got to tip our collective caps to Dolphin domo Bill Parcells. Here we are, less
than a week before D-Day (Draft Day, that is) and we still haven’t the foggiest
clue as to what the Miami Dolphins are going to do with their first overall
pick in the 2008 NFL Draft.
sure, you can make whatever predictions you’d like but the fact remains that
this tight-lipped regime hasn’t really
tipped a single card. Forget the “Freudian slip” that GM Jeff Ireland made in
his recent press conference; his ‘pillar of the defense’ remark could so very
easily have been premeditated for effect that we must discount it completely.
we are not wandering in the wilderness.
know that the Dolphins would like to trade down, but the economics of the first
overall pick coupled with the lack of a super elite prospect make this a very
know that the Dolphins are going to do everything they can to get a contract in
place before April 26, one that exemplifies some measure of sanity against a
ludicrous rookie pay scale. The prospect who is willing to give the Dolphins
that contract will have the inside track on being selected first overall.
has been reported that the Dolphins and Tom Condon, the agent for top offensive
tackle prospect Jake Long, have entered into discussions in advance of the
draft. The storyline is that the Dolphins hope to get the aforementioned
contract from Condon, who also happens to represent top QB prospect Matt Ryan. Keep
in mind that Condon doesn’t want to be perceived as the agent who sets a
precedent that could affect every other player in the first round. If the
report is true, expect these talks to be difficult; creativity will be the key.
Jake Long, we have a pretty good idea that there are no fewer than six
prospects that could be drafted first overall. Any one of them would be worthy
of the top overall pick, depending on a given team’s needs. One of them figures
to be a Dolphin by mid-afternoon on April 26th.
are the arguments, pro and con, for each one (in alphabetical order):
Dorsey, DT, LSU
the Dolphins could draft him: Dorsey is the dominant defensive
lineman in this draft, perhaps the best player overall. He competed against top
talent in the SEC conference, regularly drawing and defeating double teams in a
vain effort to neutralize him. Good size and great ability against the run,
with excellent toughness; he played at a high level with injuries that would
slow most other players. Dorsey compares favorably to DT Warren Sapp when he
came out of the University
the Dolphins could pass on him: Dorsey has some durability concerns,
with injuries dogging him the past two seasons. If injury prone, Dorsey will
begin to miss time as he gets older. At LSU, Dorsey lined up in a 4-3 scheme
which utilized his one-gap skills very nicely. If Jimmy Johnson was the
decision-maker, Dorsey would be a lock. However, given Parcells’ desire to
transition to a 3-4 at some point, there may be a concern that Dorsey would struggle
in a two-gap scheme as a NT.
2) Vernon Gholston, DE, Ohio
the Dolphins could draft him: Outstanding workout numbers and an
impact defender in the tough Big 10 conference who came up big in the biggest
games, roughly compared by Scouts Inc. to Dwight Freeney. Good size and speed
to play DE or OLB in a 3-4. Could be receptive to the contract terms the
Dolphins are looking for given that he is not projected to be a top five pick.
the Dolphins could pass on him: Considered a reach with the first
overall pick. Some concerns about consistency in his game. Not the highest
priority need if Jason Taylor isn’t traded and doesn’t decide to retire.
3) Chris Long,
the Dolphins could draft him: A dominant DE that faced top caliber
talent in the ACC. He has good size and speed, giving him versatility as a DE
or OLB in a 3-4 scheme. Possesses excellent intangibles, not the least of which
is his pedigree (he’s the son of Hall of Fame DE Howie Long). Chris Long is
probably the safest of all top prospects to invest a mega-contract in, a real
consideration given the risk the Dolphins are dealing with.
the Dolphins could pass on him: There’s some debate as to how good
Long will be. If he projects to be the second coming of his father, the
Dolphins would do well to take him. If he projects to be a next tier talent like
Patrick Kerney, good but not spectacular, the Dolphins should go in a different
direction. Not the highest priority need if Jason Taylor isn’t traded and
doesn’t decide to retire.
4) Jake Long,
the Dolphins could draft him: He has prototypical size and
strength; an especially dominant run blocker. Long could stabilize the left
tackle position for the next decade and give the Dolphins one of the best
offensive lines in the game; this would be a tremendous asset for a young
quarterback and would play to the strength of the offense (running back).
the Dolphins could pass on him: Outrageous contract demands from
Condon could scare the Dolphins off. There’s also solid depth at tackle in this
draft, giving the Dolphins the option of starting off with another position of
need and then coming back to address the need at tackle. The Dolphins have
flexibility in this regard given Vernon Carey’s ability to play left or right
McFadden, RB, Arkansas
the Dolphins could draft him: A Heisman Trophy finalist, McFadden may
be the best overall player in this draft. Simply put, he’s an explosive playmaker
with 4.3 40 speed who could make the same impact that Adrian Peterson did for
the Vikings. If the Dolphins’ philosophy is to take the best player available,
McFadden could be their guy. McFadden would also give the Dolphins improved
marketing appeal and allow them to trade Ronnie Brown.
the Dolphins could pass on him: The Dolphins have excellent depth at
RB with Brown, Ricky Williams, and Lorenzo Booker. McFadden also has some
lingering character questions that create additional risk in signing him to a
6) Matt Ryan,
QB, Boston College
the Dolphins could draft him: Rebuilding starts with a winning QB
and the Dolphins do not have one. While 2007 second rounder John Beck remains a
work in process, there is some real uncertainty as to how he will turn out.
Ryan possesses excellent size and ability, with a track record of winning in
the tough ACC conference (2007 ACC Player of the Year); some consider him to be
on par with Eli Manning. Condon might be willing to give the Dolphins the
contract they desire for Ryan, who would certainly earn less if taken by the
Falcons at #3 or, worst case, the Ravens at #8.
the Dolphins could pass on him: Drafting a QB first overall is one of
the riskiest propositions in all of sports. If the Dolphins do not see a big
difference between Ryan and Beck, or Ryan and a next tier talent like Michigan’s Chad Henne, it
would make little sense to go with Ryan. There is also some concern with the
high number of interceptions (19) that Ryan threw his senior season. The recent
retirement of QB Steve McNair raises Ryan’s stock somewhat; it could encourage
the Ravens to trade up with the Dolphins for Ryan if they think the Dolphins, Falcons,
Chiefs, or Jets will draft him.