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2015 Dolphins Draft Picks
With the 2014 NFL Draft about a month away, let's take a look at how I think the 2014 NFL Draft could possibly play out. A lot will change over the next few weeks, so my mock will change as well. Today, I will give my 1st 16 picks of the NFL Draft.
1) Houston - QB Blake Bortles, Central Florida - John McClain of the Houston Chronicle is pretty plugged in to what the Texans look to do, and he thinks the pick will be Bortles. They certainly have a need at the position with former starting QB Matt Schaub having been traded to Oakland. South Carolina uber talented DE Jadeveon Clowney is also a major consideration, and I would not be surprised if he is the pick. That said, new HC Bill O'Brien is knows as a QB guru, and Bortles fits the mode of QB he likes.
2) St. Louis - Greg Robinson, OLT, Auburn - OLT Jake Long tore his ACL in December, and there is a major question of his availabilty for the Rams for the 2014 season. This is also the 3rd straight season that Long has suffered a serious injury. With QB Sam Bradford coming off a torn ACL, protecting his blindside is crucial.
3) Jacksonville - Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina - HC Gus Bradley is a defensive minded coach, and the Jaguars were last in the NFL in sacks with 31. The Jaguars have a need at QB, as 2011 1st round pick and disappointment Blaine Gabbert was traded to San Francisco, leaving Chad Henne as the starting QB. With that said, I believe Clowney is the pick.
4) Cleveland - Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson - This is another team that could very well go quarterback, but they have very little talent at the skill positions as well, as WR Josh Gordon and TE Jordan Cameron are the only legitimate playmakers. Watkins has the hands, size and speed you want at the wide receiver position. He and Gordon would give the Browns a potent duo.
5) Oakland - Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A & M - The Raiders have a need at QB even with the trade for QB Matt Schaub. Manziel is not your prototypical quarterback from a size standpoint, but he is a playmaker, and the Raiders OL is very much a work in progress, so his mobility could be a plus for him.
6) Atlanta Falcons - Khalil Mack, OLB, Buffalo - Atlanta could easily go OLT here, and Texas A & M OLT Jake Matthews has to be a prime consideration as well. But like the Jaguars, the Falcons have struggled generating a consistent pass rush, and Mack ranks very high on a lot of boards.
7) Tampa Bay - Mike Evans, WR, Texas A & M - Tampa Bay just traded the talented but troubled Mike Williams to Buffalo. While they have Vincent Jackson on one side, the Bucs have little else. They could go OL here as well and I have seen Michigan OLT Taylor Lewan mocked here as well.
8) Minnesota - Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville - The Christian Ponder experiment has been a failure, and the clock is winding down on THE Elite RB in the NFL, Adrian Peterson. The Vikings have to address the QB position. Bridgewater has been considered the most NFL ready QB, and I am not going to let a sub-par Pro Day showing deter my thoughts on Bridgewater.
9) Buffalo - Eric Ebron, TE, North Carolina - The Bills just traded for talented but troubled WR Mike Williams of Tampa Bay. The Bills are looking to add a playmaker, and Ebron is considered to be THE top TE in the 2014 NFL Draft. Ebron has the ability to be a threat down the seams of a defense and can makes plays after the catch. He is a work in progress as a blocker.
10) Detroit - Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, FS, Alabama - Detroit lost S Louis Delmas to Miami, and Dix can be that player to come in and fill an immediate need for the Lions. Dix along with Louisville S Calvin Pryor are considered the top safaties in this draft.
11) Tennessee - Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma State - The Titans just lost All Pro cornerback Alterraun Verner to Tampa Bay. Gilbert is a talented cover corner and a very good punt and kickoff returner as well. He fills an immediate need for the Titans.
12) New York Giants - Jake Matthews, OLT, Texas A & M - The Giants are coming off a season of struggles from their offense. A lot of those problems can be traced to the offensive line. Matthews is certainly considered one of the top 2 offensive lineman in this draft, along with Auburn OLT Greg Robinson.
13) St. Louis - Calvin Pryor, S, Louisville - With Ha Ha Clinton-Dix off the board, the Rams select Pryor to add to the secondary. Big, aggressive and a big hitter.
