The Miami Dolphins Leap into the Future

Miami Dolphin fans watch the ugly business of shedding contracts hoping it ends in a sustainable winning team. The Dolphins have dominated free agent signing many times in a twenty stretch of mediocrity without fielding a playoff caliber roster. Finally recognizing that building teams through free agency is not a winning formula in the NFL, Miami embarks on an interesting journey through the minefields of the NFL draft.

"Building through the draft," has a wonderful sound to it, but selecting which human is best prepared for the rigors of NFL football, is an inexact science at the very least, a guessing game at best. Agents have become teachers, processing players through a myriad of classes designed to provide answers to questions in preparation to present the perfect football player. How can a person be courteous and kind, yet mean as rabid pit-bull.

It's an interesting dichotomy...

Meeting face-to-face with prospects about to become the team's future is essential when failure is fatal. Attempts to trip up scripted responses have led to interesting questions. Jeff Ireland's callus inquiries about Dez Bryant's mother, or whether a player prefers men, or how many cars did he steal, have made headlines for all the wrong reasons. In reality, these meetings have little bearing on whether a prospect will make a great professional. During the pageantry, they are actors auditioning, not players playing.

Miami Dolphin fans can relate to Dion Jordan as a great example of all that can go wrong. When it seems too good to be true, it probably is. The Dolphins were picking 12th in 2013 and the Raiders were willing to accept Miami's 12th and 42nd pick to give Miami the 3rd overall pick. One look at these names is all you need to know the Dolphins should have traded down, instead of trading up.

1 Eric Fisher OT
2 Luke Joeckel OT
3 Dion Jordan DE
4 Lane Johnson OT
5 Ezekiel Ansah DE
6 Barkevious Mingo OLB
7 Jonathan Cooper OG
8 avon Austin WR
9 Dee Milliner CB
10 Chance Warmack OG
11 D.J. Fluker OT
12 D.J. Hayden CB
13 Sheldon Richardson DE
14 Star Lotulelei DT
15 Kenny Vaccaro SS
16 EJ Manuel QB
17 Jarvis Jones OLB
18 Eric Reid FS
19 Justin Pugh OT
20 Kyle Long OG
21 Tyler Eifert TE
22 Desmond Trufant CB
23 Sharrif Floyd DT
24 Bjoern Werner OLB
25 Xavier Rhodes CB
26 Datone Jones DE
27 DeAndre Hopkins WR
28 Sylvester Williams DT
29 Cordarrelle Patterson WR
30 Alec Ogletree OLB
31 Travis Frederick C
32 Matt Elam FS

The Dolphins committed the Cardinal Sin of selecting a player based on his measurements and combine numbers. They overlooked the player's obvious troubles, exacerbated by bringing that player within reach of South Beach. Jordan cost Miami picks 12 and 42. Imagine if they had traded down for a couple of 2nds, here are few names selected later in 2013.

35 Zach Ertz TE
37 Giovani Bernard RB
46 Kiko Alonso MLB
48 Le'Veon Bell RB
57 D.J. Swearinger SS
61 Eddie Lacy RB
63 Travis Kelce TE
69 Tyrann Mathieu FS
71 T.J. McDonald SS
76 Keenan Allen WR
85 Jordan Reed TE

Miami actually ended up paying two of these players premium free agent contracts. The problem in today's selection process is placing too much weight on profile numbers and not enough on what's on film. Jeff Ireland's glaring example with Dion Jordan should serve as the poster child for every want-to-be general manager.

It is obvious, Ireland was unprepared for the 3rd pick in that draft. Looking at the first round players, Oakland knew every player in the 3rd slot could be had with the 12th or indeed, the 42nd pick. There were some good offensive linemen at the top of that draft, but Ireland was under pressure to make something happen. He had submarined his coach in a power play, leaving his owner hanging out to dry. Ireland needed to take a chance. In the end, it cost him his job and very nearly his career.

