Random Draft Musings

By Joe Tarell (AKA Quadzilla)

Every draft has a theme and this one is no different. Sometimes they are defined by the top draft pick, if it is someone who is clearly the best, but usually it is by positional strength or weakness. Last year there was a clear lack of offensive linemen and this was clear at the start of free agency when O-linemen got deals that were way too high for their skill level. Might be just the opposite this year, but most people consider it the year of the quarterback.

What is strange this year is that the best offensive lineman is a guard. This usually signals a weak class because LT is the premier position on the line and some would say is second only to QB in importance on a team. But there is a strong OT class this year, just not strong enough to out rank Quentin Nelson, the guard from Notre Dame. He might turn out to be the best player in this class 15 years from now. He is big enough and quick enough to play tackle, but has a nasty streak and the pulling ability that lends itself well to guard. He should go top five unless the QB class dominates that group. If Nelson slips some team in the second five will be very happy. There is almost no chance he gets to the Dolphins at 11 unless all six quarterbacks go in the top ten. Yes, I said six... more on that later.

There could be as many as seven O-linemen in the first round. The run will start sometime after the Redskins pick at 13. By then Nelson will be gone and those that need OL help will start taking tackles like Mike McGlinchey from Notre Dame, Connor Williams from Texas, or Kolton Miller from UCLA. But there are also interior players getting attention like Will Hernandez from UTEP who blew up the combine, Isaiah Wynn who played tackle at Georgia but projects to guard, then there are G/C players like James Daniels from Iowa, Billy Price from OSU and even Frank Ragnow from Arkansas. There is also a good second tier of players likely to go in rounds two through four.

Last year there were only two O-linemen taken in the first round but seven defensive backs and 57 total in the entire draft. Conversely, there were only 33 O-linemen taken. It won't flip flop this year but let's just say it will be more even. The DB's in this class do not have the elite talent that we have seen in years past. The consensus number one corner, Denzel Ward from OSU, is only 5'10" and is not really a consensus. Many people see the two safeties, Derwin James from FSU and Minkah Fitzpatrick from Alabama going ahead of a CB. By the time the first round is complete we will likely see Josh Jackson from Iowa, who has good tape but lacks measurables, Jaire Alexander from Louisville and possibly Mike Hughes from UCF. The interesting thing is that all the corners mentioned above have one thing in common; they each have but one year of starting experience because they were beaten out, transferred or injured. Ward gets the consensus label because he was beaten out by guys who were also first round picks at Ohio State.

We may still see seven or more DB's go in the first round because of the premium on those positions but it is just not that strong a class. We all know that the premium positions are those that pass the ball, protect the passer, sack the passer or defend the pass. Notice that catching it is not part of that group. WR is the hardest position to draft. They are typically among the most arrogant divas on the field but they are totally dependent on others for their success. This topic could be a full length article of its own but suffice it to say that there are very few receivers in this draft class that warrant risking the IME to draft in the first round. Maybe Calvin Ridley from Alabama but that is a risk when all you hear are excuses why he didn't have bigger numbers in college and why his small stature is not that big a deal.

For those who don't know, the term IME was coined a few years ago to try and measure a draftee’s potential to bust. It stands for Instant Millionaire Effect. Let's take some examples to clarify this effect using current or past prospects. Orlando Brown is an OT from Oklahoma who protected the Heisman winner's blind side for three years and some project as a first round talent. The IME says that if you are fat (400 lbs. in high school) and lazy (14 reps on the bench press) these deficiencies will not get better if you are drafted in the first round and guaranteed 12 to 25 million dollars. Reuben Foster from Alabama was widely considered one of the top five most talented players last year, but went 31st to the 49ers because he had failed drug tests and got kicked out of the combine for abusive behavior with some medical staffers. Perhaps had he fallen out of round one and out of the guaranteed millionaire category he might have gotten humbled and would not have three felony charges right now.

The Wide Receiver position is becoming the Dime-a-Dozen position that RB has been in recent years. RB has had that label because it used to be that the best kid on every Pop Warner field was put at RB so by the time you got to the NFL they were all really good so you don't want to waste a first round pick on one who will be out of the league in four years anyway because of the abuse on their body. When looking at the talent in this draft at WR, and considering the IME and diva potential, most teams will wait until later in the draft and try to get someone with skills that is a little hungrier and might actually block someone. With the proliferation of the spread at lower levels of football and most parents scared of little Johnny getting hurt, everybody wants to be a WR. It is likely we see more TE's than WR's in the first round for the first time ever.

