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Must-have info for start of Indy Combine

Cody brown Someone on Tuesday accused me of being obsessive about the Dolphins' need to add some firepower at the receiver position. Guilty as charged.

I am also obsessive about Miami's need to improve its pass rush.

I am also obsessive about Miami's need to get better play at center.

I am also obsessive about Miami's need to upgrade the secondary.

I am also obsessive about Miami's need to add a young nose tackle.

And, oh by the way, the Dolphins have to draft a fullback, too. Did I forget anything?

The fact of the matter is the Dolphins have a ton of needs, many more than a typical 11-win, defending division champion should have. Big Tuna Bill Parcells and Tuna Helper Jeff Ireland know this better than anyone and so the Indianapolis Combine that begins Wednesday will help them sort out which players fit and which don't.

Let me throw out some names and pre-combine facts at you before I get to the list below. The Dolphins are deeply interested in drafting a premier outside linebacker to rush the passer. I made the mistake a couple of days ago of suggesting it's not a huge need because the team signed Derek Cameron Wake.

A source has since told me the Wake signing showed how much Miami is concerned about the position. He said the Dolphins are spending tons of time trying to unearth the next DeMarcus Ware and the Wake signing was by no means the final step in the process.

The Dolphins have studied and spent time with a couple of guys you may not have heard about. Connecticut's Cody Brown (pictured) is an athletic kid from South Florida that lit up the Big East with 11 sacks and 16 tackles for losses in 2008. Because he's local, he was at a Dolphins practice in late December and Parcells and Ireland asked him to stick around so they could, "talk," to him. Hmmmm.

Brown is a second-rounder type depending on how he performs at the Combine. Remember his name.

Also remember Cincinnati's Connor Barwin, which the Dolphins spent time with interviewing in Mobile. The Combine could very easily thrust Barwin from a little-known, undersized defensive end who actually was ordered to play tight end at the Senior Bowl, into a full-blown first rounder.

At 6-3 and about 253 pounds, Barwin is undersized at end. But as an OLB in a 3-4 he seems perfect. And although he typically runs in the high 4.6s, I am told Barwin's trainers have him breaking into the 4.5s this past month. If he runs anything under 4.6 in Indy, alarm bells will go off and suddenly, Miami's little secret about this guy will not be so secret anymore.

At the nose tackle spot where Miami has starter Jason Ferguson pushing 35 years old next season, the Dolphins have taken a liking to Boston College defensive tackle Ron Brace. Brace is 6-3 and 329 pounds and is built like a prototypical 3-4 NT. It doesn't hurt his cause that he was second-team All-ACC in 2008 after collecting 11 tackles for losses and three sacks.

Brace projects between a second and fourth rounder, depending on his Combine and Pro Day workouts the next two months. He's also on Miami's radar.

The Dolphins have every intention of looking for interior line help in free agency. Baltimore's Jason Brown has been rumored to be on Miami's wish list for weeks. But the bidding for Brown might be high once free agency begins Feb. 27. Some folks guess he will get the biggest payday of any center in free agency, including former Pro Bowl players such as Jeff Saturday and Matt Birk.

So the Dolphins must have a draft fallback position.

That is where Arkansas center Jonathan Luigs enters the picture. The Dolphins spent much time with him at the Senior Bowl and are expected to talk to him again at the Combine. The fact former Arkansas assistant and now Miami's QB coach David Lee apparently loves the kid doesn't hurt, either.

I would tell you the Dolphins will not be looking for a starting guard in free agency. They will be looking for a backup guard they can develop and possibly turn into a starter when the draft comes around. That's because more often than not, a team's backup guards play significant snaps in the NFL.

Yeah, I said it, an offensive line is only as good as its backup guards. Wasn't that the case with the Dolphins last year? Same thing in two dozen other NFL outposts. It's just the way things are in the trenches that bodies break down.

And while the Dolphins hoped to address that need with Shawn Murphy last year, he was a major disappointment and might struggle to make the team this year. The Dolphins like Oregon State's Andy Levitre, not so much because he's a physical specimen or a gifted technician, but because he is a clamp of a human being when he gets his hands on defenders in tight spaces.

OK, those are the guys that do not play receiver you should be paying attention to during the Combine. Because the Dolphins will be paying close attention. I will tell you about the cornerbacks and safeties Miami is interested in later this week as I have to keep you coming back.


