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Value of Dolphins draft to be weighed

I'll be the first to admit I often view the draft through the prism of what the player is likely to do for the Dolphins, with little regard for what might have been if the team would have picked some other player.

It is the preliminary view that most teams take, frankly, because they prefer not to be compared with what other teams did. As Jimmy Johnson used to say, "Once the draft is over, I think and worry about the players I took. I don't ever think about the players I passed on because I'm not ever going to see them, but maybe once every four years and, at worst, maybe twice a year."

Well, that's sound organizational thinking -- especially if one traded oneself out of the opportunity to draft Randy Moss.

But today, those of us outside any NFL organization are taking a different view of the last draft. This time we're looking at it through the lenses of what might have been and what had better come to pass to make Miami's draft a success years from now.

The fact of the matter is the Dolphins are thrilled with the selection of CB Vontae Davis with the 25 overall pick in the first round. As a team source told me, he is at worst the second-best cornerback in the draft. He fills a position of dire need. And the Fins are thrilled to have him because they simply do not buy the so-called character issues with him.

But long-term Davis has to do more than simply be a solid cornerback for the Dolphins to make this pick a success. The fact is Davis was selected ahead of some very good prospects. And no on is going to be thrilled if Davis turns out to be a good player, but two or three guys drafted behind him become Pro Bowl guys.

The draft is about getting good value and picking a good player earlier while better players go later is not getting good value. So the hope is Davis is better than the guys picked behind him to make this a value selection.

That being the case, in the future we will view the Davis selection and also think that one pick later, Green Bay selected outside linebacker Clay Matthews. We will measure Davis historically against how Hakeem Nicks does in New York because the Dolphins also had a need at receiver and Nicks was on the board. So if Nicks, who went with the 29th overall selection, has a better career than Davis, I for one will feel kind of jipped.

It works both ways, by the way. The Saints, picking at No. 14, made Malcolm Jenkins the draft's first selected cornerback. Wouldn't it be sweet if Davis, selected 11 slots later, turns out to be a better player? The expectation is Jenkins must be better, but as Bill Parcells says, "You can't buy insurance for this stuff."

By the way, aside from Nicks, we must also follow the career path of WR Kenny Britt, who was picked 30th by Tennessee, because he was also on Miami's radar and also plays a position of need.

The second round again offers an interesting snapshot we must all refer to in the future. The Dolphins selected Pat White at No. 44 overall. He plays the quarterback position which is the most important on the field. White should immediately contribute in the WildPat and spread option package. Great.

But White was a luxury pick that answered no major pressing need. The Dolphins passed on Virginia OLB Clint Sintim, who was taken by the Giants one pick later at No. 45. Again, pass-rush is always a need and Miami has that need, even today. Furthermore, it should concern Miami fans Sintim was selected by the Giants because they run a hybrid 4-3 defense that sometimes looks like a 3-4 and sometimes uses linebackers as rushers [Thanks to the reader who corrected me on this]. They have proven to know a little something about identifying good front 7 players.

Miami also passed on Georgia receiver Mohamed Massaquoi and Hawaii OLB David Veikune -- both selected after Miami selected White. So those players will be linked to White.

With the 61st overall selection the Dolphins selected cornerback Sean Smith, a supremely talented kid with great size and potential and position flexibility. I loved this pick. And so did the Dolphins.

But the fact is in picking Smith the Dolphins passed on U-Conn OLB Cody Brown, who went to Arizona. It'll be interesting to see which player contributes more throughout his career.

The third round finally brought the Dolphins a receiver in USC giant Patrick Turner. At 6-5 and 225 pounds he should be a red zone threat. He better be, anyway. Eyes will be on him to see if he's more effective in the red zone than 6-6, 245-pound TE Chase Coffman, who the Bengals selected 11 picks later. Turner needs to be more productive than Penn St. WR Deon Butler, who the Seahawks selected at No. 91. Oklahoma WR Juaquin Iglesias (99th overall) and Wisonsin TE Travis Beckum (100th overall) also were selected after Turner in the third round.

The hope is Brian Hartlin, who Miami selected in the fourth round at No. 108 overall, is better than those previously mentioned players taken after Turner. The hope is OLB Victor Butler, taken by Dallas at 109 overall, doesn't prove to be a better player than Hartline.

The Chargers, in need of a nose tackle, took intriguing Vaughn Martin out of Western Ontario with the 113th overall selection. He would have filled Miami's nose tackle void. Hartline needs to become a greater value for Miami than Martin becomes for the Chargers.

