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.


T-Hill...

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...


Winning...

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…

Winning

Free Agency Repeat for new Thread

 Previous Thread was full,
This is FA part of previous post,
just simply for fresh thread at
4 PM opening of league New Year.

Hmmmm?
While we were away.
It seems as though that lonely cricket chirping in the South Florida distance has lured a bunch of potential mates, and I've taken the liberty to name the suddenly noisy swarm induvidually.

So forget about all the QB-Stuff above,
but remember that over the next few days Kirk Cousins destination is what will decide Miami's positional target at pick 11 come draft day. (For Now)!!


Here are the names (with a brief synopsis) found to be potentially affordable mates for Your Miami Dolphins. Perhaps one, two, a few, or the likes of such can be gathered at the bottom of Miami's historied bug-zapper?


Line-Backer

4-3 ILB/OLB Anthony Hitchens 6-0, 235, (26) started 48 of 60 career games with Dallas

ILB Preston Brown 6-1, 251, (25) has 62 starts in 64 career games for Buffalo

4-3 LB Tahir Whitehead 6-2, 241, (27) started his last 31 Lions games played

4-3 OLB Nigel Bradham 6-2, 241, (28)  has started 56 consecutive games from 2014 - 2017


Slot-Receiver

Kendall Wright 5-10, 185, (28) has accrued 3858 yards, and 19 Touchdowns over his career

Taylor Gabrial 5-8, 165, (27) with a career 1819 yards with 8 TD's

Albert Wilson 5-9, 200, (26) totals are 1544 with 7 touchdowns

An old draftee favorite Tavon Austin may also hit the market

Personally, I have a good case for our own Jakeem Grant, so we're good minus one of the above!


Safety (some say that TJ McDonald could potentially play OLB) should Miami land a ball-hawking Safety. While we all know that one can never have too many DB's, especially in today's game of arial attack!

Tre Boston 6-1, 205, (25) had five 2017 interceptions in his one year prove it stint for the Chargers with 8 for his career and two touchdowns

Tavon Wilson 6-0, 212, (27) has 8 career interceptions with 3 coming along with 3 sacks in his last 23 starts


Tackle, Guard, Center

Justin Pugh 6-5, 311, (27) has 63 starts in 63 games played at tackle for NYG

Chris Hubbard 6-4, 295, (26) had 10 starts for Pittsburgh at Guard & Tackle in 2017

Senio Kelemele 6-3, 300, (27) has 17 starts at Guard for Saints over last 31 games

Weston Richburg 6-4, 300, (26) has 50 starts in 51 games played primarily as a Center for the NY Giants

Ryan Jensen 6-4, 319, (27) started 16 games at C & G for the Ravens in 2017


Tight-End

Austin Seferian-Jenkins (((6-5, 262, 25))) has accrued 1070 yards over his short career with a 10.2 average per catch and 10 touchdowns. He's had some off the field issues with alcohol that have detoured his career, but those concerns are suggested to be history

Trey (initially the lone cricket) Burton 6-3, 235, (26) had 5 TD's in 2017 with just one start for a 10.8 average per catch as a World Champion Eagle


Hopeful, Eventual Dolphin Free Agent Returnees, (if positions are not addressed entirely via FA & Draft)

Safety Michael Thomas
Safety Walt Aikens
DLineman William Hayes
DLineman Terrance Fede
OT Sam Young
OG Jermon Bushrod
TE Anthony Fasano
RB Damian Williams
LS John Denney
K Cody Parkey


GOFINS!!!

Miami Dolphins Free Agency Fairy-Tale

Imagine the sound of silence,
or the faint chirp of a lonely cricket in the distance. NOT!

The 2018 season begins this week with the opening of Free Agency on March 14th.Teams can begin speaking to, and negotiating with NFL veteran free agents today the 12th while nothing heard can become official until Wednesday.

Miami's Dolphins are presently 3 plus million over the cap, so they arent epected to be much of a player, but it is expected that they will rearrange some things in order to get somewhere near 20 million in cap space by the 14th.

The Dolphins rival NY Jets have the most available money with 90 plus million in space, nearly 100 million more dollars than Miami. Just a few days ago (prior to a handful of trades), the Cleveland Browns had 115 million more dollars than the South Beach gang.

Therefore. Unlike many of the most recent 3 to 5 years, The Miami Dolphins will not win this years free agency period. Meanwhile, though it's been suggested that they've won those past off-seasons, it hasn't translated to the field (in most cases). So perhaps this forced upon new approach will lead to a different outcome?

This year like no other, the draft will have to be where Miami has to find great success. Though they may come up with enough space to purchase the rights to a few 4 to 5 million dollar veteran prospects. The direction taken come draft day will rely heavily on what other teams do via free agency at the QB position.

Miami needs a stud LB with the 11th pick of the draft. They also (should he be at 11) may have interest in a particular one of the top four draftee QB prospects? Those four are Baker Mayfield, Josh Allen, Josh Rosen, and Sam Darnold.

The teams that may also be interested in said prospects includes the Browns with the number one pick of the draft. The Browns (who landed their veteran QB through a recent trade) are certain to grab a QB for the future in the draft with pick #1 or #4. Who that QB will be is uncertain, but none-the-less it will leave one fewer of the four QB prospects available for Miami to potentially choose from.

Should the Browns take the top RB Barkley with the first pick? They will not trade pick #4 as this QB class is too good to pass up on the future with a top 4 pick (for those without a star veteran in place).

The #2 picking Colts minus a Barkley could possibly find interest in a QB seeing that Andrew Luck (though on the road to recovery) hasn't played in nearly two years.

#3 Giants also like Barkley and may lean toward Eli Mannings eventual replacement, if Barkley is gone. Though new HC Pat Shurmur suggest that Eli has a few more good years in him. So maybe they go for a protector of Mr. Manning?

#4 Cleveland as suggested have already landed their veteran QB in Tyrod Taylor, and aren't likely to go after any of the FA QB's, but they will indeed grab a rookie QB with pick one or four. If they get their QB with #1, and Barkley is gone at #4? They then may consider trading this pick to a QB hungry Dolphins (who don't really have the ammo), Cardinals, Bills, or Vikings.

#5 Denver will be pursuing a top FA QB, and unless they land the only truly reliable starting FA QB (Kirk Cousins). They too will also be drafting a QB with this pick.

#6 NY Jets, (see Denver), same story.

#11 Miami doesnt at this very moment need a rookie QB for the 2018 season, but they sure could use one toward the future, especially if that one that they like has an IT about him and is available at pick 11.

Miami (if they intend on having an outside chance of landing a top four QB in this coming draft at pick 11)?
They will need Cousins to sign with Denver or the NY Jets, so that one of the two doesn't bother with a first round QB prospect. Whoever spends 25 plus million on Cousins as their future is not likely to pursue a rookie QB in the first round. That particular team will be far more likely to choose protecting their investment with a weapon, blocker, or even a defensive selection.

If one of the QB needy teams below land the one true starting quality FA QB Cousins, or trade up in the draft ahead of Miami's pick at 11? Ball game over for The Dolphins chances at a Mayfield, Allen, Rosen, or Darnold.

#15 Cardinals are a QB-less team at this moment and will be pursuing a FA QB. Depending on which FA QB they land, a first round QB draftee could also be on the agenda. Miami Dolphin fans will be watching the bottom-line ticker during FA while hoping not to see that Arizona, or Minnesota lands Cousins.

