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2015 Dolphins Draft Picks
The Miami Dolphins will go into Free Agency in 2014 with close to 30 million dollars, so while they don't have the cap space that they had in 2013, the team still has plenty of cap space to add some key pieces to this roster.
I want to take a look at some possible free agents that I believe the Dolphins could have an interest in. Let's start with the offensive side of the ball and the unit that needs the most help, the offensive line.
Branden Albert, the OLT for Kansas City will likely not be re-signed, as Kansas City drafted OLT Eric Fisher with the thought of possibly moving him to OLT if they could not get Albert signed to a long term deal, which they could not. Albert is 29 years old and a very good OLT who has been durable during his 6 years in the league. This past year he missed 4 games due to injury, the most he has missed in his tenure. The concern is Albert will be in demand, which could spark a bidding war. The Dolphins could have acquired Albert for a 2nd round pick and less in regards to a contract in 2013, but Jeff Ireland balked at giving up the pick. Now, he is going to be a free agent at a PREMIUM position. Another OLT that would be a prime target is Eugene Monroe of the Baltimore Ravens, but it hard for me to see the Ravens letting him get away. If they do, then he would be someone that would probably be more highly thought of than Albert and he is only 26 years old. Jared Veldheer is also 26 years old, and has been solid for Oakland, but he is coming off his 1st year were injuries was a factor, as he missed 11 games in 2013. Anthony Collins of Cincinnati is a consideration as well, for both OLT & ORT. Green Bay OT Marshall Newhouse is another player that has played both OLT & ORT, and is 25 years old.
Make no mistake about it, the Dolphins need to address both OLT and ORT, and it could be via free agency or a combination of free agency and the draft.
Travelle Wharton is a veteran OLG at 32 years old from Carolina, and he is rock solid. Also, it is very apparent that this team needs solid, veteran leadership, something that Wharton can provide along with solid play at the OG position. Denver OLG Zane Beadles was a Pro Bowl player in 2012, and is 27 years old. A couple of Kansas City Cheifs could be prime targets at ORG in Geoff Schwartz, 27 years old and the starter at the end of the year. Jon Asamoah lost his spot due to injury, but is a talented ORG at only 25 years old.
OC is a position I just started considering when the news came out about Mike Pouncey being involved in the Jonathan Martin fiasco, and now it has come out that he could possibly be suspended for 1-4 games. When you combine this with his possible involvement with one Aaron Hernandez, the reason for concern with Pouncey is very legitimate. One player that I would look at if the Dolphins were to look at it a player is OC Alex Mack of Cleveland. At 28 years old, Mack is one of the top OC in the game.
I think if the Dolphins do anything from a wide receiver standpoint, it will be in the draft, and I do think having Brandon Gibson out due to injury really hurt the team, as he and QB Ryan Tannehill had developed a nice chemistry and he was turning into a go to guy for Ryan. At TE, Charles Clay finally showed the talent level and producition on the field that I thought he had when he came out of Tulsa. 1st year player Dion Sims has size and talent, but is a work in progress as is Michael Egnew. IF Miami were to look to add another talented TE, look for Green Bay TE Jermichael Finley to be a possible target if he passes his physical. He is a bigger version of Charles Clay and would give the Dolphins a lethal TE combo. Detroit TE Brandon Pettigrew could be a possible target if the Lions don't get him re-signed. He is what the Dolphins hope Sims can turn into, a player that is very good in the passing game and is a solid blocker as well.
At RB, the Dolphins have to look at a power back and a player that Dennis Hickey is very familar with is 27 year old LeGarrett Blount of New England. He is considered an early down back and not much of a factor in the passing game though. An interesting option could be former Houston Texan Ben Tate, 5'10, 214 lbs with very good speed, Tate has the ability to be an every down back given the chance. He been backing up Arian Foster, but he is now a free agent and he is 25 years old. Another intriguing player is former 1st round Miami Dolphin pick Ronnie Brown. Good in both the pass and run game, Brown, 32 years old, could be a nice veteran pick up for Miami. Oakland Raider Rashad Jennings could be a interesting options if he does not re-sign with the Raiders. Jennings, 29 years old, has the size you like at 6'1, 228 lbs and he good in the passing game as well as the run game.
Switching to the defensive side of the ball, Miami has some of their own free agents that they have to make decisions on. I do believe the Dolphins will look to re-sign DT/NT Paul Soliai and in my opinion, CB Brent Grimes is a MUST re-sign. Grimes, coming off an achilles injury proved not only that he had overcome the injury, but he had a Pro Bowl season for the Dolphins. With that said, let look at the defensive side of the ball.
The Dolphins have went from a top 3 run defense in 2011 to the 24th ranked run defense in 2013. When healthy, Soliai can still be a factor against the run. A kid Miami could look at if Soliai wants more than they want to pay for a player his age is Linval Joseph, the massive 25 year old run stuffer from the New York Giants. He does a pretty good job providing interior pass pressure as well, as he had 3 sacks. DT Pat Sims of Oakland could be a consideration as well, as Kevin Coyle coached Sims while he was with the Benglas. Sims is very good against the run.