The Dolphins have a much greater chance of getting draft decisions right than the Raiders because that is the history of late when comparing Bill Parcells and Al Davis. But Davis did pluck WR Louis Murphy from the University of Florida roster with the 124th overall selection. Murphy is bigger (6-3 and 205) than Hartline and faster. Is he more raw? Absolutely. More injury prone? Absolutely Will we watch the two develop and see which one becomes better?


By the way, two more NT-types went before the third round was over -- Auburn's Tyronne Green to San Diego and Michigan's Terrance Taylor to Indianapolis. Hard to dismiss these picks as both Bill Polian and A.J. Smith have done some outstanding work in building winners through the draft.

The Dolphins were active in the fifth round, picking TE John Nalbone out of mighty Monmouth and S Chris Clemons from Clemson. The interesting thing to me is that in picking Nalbone out of a program that doesn't typically produce NFL talent, the Dolphins passed on OL Duke Robinson out of Oklahoma, a program that typically does produce NFL talent. Robinson went to the Panthers two picks after Miami selected Nalbone so the career comparisons between them is on.

Clemons was very impressive in the rookie camp and colleague Craig Barnes, who covered college football for decades at the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel, tells me this kid is the real deal and that Miami got a steal. Great! So it should be no problem comparing how the Dolphins do with Clemons and how the Cowboys do with Clemson S Michael Hamlin, who was selected one pick later.

And, oh by the way, the Cardinals picked project OL Herman Johnson out of LSU with the 167th overall selection. The guy is fat at 386 pounds. But a year or so in the Arizona desert should trim him up a bit if the Cards are right on the kid. (He likely would have lost weight in Miami's humidity also). So I'll be checking in on him and comparing his value to Nalbone's and Clemons's.

The sixth round brought the Dolphins backup left tackle Andrew Gardner from Georgia Tech. Wonder how his value will stack up against TCU ILB Robert Henson, who went five selections later, or Washington State WR Brandon Gibson, who went at 194th overall to Philadelphia? We'll see.

The seventh round brought the Dolphins J.D. Folsom from Weber State. But the move that troubles me is the trade the Dolphins made with Kansas City for the 237th overall pick. The Dolphins traded it for Kansas City's seventh-round pick next year.

The stated reason Miami got no premium for trading a pick this year for a pick in the same round next year is that the Dolphins had no more players on their draft board. Really?

If that's the case, not one player that was selected after Folsom, was selected at No. 214 overall, had better become a star in the NFL. Not one of the 20 players selected after the Dolphins basically passed at No. 237 had better become a solid NFL contributor because if he does, it means the Dolphins walked away from the opportunity to select that guy.

It'll be interesting to see in the coming years how it works out. The belief here is Bill Parcells and Jeff Ireland will get it right more often than they get it wrong. But that doesn't mean we won't be checking on it to make sure that is true.

By the way, the video below is of Nevada WR Marko Mitchell, who was selected at No. 243 overall, six selections after the Dolphins decided there were no more players on the board.


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wait a sec .........1st and 2nd .......LOL!!!!


I am a Bill Parcells fan but I can't figure out the 5th round TE pick. Duke Robinson was generally considered the #1 Guard in the draft. The Dolphins are thin at guard with Smily and Thomas coming off injuries. Robinson is big, and would have helped in the run game. A TE from Monmouth...which represented better value?

THIRD ,sign my dear amigo jason tylor,the ring will only come through him

MANDO . The only 1 that bothers me a little and will be watching Closely is Clint Sintim VS Pat white. I really wanted SINTIM. By the way mando , Tyronne Green ( auburn ) of SD is OG not a NT.

I have to disagree: I would be happy if Davis was a good NFL starter and not a Pro Bowler. I'm still getting used to the Dolphins having draft picks and using those draft picks for guys who can play. It was a good 5 years of passing on obvious talent to take guys who couldn't even play special teams.

If a guy is a good NFL corner , he's not a miss no matter what follows him.

LOL,NJ never write a post without correcting. to his credit he knows more than 100 percent of any on on this form .

>Duke Robinson was generally considered the #1 Guard in the draft.

Not saying he isn't...but let's not forget that Miami were not the only team to pass on him...repeatedly, so I have to ask just who "generally" includes.

Clemons from Clemson eh? Idly wondering how many other times in the history of the NFL there have been players whose names are anagrams of their college?

Thanks gopat ( ? ). I think ! LOL

I think I read just about everything you write but this may have been the dumbest thing I have ever read and I believe I'm stupider-er for having read it!
So by your logic when NE got brady in the 7th round that made every other team in the NFL's draft a bad draft! Because everyone picked before him pails in compairison?!?! I should be able to go on and on here but my brain just went numb from trying to figure out your logic for this!