Same for Miami as far as it goes with the Bills who have a cow chip load of ammo to move up!! Though if they were to land Cousins, they'd need not trade into the top 10 for a QB draftee. But again. If Cousins goes to a team that picks after 11? At least 3 of the top 4 QB draftee's will be gone by pick six, let-alone by the time Miami's turn comes.

In order for Miami to have an opportunity at a top four QB with pick 11. It all revolves around where Kirk Cousins signs! If he signs with the Bronco's or (Jets preferably) who pick ahead of Miami, and the Cardinals, Bills, and Vikings don't find a way to pick before the Dolphins in the draft? A QB draftee prospect with an IT about him may potentially find his way to pick 11 and the Bakers heat of Miami.

Otherwise.
Miami will far more likely than not land an extremely desirable LB. Watch the bottom line ticker for where Kirk Cousins lands. When that signing becomes official the fate of Miami's ((target at pick at 11)) will be determined. Though they themselves may have a plan of their own to move up?

Of Four.
Cleveland takes one rookie QB.
Hope that Indy & NYG don't.
Broncos and Jets each take one which leaves possibly just one for Miami five picks later. Unless Denver or NYJ lands Cousins which could leave a choice of two QB draftee prospects for Miami at 11. If Cardinals, Bills, and Vikings don't get into the top ten picks!


Hmmmm?
While we were away.
It seems as though that lonely cricket chirping in the South Florida distance has lured a bunch of potential mates, and I've taken the liberty to name the suddenly noisy swarm induvidually.

So forget about all the QB-Stuff above,
but remember that over the next few days Kirk Cousins destination is what will decide Miami's positional target at pick 11 come draft day. (For Now)!!


Here are the names (with a brief synopsis) found to be potentially affordable mates for Your Miami Dolphins. Perhaps one, two, a few, or the likes of such can be gathered at the bottom of Miami's historied bug-zapper?


Line-Backer

4-3 ILB/OLB Anthony Hitchens 6-0, 235, (26) started 48 of 60 career games with Dallas

ILB Preston Brown 6-1, 251, (25) has 62 starts in 64 career games for Buffalo

4-3 LB Tahir Whitehead 6-2, 241, (27) started his last 31 Lions games played

4-3 OLB Nigel Bradham 6-2, 241, (28)  has started 56 consecutive games from 2014 - 2017


Slot-Receiver

Kendall Wright 5-10, 185, (28) has accrued 3858 yards, and 19 Touchdowns over his career

Taylor Gabrial 5-8, 165, (27) with a career 1819 yards with 8 TD's

Albert Wilson 5-9, 200, (26) totals are 1544 with 7 touchdowns

An old draftee favorite Tavon Austin may also hit the market

Personally, I have a good case for our own Jakeem Grant, so we're good minus one of the above!


Safety (some say that TJ McDonald could potentially play OLB) should Miami land a ball-hawking Safety. While we all know that one can never have too many DB's, especially in today's game of arial attack!

Tre Boston 6-1, 205, (25) had five 2017 interceptions in his one year prove it stint for the Chargers with 8 for his career and two touchdowns

Tavon Wilson 6-0, 212, (27) has 8 career interceptions with 3 coming along with 3 sacks in his last 23 starts


Tackle, Guard, Center

Justin Pugh 6-5, 311, (27) has 63 starts in 63 games played at tackle for NYG

Chris Hubbard 6-4, 295, (26) had 10 starts for Pittsburgh at Guard & Tackle in 2017

Senio Kelemele 6-3, 300, (27) has 17 starts at Guard for Saints over last 31 games

Weston Richburg 6-4, 300, (26) has 50 starts in 51 games played primarily as a Center for the NY Giants

Ryan Jensen 6-4, 319, (27) started 16 games at C & G for the Ravens in 2017


Tight-End

Austin Seferian-Jenkins (((6-5, 262, 25))) has accrued 1070 yards over his short career with a 10.2 average per catch and 10 touchdowns. He's had some off the field issues with alcohol that have detoured his career, but those concerns are suggested to be history

Trey (initially the lone cricket) Burton 6-3, 235, (26) had 5 TD's in 2017 with just one start for a 10.8 average per catch as a World Champion Eagle


Hopeful, Eventual Dolphin Free Agent Returnees, (if positions are not addressed entirely via FA & Draft)

Safety Michael Thomas
DLineman William Hayes
DLineman Terrance Fede
OT Sam Young
OG Jermon Bushrod
TE Anthony Fasano
RB Damian Williams
LS John Denney
K Cody Parkey


GOFINS!!!


























Ignore Miami Dolphin Smokescreens – It’s Roquan Smith

G-day Shouters! Before our esteemed Kenny V delves into his Miami Dolphin centric draft analysis, I’d like to follow up on Miami’s defensive needs as I see them.

A previous article dissected how Miami’s lack of a potent weapon at TE affected the team’s ability to take advantage of opposing defenses. The same position had a disastrous effect on the Miami Dolphin defense. When thinking about the draft or free agent player acquisitions, in Miami…

It all revolves around the tight end.

Looking at some startling stats, I heard a Bill Parcells echo, “Stats are for losers!” Of course, Bill’s won a couple more Super Bowls than this average writer, so his words should not be taken for granted. Specific stats probably have little value in the big picture, but a distinct accumulation in a single area shows undeniable trends. It would be equally foolish not to heed the warning these tendencies indicate.

Adam Gase said something like, “people (PFF) do not know the defensive call or Kiko Alonso’s responsibility and should not criticize him on things they don’t know. He may be pursuing a guy he wasn’t specifically covering, but without knowing the call, they assume he missed the coverage.”

Those were not his exact words, but pretty close and for the most part, I agree. I don’t know the call, but what I do know is, TEs caught the ball, over, and over, and over again in the middle of the Miami defense.


Making such a statement tells us a couple things; no kudos were given for the defensive scheme, and the other linebackers on the team were not exonerated from responsibility.

On to the facts…

In 2017, ProFootballFocus graded Kiko Alonso as the No. 75 ranked LB in the NFL. Lawrence Timmons ranked 67th at his position and was Miami’s highest-graded LB. Miami ended the season shuffling a mixture of inexperienced players led by Chase Allen, Stephone Anthony and Mike Hull in and out of the line-up. This came after Rey Maualuga was arrested at a downtown Miami nightclub for brawling with bouncers in the wee hours before an early practice.

B-Bye Rey, hope those margaritas were de-lish!

The Dolphins allowed 94 catches by tight ends (most in the league) and 1034 receiving yards to tight ends (only Oakland – at 1038 – relinquished more). Opposing tight ends scored 10 touchdowns against the Dolphins, tied with Cleveland for second-most and behind only the Giants (13).

The six teams that allowed the most yards against tight ends (Raiders, Dolphins, Broncos, Redskins, Giants, and Texans) went a combined 31-65 and all missed the playoffs. Of the nine teams that allowed the most catches to tight ends, all but Buffalo had losing records.

For a sanity check, the three teams that gave up the fewest yards to tight ends (Saints, Panthers, and Vikings) went a combined 35-13…

We can backpedal a little and lament the injuries to Raekwon McMillian and Koa Misi, but honestly McMillian was a rookie and Misi was never very good in coverage.