At OLB, a kid that Dennis Hickey is familar with is Dekoda Watson, 25, who is starting to get run with Tampa Bay. He has speed and is very good in coverage. OLB Rob Jackson could be an interesting options on the cheap. He is 28 years old. These are guys that Miami can sign at team friendly contracts that can provide depth and compete for playing time.
ILB that can provide depth and compete for playing time are is Arthur Moats of Buffalo. Help Miami and hurt the Bills would be a good thing, and this 25 year old kid has ability. An intriguing veteran would be Daryl Smith of Baltimore. At 31 years old, he could again be a solid veteran on this young team. As much as Darnelle Ellerbe and Phillip Wheeler struggled, he could compete for a starting job at a fraction the cost.
At safety, the Dolphins have to make a decision on Chris Clemons. If they decide to go the free agency route, Buffalo safety Jarius Byrd has to be at the top of the list. Byrd is a playmaker with top notch coverage skills and ball skills, something that Clemons lacks. Byrd will be looking for top dollar, but if the Dolphins want to upgrade this position, this 27 year old is THE guy. Clemons has been solid for Miami, and he and Rehad Jones have solid chemistry, so if Byrd is not the guy, I would think the Dolphins would look to bring Clemons back.
At cornerback, as I mentioned, CB Brent Grimes is a free agent, but I fully expect the Dolphins to re-sign him. CB Nolan Carroll is a free agent as well, and he is coming off a very solid year for Miami. You need more than your starting CB to be solid, and I do believe the Dolphins will look to re-sign Carroll as well. Dmitri Patterson is the key piece. When healthy, he has been VERY good. That the problem, as Patterson has played in only 5 games for Miami and is 30 years old. Miami will probably approach Patterson about restructuring his contract to a more team friendly deal, but if he balks at that, he will be released in my opinion. If that happens, a CB that I would look at is CB Sam Shiels of Green Bay. At 26 years old, Shields is coming off a very good year, but he is looking to get paid. Seattle CB Walter Thurmond could be a possiblity as well as Tennessee Titan CB Alterraun Verner. Also, remember the Dolphins have their own draft picks from 2013, Will Davis and Jamar Taylor, and they will be expected to contribute much more in 2014.
There are a lot more names out there, and many, many things will shape how the Dolphins use free agency. This will also shape how the Dolphins approach the draft, and I will discuss the draft much more in the following weeks.
Still trying to get a gauge on how Dennis Hickey and his philosophy on talent. With that said, we know the Dolphins have obvious needs that have to be addressed. Free agency will be used, and that always effects how a team drafts.
One thing that I do believe is that Tampa Bay likes to draft kids from BCS schools.
I thought I would put a little something out there for you guys to chew on.
Without question, OL is THE #1 issue that Miami needs to address. Taylor had an inconsistent year this year, but the talent level around him dropped and OL is about chemistry level as well. He still had a solid year and in his matchup against Jadaveon Clowney in the Outback Bowl in 2013, he did a great job against Clowney.
RB Lamar Miller is a nice back, but he is a finesse back. And while his pass blocking has improved, there has been times were he has just been overpowered. Hyde is a big, physical back that runs with power and has some shake to him and good speed for a back his size. Miami needs a more physical back, especially on short yardage plays.
Once again, the Dolphins have to address the OL, as ORT John Jerry seems to not be able to control his weight and his play has not been what you would want. Thick compact frame that is ideal to gain leverage, but quick enough to pull. Is coming off a partially torn labrum, which he had surgery on and missed the Sugar Bowl.
Miami went from a top 10 unit against the run to finishing 24th against the run. Both Paul Soliai and Randy Starks are free agents. McCullers was a kid that demanded a double team and was still a force against the run.
Chris Clemons is a free agent and the Dolphins could always use a playmaker on the back end. The redshirt junior ended his career as SC with 11 career interceptions and 222 tackles.
ORT Tyson Clabo got off to a slow start, but played better once he got a chance to get his job back after the Jonathan Martin/Richie Incognito fisaco. But he still had a lot of issues and he getting up in age. Fleming is a powerful run blocker that struggles with speed on the edge, thus he is strictly an ORT.
Aaron would be projected much higher if not for tearing his ACL at the Senior Bowl. Miami has to make a decision on Dmitri Patterson and Brent Grimes is a free agent along with Nolan Carroll. Miami has Will Davis and Jamar Taylor, but Colvin is a talent worth taking a chance on at this point. I also expect Brent Grimes to be re-signed as well.
We got a long way to go and a lot of things that are going to change.
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Today is my 22nd anniversary to my wife, Michele. It has been a great ride and I look forward to another 22 years (Lord willing).