Can you do this with the 2006, 2007 and 2008 draft? 06 and 07 will be so sad that 08 and 09 will look great. The 7th we traded we can't judge if anyone else gets a star simply because we have to wait until we use the pick next year and compare that guy to the picks at the end of this draft.

I was disappionted we passed on Duke Robinson I saw good value there.

Jeeze, Amando.

First Cote thinks the team should not bother to take the field this year because they didn't sign Taylor

Now you want to throw the whole draft class back!

What happened, the Dolphins forget to put those little blue gummy fish in your press kit this week? Or are you guys secretly sending your resumes to the Boston Globe?


Great article. The only way any one can evaluate a draft is over time and in comparison to the other player's on the board. You did an excellent break down of what to look for over time. I am so tired of listening to and reading all those columns about who did a great or poor job in the draft. Those articles are meaningless now. What I am not sure that I agree with you is whether or not you can judge this draft based on what the pass rushers do. In retrospect I do not think the phins had any plans to draft one, that was just pre-draft chatter. The plan was clearly DB, WR and Pat White all along.

Shoefin, the boston globe in 6-12 month will be shut down, if not before, they just laid off 40 percent of their staff .There's no need for writers any more for newspapers, all you need 2 computer guys sitting in a dark room and google the story and copy machine

armando you make sence sometimes. Not now

Generally, as to offseason moves:

Free agency: The excitement which would have been generated, hope for continuing to be a valid contender for the AFC East, and especially the needed leadership for younger players heavily recommended adding Boldin and bringing back Taylor. We have the $, the pros outweight the potential downside.

Draft: A scientific crap shoot. No one knows better than Ireland/Parcells what our true needs are, so they have to be given the benefit of keener insight, but in the long run, it is the players themselves who determine whether they excel/fall in the NFL. Hindsight is truly 20-20, and not really helpful in this scenario.

It's not U-Conn just UConn. We've had enough interest in players from there, you should know this.

I'd like you to do this comparison for 07 and 08 rather then this year.

I think in 5 years we'll look back at the White pick and think, Jesus that was a stupid pick that early. Not to say he won't be a productive guy, but he will NEVER be a fulltime ball player in Miami.


The Giants do not play a 3-4 defense, they play a 4-3. The Giants needed depth at LB and Sintim was a good value pick for them. If the Dolphins were so high on Sintim they would have taken him.

We have a lot of LBs the coaches want to take a look at. If we don't have enough of what we're looking for at the LB position we'll address those needs next year. You can't address every position in one year.

BennyV, how you know the future and 5 years ? where you going to be in 5 years ?

You can't look at the draft like that. Don't spend too much time looking at how good the neighbors lawn looks. Instead go to the fridge, grab a brewsky and sit down on the sofa and watch chicks wrestling.

to watch chicks wrestle, you have to be a red neck of high order , pure corn head

Enough on Jason Taylor, why is it some Miami fans live in the past wanting to keep these guys around for so many years when they are not productive any more, if he was that great today he would have been picked up one of the other 31 teams.....if it was up most of these fans they would bring back Dan Marino, John Offerdahl, and the Blackwood brothers!!!!..... enough!!....
49ers got rid of many (Hall of Fame) great players and moved on to win more super bowls without them.... they just replaced them with other great players, its part of the game... Jason Taylos was good and could bring experience to a team but by no means is he the missing piece for the 2009 dolphins.......move on its almost 2010!!!!!

So basically what you want to do is wait 3 years and then use 20/20 hind sight to tell the Triplets what they should have done? pure Genius lol =)

The draft is all about studying a player and being very lucky.... how many players are amazing in college and in the pro's they turn out to be busts. Or they have injuries that never let them get up to speed... or you have players who are mediocre in college and turn out to be amazing in the NFL... Tom Brady, Terrel Davis, Zach Thomas etc..etc.... all late round picks.... I think drafts should be evaluated the year after... then you can really judge the quality or lack off...... just enjoy the season!

armando you make sence sometimes. Not now

Posted by: roland d | May 12, 2009 at 12:20 PM


Don't look back you can never look back. You just go with the players you choose and live with it and move on.
Duke Robinson fell from a late first early second to the 5 round...why? Parcells loves big smash mouth OL but...knock on him was that he spends too much time on the ground. If he does not get the initial slowdown with his first punch on passing downs, he struggles to adjust through the rest of the play. But does that move him out of the first and second and into the fifth?
He has all the physical attributes so why did he fall so far? I gues time will tell?

