average support (Ryan Tannehill)? Well, you isolate the points in their careers where their support was their best, you combine these ranges across seasons (so no, we can’t just use the 8-game stretch in 2016), and you then control the difference by comparing him to the league average. In brief, you look at what they’ve done when best supported (i.e. in the case of Ryan Tannehill, that’s the 2014 and 2016 seasons). By the way, it’s pathetically sad that those are the best, because in those two years the defense was as follows: (2014: 20th Points Allowed and 12th Yards; 2016: 18th Points Allowed and 29th in Yards) and his Pass Pro was Bottom 3 in time until pressure.
So how did Tannehill do during those two years? Here are the cumulative numbers and percentages:
2014 and 2016 Ryan Tannehill:
653/979 67% Completion
93.1 QB Rating
4.70 TD% and 2.50 INT%
Let’s be extremely clear here, this is a ceiling in which he was STILL not given even average support. Recall that when not given controlled variables (average support) you then mathematically increase the values by comparing to league average. That means that each of these numbers, shown above, must then be mathematically increased. I’ll say that again, this is a low-balling and conservative ceiling for Ryan Tannehill.
Look at the numbers, then look again, and then realize this is MATHEMATICALLY low when controlling for confounding variables. Conclusion: this is why some of us laugh when detractors talk about Ryan Tannehill as a backup, or a bust, or a low ceiling, or anything other than an above average Quarterback.
I’ll add one note, this predictive ceiling is with a slightly below average support model. What happens if we use above average support? What happens if this Oline holds up, and the defense does better than 18th or 20th in points allowed?
The answer to that is that Tannehill’s career trajectory takes off, much like Matt Ryan’s did. You want to know what a ceiling trajectory can look like for the QB in Miami, well I present you with Matt Ryan’s career. No, they are not the same player, they do not run exact schemes or comparable dynamics…but mathematically, that is Tannehill’s trajectory.
Mathematically, we are entering Ryan Tannehill’s prime, and if the walls remain even adequately upright, a lot of you detractors are about to eat crow, and I’ll be the first one with the receipts.
This story was written by Daniel Martinez. Follow him on Twitter: @all_right_Miami
Welcome back, football fans! Today we continue our 3-part series of what Ryan Tannehill has been, what Ryan Tannehill currently is, and what Ryan Tannehill can still become by looking at QB1 in his current form.
I’d also like to take a second to thank you all for your overwhelming support in the first part of this series; I have a strong belief that many will enjoy this part even a tad more. But enough with the chit-chat, let’s jump in:
Ryan Tannehill currently is an above average quarterback with fair, but tough questions heading into 2018
December 11, 2016. That was the date that the Dolphins franchise was set back two full seasons. As Ryan Tannehill was being consoled by his teammates on the sideline, as the Cardinals were roaring back with a comeback, and while many fans recognized that the season was likely over, the realization of what this injury did to the franchise was beginning to sink in all around Hard Rock, Davie, and the entire Dolphins fanbase.
Prior to that injury, Ryan Tannehill and the offense had put up a QB Rating over 100, throwing for 1,723 yards, 13 TDs, and 5 INTs over the last half of the season. But the numbers alone aren’t what placed him at an above average level during that stretch; his quick decision making, his almost perfect mechanics, and his execution within the system was what had knowledgeable fans excited.
Even in the doomed Arizona game, you could see the quickness within the offense. The ball was being placed within inches of the intended target’s catch placement, the communication with the WR unit was nothing short of perfect; Stills adjusting routes mid-play in expectation of where Tannehill was throwing, Landry positioning his body low versus high, anticipating the ball placement perfectly, and other examples of an offense that was clearly not only on the same page, or same paragraph, but on the same word within a sentence.
The chemistry and efficiency in the offense was unquestioned…and then the injury happened.
I’m sorry to those who don’t care to relive this experience, but it’s important to my point...the Miami Dolphins and Ryan Tannehill had finally achieved “it.”
(Let me be honest, I hate the term “it” I really do, but “it” fits in this situation).
The offense that Gase had envisioned was unfolding in front of their eyes, they were getting hot at the right time and steaming to the playoffs; it seemed like the Dolphins had finally gotten over that hill.