14) Chicago - Aaron Donald, DT, Pittsburgh - The Bears defensive line has taken and hit with DT Henry Melton off to Dallas and DE Julius Peppers cut and signing with rival Green Bay. The Bears add the explosive Donald to help rebuild their defensive front.
15) Pittsburgh - Taylor Lewan, OLT, Michigan - The Steelers offensive line has been an area of concerns for years. Lewan would be an immediate upgrade at the OLT position.
16) Dallas - Timmy Jernigan, DT, Florida State - Dallas defense was a disaster in 2013. They also have lost DE DeMarcus Ware to Denver and DT Jason Hatcher to Washington. The Cowboys have a lot of work to do on the defensive side of the ball, and they start up from with Jernigan.
Join me next week as I will give the last 16 picks of the 2014 NFL Draft.
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.
If you frequent any of the Miami Dolphins fan forums you will in no doubt be drawn into our deep pass problem controversy? Is it Tannehill's fault or is it Miami's pass-blocking deficiencies?
You know that I am a Tannehill supporter, but I also know that if Tannehill is to be called our "franchise quarterback" then he has to take another step forward this year. I would draft a QB in the mid rounds this year, and if he does not improve I would draft a QB even higher next year. You do not fool around with the starting QB position. Average really will not do it at the most important position on any team. Aside from the deep pass problems to Wallace, you would have to admit that he has met our expectations. After two years of constant hits due to the lack of protection from his offensive line, tight ends, and running backs, he still has a fearless attitude back in the pocket. Check out this video clip of every one of his franchise record 58 sacks. You will find yourself cringing at some of the hits that he takes.
For the most part you can see a lack of protection as Tannehill didn't have time to do much of anything There are times when you can see that Tannehill needs to develop a better feel for his pocket collapsing around him, but I will also say that not having a good left tackle to protect your backside is a terrible move by our ex-GM. It cost Ireland his job. Thankfully the Dolphins spent their money wisely this year and got the best pass blocking left tackle on the free agent market in Brandon Albert.
Now, free agent guard Shelly Smith is a very good run blocker, but his pass blocking skills need work on. With the Dolphins going for a more balanced approach and running the ball more than in the past, he is a real upgrade over John Jerry who was a poor run blocker. I'm not sure how much that will help Tannehill.
Adding RB Knowshon Moreno this week was a very good move as he is a good pass blocker and should replace Daniel Thomas on the roster, and he should become our new starting running back and will replace Lamar Miller on passing downs. Moreno is explosive and should make things more exciting for us on game day. I like the move and am surprised that the Broncos didn't match the 1 year, $3 million contract that the Dolphins offered him, but they have Montee Ball waiting to take over, and that is how things should be done. You replace expensive free agents with good draft prospects.
So, here is a video clip of several of Tannehill's deep passes to WR Mike Wallace.
There are only 16 deep passes to Wallace in that video clip, and we know that Tannehill connected on only 7 of the 33 deep passes on the right side (where Wallace was lined up), so, I would say the video is incomplete. Tannhill completed 7 of 16 deep passes on the left side to his slower receivers (not Wallace).
Here are Rich's observations on the 16 deep passes in the above video clip:
Attempt #1 - Wallace wasn't wide open. He was bracketed. This should have never been thrown to begin with.
Attempt #2 - Slight underthrow but completed for a touchdown. Wallace was wide open. This was not good protection but Tannehill stepped up in the pocket.
Attempt #3 - This was not good protection as the defensive tackle was pressuring Tannehill from his right. Pass was underthrown but complete.
Attempt #4 - Tannehill was hit as he threw, not great protection, and completed the deep pass to Wallace, but it was underthrown.
Attempt #5 - Good protection, pass underthrown. Tannehill seemed to be trying to guide the pass.
Attempt #6 - Good protection, pass underthrown. Not sure if it was ruled complete or incomplete. Looks like Wallace caught it and ball came out later. I noticed a mechanical flaw in Tannehill's motion on this attempt. More on that later.