McMillian will be a welcome addition when he returns, but there’s no telling the effects knee surgery will have on his career. The tendency to count on players returning to their previous form is a dangerous flirtation with the unknown. Misi’s injury appears to be career ending and Miami paid for services rendered in 2017, Misi will not return.

All of this means, Miami must make a concentrated effort to sure up the middle of the defense and find a player capable of covering tight ends. Defenses in the NFL are more diverse than ever.


Claiming to run a 3-4 or a 4-3 is simply a placeholder for player packages based on down and distance. Slot corner Bobby McCain played more snaps in 2017 (662) than every linebacker except Alonso (1008) and Timmons (792).

The relevance of the snap counts comes into play when an opposing offense presents a scheme with two wideouts, a slot receiver and a tight end.


Miami is in a mismatch...

If Miami cannot cover a TE with a LB than the safeties must become involved in the coverage. By moving the TE in motion across the formation, the coverage safety moves with him, or not, in either case the defense is exposed. Man coverage if the safety moves, and zone coverage if he does not.

Yes, that explanation was very rudimentary, but it was also very true…


The next time you yell at the TV wondering how that big ass TE got so open, remember what you just read.

This is kinda what Gase was talking about when he defended Alonso. In a zone defense, Kiko is responsible for an area of the field, not a specific player. The TE runs a shallow cross, a skinny post or uses a legal pick to create space and it looks like Alonso blew the coverage.

He didn’t blow the coverage, he’s just not good enough to play zone or man coverage against a decent TE.

Therefore, if Alonso is the defense’s best coverage LB, it’s a serious issue…

The amount of money Miami is willing to pay for defensive linemen clearly indicates where they expect the pass rush to come from. This also means with four primary DL, the five offensive linemen should be tied up, because if they don’t double team Mr. Suh, most plays are going to get wrecked.

The point is, Miami does not need bruising middle linebackers, like they would in a 3-4, who constantly take on OL. Miami needs athletic, almost hybrid type LBs, that can sneak around behind the huge line and are fleet enough to cover TEs and slippery slot receivers.

As Miami looks forward to fixing the issues detailed in the stats above, it starts at LB. Alonso is not as bad as PFF seems to think. Miami doesn’t pay PFF to use their stats as many other NFL teams do.


No one will come out and say it, so I will… PFF is a paid service and the teams that pay for the service have higher ranked players overall than teams that do not.

No other linebacker on the Miami Dolphins in 2017 should expect to be a starting player in 2018 based on their performance. Timmons and Misi will be gone. If McMillian returns to form and it’s highly likely he will, that leaves Allen, Hull and Anthony fighting for a single position and playing special teams.

Getting right down to it, the defense is really not that far away. It simply needs a true impact player at the linebacker position.

In the coming weeks, you will hear QB talk, Baker Mayfield this and Josh Rosen that… You will hear Quenton Nelson and Mike McGlinchey debated on the offensive line. Calvin Ridley will be thrown in to replace Jarvis Landry. Tremaine Edmunds will soon be the rage. Before it’s done, Derwin Jones will be the player destined to save the Miami defense.

Fa-Get-About-It!!! It’s all a smokescreen…

Roquan Smith is the player you will not hear a peep about from Miami. I’ll leave you with one quote…

“Roquan Smith is an ascending linebacker prospect with elite athletic ability, plus intelligence and an ability to be an effective cover linebacker on passing downs.”

Draft Value is QB for the Miami Dolphins

The first NFL draft was held in 1936 and had 9 rounds. As the sport grew in popularity, the draft followed, expanding to 20 rounds in 1939, then 30 rounds in 1943. Teams began investing in scouting departments, which actually reduced the draft to 17 rounds in 1967. In 1977, drafting as one unified league, the NFL reduced the number of rounds to 12. Finally, in 1994 the current 7 round draft format was adopted and has remained.

The reduction in draft rounds over the years is a direct result of the massive influx of information. In 1936, teams found players from reading newspaper articles and hearsay. Today, the draft has become a season of its own with seemingly more experts than players available!

With only seven rounds, there are unlimited opportunities in the undrafted free agent market, but as scouting has evolved players outside the draft rarely survive long in the NFL.

For this reason, the idea of positional draft value has enabled some NFL teams to acquire more picks. For instance, from 2006 to 2016 over an 11 year span, the New England Patriots had 101 draft picks. An extra two draft picks every season. Over the same period of time, the Miami Dolphins drafted 83 players, just over the allotted 7 players per season. New England drafted 18 more players than the Miami Dolphins.

How does this happen?

The rich get richer by understanding positional draft value… A QB is worth more than a Center.

New England picked Jimmy Garoppolo in the second-round of the 2014 draft with Tom Brady at QB. They got 3 years out of Garoppolo and then acquired a higher 2nd round pick in trade. The thing is, they did not need Garoppolo because they already had Ryan Mallett, drafted in the third round of 2011. They knew the value of the position and drafted Garoppolo anyway. At the right moment, they traded Mallett for a seventh-round pick. That could seem like a small gain, but they got a few years with Mallett as a backup and then a draft pick.

Every draft pick is an opportunity…

Three years and then additional picks over and over again because unlike a guard, a QB has lasting value. Matt Cassel was picked in the seventh round of the 2005 NFL draft. After three years, the Patriots obtained a second-round draft choice and veteran leader, linebacker Mike Vrabel. There is no adulation here for the Patriots or Bill Belichick, these examples are to prove the point.

BPA is not the same for every position on a draft board. A QB is worth more than a tackle.

There’s a saying in these parts, “keep drafting a quarterback until you get it right.”

The rich can’t get richer unless they’re already rich!

A team must have a great QB before a backup QB has any value. This is why every team in the top echelon of the NFL has a great QB. It can’t be a maybe he’s good, it can’t be a possibility he’s good and he can’t be potentially good… The QB must be great otherwise the back-up has less value.

There is little value in Garoppolo or Mallett or Cassel if Tom Brady is not great…

The question in Miami then is simple, is Ryan Tannehill great?

The answer is emphatically NO!

Miami cannot join the rich at getting richer because they’re not rich!

Drafting into the riches comes once every season, but like most common folk who never strike gold, Miami does not understand positional value. The Dolphins still believe Ryan Tannehill can be great long after greatness would have shown itself. Along the way, they have not even invested in another opportunity. Meanwhile, a team with a great QB, New England, continues to enrich itself at the value position every season and reaps the benefits.

It doesn’t matter if the evaluator is a Tannehill fan or a hater, the question has little do with the Tannehill at all when taken in the proper context.

Is Ryan Tannehill great?

It’s doubtful many would answer yes to that question… “Keep drafting a quarterback until you get it right,” and then draft more because the value is undeniable. It even reflects in the current Super Bowl champions. The Eagles are relatively new in “QB value-stream economics” but look what they’ve done. They made every maneuver possible to jump up in the 2016 draft to obtain Carson Wentz. They saw the value and boldly snatched it up.

To make sure they had an adequate backup, they acquired Nick Foles. When Wentz went down (remember when Brady got hurt) and Foles subsequently finished the season as the Super Bowl MVP, the Eagles joined the club of riches. Whether they are shrewd enough to get the value out of Foles will determine how long they reign amongst the rich.

What is the point of this article?

In a year where there is exceptional QB talent in the draft, the Miami Dolphins have a chance to make the right decision and draft one. As hopefully described above, how we think about Ryan Tannehill does not matter, more is always better!