There are three or four TE's likely to go high with Mike Gesicki from Penn State the most talented, Hayden Hurst from South Carolina the most complete and Dallas Goedert the most intriguing. Goedert has some great tape. The problem is he played at South Dakota State and has yet to run a 40. He was never wide open against inferior competition, but yet he caught everything thrown his way. Gesicki has sick skills, running a 4.54 with 41 inch vertical at nearly 6'6" and had good production in the Big Ten but he has yet to meet a defender he wanted to block. Hurst seems to be the best combo TE but he is 25 years old after washing out in pro baseball because of the yips (I thought those were only in golf). And finally there is Mark Andrews from Oklahoma who is less talented than Gesicki, but with more production (perhaps because he had a Heisman winner as his QB and roommate).

The defensive line is not particularly strong this year, especially when it comes to pass rushers. Bradley Chubb from NC State is considered the best and then it drops off quite a bit. Marcus Davenport is the Jason Pierre Paul, Barkevious Mingo of this draft class. He is built like the next Charles Haley, but he played at UT San Antonio. Maybe he is JPP or maybe he is Barkevious; someone will be intrigued enough by the measurables to gamble on him in the first round. Harold Landry from Boston College should go in the first round but only to a 3-4 teams that projects him to OLB even though he had his hand in the dirt as a 250 pound DE in college. He has the bend and speed to get around the corner so he is worth the risk even if he is just a situational pass rusher until he gets a little bigger and stronger.

The interior of the DL is also a little sparse with first round talent. Vita Vea from Washington is the best of this group and can really move for a 340 pounder. Having played some running back in high school he has the look of a bigger version Warren Sapp. There is pretty big drop off after that to DaRon Payne from Alabama and Taven Bryan from Florida. Payne is not the athlete that Bryan is but he has the production. Bryan gets an IME label though because when you see talented, but lazy in college, it doesn't usually get better with a fat bank account. Some would say that Maurice Hurst from Michigan is the best of the bunch, and if the NFL team's doctors give his heart a clean bill of health he could go before any of them.

Okay so we have gone this far without mentioning the quarterbacks why not wait a little longer. There are a few special players in this draft, but they are not at the premium positions. Nelson was already mentioned and next in line is Saquon Barkley, the RB from Penn State. He is really special in that he runs, catches, blocks, returns and has been known to throw. He should be special... for four or five years. The other guys who look like they could be special are LB’s Roquan Smith from Georgia and Tremaine Edmunds out of Virgina Tech. Smith is a little small but he plays really fast and had big time production against big time talent. Edmunds looks like a Brian Urlacher clone and he is only 19 years old with a great football family pedigree. Neither of these guys are rush linebackers so that hurts their draft value but they can both make a ton of plays and most importantly, especially for Dolphin fans, they are three down linebackers, playing the pass as well as the run. Leighton Vander Esch from Boise State could go later in the first round, but doesn't have enough quality tape to compare to these two LB's.

And finally we get to those six quarterbacks I mentioned earlier; Baker Mayfield, OU, Sam Darnold, USC, Josh Rosen, UCLA, Josh Allen, Wyoming, Mason Rudolph, OK State and Lamar Jackson from Louisville. And yes, I would draft them in that order. Allen, Rudolph and Jackson do not belong in the first round but, you know, that whole premium position thing. The key is to decide who needs one badly enough to take one at their position in the draft order or trade into a spot to get one. The Jets have already played their hand, and Cleveland is so bad at drafting QB's they should take two. The Giants are smoke screening about not picking a QB.  Eli Manning is old, he was never that great anyway and nobody expects them to be drafting at number two again anytime soon. Buffalo and Arizona do not have an adequate starter. So there are five landing spots. Throw in New England, Pittsburgh, LA Chargers and New Orleans who have old starters and Miami, Jacksonville and Denver who have questionable starters along with Cincinnati and Baltimore who should be questioning their starters, and it is easy to see six go in the first 32 or 35 picks.

So, if you were paying attention there is a mock draft in there. There were 37 names of players in this draft mentioned above, not counting Orlando Brown who was mentioned only so he could be disparaged. You guys figure out what order and to whom and that's a pretty good guesstimate of who gets picked on Thursday the 26th. This list is lighter on WR and RB and heavier on OL and TE than some, but everybody has their biases. Put them in order, let’s see your best mock.