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Another great report Armando! Keep em coming!!!!

I am of the opinion that Miami should remember they are only going into year 2 of rebuilding, so don't let our great season last year side track them from that point, and keep the Draft as our building block.....

The FA signings will help clear up some of our issues...


Getting a little defensive there Mando?
This is the second year of rebuilding and it is going to be a huge test just to get a winning record. Most of the players you mentioned are keepers. I do like the idea of a big free agent center. It is a tough position to learn to do well.
I agree with the backup guards comment. How many times have great teams turned to crap because they lost a couple of linemen? Without a good line a team can't run or pass.

Well done. I wish I had your job.

Great stuff. "Keep em flying, Armando!!"

I would like to see Miami host the Combine. I'm not sure howit works, or if the roads are wide enough, but would it be cheaper for us to buy the dome in Indy and have it moved here or to just build one from scratch? My friend is a truck driver so he might be willing to help.

As far as outside linebacker, I would like to see us trade for James Harrison. I would be willing to send Pittsburgh either a second round draft pick or perhaps two players like Ernest Wilford and Paul Solai.

How about Eric Green, safety from Utah.

Mando, I feel honoured (yes, that's the correct Canadian spelling) that you started off your blog using the word obsessive about the Dolphin need for a WR since this is the term I used yesterday. And to answer the question, I do feel honoured.

I always felt all along that the Dolphins would use their first pick on an OLB. Your dropped names are interesting but I've also read the profiles of a few guys that would be available when the Dolphins draft and fit the profile of Parcells and co:

Clint Sintim, UVA, 6'3 254 11 sacks in 2008
Larry English, N Ill, 6'3, 255, 8 sacks in 2008, 32.5 for his career

I've also liked the profile for Ron Brace and his teammate BJ Raji (but he's going to go very early by all reports).

Either way, adding athletes of this profile would really help the team.

Mando, Do you have any opinion on Sean Smith CB/S from Utah. The kid's got great size (6-3 217) and excellent speed (High 4.3 to low 4.4). What do you think the odds are we draft him with one of our second rounders?

I really hope your source is inaacurate or is throwing up smoke screens and mis-directions. Why would you post sleepers for everyone (rest of the AFC East) to see. We had the number 1 pick last year and nobody knew it was Jake Long we were negotiating with. Armando- can't you give just give us a list of 5-7 per position we would could target by round? That would make everyone look good.

"I made the mistake a couple of days ago of suggesting it's not a huge need because the team signed Derek Cameron Wake."

Babes in toyland led astray by the pied Kiper. Boobs.

I've also heard Sean Smith's name being associated with the Dolphins. He obviously played at a high level given Utah's record. His physical dimensions are staggering for his position. Rarely see a player of his height and speed play CB. Usually they turn those players to WRs.

Why do you think the Dolphins need to draft a fullback? Polite is going to be a pro-bowler next season. He was money in short yardage, he could catch and his blocking is his best attribute.

Forget about Ron Brace falling past the 2nd round. I'll be surprised if he goes past pick 50. He's not spectacular, but very strong & stout with some quickness. There are so many teams playing the 3-4 now that DT is as valuable as LT. If he is there for their first 2nd rounder snag'em. Remember how many years we talked about not having a franchise LT? Well, when was the last time we had a young stud at DT? Tim Bowens, where are you????


Going to be tough for Looooooouuusaka Polite to make the Pro Bowl as long as Leron McClain keeps getting the Mike Alstott FB invite to the Pro Bowl even though he's more of a tailback.

Thanks for the information Armando. That's some good insight. To build a really good 3-4 defense you need depth at OLB. The signing of Wake is just another stone turned over. He hasn't proven anything yet. We need to draft some DBs as well.

Mr. Bungle, or the person pretending to be Mr. Bungle, enough with the stupid comments and trades. You do this every day. Are you retarded?

Hey Ken,I agree with your comment that Polite is a keeper.Partnered with Ronnie,Ricky,and Cobbs,Polite becomes an even more effective short-yardage fullback as well as an accomplished run-blocker. So, that's one solid position the Fins can ignore this year.However,perhaps Polite could change his name to Rude or Nasty? Go Fins!

