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2015 Dolphins Draft Picks
Hey everyone, long time no talk. Unfortunately, we had a death in the family that kept me away from a lot of things the last couple of weeks. All is good now and I had a chance to digest all of the moves Chris Grier and company made these last couple of weeks.
I really like what Miami has done so far. I am not sure how it all plays out when September rolls around, but on paper, they should easily be contending for a playoff spot. They are still thin in a few areas but I don't see an Achilles heel that will prohibit them from having a chance in every game.
We can get into whether Tua Tagovailoa will emerge in a million other threads, but we know his game will not improve without a good OL and better run game. The signings of Terron Armstead and Connor Williams were A+ moves, but Mike McDaniel better have a Plan B at left tackle. The price for Armstead was far less than I anticipated so I thought the deal was great. We won't know where Williams ends up until we see what McDaniel wants to do with Robert Hunt. If Hunt stays at right guard then Williams replaces Austin Jackson at left guard. If Hunt kicks over to right tackle (a move I endorse), then maybe Williams shifts to right guard while Liam Eichenberg settles in at left guard. I suppose the biggest question for the offensive line is whether the coaches like Eichenberg or Jackson are better? Is it possible one of them can be trained as a center to replace Michael Dieter? The staff certainly has to like their young linemen because they traded away picks in what was a rather loaded first and second round for o-line talent. At the very least Tua should have much more time in the pocket this year.
As for the running backs, I came away underwhelmed. Chase Edmonds and Raheem Mostert are nice players and will rack up some stats. But are you comfortable with either handling a major workload? And again with the draft picks, Miami isn't really in a position to get one of the premier running backs in the draft. There are definitely some good options in the 3rd and 4th round, but those guys won't be relied upon to be a bell cow. Miami still needs a thumper who can power his way for tough yards. Maybe that is Brian Robinson or Jerome Ford in the 3rd Round. But would they be BPA? I think that is more to unfold here.
Okay, now we can talk about the Tyreke Hill trade. I'll be blunt - I see Mike Wallace 2.0 here. I don't think Hill will have the diva attitude and throw his QB under the bus repeatedly. Nor do I believe he will publicly shame his coaches for not designing every play to be for him. As I watch his highlight film I see a guy who really benefits from broken plays and a rocket-armed QB. That just isn't going to happen with Tua. It does not mean he cannot be deployed as the NFL's greatest decoy though. My guess is Jaylen Waddle, who I think will be a superstar #1 wide receiver, and Mike Gesicki are finally going to put up big-time stats. So it will be beneficial for the team and I am okay with the deal. The trade price was amazing and I'm not worried about the huge contract because right now Miami can easily afford it. If Miami keeps Devante Parker, and they should, they'll have on of the better receiving units in the NFL when you factor in the great signing of Cedrick Wilson. Oh, and for the people saying Hill will be McDaniel's new Deebo Samuel - there is about a 3-4 inch height difference and 30-40 lbs of size you may want to consider.
Real quick on the tight ends. I was shocked that Miami kept both Mike Gesicki and Durham Smythe. Both had a very good rapport with Tua last year, but neither is an award-winning blocker. The Smythe signing has me worried about a botched evaluation of Hunter Long. He should have been ready for a big role in year 2. I tend to think Gesicki is going to be a fun piece for McDaniel to work with and a contract extension this summer should not be ruled out.
Even quicker thought on the QB situation. Teddy Bridgewater is a nice upgrade on Jacoby Brissett but I hope he never takes a snap for Miami. If he does I have confidence he is good enough to beat a mediocre opponent.
On the defensive side of the ball, I am confident Miami will once again take care of business. Re-signing Emmanuel Ogbah was huge, and Jaelen Phillips is going to be a nightmare for opposing offenses. I imagine Xavien Howard gets his deal redone. The secondary should once again be awesome, and I am very excited to see what Jevon Holland can do. I'm a little disappointed that Miami didn't make a stronger move to fortify the linebacker unit. Again, without their 1st or 2nd Round picks it will be hard to find an early contributor. This was a very good draft for linebackers too. I would also like to see them get an additional nose tackle to assist Raekwon Davis. There is a kid at Arkansas who I've read good things about.
I believe this should be an exciting season for us fans. I am very impressed with Mike McDaniel and the vision he seems to be implementing for Miami. They added some very quality veterans and we will finally be able to see Tua get some support at both the coaching and player levels. As of right now, Miami has about $14 million in cap space so I wouldn't anticipate any other big signings (unless they unload a big contract). A surprising draft weekend trade should never be discounted when it comes to Chris Grier. Sit back and enjoy the ride!
Now that it has been a few days since McDaniel got hired, here is what I am noticing.
1. I have watched videos of him in coaching meetings and talking to players. He is very specific in his feedback and his thoughts. Pays attention to detail. Explains to players why they do things a certain way. How does it affect the other team? For example, why they run a route a certain way in a play to do what to the corner and the safety. To make the defense make a decision and at that point, the quarterback makes a decision on where to go with the ball. Letting the wide receiver know how his specific route influences the play. When talking to other coaches in meetings, he talks a lot about how to connect with players. So he has the Xs and Os and the player relationship philosophy in place.
2. He comes off as a guy to underestimate. His voice is a little wobbly, almost like a teenager at times. But when you listen to what he is saying, it makes a ton of sense. He's a common-sense guy and thinks about things in very clear, succinct ways. Obviously, we know he has a sense of humor and we'll have some entertaining press conferences.
3. The biggest thing I have noticed is how decisive he has been in hiring assistants. It almost seems like he already had a plan in place before getting hired and he is executing it with vicious efficiency. And clearly, all of the hires on the offensive side of the ball are geared towards bringing in teachers to teach offensive line play and to design an impactful running game. There is a clear theme. A far cry from having co-offensive coordinators and some third guy sometimes also calling plays. Hopefully, this means we won't see Tua dropping back 42 times in bad weather when a running back has a 7 ypc average gain.
4. With the amount of cap room we have after a 9-8 season, this could be a very quick retool. Two of McDaniel's offensive linemen at San Fran will be hitting the market and they are both good players. It would only make sense to throw some money at the offensive line for a quick turnaround with good players that already know the scheme. I'd be disappointed if we don't acquire at least one of them.
5. McDaniel talks a lot about YAC. That means that while there is clearly a place on the team for Waddle and probably Gaskin catching passes out of the backfield, there will be changes to the wide receivers as we seem to have a couple of jump ball guys who can't gain separation. You need a guy like that for red zone and back-shoulder throws, but you need someone that can create some quick separation and make a move or two to get YAC. So expect some changes at WR.
And then in 2023, we have two first-round picks to make moves if necessary. Hopefully, at that point we are "close" and we will have that flexibility to get the player we want.