Oakland ended up with D.J. Hayden and Menelik Watson. Watson never turned into much, but Hayden has been a starter in the league since that draft. What rings true is, there are very few can't miss prospects. The only position worth taking risks on is the quarterback. The irony is, there was only one QB taken in the 1st round of that draft, EJ Manuel. In fact, there was only one QB taken in the second round, Geno Smith. Not one true starting QB came from the 2013 draft.

If the only reason to trade up is for a QB, Jeff Ireland did it in the poorest NFL QB draft class in the last twenty years. Ireland believing Ryan Tannehill was a franchise quarterback in 2012, created a disaster from which, the Miami Dolphins have yet to recover.

The reason for this comparison is only two possible franchise QBs are available in this draft, Dwayne Haskins and Kyler Murray. Neither of these QBs is an absolute sure thing which means, the teams at the top of this draft will be looking to opt-out.

Miami must not, for any reason become a player in these reindeer games. The second and third rounds of this draft overflow with talent and this is the prefect year to forget the splash and trade down.

Tyrod Taylor and Teddy Bridgewater have both opted for contracts as backup quarterbacks rather than join the Miami Dolphins as a one-year starter.

The term "placeholder quarterback" has become vogue when discussing the position in Miami. Miami is looking to stock draft picks in the coming years and the most painful way to do that is by losing starters through free agency and not replacing them. This creates opportunities for compensatory draft picks the following year.

If Taylor or Bridgewater was a starting free agent QB in Miami (and indeed, they would) then it would displace the loss of Wake or James. Those two players will start on other teams and by not replacing them, Miami earns compensatory draft picks.

Bridgewater or his agent may have an over inflated idea of his value, but if a QB is coming to a team as the starter, than he should be paid as a starter. Why get killed and not get paid? Miami is not willing to pay a placeholder quarterback and hence, they have no incentive to come to Miami.

The press will malign the Dolphins as a place no quarterback is willing to play. The truth is, this is the pain Miami must endure to erase the errors reaching all the way back to Jeff Ireland.

It's interesting how none of this is ever tied to a man named Bill Parcells, but it was Parcells who began the downhill run. Parcells hired Ireland and Sparano (RIP) without understanding, once Jeff Ireland smelled the scent of power, the strength would overwhelm him.

The Dolphins swapped their 6th round pick for a 7th round pick in the 2019 draft and obtained a 4th round pick in the 2020 draft in trade for QB Ryan Tannehill.

The Dolphins understand, 2019 is not going to be a pretty season so why add players now. It means a QB position manned with marginal talent that will not impair the ability to obtain compensatory draft picks. It also assures the team will not be very good.

It's going to be a tough ride for Miami fans... Rigorously adhering to a plan is painful but there is some relief. In the past, Miami was under the illusion of being constantly one player away from a playoff team. They did not seem to understand the difference between a minor playoff team and a Super Bowl caliber team. The new regime clearly understands this difference and it starts at quarterback.

The quest to find a great quarterback in the draft, begins now...

Buckle your seatbelts, it's going to be an interesting ride Miami Dolphin fans!

Miami Dolphins Must Pass on Kyler Murray

The NFL combine finds Dolphin fans gushing at the prospect of hands bigger than a Baker, taller than a fleeting Russell, stronger than a basking Haskins...

It's Super Kyler!

He, with Heisman Trophy hoisted high, fills the Miami skies with footballs flung like rockets into every corner of the stadium. Super Kyler, able to leap tall rushers in a single bound, leads a band of first-year coaches on a journey to the rarified grass of Super Bowl's past.

Super Kyler, winner of three state high school championships, rips off 4 second forty's while juggling intricate passing routes and blocking schemes.

Disguised as mild mannered, cool as a cucumber quarterback, with a perfect moral compass, fights a never-ending battle against the evil forces of player profiling everywhere.

Kyler Murray, the savior of the Miami Dolphins, destined to break the stigma that has stifled Heisman Trophy winning QBs since Jim Plunkett won the Super Bowl in 1981.