I am here to tell you that we may have not seen the extra hurdle in that hill (these last 2 years of rehab, Moore, and Cutler), but that the hill is finally behind us, and the following reasons are why:
1. Ryan Tannehill is healthy, and he is no more injury prone than any other NFL player post-knee surgery
You may still get some nerves when he drops back, or the first time that he scrambles away or even more so, when he takes his first hit; that’s just normal as a fan. But read these following words carefully, a knee surgery in 2018 is not equivalent to what we have known about knee surgeries in the past.
This is not a death sentence, or even a “have to watch him closely” verdict. It is simply not. A knee surgery in 2018 yields a knee that is on-par in terms of strength as pre-tear (i.e. go look up the careers of Rivers, Palmer, Brady, and many others who have had successful and healthy careers post-surgery).
At this moment, at whatever time you are reading this, I can guarantee you that Tannehill’s knee is medically stronger than it was a year ago, and likely just as strong as it was prior to his initial tear. Luis Sung wrote a great piece on this very topic, and if you want to read more of it from knee specialists themselves, please make sure to click HERE.
As for me, I am telling you he is healthy and going to remain so for a very different reason, and it has nothing to do with medicine or biology; it has everything to do with mechanics and footwork.
2. Mechanics and Footwork
I am not in Davie, I do not have his MRI or CT results, but I do have eyes that allow me to analyze and compare his footwork and throwing mechanics pre-surgery and post-surgery.
And boy oh boy do I have some news for you…somehow, whether through studying or extensive rehab or simply building confidence in himself and his team…his footwork and throwing mechanics appear improved from 2016. They’re crisper, cleaner, and surprisingly compact for someone coming off a major knee surgery.
There are caveats, of course. For one, this is coming from what I’ve seen in camp and preseason…we have yet to see this generalize in a real game. Nonetheless, mechanics should carry with a QB wherever they go. I cannot think of any reason for why his footwork and mechanics would regress just because he’s suddenly playing on Sunday instead of during the week.
I am planning on writing a piece on what makes good footwork and mechanics versus red markers, but for now, just take this as your takeaway message, somehow Ryan Tannehill has done something that not all QBs can do, not only did his footwork and mechanics remain intact throughout inaction and rehab, but he has genuinely improved. It’s darn impressive.
3. There is not one person on Earth that knows Gase’s system better than Ryan Tannehill
(Yes, I'm aware of Peyton Manning, but he's out of the league so that's moot).
First it was Philbin with Sherman and Taylor (2012), then it was Philbin with Lazor and Taylor (2014), then it was Philbin with Taylor (2015), and then finally it was just Adam Gase (2016). What an amazingly awful way to bring up a rookie quarterback that we all knew needed significant development coming out of college.
Nonetheless, I digress. In 2018, Tannehill—for the first time ever in his entire football life, even pre-NFL—will be walking out onto the field in his third consecutive year under the same system, scheme, and coach. Think about that for a second and then marvel at some of the production he’s still been able to produce.
Now why is this important? Two reasons. The first being that a level of consistency is what leads to success, ask any football coach and they’ll tell you that change is overrated; what you need is something successful and something consistent.
Well, for the first time, Ryan Tannehill will have something consistent. And just in case we’ve forgotten (as many fans tend to do), it was very successful last time it was utilized with a quality starting quarterback (2016 and Ryan Tannehill).
Yes, there are questions about new moving parts on the offense, and whether the departure of Landry will make a significant difference, but the point remains…no one outside of Gase knows his system better than Tannehill, and when you have a QB1 who can control the field and is allowed to (unlike Philbin, Sherman, Lazor and “go go go”) it allows you to succeed. Something that has already occurred once with this tandem of Gase and Tannehill, and will occur again.
I’ll make one last point, we are limited in what we can take away from preseason stats and success. With that being said, the following are his cumulative production numbers for this year’s preseason, with the assumption that he will not be partaking in Game 4:
74% Completion Percentage
8.5 Yards per Completion
6.3 Yards per Attempt
98.9 Quarterback Rating
= He’s ready.
In sum, Ryan Tannehill is currently a healthy, system-mastering quarterback, who is displaying footwork and mechanics that could be considered his best ever, all while coming off his last active season where he was objectively above average. That’s the formula for a fun and exciting 2018 campaign in South Florida.
Be on the lookout for the last of this 3-part series, where we look at Ryan Tannehill’s ceiling and career trajectory.
This story was written by Daniel Martinez. Follow him on Twitter: @all_right_Miami
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