Attempt #7 - Protection wasn't great but Tannehill did a nice job of stepping up. I think this was actually a perfect throw and it appears Wallace slowed down a bit, but I could see it considered a slight overthrow. Maybe Tannehill didn't set his feet well enough after stepping up and rushed the throw? Should have been 6.
Attempt #8 - This was just great coverage. The corner was playing way off at the snap. Why force it? Why not change the route to a comeback at the LOS?
Attempt #9 - Tannehill hit as he threw. Ball came out wobbly. Not good protection.
Attempt #10 - I don't see why Wallace couldn't have gone up for this one. It was slightly high, but a receiver with good hands goes up and get it. This is a flaw in Wallace's game. He doesn't fight for the ball, he doesn't attack the ball. He waits for it to land right in his breadbasket. It's a two way street. Location is important, but so is catch radius. Wallace's catch radius is lacking.
Back to my comment in #6, it seems as if Tannehill drops his hips a bit and keeps his shoulders parallel to the ground on this throw. This may be why he has some underthrows. Typically, when you're throwing a deep touch pass, you want to maintain your hips level, rear you shoulders back to give the ball trajectory and step into the throw to guide it up the field. By dropping his hips, he is actually taking air out of the ball and relying more on arm strength, a fatal mistake when trying to throw deep is relying on arm strength. Your hips, legs and shoulders are more important on a deep ball than your arm.
By the way, Andrew Luck had a similar issue coming out of college. He did not have a consistent, credible deep ball and he spent a whole offseason working on it. He would left his back leg on deep throws and take power out of it. Contrary to what people say about either having it or not having it, these things can be worked on and it is up to Lazor and Tannehill to work on the mechanics and up to Tannehill and Wallace to put in the time to build chemistry.
What are my thoughts about our deep pass problems? While Wallace should be able to catch some of those deep passes that were thrown behind him, he did have a step or two on the DB when the ball was released. His speed and ability to catch deep passes are what we paid all that money for in last year's free agent signing. The ball is just not getting there to hit him as he runs in stride.
The major problems from what I see are pass protection break downs. Even when he has more time to throw the deep pass he has to be thinking about his lack of protection which makes him hurry the pass. I will also say that he needs to work on his mechanics when it comes to the deep pass as he needs more arc and better anticipation of where his receiver is going to be. What works so well on him on the short to medium passes just will not work on a deep pass. You do have to like his accuracy when it comes to Tannehill throwing on the run. Why didn't Sherman have him rolling out sometimes (even though it cuts out half the field)? It worked against the 1985 Bears.
Another thing, as we have read over and over from our Florida media is that Sherman did not have Tannehill and Wallace practice the deep pass much. That also falls on Tannehill to get with Wallace and work on it. I have a feeling that things will look much better this year as Tannehill gets the time to throw the deep pass, and he practices it more. Also, having a balanced attack does not allow the defense to think "pass" almost every down. Miami's new offensive coordinator, Bill Lazor, has a past history of being run heavy. With his work in the pistol at Philadelphia last year, I am excited to see what he will put together. Here are Eagles Head Coach Chip Kelly's comments on Lazor this week:
I think everybody’s product of what you see on the field and, obviously, Nick deserves credit because Nick’s the one who’s playing. But Billy was the guy that got him prepared to play, so I think Billy did a great job with him. I think he’s got great experience in terms of being a coordinator at the college level but has also coached with the Seahawks and the Falcons and the Redskins. … I thought it was a great opportunity for him and I think he’s going to do a really good job down there. Billy’s very, very intelligent I think one of the first things that struck me when we first interviewed him was his intelligence just kind of jumps out at you. He’s an Ivy League guy that has a great way of teaching and has great knowledge in terms of the game. He did a great job with our quarterback position.
How does Tannehill compare to Andrew Luck? Rock Sexton posted this which shows that it wouldn't take much for Tannehill to improve to the quarterbacks that the national media loves to rave about:
7 for 26 on 21-30 yards ... 2 TD's, 1 INT
4 for 11 on 30-40 ...... 1 TD, 1 INT
1 for 8 on 41+ ..... no TD's, no INT's
Pro Football Focus posted the 10 worst deep passers in the NFL last year. There are 8 worst deep passers than Tannehill last year. Let's hope things look much better in 2014.