For the Miami Dolphins, it's all in a Name

The Miami Dolphins continue to interview quarterback candidates and leak information about selecting one in the 2018 draft. If QB is king, the name-game and misinformation is closer to the Game of Thrones leading up to the NFL draft.

One name-game to guide them...

One name-game to rule them all...

If the Dolphins can scare enough teams into leaping ahead for one of this coveted class of signal callers, then the players Miami really wants will fall in their lap. Adam Gase may indeed love Baker Mayfield, and Josh Rosen may be a perfect match for Gase’s whispering, but it’s all enticement to lure other teams into the web of deceit.

It is possible one of these players will actually fall, there are mock drafts with this year’s biggest arm, Josh Allen falling to the 2nd round. There’s local Phenom and Heisman trophy winner Lamar Jackson wondering what he has to do to get into the mix at 11. Of course, there are trade up with the Colts rumors and trade down rumors circulating everywhere on the internet.

It’s the wonderment and pageantry of the NFL Draft…

In year’s past, entire businesses were established to publish magazines cataloging college players. It was the Sears Catalog of sports, stats and body measurements ranked and rated by a select few insiders who made a living scouting players.

Then the internet happened…

Just like every Smart Phone junky with a Tweeter account can troll till their heart’s content, every adroit or even casual fan can become a draft expert. No one seems certain if it’s Mayfield, Rosen, Darnold or Allen who will attempt to become the savior in Cleveland. There are even pundits believing the Browns should select Saquon and let the QB that falls to pick number 4 be the guy.

The real problem for NFL teams is in the names…

Baker Mayfield
Sam Darnold
Josh Rosen
Josh Allen

See, QBs need the proper name to go with the face of the franchise. Baker Mayfield, come-on, that’s unfair! Baker Mayfield, if that name doesn’t sound like the next Joe Montana or Dan Marino, I don’t know which does.

Sam Darnold is good, it has a ring. Josh Rosen or Josh Allen, well they’re okay, but they’re no Andrew Luck, that’s for certain.

It circles back to Miami - Ryan Tannehill. There it is, all in a name, Ryan Tannehill… See, “Baker” is going to turn into a name of its own, when someone says Baker, it won’t be a poem about a candle stick maker, it’ll be the great NFL quarterback Baker Mayfield.

Ryan Tannehill is distinctly mediocre or maybe even a little less. It just doesn’t roll off the tongue, even the nick-name people have tried.


It’s like no one even wants to type the whole name. Miami is presently filled with crappy names at QB. David Fales, my goodness, it’s amazing this poor guy has survived as a back-up for so long with a name like “Fales!”

Brock Osweiler… Really!

Ryan Tannehill
Brock Osweiler
David Fales

Jesus, T-Hill doesn’t sound that bad when you look at these names together…

The first time the name-game came up at our draft gathering was way back with a wide receiver named - Limas Sweed. Poor Limas never had a chance. I’m not sure what his mom was thinking, but it is just a name that was never destined for greatness.

Ryan Tannehill, sounds like a great proctologist, but an NFL franchise QB, maybe not. Brock Osweiler or David Fales, definitely not!

Lamar Jackson is okay, not great, but better than we got!

Mason Rudolph? That one’s really interesting. It’s could range from some haughty zillionaire’s son, to a red-nosed reindeer’s cousin but it definitely has a ring. It just may not inspire guys with distinctly other-side-of-the-tracks type of names.

It’s all about the locker room, a lawyer’s name may not ring with fellows who feel the need to kneel at the symbol of their country’s laws, but I digress…

Luke Falk… Use the fork Luke, I mean the force! No, it’s not a bad name, really!

So where are we on this name thing? I think I’m on to something and we need to check back in a few years and see if it all pans out…

Baker Mayfield
Sam Darnold
Lamar Jackson

Those three names are melodic, Mayfield is by far the best, Darnold and Jackson are good. In the case of reality, it means Lamar Jackson is the Miami Dolphin’s choice. Mayfield and Darnold will be gone at 11 and Jackson could survive until 42, but it’s very unlikely, because it’s all in a name…

Ever notice how the winner of those weekly pick the team pools is always some nit-wit who says, “I just picked the names I liked!” They’re laughing at us, right…

“Call me nit-wit while you hand over your $20.00 bill, nit-wit!”

How about a little closer to the truth, Roquan Smith? Roquan? I’m sure someone in their tweeter fueled anonymity will jump me for daring to say, Roquan is just not very good. Sorry - me no likey!