The mistaken belief of every mediocre team in the NFL is that they are a couple of players away from contention with an average QB. Nick Foles won, it was the Eagles defense, like the Ravens or Bucs before them.

NOT!!!

With perhaps a single exception, only the teams with historically great QBs have maintained sustained success. The Miami Dolphins must invest heavily in the NFL value position or they will always be looking up in envy at the rich guys…

Keep drafting a quarterback until you get it right!

Analyzing Miami Dolphin Positional Draft Strategy

The NFL off-season is sometimes more enjoyable for fans from the 31 teams not basking in Super Bowl glory. For long suffering fan bases like the Miami Dolphins, it is truly fantasy football time. The debates ring, Ryan Tannehill regains his franchise QB form. The road to the Lombardi Trophy is paved in draft pick euphoria. Any attempt at moderation or heaven forbid, negativity, is like slugging your red-headed step sister in the face and stealing her ice-cream.

The term “Best Player Available” or BPA for draftnicks, becomes common vernacular this time of year. In the case of the Miami Dolphins, Mike Tannenbaum and his staff will attempt to fill their fantasy roster with starters across the board. Entering the draft with a starting lineup is sound thinking, because “stretching” or “reaching” for a specific position often leads to draft failure.

Attempts at logic are fraught with trepidation, but here comes some mildly Dolphin centric philosophy that might make sense or probably not!

BPA is not linear across a positional draft board…

What???

Define please!

The best player available is not the same for all positions, meaning, some positions have more value or are harder to find. This is obvious when discussing the QB position, it’s perhaps the most pivotal position in team sports. A QB is worth a lot more than a guard, there’s the simple logic. What’s not simple is when this idea is spread out across the remaining positions on a football team.


This
discussion will start on the offensive side and the defense will be added later…

Try doing this exercise on the offensive side of the ball, rank the positions in terms of greatest importance. It would probably go something like, QB, LT, WR-1, RB-1, C, WR-2, TE, RB-2, RT, RG, LG. Variations on the list of importance are system based, a running team may place the guard higher than a passing team or put the running back in front of a wide receiver.

In this scenario the BPA could be a guard, but the position is not as high in the value ranking. A QB ranking lower in talent, could actually be the BPA over the guard because his value ranking is so much higher.


The point is, BPA is not linear across a positional draft board…

Wait! The greatest conundrum in NFL draft history has not been solved, there are more vital exercises. Remember also, this is based on a Miami Dolphin history the writer is well acclimated with, other teams may produce different results. Take the offensive side of the ball and now rank the position in order of how hard it is for your team to find a great player at that position. QB, TE, LG, RG, LT, C, WR-1, RT, RB-1, RB-2, WR-2.

Notice how the list has morphed, the QB is still on the high value side, but now the TE and guards have shifted over to the value side, while the “skill positions” have devalued. Excluding the QB, this could be construed as success based, meaning Miami is good at selecting (acquiring) certain positions, while not very good at acquiring others. Again, these values are Miami based and will be different for other teams.

Now a third list must be added based on how many good players are available at any given positon regardless of a team’s ability to draft them. This list would place value on the hardest positions to find for any NFL team. The hardest position would have the most value. QB, TE, LT, C, WR-1, RT, RB-1, RB-2, WR-2, LG, RG.

So finally, a number value can be placed on these lists from 11 being the highest value to 1 being the lowest. Add the three values together for each position and Miami’s BPA value chart would look like this. QB, LT, TE, C, WR-1, RB-1, RT, RG, LG, WR-2, RB-2. Using first round picks, Miami hasn’t done poorly based on position, QB, LT, WR and C were picked in recent, still relevant drafts. What stands out somewhat is a couple value mistakes.

What cannot be seen by just the positions on the list, is the drop off of value after the top five positions. After WR-1, the last six positions add up to only 72 of 198 total points. RB-1, RT, RG, LG, WR-2, RB-2 are basically positions that do not have as much value on the draft board as QB, LT, TE, C, WR-1. Drafting a RT early is not wise, this is one of the lowest value positions. Not drafting a TE is also an outlier because in Miami’s case, it’s a high value position.

What’s the point of all this mumbo jumbo?


There’s a reason why RTs, guards, RBs and WRs have dropped off many team’s list of first round picks. They’re easy to find either in FA or later in the draft because the positions have a larger pool of available talent. On the other hand QB, TE or LT are difficult to find because these positions require exceptional talents.

Notice how Don Shula and Bill Belichick always draft(ed) a QB every year. When drafting a tackle, they will always draft a LT and move him to RT or guard if required. In the case of Belichick, he will draft multiple TEs because he understands the value of the position in the modern NFL. These picks are always swayed by the bird in the hand theory. A great TE on the team is better than two in the draft!

This is why BPA is complete nonsense. Any team that picks a right tackle because he is the proverbial BPA does not have their statistics in order. For a right tackle to be the BPA he must be exceptionally better than any QB, LT, TE, C, WR-1 in the draft.


This is also why teams that draft in the middle of the draft, more often draft marginal players. At this point in the draft, the exception talent at the value positions has been picked over and teams are left with the BPA at devalued positions.

For your homework! It would interesting to see what your offensive three lists would look like. We’ll do defense later and put together a complete list.

List 1 – The offensive positions of great overall value.
List 2 – The offensive positions Miami picks well.
List 3 – The offensive positions that are the hardest to find.

Place your list in the comments section and I will compile and let’s see what happens.

Have fun Shouters!!!

Mike Tannenbaum is on a Short Leash in Miami

As the Miami Dolphin 1st round draft mistakes pile up, contract disparities will force the team’s best players into the free agent market. Jarvis Landry is not alone, players like Olivier Vernon, Lamar Miller and Rishard Mathews and many others, had to find their way out of Miami to cash in on their talent. The refusal to admit draft mistakes and to make solid first round selections is catching up to the Miami Dolphins.

Jarvis Landry is one of the larger questions looming this offseason. The decision whether to re-sign or let some other team pay his pricey contract demands has ramifications throughout the Dolphin roster. DeVante Parker’s underwhelming performance has again exposed Miami’s complete incompetence in evaluating 1st round talent.

The passing scheme of - Landry as a short yardage monster in the slot; Kenny Stills as the homerun hitter keeping secondary’s honest; Parker as the big target that can win contested throws in critical situations, was a tantalizing thought. Coaching and building off of these players was undoubtedly Adam Gase’s long term vision, but Parker has not developed.

As a first round pick, Miami intended Parker to be a beast. Highly drafted receivers better perform, because as Landry and Mathews have shown, even Miami can draft really good receivers in lower rounds. Mike Tannenbaum certainly does not want to admit he made a mistake with Parker. The Parker Pick came prior to Adam Gase, there’s no telling what Miami would have done differently with Gase’s input.

Many players on the Miami roster have out-performed their draft status, but DeVante Parker is the one making 1st round money. Every team has examples of first round busts, but Miami is in a class by itself. These mistakes are routine and rarely, if ever corrected. Landry should have been signed last year when his price point was much lower. Mike Tannenbaum did nothing and has allowed the situation to simmer to the point where Miami will likely lose one of the team’s best players.