CBS sportswriter Jason LaConfora talked to an unnamed GM this week who said that in his conversations with Joe Philben that there was a possibility that Philben could bench Tannehill in favor of Matt Moore if he does not see any improvement.
First of all, I hate seeing that this is a quote from an unnamed source. The next red flag that bothers me is that someone is quoting Philben on this. I am sure if this is true then it was a private converstation, but it shouldn't have been said by either of them anyways unless they are trying to create a little more controversy in the Miami clubhouse. Players are very devoted to their quarterback.
I don't mind competition (and I honestly think that Philben could really use some), but when I look at the body of work done by Ryan Tannehill over the past two years I am happy with the results. There is nothing wrong with pushing your QB through competition, but come game 1 Tannehill will be the starter. He was a high first round pick and has done nothing to lose his grip on the position. As a head coach, either you believe in him or you don't. I've watched Moore's career since he played here in NC and can say that he is up and down . I enjoyed Matt's toughness after taking over after the 3rd game of the 2011 season, but let's face it, those 6 meaningless wins knocked us out of the Andrew Luck sweepstakes whom I consider the best QB to come out of college in a very long time.
I honestly don't get the criticism of Ryan Tannehill. He's been the best quarterback that we've had since Dan the Man. Do you know what I think is the problem with some fans? Comparing Tannehill to Marino. No one that we will ever draft will ever compare to Marino ... not even Hall of Famer Bob Griese. Marino was a great quarterback. Let Tannehill be the quarterback that he is supposed to be.
There are holes in Tannehill's game: he has problems with the deep pass (perhaps we now have an OC that will actually practice the deep pass), he doesn't step up into the pocket (maybe if the OL would give him more time and better pocket protection he could improve this part of his game), and he doesn't use his athleticism to buy more time (I don't have an answer for that one).
Look at what he can do: quick release, makes quick decisions, can put the ball in a tight area that only his receivers can catch, very accurate 10-20 yards, hits his receivers in stride, and is the best quarterback in his class to throw on the run. Let's not forget that Sherman expect Tannehill to carry the Dolphins offense without an offensive line or running game. You couldn't ask for a better prospect. I am concerned about the last two games as much as any of you, but let's be honest, the entire team took a nosedive in those last two games. If it were just Tannehill then I would be more concerned about him, but when the entire team takes a vacation playing for their lives against AFC East rivals, then it goes beyond the players.
Rich Rodriguez, the person's opinion on the Dolphins that I value more than anyone else, had this to add this week:
Leadership is taking ownership for the fact that you had a stupid snap count and never fixed it, your offensive coordinator was a joke and you didn't want to let him go and you couldn't coach up any offensive linemen. Realization is the first step and Philbin has trouble with it.
A big congratulations goes out to Seahawks QB Russell Wilson for for being the first quarterback from the class of 2012 to win a Super Bowl. This is where I give myself an attaboy and remind you all that I had said that Russell Wilson was going to be a very good quarterback in the NFL despite his size. All that you see in him at Seattle is what I saw in him at NCSU. I watched him grow. When he first started as a freshman, my Wolfpack's OL was horrible and he used his legs and arm to win games and keep us competitive. Our coaching staff convinced him to stay in the pocket more and work on his accuracy. He broke the NCAA record for most attempts without an interceptions his sophomore year. In his 3rd season with us he developed great accuracy. His mind was always ahead of college game and I had no reason to believe the NFL game would confuse him any.
All that being said, I'll never understand why some people think that a Super Bowl win makes the winning quarterback "super". All I know is that the 2012 draft was a great year for quarterbacks as it turned out 5 starters and 2 tweeners. Osweiler gets an incomplete as he sits behind Peyton Manning and does not get to sniff the field, but in spot work he has looked to be a possible starter/tweener, too. Even though Luck does not have a Super Bowl win yet, I still consider him is the most talented quarterback in that group of quarterbacks.
This week, NFL Network analysts Heath Evans and Jamie Dukes did a re-draft of the 2012 class , and this is their order:
Indianapolis quarterback Andrew Luck was selected first, and then coming in at #2 was Miami Dolphins signal caller Ryan Tannehill, chosen ahead of the man who was picked before him in the actual draft in RGIII, and new Super Bowl champion Russell Wilson.
That's great praise for Tannehill whom Philben is "rumored" to be mulling the silly thought of starting Matt Moore over him if he doesn't show more "improvement" in his game.
Every year this rating could change. At the end of the first season I think the consensus would be that RG3 would have been the first QB off the board.
After 2 years I would go with:
1. Andrew Luck (still the most talented QB in that class).
2. Russell Wilson (Good accuracy and very intelligent QB)
3. Ryan Tannehill (has had to carry a team with a poor offensive line and lack of running game)
4. RG3 (don't count him out as that injury set him back. Look for a better 2014 season)
5. Nick Foles (he had a great year this year, but I need to see another year)
Next week I'll probably give you all my thoughts on the Incognito/Martin embarrassment, but I won't spend a lot of time on it. That whole thing just needs to go away.