With the possibility of the 2011 NFL season looming at large, we might as well start looking at some rookies that might push our beloved Miami Dolphins over the hump, and back into playoff relevance.
Mike Pouncey (C) - A beast of an O-Lineman with talented genes and natural ability. Has a nasty disposition, coupled with size and strength. Fits all of the general criteria to be a quality O-Lineman, though he did struggle a bit at Center last year. With quality instruction, film study, and hard work, we're looking at our next starting Center for the next decade or so. PROJECTION: Immediate Impact Player.
Daniel Thomas (RB) - Hard runner with a natural nose for finding holes and lanes to blast through. Good combination of size, speed, burst, and "football IQ". If his collegiate stats (1585 yd's, 5.31 yd's/carry avg., and 19TD's) are indicative of his true abilities... this will be the 'Fins' featured back for years to come. PROJECTION: Immediate Impact Player.
Edmond Gates (WR) - An average sized blazer, with average hands and route running ability. Played for Abilene Christian University, so stats may be misleading. Had an above average overall combine, and led his group in the 40 yd. dash time (4.31 sec's); impressive. Expect him to be split-out wide, and sent deep a lot this season, opening up the underneath routes for Brandon Marshall, Davone Bess, and Anthony Fasano. You can expect to see him make more of an impact in 2012. PROJECTION: Marginal Impact Player.
Charles Clay (FB) - Here's your classic short yardage thumper; or is he? Good size (6'2", 245 lbs.) and lower body strength, with the ability to drive defenders backwards, but wait for it... the man can catch the ball! The Dolphins view him as a hybrid TE/H-Back/FB type player. A solid compliment to Daniel Thomas. Expect to see this young man lined-up all over the field attempting to create mismatches for opposing Defenses. PROJECTION: Immediate Impact Player.
Frank Kearse (DT) - A bit of an unknown, from a mediocre football program (Alabama A&M). Good size for the position (6'4", 311 lbs.), though he may struggle to get his pad level low enough to counter shorter O-Linemen. Expect him to be more of a developmental type player this year, with the possibility of an increased role in 2012. PROJECTION: Impact Player.
Jimmy Wilson (CB) - Another unknown from a relatively small football program (Montana). With limited information, it's difficult to determine what impact he may or may not have. Most likely drafted for Special Teams, positional depth, and development. PROJECTION: Impact Player.
With likely departures of both Ronnie and Ricky, we can also expect to see a free-agent splash for a veteran QB and RB as well.
Stay tuned Dol-Fans, it's gonna' be a ferocious and crazy ride here shortly!