Miami brass decided Jay Cutler was more important than surviving with Matt Moore and paying Jarvis Landry. It turns out they could not have been more wrong. It almost seemed Jay Cutler was Adam Gase’s knee jerk reaction to losing Ryan Tannehill. It was an irrational decision that a good General Manager would have avoided. It will now cost Miami the best wide receiver the team has drafted in years.

It starts with the belief that Parker would finally become the first round beast Tannenbaum thought he drafted. By projecting Parker as a true number one receiver, Jarvis Landry became expendable. It was another poor personnel decision that hasn’t panned out. Miami is still waiting on Parker to develop, while losing Jarvis Landry is a perfect example of managerial ineffectiveness. The Landry situation reeks of Miami’s personnel department being unwilling to admit mistakes.

Ryan Tannehill, 1st round pick, seven years into his career and Miami still does not know whether he’s a true franchise quarterback. DeVante Parker, 1st round pick 4 years into his NFL career and we still don’t know if he’ll ever dominate at the wide receiver position. Ja’Wuan James, 1st round pick 5 years into his NFL career and Miami will likely not pick up his 5th year option and let him go. Dion Jordan, 1st round pick…

Miami drafts pretty good players, such as Landry and Vernon in later rounds, but pays 1st round busts longer than they should and consequently loses these good players. Charles Clay is better than any tight end on the Miami roster, yet the Dolphins let him walk when they should have paid him. These are just examples, and if nothing changes, Miami fans will be looking at mediocrity until Mike Tannenbaum is finally exposed and fired.

Admittedly, there’s still some Jeff Ireland stench in the building, but Tannenbaum has not been able to land a decent first round pick in four tries. How much time does he get Boss Ross? Will Miami fire another coach who is straddled with these inept 1st round busts before the light comes on?

Mediocrity is the worst draft position for a team in the NFL. Bad teams get high draft picks and have a better chance at picking can’t miss players. Great teams draft later, after the talented, but questionable players have been picked by teams like Miami. The Dolphins are constantly picking in the middle of the 1st round where all the busts seem to lurk. Yet in Miami, the mediocrity is blamed on coaches.

The information is available for those who follow the draft. Tannehill had all the tangibles, arm strength, size, great character, athletic, smart, but he was there at the 8th pick because his team lost a lot of close games and he had very limited experience. Truth is, Tannehill would have been there a lot longer had Miami not prematurely pulled the trigger. Tannehill is just good enough to get his coaches fired, unfortunately, the Dolphins are still trying to find a coach that can teach him how to win.

Miami was unprepared for the 3rd pick in the 2013 draft and consequently did not do the diligence needed before picking Dion Jordan. These two picks are on Jeff Ireland and Dion Jordan certainly led to Ireland’s demise in Miami. Tannenbaum is exonerated from these picks and perhaps they were so poor Boss Ross thinks Tannenbaum has done better with his marginal first round picks.

With Tannenbaum as a consultant in 2014, Miami picked Ja’Wuan James at number 19 smack in the middle of the mediocrity zone. James was a right tackle at Tennessee. The pick was suspect immediately because NFL teams don’t pick right tackles in the first round. This is absolutely no fault of James, he is what he is, a right tackle. If he was really good at Tennessee he would have played left tackle.

It’s perplexing that Tannenbaum could not come up with a better option. Miami picked a right tackle from a marginal Tennessee team with the 19th pick in the first round of the NFL draft. Every team in that draft must have chuckled, even Cleveland had to wonder about this ridiculously cautious use of a 1st round pick. This was 2nd round or later talent that Miami paid 1st round money. Since the last collective bargaining agreement, the salary cap floor is 95% league wide. The personnel department is a place with is no salary cap and yet the Dolphins could not evaluate talent any better than this?

The 95% salary floor means Boss Ross is not being generous with free agent money, it means he has to spend this money. If Ross was really interesting in making the Dolphins relevant again he would be spending money paying the best talent evaluators in a department that has no salary cap. Any talk of Ross being generous is bogus, he’s spending money he has to spend on players, while the team is obviously lagging behind in the personnel department.

Now the Landry situation comes full circle back to DeVante Parker… Miami picked Parker 14th, smack in the middle of the mediocrity zone. Parker has one year left on his rookie deal before Miami will have to pick up his 5th year option. It certainly seems Miami is not going to pay Jarvis Landry, leaving a huge void in an already imperfect offense that will now depend on Parker. This is not moving forward, this is moving backward and the reason is simple, horrendous first round picks over the last 6 years.

What is obvious from the outside, is the ego-driven mess going on inside. Landry is better than Tannehill, Jordan, James, Parker, Tunsil and Harris, yet Miami is going to let him walk and keep the first round ineptitude. Do they actually think the locker room does not notice? Is there a separation in the  building? Is Tannenbaum completely disconnected, telling Boss Ross these picks will someday pan out and they should play hard ball with their best player?

The precedent and example Tannenbaum will leave on this locker room by not paying Jarvis Landry will destroy any good Adam Gase will ever do. The players will know, this team is not based on meritocracy, it is based on draft status. Landry is better than the last six first round picks, has been playing much better football for much less money than DeVante Parker. Letting him go will prove Mike Tannenbaum has no clue how to run a football team.

Mike Tannenbaum has one chance to clear the air.

Re-sign Jarvis Landry…

Will The Miami Dolphins Ever Find "It"

Welcome to the Miami Dolphin’s off-season where warts shrink to mere blemishes and gaping holes recede to tiny pinpricks. From the final snap of the Super Bowl until the 2018 regular season begins, our memories will fade and we will try to convince ourselves this is a playoff team.

I know, it’s obnoxious right? As Miami Dolphin fans, we look to the off-season more than the regular season because that’s where we always win. Reality is a wicked little sister and she really knows how to depress Miami fans with all those damn Patriots banners waving in our faces. It’s easier to drink in the mélange of off-season promise and forget the agony of defeat we just endured.

Sorry not yet… I won’t let you off that easy!

While the stink is still fresh and we can think objectively, let’s dive into what it would really take to make the Dolphins relevant again. The starting place must be the quarterback position because, well this is football and football always starts with the quarterback. Yeah, yeah… Team sport and all that stuff, I get it.

Any devout old-school football fan will tell you, the QB doesn’t matter, it’s all about the team. The Eagles won with Nick Foles for heaven’s sake. How valuable can the position be? I guess they give the Super Bowl MVP to QBs as a matter of decorum. I mean just because he’s the guy throwing TD passes and making fourth down plays doesn’t make him deserving of a trip to Disney World.

It’s all about the team…

It’s not.


Nike Foles led the Eagles to 41 points. That doesn’t mean it’s all about Nick, it means Nick did exactly what he was supposed to do in exactly the right moments for the Eagles to win the game. Perhaps it’s not about whether Nike Foles can throw the ball a hundred yards or through a concrete wall while running the 40 yard dash faster than Usain Bolt. Maybe it’s about doing exactly what he’s supposed to do in exactly the right moment.

Notice I’ve used the word “it” a lot…
 

“It” - It’s a really tiny word that is so huge, kind of a conundrum right? How could such a little word be so big as to describe the most difficult position in world of team sports? There “it” is, the white elephant in the locker room.

Since we are working within the parameters of reality we have to ask the simple question, does Ryan Tannehill have, “it?” Regardless of whether his knee is healed, I don’t think the knee will an issue, but “it” is the thing we must reflect upon with absolute clarity and honesty.

