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2015 Dolphins Draft Picks
Tank Season!!! I am almost afraid to do this write up because names I mention could be gone within hours. Just prior to my starting the blog the Miami Dolphins released Nate Orchard who seemed like a lock for the final 53. This is out of control!
So let's address the elephant in the room
What on earth are General Manager Chris Grier and Head Coach Brian Flores doing? In my opinion they assembled a team of players to evaluate who could be a foundational piece and who isn't worth having beyond two or three years. Now there are some anomalies like Reshad Jones who has an almost unmovable contract, but for the most part they are purging guys who won't stick. Now, to hedge against this type of dramatic purge they originally mixed some serviceable veterans and upside youngsters to see if an overachieving season was possible. During Training Camp and Preseason they must have concluded there was no way they were winning more than a handful of games. They will now see which young guys can endure what could be the most humbling experience of their careers.
There are definitely positives on the roster ....
but I'm only mentioning names that I'm certain will be in Miami next Sunday. The defense should be respectable if nothing else. First Round pick Christian Wilkins had a nice camp and made his presence known in Preseason games. Second year Linebacker Jerome Baker seems poised to have a breakout year. Miami locked up franchise Cornerback Xavien Howard and he'll continue to scare Quarterbacks across the league. Minkah Fitzpatrick should be a jack of all trades who can take away the middle of the field or kick out to the boundary if needed. And of course there is Linebacker Sam Eguavoen who could prove to be the next great unexpected surprise in Miami.
On offense there are some really nice running and receiving weapons.
I don't know if Kenyan Drake is trade bait, but behind him are both Kalen Ballage and Patrick Laird. Ballage could be the bell cow type while Laird seems primed for the 3rd Down Back role. The trade of Kenny Stills will open up a lot of opportunities for Albert Wilson, Jakeem Grant and Devante Parker to log targets and make some noise on the field. Oh, and Miami has a Fullback again! Hello Chandler Cox! Finally, Nick O'Leary could just end up being the all around Tight End Miami has been searching for if he's given a legit opportunity.
Of course they could all end up doing little if Miami's Offensive Line is, well, offensive.
This unit went from concerning to a disaster after Laremy Tunsil was traded. We are five days from the Baltimore game and they are holding tryouts for Left Tackle. Yeesh! Center Dan Kilgore and Right Tackle (or is he the new left tackle?) Jessie Davis should at least be serviceable. Left Guard Michael Dieter certainly has potential but it will be a baptism by fire for him. I'm not sure the label of Swiss Cheese is kind enough for how these guys could perform early on.
On to the Quarterback circus.
Miami traded for a promising talent in Josh Rosen. He looked pretty good in the Preseason and progressed as the summer went on. His arm talent is undeniable and his pocket presence is a breath of fresh air. But, we have to accept that this coaching staff didn't trust him enough to start after a competition with Ryan Fitzpatrick. That is a bad sign and their purging of the roster tells me they don't see Rosen as a viable option beyond this year. I suspect they would have kept several pieces if they had faith in him. Fitzpatrick is the pitcher who cannot accept that he has lost his fastball. If you watch him attempt even immediate level throws you'll see him have to use every ounce of strength. That is a really bad sign and opposing secondaries will sit on him forcing throws he has no business attempting. Expect Rosen to start at some point but his support level will be minimal.
So how do I see this season playing out?
Miami should be in the ballpark of 3 to 5 wins. They have some talent at the skill positions and Brian Flores doesn't seem too small for the stage. I imagine he'll dial up some creative defensive alignments to keep games close, and the offense will catch a few lucky breaks as they have some home run hitters. I just wouldn't hold my breath hoping for miracles. When Adam Gase took command a few years ago he had a serviceable Quarterback in Ryan Tannehill, a tough runner in Jay Ajayi, a decent Offensive Line, and a defense solid enough to keep opponents honest. Brian Flores won't be afforded those luxuries. If he gets the team to 5 wins he'll have made chicken salad with chicken doo doo.
There will be many tough Sundays to come.
Keep your chins up and cheer that some of these young guys turn out to be diamonds in the rough. Maybe Rosen lives up to his hype. Maybe the defense produces several Pro Bowlers. And maybe Brian Flores is the coach Miami has been searching for since the mid 90s. And if all of that fails, let's hope that Tua does more for the franchise than the Tuna ever did.
I disagree with the consensus. I see this team continuing its trend of going somewhere between 6-10 and 10-6 this coming season. I know that's heart-breaking to all of you who wanted us to be picking first, or at least in top 5, in the 2020 draft, I just don't see this team being as bad as most people think for several reasons.
1) Quality of players lost vs. quality of players gained. When you look at who we lost, compared to who we gained, I don't see the roster overall being worse than last year's. Everyone is acting like the entire 2018 Dolphin team was jettisoned and all we have this year is who we've acquired this year, and of course that's simply not the case. I would say the best player we lost was Tannehill, but most of you think he's garbage anyways, and replacing him with Fitzpatrick and Rosen an instant upgrade. Gore, Amendola, and Wake are the best of the rest of the players we lost, each one being old veterans on the decline anyway. The rest of the players we lost were bad to mediocre and easily replaceable IMHO.
2) Quality of Gase and his staff vs. quality of Flores and his staff. OK, we don't know what we have in Flores yet, but we knew what we had in Gase......an egomaniac idiot. Flores brings with him some other guys from the Patriots' staff, and they'll be installing a system very similar to that of the Patriots. It all looks good on paper, we'll just have to wait and see how it unfolds when games are actually played. So far, the new approach to the draft and free agency is already paying off.
3) This is a new Dolphins team installing new offensive and defensive systems. If you're an opponent, you might as well take all the game film you have of the Dolphins and throw it in the trash. Particularly the early season opponents. Conversely, our early opponents haven't changed and we should be better prepared.
4) The schedule makers were very kind to the Dolphins. 3 home games in September. When have we ever had that? No Thursday games. Only one prime time game on Monday Night, the rest of our games on Sunday afternoon. We have a schedule this season that coaches can only dream about.
5) This team is not tanking for Tua. Despite what Ross said, directly after last season was over, this team is not throwing away games just to pick higher in next year's draft. A tanking team would not be approaching late free agency like we have.
Putting all of the above reasons together, I do not see us wining less than 6 games. Don't get me wrong, I don't think we have a good enough roster yet to make the playoffs and win games there, but I do think this team is better than last year's and we did win 6 games.