It's that time of year ladies and gentleman, when lights shine brightly on the Underwear Olympics. Where pro-days extol the greatness of passes thrown to uncovered receivers, stopwatches click the virtues of speed unheard of, and bench presses uncover the superhuman strength hidden beneath flabby exteriors.

Meaningless information, when a film-room will quickly show whether real football production lurks beneath the flashy numbers.

It's the motion of the ocean, not the size of the wave. It's the size of the fight in the dog, not the size of the dog in the fight. It's the production shown on that tape, therein lies the hope of Kyler Murray. An overtime loss to the Georgia Bulldogs kept Oklahoma from a chance at the national title where Murray may have cemented his legend.

Size is always in question, because NFL players fit neatly into prototypical profiles. Football is likened to chess and mistaking a pawn for a queen is instant death. Two quarterbacks that were less than 6 feet tall have each won a single Super Bowl in the last 30 years. That is 28 other winners and every multiple winner - ever.

The implications are not that a less than 6 foot tall QB cannot win the Super Bowl, the implications are that it is statistically unlikely. It's even more unlikely that quarterback will win more than one. Here is where a rebuilding team must think clearly about the future. There are enough improbabilities in selecting football players, why add to those by risking even greater improbability.

When a team is ranked near the bottom offensively and defensively, there is an obvious lack of talent across the entire roster. There is one position that can make up for that lack of talent and every team in the NFL is looking for it, the quarterback.

Miami, having somehow won 6 games, will more than likely have to vault over other teams to select Super Kyler. This means, they will not only be taking a huge chance on the size of the fight in the dog, but they will also have to give up other potential pieces needed to rebuild a faulty roster.

All jocularity aside, the only Super Kyler question the Miami Dolphins need ponder is what to do if he is still available at 13. In which case, the team should sell him off to the highest bidder. Miami would be much better served not taking a bold but foolish chance on the diminutive quarterback.

Miami is rebuilding because of foolhardy decision-making, drafting first round players like Charles Harris, DeVante Parker, Dion Jordan and alas even Ryan Tannehill. These players are no better than any second or third round talent in the same class. These players were mere fodder for a smart team looking to gain more from second and third round picks.

Here's the 2019 rundown from a team that plays the draft game very well.

1st: 32nd
2nd: 56th
2nd: 64th
3rd: 73rd
3rd: 97th
3rd: 101st

In those same three rounds, the Miami Dolphins will select:

1st: 13
2nd: 48
3rd: 78

The mistakes of the past resonate in those numbers...

There is a sentiment, that a quarterback must be selected even if it proves wrong, because the position dictates the game and hence Super Kyler is on the radar of every Miami fan. It is the absolute truth, Miami must find a QB, but they would be foolish to trade up for Super Kyler, knowing it would take all of the selections listed above to pull it off.

There is one thing Super Kyler cannot resolve in Miami...

Kyler Murray cannot absolve the sins of the past. Murray cannot wipe out Mike Tannenbaum's mistakes that have left the Dolphins without picks or salary cap room. The reason Tannenbaum made those mistakes is because winning now was more important than sustaining a team capable of winning every season.

The year is not right for Miami to take a chance on Kyler Murray. There will be another Super Kyler next year and the year after. A cap healthy Miami team, well stocked with starting talent, will be in the position to select him. This year, unfortunately the Dolphins must pass.

Super Kyler will be leaping tall rushers on another team.

While the Miami Dolphins fix the mistakes of the past...

Should the Miami Dolphins Draft Kyler Murray

In openly claiming to rebuild, the Miami Dolphins have effectively shoved Ryan Tannehill out the door. The quarterback drafted by Jeff Ireland and retained by a multitude of fired regimes has been the defining Dolphin mistake. A repeat mistake will leave the team wallowing in mediocrity for another decade.

In the simplest terms, quarterback play dictates NFL success. Debating the merits of each individual player has made the NFL draft a unique American pastime. The shows, the mocks, the experts, many of whom have never stepped foot on an NFL field will pollute the airways with opinions. All culminating in the moment commissioner Roger Goodell steps to the podium and announces the name holding the key to Miami's future.