Before making a judgement, we must determine if “it” is a thing that can be instilled (taught) or is “it” a thing certain people have in abundance? Is “it” a product of repetition? Can a QB go through so many reps that when the moment comes the “game slows down” and “it” happens all by itself? I’m just a regular guy so the conjecture I’m about to make is purely my own machination, but I’ll run with “it.”

Good is a product of repetition - Great is a product of repetition and “it.”

This is why we have such a hard time with Ryan Tannehill, he has the physical tools, he’s smart, he works extremely hard, he’s a team guy, and he’s coachable. All these things are completely true, except for “it.” Damn tiny little word is like a pestilent worm burrowing into the grey matter of our brains, what is this freaking “it” thing and how does he get some!

I think it’s also important to understand that “it” is not a static state. That’s part of the mystery of “it,” it comes and goes. So a guy like Ryan Tannehill can have some games where his “it” is off the charts and others where “it” doesn’t show up.

Taken one step further and this is what makes “it” really hard on NFL coaches and personnel guys, “it” cannot stand alone. Therefore, until enough reps have been completed (and that number is different for each QB) the “it” factor cannot become the driving force. “It” can take a guy to a bunch of wins, but without the reps, “it” is the same as a guy with great reps and no “it.”

Good but not great…

We can see these guys a little more clearly now, Tannehill, Stafford, Smith, Ryan, Taylor, there’s a bunch of them right? Stafford and Taylor have some “it” but they don’t seem to be repetition guys. Tannehill, Smith and Ryan seem to be repetition guys without a lot of “it.”

Good but not great…

It’s almost humorous how we wonder about offensive linemen or receivers and running backs on a team like the New England Patriots. The genius talent mogul Bill Belichick and his magic talent wand!

Give me a break…

Old School Dolphin fans know the deal. When you got Marino - Webb, Simms and Stevenson are Pro Bowlers. Put those same guys with Matt Schwab and they’re okay. Clayton, Duper, Moore, hell Marino made Pro Bowlers out of Ferrell Edmonds and Crash Jenson. Marino had “it” in abundance and he did the reps to make him great.

So now we have to get back to reality and it bites. Ryan Tannehill doesn’t have enough “it” to be great. It’s depressing because he’s got so much talent and he seems like a really good guy…

All this rambling leads to the next issue in the “it” cycle. Does Adam Gase truly believe he can whisper “it” into Ryan Tannehill? Wow that’s big!


That damn huge little word again!

If we’ve determined that “it” is the mojo, the moxie, the indescribable something that makes winners, what happens if a coach is cocky enough to think he can instill “it?”

I think that’s a problem and why we say, "these QBs are just good enough to get you fired." This is nothing on Adam Gase or Joe Philbin, etc. because, to get where they have, one of 32 head coaches in the NFL, they’ve got some serious skills and moxie of their own. They believe “it” is coachable or they wouldn’t be coaching NFL QBs.


When Philbin said, “I don’t think Tannehill has ‘it,’” he was promptly fired.

That tells us that way up there in the Miami Dolphin stratosphere, someone with more power than Philbin believes “it” is coachable and brought in the whisperer to prove it…

Now I really like Adam Gase and I do believe he could be a very, very good NFL coach but he’s got one fatal flaw, he believes “it” doesn’t matter! He can coach a guy who has the skills to greatness without “it” and someone above him agrees.

This is the reason the Miami Dolphins have been mediocre for last 20 years. They don’t see this “it” factor has having any relevance.

They will read an article like this one and think, “what does this guy know! This guy is so full of bunk his eyes turned brown. Coach Gase made a winner out of Timmy Freaking Tebow, that’s how good he is!” In that statement lies the fatal flaw…

Tim Tebow could never do enough reps to fix his throwing motion… It wasn’t Gase that whispered sweet nothings into Tebow’s ear, “it” was “it!” Tebow has and has always had “it!” That should be the lesson. Just go back and put on the tape of Tebow bringing Denver back against Miami and leading the Bronco’s to the playoffs and tell me…

Am I really full of bunk?

The Miami Dolphins Need a Beast at Tight End

The Miami Dolphins have never drafted a tight end in the first round of the NFL draft.

Mad Dog, Jim Mandich came in the second round almost 50 years ago. Since then, Miami has flopped with names like Loaird McCreary, Chuck Bradley or Andre Tillman in the second round. Tillman sounds familiar if one can recollect anything from 1974. Way back to the early 80’s Miami had some luck in the later rounds with Joe Rose, Bruce Hardy and Dan Johnson.

Perhaps the most accomplished tight end in Miami history is Keith Jackson who came as a free agent in 1992. There are a few semi-recent names, Ferrell Edmunds, Randy McMichael and Donald Lee that do not inspire much. Charles Clay 6th round in 2011 and Dion Simms 4th round in 2013 were obviously not worth the price and the Dolphins allowed them to walk as free agents.

From the last four drafts, no TE has started a single game. Miami hasn't had a TE finish in the top 20 in catches at the position since Charles Clay in 2014.

The West Coast offensive revolution may have minimized the position, but for the Dolphins, it was never a priority. Defenses adapted to the West Coast scheme as the game evolved, and the tight end has made a resurgence.

The following stats are defensive and will be used in the future to discuss Miami’s second most urgent need. The fact that the TE has evolved as a weapon should be obvious.

The six teams that allowed the most yards against tight ends (Raiders, Dolphins, Broncos, Redskins, Giants, and Texans) went a combined 31-65 and all missed the playoffs.

The three teams that gave up the fewest yards to tight ends (Saints, Panthers, and Vikings) went a combined 35-13.

The nine teams that allowed the most catches to tight ends, excluding Buffalo, all had losing records.

The Dolphins allowed 94 catches by tight ends, the most in the league.

Only Oakland allowed more tight end receiving yards (1034 to 1038) than Miami.

Tight ends scored 10 touchdowns against the Dolphins, tied with Cleveland for second-most and behind only the Giants (13).

Okay, those are defensive stats I was able to cull from various sources (thank you whomever).

By analyzing the defense we can see where we lack in offense. Julius Thomas caught 4 TD passes for Miami and that’s it. The Eagles? 14… The Patriots, 10. Of the TEs with the most TD receptions, 4 of the top 5 were on playoff teams and 2 are in the Super Bowl. Ertz and Gonkowski both have 8 just behind Jimmy Graham who finished with 10.

Clearly we see the evolution or rebirth of the tight end in the NFL. Using the stats above it’s plain to see how hard it is for teams to match up against these players and yet Miami has ignored the position.

The Dolphins obviously thought DeVante Parker could be the big body mismatch the team is desperately lacking but heading into his 4th season, it’s not happening. His body doesn’t hold up like these bigger tight ends and he doesn’t play well when he’s nicked up.

How hard are these guys to find?

Miami spent a 2015 first round pick on Parker, TEs picked in that draft were, Devin Funchess (2nd), Maxx Williams (2nd), Clive Walford (3rd), Tyler Kroft (3rd), Jeff Heuerman (3rd), and an assortment of other no-names. Miami acquired AJ Derby (6th) who has caught 2 TDs in his career. Only Funchess surpassed that total with 17 TDs from that entire class.

When Belichick sees Gronkowski, Miami sees Parker.