I agree with you on our needs Mando, but I think we need more picks and start considering Henne for the future, here's what I think are tradable players and their valu

What's your thoughts Mando:

Tedd Ginn (late 2nd)
Joey Porter (2nd & 4th)
Mat Roth (3rd)
Samson Satele (3rd)
Chad Pennington (2nd & 3rd or 4th)
John Beck (4th)
Paul Soliai (5th)
Vonie Hoiliday (4th or 5th)
Vince Wilfork (7th)
Ricky Williams (4th)

Polite isn't a good run blocker, that's the problem. He's a good short yardage runner but he's not what we're looking for at fullback.

Manuel, are you serious with all those trades? NFL teams don't make trades like they do in baseball. Vince Wilfork isn't on our team either.

Hahhahaa, Manuel. Who exactly will suit up for the Dolphins if you trade all those players? And most of those players are a million times better than what you would draft. Ricky for a fourth???? Uhm Vince Wilfork isn't even a Dolphin but if you can trade him from New England, Samson Satele would surely appreciate it.

Turd, good point regarding Brace. If he's there in the second, he should be selected if he is as good as advertised. NTs dominate games in the 3-4 and the Dolphins need one that can play at that level. The Ravens or Steelers wouldn't be as good as they are if the didn't have Ngata or Casey Hampton. Probably the two best at that position in the 3-4.

Sorry I meand Ernest Wilford instead of Wilfork, I'm not saying all the trades, all I'm saying are that they're possibilities

Hey PhinStorm:

I do not know what games you were watching this year but I saw Polite makes some great blocks this season. Where our run game struggled this year was blockin on the interrior line and poor blocking by the TEs, in particular Martin. However, Polite was solid as a blocker.

Who is better for a NT Peria Jerry, Ron Brace or Fili Moala? Thinking we should draft one in the 2nd round.


It's been reported that Polite isn't what we're looking for at fullback. It's not my opinion, it's the coaching staff's opinion. I like Polite, but blocking is not his forte. At least that's what I read.

Hey Manuel:

Who is going to give us a 4th rounder for John Beck? We would be lucky to get a 7th rounder for him right now. Furthermore, why would you trade Pennington? He has only had the best season by a Dolphins QB since Marino retired?

Mando, very sharp... But late... Looks like you have been reading Simon's Blogs... He's had this info for weeks...

I'm not Mando but of the DTs ranked on various outlets, only Brace and Raji have the size sought after to play NT in the 3-4 that are rated as top end of the draft players. Moala has a big frame and can be pumped up to that size by adding 20 to 30 pounds or so without compromising much of his athleticism which shouldn't be that hard. I just found out that Moala is Haloti Ngata's cousin too.

With all those needs that Armando mentioned, isnt it surprising that the Dolphins arent doing everything they can to sign Vernon Carey? I just dont get it. If he leaves, there will just be another gaping hole on the roster. Why would you nickle and dime a dependable, 27 year old starting right tackle?

Excellent, excellent stuff. I appreciate the work Mando. What time does the combine start today?

WU1SABES , who's ERIC GREEN s utah ? Do you mean SEAN SMITH S UTAH ? If so , I agree. 6-3 217 and runs 4.4 . He was great against alabame in the bowl game.

Fake GM, I really hope they sign Carey above and beyond everyone else. It's a need position on a thin part of their team and signing him frees up a high draft pick to use elsewhere. Still think they might tag him by tomorrow if all else fails. They have the money and even if he isn't in their long term plans at a high salary, they definitely need him or someone as good next year.

Mr. Bungle....Are you retarded?

Posted by: Flipper | February 18, 2009 at 10:12 AM

I didn't realize there was an intelligence prerequisite for this blog. Stop being a hater and start accepting people of all levels of intelligence.

I'd also be willing to trade for Ed Reed. Coach Cameron is in Baltimore and would probably like to get John Beck back. If we give up Beck and another player, possibly Ernest Wilford, or a low round pick I would be open to this.

Hey Flipper, how about trading wilford , anthony armstrong and a cond .7th round pick for boldin. Thoughts ? Oh by the way if you don't like it , don't read it and go flip yourself !!!!

Bungle, your using again??Just say no...

Hey Flipper, how about trading wilford , anthony armstrong and a cond .7th round pick for boldin. Thoughts ? Oh by the way if you don't like it , don't read it and go flip yourself !!!!

Posted by: Mr Flipper | February 18, 2009 at 11:35 AM

just seeing how to paste and copy..