Mocking the Miami Dolphins, Mel Kiper has Kyler Murray slotted for pick thirteen. The diminutive Heisman Trophy winner is the most compelling player in the 2019 draft, but is he the future of the Dolphins?

The moment falls on Chris Grier, his chance for genius or his moment of folly. Fate is a cruel twist of timing when a year ago five first round QBs left the stage. In 2019, only three seem worthy and only one is beyond debate. As one of the first picks, Dwayne Haskins would cost Miami so much future draft stock, the pick is unrealistic.

The decision for Grier and his posse dangles on the shoulders of a 5'9" young man with undeniable skill, trapped in a tiny body. Those who played little league football remember Kyler Murray. The little guy with so much speed and shiftiness, no one could tackle him. His team won, it won everywhere he played.

Murray is a three-time state high school football champion. Murray took the Oklahoma Sooners to the college football final four. Murray won the Heisman Trophy. Murray was the ninth pick in the major league baseball draft. Murray is a winner, and this fact is beyond debate.

Unfortunately, time catches up to all of us, faster for some and slower for others. Murray will not grow any taller and adding weight would be detrimental to his game. Time has caught up to Murray. Unlike a gangly Tom Brady stumbling along the 40-yard dash still growing into his body, Murray is done growing.

Any illusion of getting more than what is present with Murray is a mistake. Leading to the ultimate question, can Kyler Murray be an NFL franchise QB? No one can answer this question definitively. Mel Kiper is gambling the Miami Dolphins are willing to take that chance. Beyond a doubt, some team will make Murray a rich man, but is it worth the gamble?

Drew Brees and Russell Wilson are the obvious reference points, both have won a Super Bowl, both are taller than Murray. Brees is one of the all time greats, a future hall-of-famer, but how does that relate to Murray? Brees and Wilson were both good college QBs, neither was a Heisman contender, niether was a first round draft pick, both were still growing when they entered the NFL.

Murray signed a $4.75 million dollar baseball contract apparently without understanding his NFL prospects. When someone close to him realized he would likely become an NFL first round pick, he dropped the baseball money and proclaimed his love of football.

Football, that would guarantee much more than $4.75 million dollars. No one can blame him for this, but in his mind, he knew baseball was probably the sport his body would most likely allow him to play. Money is what changed that perspective.

As a true freshman in 2015 at Texas A&M, Murray appeared in games as a backup with several starts late in the season. On December 24, 2015, Murray announced that he was transferring to the University of Oklahoma. He sat out the 2016 season per NCAA transfer rules. In 2017, Murray was a backup to Baker Mayfield. Murray only started one season of college football.

In a disturbing interview with Dan Patrick, Murray was completely indecisive. He was reluctant to answer even the simplest question. The interview got to the point where Patrick stopped asking Murray questions and began to ask Murray's father to answer what Murray thought. It had eerie reminiscings of Todd Marinovich...

Football and football alone must be the basis of any Miami Dolphin decision. List the positives, next to the negatives and see if one clearly outweighs the other.

Arm strength
Winning history

Very little college experience
No Pro style offense experience
Questionable decision-making
Money-first mentality

The college game is not a great indicator of whether a player will make it in the NFL. College offenses are dissimilar to most pro-sets and the Miami Dolphins can determine whether Murray is a fit by self-examination.

By essentially stealing the New England coaching staff, the Dolphins will be running a version of the Erhardt-Perkins offense. It is a multi-formational pro-set that uses two sided pattern calls for passing routes.

The offense is effective when the quarterback has an in-depth understanding and is able to make quick decisions, on the patterns, formations and blocking schemes. Kyler Murray does not appear to be a fit for the Erhardt-Perkins offense.

Murray may have a great career in the NFL. The team that selects Murray must make a concerted effort to tailor their offense and players to the style of play that will make him effective. Unfortunately, Murray's size is a real concern in the NFL. The injury history of small mobile QBs (RG3) is very much against him.

By examining the facts...

The Miami Dolphins should pass on Kyler Murray.