The point is, these guys are hard to find, but they are vital to modern offenses, the Eagles have three TEs, Ertz, Burton & Celek that are better than any TE on the Miami roster. How do the Eagles end up with three, while Miami has Julius Thomas and Anthony Fasano, two players well past their prime?

The reason is simple, Miami has made no priority to upgrade the position in 4 years and very little throughout its entire history. The Dolphins are more concerned solving how to stop them, instead of how to acquire them.

Successful teams in today’s NFL landscape have either ushered in the TE evolution (NE) or have followed close behind. The Dolphins, constantly playing in the shadow of the Patriots, have never been able to create an identity. Miami and all the other AFC East teams have looked at stopping the beast instead of becoming the beast.

Free Agency is not the answer to this TE dilemma, it is obvious with the failure of Julius Thomas and Anthony Fasano. Please say no to Jimmy Graham, while he led the NFL in tight end TDs, there’s a reason the Seahawks will let him walk in FA. Miami would get swindled again trying to fix a problem they should be evaluating and drafting.

A beast at the tight end position would make the Dolphins a different team. DeVante Parker is not that player.

Imagine Jarvis Landry and Kenny Stills with Rob Gronkowski?

Let that sink in…

Get a tight end beast and take over the East!

Fins Up!

Should the Miami Dolphins Re-sign Jarvis Landry

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The Jarvis Landry saga has reached critical mass. These negotiations were destined to become contentious when Miami failed to sign him prior to the 2017 season.

There are reasonable expectations and points to ponder on both sides, but just the mere fact that Landry has not already signed is a clear indication, he is swinging for the fence. And why not, these players are lucky to get one shot at a big payday and they should go for the bank when the opportunity arrives.

From Landry's side, there's a lot to be happy with. He owns the NFL record for the most catches in his first 4 seasons and will own the record for 5 shortly into the 2018 season. While players like his buddy OBJ or Antonio Brown have spent multiple games on injured reserve, Landry has been on the field proving his longevity and toughness.

When things are going well, we hear how Juice Landry is the spark that ignites the Miami offense. His enthusiasm rubs off on the entire team and generates jolts of energy leading to big plays.

There's one other item of significance that should not be overlooked when thinking about whether Miami should pay Jarvis Landry...

In four years, Landry has made a grand total of $3,474,911.

Miami has had the NFL's leading receiver in his first 4 seasons at a paltry $875,000 per season.

The Dolphins certainly don't want to make that number public even though it's very easy to find. Landry has been grossly underpaid regardless of what the Dolphins want the public to believe.

On the negative side...

Landry's agent has played some media cards recently suggesting Landry has put up these catch numbers while playing with inferior talent at the QB position. This is a terrible negotiating tactic. Throwing other players under the bus is what Miko Grimes is good for, not a professional agent even if he believes it's true.

Damarius Bilbo basically let the cat out of the bag with this one single statement. If Landry did not believe this was true, he would never have put this thought prominently in the mind of his agent. They may now reverse course and say it was taken out of context or it is fake news, but it's too late. We know now what Jarvis thinks and why these negotiations have taken so long.

We had this romantic idea that Jarvis Landry was the yin to OBJ's yang. We thought all along we got the more humble version of the Beckham side show. What we got was a player who desperately wants out of Beckham's shadow, for his own moment in the spotlight.

Show me the money!

All Damarius Bilbo had to say was, "my guy has been playing at a Pro Bowl level for the Miami Dolphins at bottom basement prices." Period, plain and simple, but he threw out some dirty laundry and started a dumpster fire.

From the Dolphin's perspective, that's exactly what they've been dealing with. A player who should keep his head in difficult situations, but instead loses his cool and costs his team numerous foolish penalties that lead to losing games. The player obviously doesn't recognize his own faults or these poor emotional decisions would have been corrected.

The same player that doesn't study well, doesn't always run proper routes, has now allowed a locker room leadership issue to bubble to the surface thanks to his own agent. When the team says there are locker room leadership issues and the agent says, "he has not had the greatest QBs throwing to him." A tiny crack appears and we get to see inside the locker room fraternity for a brief moment.

$875,000 a year for 4 years is chump-change in comparison to Landry's performance on the field. Even if the Dolphins pay Landry $15 million for the next 4 years, it only averages out to about $8 million a year over 8 seasons including his first 4.

Why the contention from Bilbo? Why the mud slinging when all he has to say is, "Jarvis Landry is well worth $8 million a season, even as a slot receiver."

The only thing that makes sense is, Landry is unhappy with his QB situation. Hence, he is unhappy with the coaches and management backing and paying a mediocre QB room...

QB - Coaches - Management... Perhaps Jarvis is right, they all suck and he should move on.

Otherwise, he should fire his foolish agent. Admit there are things he needs to work on and negotiate with numbers, not dumpster fires...

Miami Dolphins are Playing the Wrong Defense

After a hopeful 10-6, 2016 season, the Miami Dolphins regressed to 6-10 in 2017. The Vegas lines actually predicted such an outcome. The Dolphins won 12 consecutive games by 7 or less points, a feat that is impossible to sustainable over time.

This team needed to make significant strides in 2017, with more convincing victories, or the statistics would eventually even out against them. Miami endured a mountain of well-documented adversity, including losing their starting QB, which meant getting better in 2017, would be an uphill climb.

The Jay Cutler experiment was made out of desperation and the Miami Dolphins should not be ostracized for making this move. Matt Moore may have made it through a whole season, but his injury history did not indicate this being a serious option. Cutler clearly told Adam Gase he would only return from retirement if he was the starting QB.

Gase and the Dolphins threw the dice, seeing this move as perhaps the only real option to salvage the Miami offense for the 2017 season…

The Dolphins thought they could rely on their defense to make up for the uncertainty on offense, but they were wrong. The problems on offense were expected with the hurry up preparation of Jay Cutler. The holes in the defense came as a surprise and ruined Miami’s season.

The defense began to unravel during the 40 – 0 beat down by the Baltimore Ravens…


Baltimore exposed the gaping holes in the wide 9 alignment by rushing for well over 4 yards per carry. The 4-3 depends on the defensive line to hold up against the run and be dominant in rushing the passer. The wide 9 splits the defensive ends outside the offensive tackles. Baltimore was able to exploit this and open huge gaps in the middle of the defense.

Linebackers, Alonso, Timmons and Maualuga combined for 21 tackles in that game. Defensive linemen, Suh, Godchaux, Harris, Hayes, Philips, Fede, Taylor and Wake combined for just 7 tackles without a single sack…

The big money players on the DL were beaten badly, Suh had 3 tackles and Cameron Wake had none. The linebackers were finishing plays, but not before allowing gashing runs into the second level of the defense.


Miami’s offense gave up two pick sixes and a fumble recovery touchdown in this game. The defense did not seem to be an issue at the time, but the Dolphins were blindsided.

The blame was heaped on Matt Moore, starting for an injured Cutler, but the problem was far deeper. The Ravens forced Miami’s DE’s outside and pulled trapping guards into the resulting gaps, opening up huge running lanes.


Miami needed to get this fixed and they knew it. The LBs would have to play closer to the line and tighten up between the tackles, a safety would need to sneak into the box to assist.

The following week against the Raiders, the rushing lanes were somewhat shutdown, even though the Raiders ran for over 4 YPC, but the effort exposed what would be Miami’s Achilles Heel the rest of the season.