"stupid is as stupid does"

Fixing the O line is the answer, ronnie and ricky are too good to have such a horrible season running inside. If you bulk up at center, move satele to guard, resign Carey and start opening some holes for the backs, all of a sudden guys will get open. The receiving corp is young and has alot of upside. No need for a big Name, whinning receiver. With the dolphins running well, they'll control the clock, put up points and the defense plays alot better when they are ahead. So O-line is where I belive improves the whole team

fullback huh? Is Polite that old. Dude was a beast! I don't think he failed to pick up a first donw conversion on a short yardage situation.

" stupid is as stupid does " posted by cuban menace. Yeah cuban menace,just like when you talk to yourself as monkey. Monkey see, Monkey do lol !!!!

ARMANDO, Is Crowder all but gone? What exactly do the Phins Think of Wake? I know they signed him, but they don't seem to be too excited about it.

Hi Mando,

love your work, but why do we need to draft a fullback? I love POLITE, he did everything we asked of him this year...what are your thoughts on this??

AJ DUHE,I loved your 3 ints in the 1983 afc championship game. Who said the phins weren't excited about WAKE ? They outbid 7 other teams because they wanted him badly enough. Also because of WAKE , they moved pass rushing olb down the list of top needs a little bit.

Manuel you want to trade Ginn for a second round pick?? For what so we could draft our next John Beck. The draft is as much of a lottery as it is a science.
Which is why i wouldnt mind giving up a 2nd round pick and something else for proven Anquan Boldin or Antonio Bryant.

Guys, Polite did a wonderful job for the Dolphins last year. He's a very smart player. The coaching staff loves him.

But he's in the final year of his contract and the Dolphins have no one else of note to challenge him in camp, which is not how Miami generally wants it. Somebody's got come in and compete.

Thanks Armando for clarifying the issue on Polite. However, I still don't think the Dolphins need to draft a FB. If they are looking for someone to compete against Polite you can do in that in FA, we do not need to use a draft choice on that. Odds are that any one we bring in either via the draft or FA is unlikely to unseat Polite. While his contract may be up next year, it is certainly not time to start panicking about that now.

4th and 1. Whose got the ball?? Whose got the ball???

Another name to keep in mind is this Everette Brown kid from Florida State. He's a beast!


You have listed many "obsessions" Armando but what position do we need the most?

Would a "#1" receiver get 7 and 8 out of the box against us if said #1 doesn't have time to run around until he gets open because our QB is on his back and/or he only gets open on a 30yard out in tight space and Penni CAN'T throw that pass?

I think ppl look at AZ. for instance and think "See what 2 great receivers can do,they demand coverage therefore the opposing D can't put 7 or 8 men in the box and that also opens up running lanes!" BUT thats assuming your OL can handle 5,6 or 7 guys which we haven't been able to do YET.

With Penni under Center,IF someone emerges as a #1 for us he will have to be the greatest of ALL TIME after the catch because getting behind the coverage isnt our problem, Ginn does that consistently given the time it takes ANY AND ALL WR's to get behind the coverage but since our OL and/or Penni's arm doesn't allow that,I don't see where that obsession is realistic given our current personnel.

I love Polite, but I can see where if they can find a Peyton Hillis type guy late or in FA they would take him for the competition. Didn't get to see Lousaka do much except run between the tackles, but 9 for 9 has to count for something on a team that's so weak in the middle of the line.

"Another name to keep in mind is this Everette Brown kid from Florida State. He's a beast!


Ozfraud, Brown is a stud no doubt about it. I met him a few times when I was up at school and the man is an imposing figure. Unfortunately, I really doubt he makes it out of the top 10, maybe 15. The only way we get him is if we trade up and I don't see the Tuna giving up picks.

Polite is more of a skill player than a lead blocker. He runs with conviction and he showed decent hands catching the ball. I like him and would like to keep him around. But I could see us looking for one of those FB/TE/H-back blockers though.

Everette Brown will not fall to us. He'd be the guy I'd want though. He's big, strong and fast. He'll probably go 10-15. If he starts to slide, I would hope we would consider trading up for him.

This blog is phresh. We need D. Rush there O. Also trade for BOLDIN. Ginn deap and boldin in the middle will be amazing. BE SMART YALL

bring back a.j duhe and kim bokamper.

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