Tremaine Edmunds…

I’m going with Tremaine, it has a certain flow that seems to glide off the tongue, like Tremaine gliding through the middle of the defense and bashing a running back.

“On the tackle, Tremaine Edmunds!” “Tremaine Edmunds just slipped through the entire offensive line and planted that QB on his backside!”

“And with the eleventh pick in the draft, the Miami Dolphins select…”

Tremaine Edmunds

The Miami Dolphin's Best Players = Mediocrity

Allowing the Miami Dolphin off-season decisions to marinate before joining the brashly negative local and national commentary has brought a new perspective.

What exactly were the Miami Dolphins with Ndamukong Suh, Jarvis Landry and Mike Pouncey?

Is it possible to break the chain of mediocrity without breaking the master links holding it in place?

The Dolphins had the highest paid Defensive player in the league for several seasons. It brought only one very fortuitous lost playoff game.
Points allowed in the years with Ndamukong Suh found Miami ranked 29th in 2017, 18th in 2016 and 19th in 2015. The purpose of using these numbers is not a negative indictment of Suh’s athletic prowess. It’s a realization that one of, if not the best defensive tackle in the NFL, is simply not impactful.

A defensive tackle, even the very best
defensive tackle, does not often impact games in the NFL…

Many pundits believe Gerald McCoy of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers is better than Suh, 2017 – 22nd, 2016 – 15th, 2015 – 26th… The thing is, McCoy and Suh are really good and their defenses are not. Tampa even has two of the best young LBs in the game and yet, they’re not very good.

The question that must be asked is, what positions are truly impactful in the NFL?

Mike Pouncey made several pro bowl appearances, all while playing on one of the worst offensive lines in the NFL. The people who judge these things should know which players are good and Pouncey got their vote. Yet, the offensive line as a whole was not good. The conclusion has to be that center is not an impactful position in the NFL.

Pouncey was the leader of that unit and the highest paid player. Again, this is not an indictment against Mike Pouncey’s ability, it’s an observation that his position does not impact the NFL game and yet he was one of the highest paid players on the Miami Dolphins.

Jarvis Landry has caught more passes than any player in their first 4 years in NFL history. In 2017, Miami ranked 28th in offensive scoring, 2016 – 16th, 2015 – 27th, 2014 – 11th. Landry wanted to be paid for his accomplishments, which are clearly elite, but they had little impact on Miami’s offensive prowess.

It seems oversimplified to place the mediocrity of the Miami Dolphins on its best players. Perhaps those players are taking the heat or are justification for the mediocrity of the rest of their teammates, but...

Isn’t that how it works?

Aren’t the best and highest paid players the ones who must make an impact? Not all players can get the big contracts and therefore, the ones that do must make a difference and clearly, they have not.

Getting paid for their talent is exactly what players should strive for, it’s up to the management to decide which players impact the bottom line...


It appears winning or lack thereof, is exactly what has led to the release of these players.

As observers, we cannot know precisely what goes on behind the scenes or in the huddle, but we can make some assumptions. Jarvis Landry could not possibly have caught more balls than any player in NFL history if he had not been thrown more balls than any player in NFL history. How can this be true and not an assumption?

Catch rate is a term used to determine the amount of times a receiver catches a ball thrown to him.

Landry 70.2 percent
Amendola 68.7 percent

Landry catches a ball thrown to him 1.5% more often than Danny Amendola, that’s it, 1.5% more often. It is not an assumption that Landry has been targeted many, many more times than Amendola, it's a fact.

This is the point where it all makes sense…

If Adam Gase wants a more diversified offense, a single player cannot expect to lead the league in receptions. If Adam Gase wants a more diversified offense, a single player cannot expect 25 carries a game (Jay Ajayi).

Paying Landry would have had the same impact as having paid Suh and Pouncey, mediocrity...

All for the exact same reason, a slot receiver is not very impactful…

Suh, Pouncey and Landry, while very good football players have not impacted the mediocre Miami Dolphins. Perhaps it’s justification for past mistakes, like giving Suh the massive contract in the first place. In a bottom line business, Miami was not winning with these guys as the leaders.

The revolving door of head coaches has had no effect and therefore, is not the problem...

The Miami Dolphins have broken the chain of insanity; they have officially stopped doing the same thing over and over again to fix the same problem…

This is only the first step, now the Dolphins must find the impact players that will lead them back to respectability. A great QB, offensive tackles, defensive ends and cornerbacks. These are the impact positions in the game of football.

Paying great players at non-impact positions has little or no effect on the bottom line…