Raider TE Jared Cook slashed Miami’s secondary and LBs for 126 yards and a whopping 15.8 Yards Per Reception. The Dolphins were exposed, they had no answer for TEs or personnel to help solve the problem.

The Miami philosophy of playing from the inside out with a dominant defensive line was proving easy to defeat. In this defense, the 4 DL need to apply max pressure without blitzing because the three linebackers are needed to drop into coverage zones and shut down inside runs.

Miami ranked 27th in sacks per game…

To put that into perspective, 7 of the top 8 teams in sacks per game went to the playoffs and only 1 team in the bottom 8 made it to the dance…

Ndamukong Suh, Andre Branch and Cameron Wake accounted for over 26% of Miami’s 2017 salary cap…

Reshad Jones, Kiko Alonso, Lawrence Timmons, T.J. McDonald, Xavien Howard, Stephone Anthony, Reakwon McMillian, Bobby McCain, Cordrea Tankersley, Tony Lippett and Chase Allen accounted for less than 23% of Miami’s 2017 salary cap…

If there is any question about Miami's defensive philosophy, follow the money…

The problem is, Miami is paying for an ancient scheme that is no longer valid in the NFL…


The Patriots had 221 snaps in Dime (6-DB) Personnel this year and an astounding 161 snaps in Prevent (7-DB). Miami had SEVEN total snaps in a Dime defense. (Thank you whomever I stole these numbers from!) The Patriots faced 3rd & 10 or more on 54 snaps this year and yet they played 6 or more DBs on 382 snaps.

The Miami Dolphins used the Dime package only 7 times…


Of course Miami couldn’t cover tight ends, they were depending on low paid LBs and secondary when the rest of the NFL has evolved hybrid players capable of covering and assisting the run. Miami spent over one fourth of its salary cap on a defensive line that ranked 27th in sacks per game.

The Miami defense ranked 16th overall in 2017, 16th against the pass and 14th against the run…

On the surface, the defense looks average but because of the disparity between DL and the rest of the defense, Miami was a disaster at stopping crucial 3rd and long situations. Consider these stats…

3rd and 10 or more yards:

Cmp    Att    Cmp%    Yds    Y/A    Y/C
34       46     73.9      396    8.6    11.6

74% percent of the passes thrown against the Miami defense on 3rd and 10 or more yards were completed for an average of 11.6 YPC. This is atrocious and worse, these plays, that could get the defense off the field, are demoralizing.

On the opposite side, offenses converting these plays are laughing at the Miami defense…

30 total sacks for one of the highest paid position groups in the NFL…

All of this is not pointing out that the Miami DL is bad. It’s showing that the Miami philosophy of paying for a great defensive line is a faulty premise that no longer works in the NFL.


The ball comes out too quickly for DL to get to the passer. If the QB can run (Tyrod Taylor) the DL is not fast enough to contain him. Once the defense has stopped the opponent for 3rd and long, there are not enough good players in the secondary to finish the series.

It’s very apparent Miami needs to change its defensive strategy…

More to come on what changes could be made.

Did Chris Foerster Compromise the Miami Dolphins?

Entering the long off-season it honestly felt like the Miami Dolphins lost their direction in 2017. Leadership in general came into question in early October when the video of Chris Foerster snorting the white stuff surfaced. It didn’t feel like it at the time, but those actions ran so deep, the season was probably done on that fateful day. As it turned out, it was…

We all know the tale, Chris Foerster filmed himself in his Miami Dolphin’s office prior to a team meeting. There’s no sense in rehashing the details, but what is worth writing about is the effect Foerster’s actions had on the Miami Dolphins. Kijuana Njie’s reason for leaking the video coupled perfectly with what NFL players were protesting, racial inequality in America.

Chris Foerster left Adam Gase hanging out to dry…

How does Gase insist on players being entirely focused on football when his assistant head coach has completely compromised his message? This wasn’t some seedy bar or strip joint, this was right in the very facility where players are expected to respect the code. How does Gase tell the players not to protest, or to remain united and stay out of trouble when his assistant head coach was sending videos to his snorting platter “girlfriend” from his office?

Shouldn’t someone in the Miami Dolphin’s organization have known about Foerster’s issue?

Pandora’s Box opens wider when the whole situation seemed to disappear with the disappearance of Kijuana Njie. One is left to wonder how wide Stephen Ross’ wallet opened to make her go away. There was obviously a price for her silence, but there is no price for the integrity of the Miami Dolphins, especially in the eyes of players believing there is racial inequality.

Like Kijuana Njie, Chris Foerster just went away. Money talks and makes bullshit walk…

There are reports that prior to his altercation, Rey Maualuga was regular on the late night party scene. “Why did Adam Gase allow this to go on? Where was the institutional control?” Well that answer is pretty simple, his assistant head coach was sending drug videos from his freaking office desk!

“Rey don’t you go out there and drink!”

Yeah, it all works really well together doesn’t it? Thank you Chris Foerster!

Adam Gase has been tight lipped about Foerster and Boss Ross certainly told him to never mention it again, but Gase must be stewing inside. Foerster was a supposedly a respected NFL coach and if we assume he hid these issues well enough, than this came as a complete blindside. How do you tell Laremy Tunsil to stay off the weed when Foerster is snorting in the other room?

How do you tell players to spend more time in their playbooks when your coach is in Las Vegas making a platter of his “girlfriend” because you’re stuck in LA during a hurricane?

Perhaps this is the problem on a grand-scale. There are distractions and illicit activities in every city in America, but Miami… Mix a few rich football players in with a few South Beach hotties looking for a good time and what does that equal? TROUBLE!

Mix a snorting coach in with the trouble and you got double-trouble…

The leader is leading the party!

Perhaps paying for this to go away is not the right approach to fixing the problem. The Miami Dolphins cannot ignore the issues inherent with where the team resides. This community has a seedy underside and if the Dolphins want players to avoid that side of the street they are going to have choose the players on this football team very wisely.

More importantly, the Miami Dolphins must choose their leaders wisely…

Chris Foerster left Adam Gase hanging out to dry…

Should Gase and his assistants submit to drug testing? Are NFL coaches’ drug tested or is this another example of racial inequality when the players must submit, but the hierarchy is exempt?

The web continues to tangle when Colt’s owner Jim Irsay's mistress, Kimberly Wundrum, overdosed and died in a house that Irsay controversially purchased with money belonging to the Indianapolis Colts. According to Indianapolis Star sports columnist Bob Kravitz, Irsay has an ongoing drug problem…

How does the NFL balance out team doctors giving pain killers to players so they can take the field on Sunday and then ask for a urine sample on Monday? Put all of these instances together and it seems clear the NFL has fostered a culture of drug abuse. It leads to the question, did Chris Foerster’s video get him caught publically for doing what was accepted privately?

Anyone who has ever worked 16 hours a day will tell you there was a lot of coffee involved…

It almost seems like this is a case of what goes on in the locker room stays in the locker room. In the long term, expecting locker room antics to stay contained in our social media connected world is probably foolish. Bad things happen when these antics go public, ask Richie Incognito. Choose wisely Miami, expecting 20 something rich kids to act like they’re responsible 60 somethings is asking a lot.

Oh wait, they're just acting like Chris Foerster and Jim Irsay…

Never mind… Never mind… Never mind…


Anyone have a carpet we can brush this under? We need a carpet over here…