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So far in the early stages of Miami new GM Dennis Hickey regime, I have liked what I have seen from Hickey. He has come in and made it a point to communicate with HC Joe Philbin and his staff in regards to players, something that it is apparent that he and former GM Jeff Ireland did not seem to do as much as was needed. He has embraced Dawn Aponte, Vice President of Football Administration, something that was very key if Miami had any hopes of having a cohesive, working front office.
We will not know until the season begins in regards to free agency and how the Dolphins did, but my initial thoughts are that Miami has done a very solid job of addressing needs while doing a solid job of being signing most of these players to team friendly deals. You knew signing OLT Brandon Albert was going to be a deal that who ever signed him was going to overpay, but OLT is a premium postion and a dire position of need for the Dolphins. Some have questioned the money that the Dolphins gave to CB Courtnland Finnegan as well, but in my opinion and others as well, Finnegan is a upgrade over Nolan Carroll, who signed with Philadelphia. If the Dolphins get the player that played for the Titans and his first year with St. Louis, then the Dolphins have a steal.
DT Earl Mitchel, OG Shelley Smith, DT Randy Starks, FS Louis Delmas, RB Knowwhon Moreno and CB Brent Grimes all signed deals that are good deals for the Dolphins, and should leave them in good position in regards to the cap.
While free agency still continues, the next key stage for the Dolphins and the rest of the teams in the NFL is the 2014 NFL Draft in May. And in doing research on Hickey in his time with Tampa Bay, it is apparent that Hickey and the Buccaneers have a preference for prospects that have played for BCS schools. A large majority of the kids draft by Tampa Bay came from BCS schools, with a few exceptions.
Here is a look at the Tampa Bay drafts over the last 7 years.
|2013 - Tampa Bay Buccaneers|
|2||43||Johnthan Banks||CB||Mississippi State|
|3||73||Mike Glennon||QB||North Carolina State|
|4||126||William Gholston||DE||Michigan State|
|6||189||Mike James||RB||Miami (Fla.)|
|2012 - Tampa Bay Buccaneers|
|1||31||Doug Martin||RB||Boise State|
|5||140||Najee Goode||LB||West Virginia|
|6||174||Keith Tandy||CB||West Virginia|
|7||212||Michael Smith||RB||Utah State|
|2011 - Tampa Bay Buccaneers|
|7||222||Anthony Gaitor||DB||Florida International|
|2010 - Tampa Bay Buccaneers|
|6||172||Brent Bowden||P||Virginia Tech|
|7||210||Cody Grimm||FS||Virginia Tech|
|7||217||Dekoda Watson||OLB||Florida State|
|2009 - Tampa Bay Buccaneers|
|1||17||Josh Freeman||QB||Kansas State|
|7||217||E.J. Biggers||CB||Western Michigan|
|7||233||Sammie Stroughter||WR||Oregon State|
|2008 - Tampa Bay Buccaneers|
|2||58||Dexter Jackson||WR||Appalachian State|
|5||160||Josh Johnson||QB||San Diego|
|6||175||Geno Hayes||OLB||Florida State|
|7||238||Cory Boyd||RB||South Carolina|
|2007 - Tampa Bay Buccaneers|
|2||64||Sabby Piscitelli||SAF||Oregon State|
|3||68||Quincy Black||LB||New Mexico|
|5||141||Greg Peterson||DT||North Carolina Central|
|6||182||Adam Hayward||LB||Portland State|
|7||214||Chris Denman||T||Fresno State|
I think it safe to say that you can count on the majority of the prospects the Dolphins draft will be from BCS schools, with a few exceptions, and one of those could be the young man I am about to discuss and is a prospect to keep an eye on.
Dri Archer of Kent State, 5'8, 175 lbs, is a very explosive football player, a game changer. As a RB/KR for Kent State, Archer was the main weapon for the Golden Flashes. When I say explosive, I mean big play, he get's a step on you gone type of explosive. Archer ran a 4.26 40 at the combine, only .2 tenth off of Tennessee Chris Johnson record time of 4.24. And unlike some prospects that come in and run a fast time at the combine, but don't play at those timed speeds, Archer plays at his time. He is a legitimate, big play guy, and his versatility reminds me of Philadelphia RB Darren Sproles.
Archer rushed for career numbers 325 carries for 2,342 yards, which is a 7.2 yards per carry with 24 touchdowns. He also had 99 career catches for 1,194 yards and 12 touchdowns. Also, a lethal kickoff return man, Archer had 51 returns at 28.2 yards per return and 4 kickoff returns for touchdowns. Here is a youtube clip on Archer and you can see his big play ability and explosiveness.
In my last mock draft I had for Miami, I had Archer to the Dolphins in the 5th round, but Archer is a prime candidate to be drafted higher than he is pegged because of his big play ability. Miami has shown a good bit of interest in Archer as has the Bengals, and in my next mock draft, Archer will be moving up. How high up, I am not quite sure of yet, but Miami is interested. They had interst in former Chicago Bear and now Atlanta Falcon Devin Hester. Archer can be what Hester was in the return game and more for Miami.