I absolutley love how the Dolphins addressed the O-line last year and the defensive backfield this year throught the draft and added key components at various positions last year and this year. The Dolphins will have a really good defensive backfield for a long time to come. Which bodes well in a division full of great wide-outs.

Drafts are a crap shoot: but you draft based on your philosophy, value, projestion and need. Part of the Tuna's philosophy is charcater, the Tuna is huge on character and what that brings to the team. Of course you have to be good most of the players that play in the NFL are. But thats a given, I mean thats why you have the combine and Senior bowl and other evaluation methods but extensive research goes into finding character issues. Good or bad, this helps determine if you should take a player or not, THROUGH the DRAFT.

joe Watts, makes a lot of sense , must finish collage . his best point is the 49ers got rid of { hall of fame} players way better than 1-15 jason and look forward.

We gots burned burned when we's tooks Jason Allen and left Antonio Cromartie on the board for the Chargers to take. The guy played up the road at FSU and we totally missed him. Meanwhile we tooks Jason Allen who Omar continues to say will be a starter but Mando has long says is on his way to the trash heap.

Don't trusts nothin' we's write.

Shoefin, Armando should ban you from his blog for even mentioning him in the same sentence with that knob Greg Coate.

And I read the post twice and don't see where he's ripping the draft or saying he wants to throw it back. Can you read AND comprehend?

Did you have to mention the Randy Moss debacle? That one still stings.

But it is true, the best way to judge a draft is to measure how a player does for your team and compare what other players you could have picked are doing for their teams.

Solid stuff, Mando.

They must love Shawn Murphy ! Back-ups looking thin for injury prone guards.

Very good. Very logical. More layers could be added to this:

For years everyone compared how Wes Welker did in NE vs. how Samson Satele and Brandon Fields, the guys we got by trading Welker, did in Miami.

I think everyone will now agree the Patriots got the better of that exchange. Now we also have to judge how Satele does in Oakland vs. how Brian Hartline does in Miami because we traded a guy with starting experience for the pick we used to get Hartline.

bring my amigo jason back, he will cure all ills, do you agree with me D4life ?

The poster is correct. I suck weenie.

Joe Watts, Amen on the jason taylor stuff.

Someone wrote that Miami can't resign Taylor within 360(?) days of trading him or they have to return their two draft picks. Is that right?

Good stuff today, Armando. When the Dolphins passed on Nicks and he then went to the Giants, I was thinking, I'm going to watch this play out for years and years.

I said the same the day the Dolphins picked Vernon Carey and New England picked Vince Wilfork right behind us. We got a good player. They got a superior player.

Read my column, I think the Dolphins suck. I think they've given up. I think Bill Parcells is a tool. I also think they should have signed Brett Favre and traded for Chad Johnson. I'm a proven village idiot!

Jack. That's incorrect. It was a april fool's joke.

Hopefully we did well. I don't give a crap if a player makes the mr popularity pro bowl. Give me a blood and guts guy, any day. If Davis starts every game for the next 10 years it was a great pick. He doesn't have to lead the league in any category so long as he plays well enough for us to win.

Willi Chirino,

The Satele trade was a swap of 4th round picks with Oakland. We moved up in the 4th round. We already had our own 4th round pick so you can't really compare the Hartline pick to what Satele does. We were going to pick a player in the 4th round regardless. The 6th round pick we received from Oakland is the extra pick we got in the trade. So you can compare that player to Satele if you wish. That would be OT Andrew Gardner.

Joe, I don't know of any team that wouldn't trade whatever they did in the 7th round of the 2000 draft and picked Tom Brady instead. If you don't understand that fact, you should be careful the nice men in white coats don't take you away soon.

Armando should pay NJ PHIN for all he does , HE answered Jack Kompan and mad him happy and whole again

Willi . Phinstorm is correct. Also the dolphins got LB abraham wright not brandon fields along with satele in the welker trade. Which is even worse.

Good point gopats . LOl

White was a wasted pick. I loved the two cornerbacks.

jc, are you a wizard ,how you know that to be true

The major problem with the whole idea of this topic is that teams have different schemes, players and coaches. Sure, Brady has been very successful in NE's system under Belicheat, but would he have had the same degree of success under Wanstache? Moss put up huge numbers running under Culpepper's bombs under the MIN dome, but what would he have done with Jay Fiedler wobbling passes 5 yards short?
The draft has to be judged based on the production you get relative to the round of the selection. If you get an elite player at his position in the first round, it was a good pick, regardless of who went later on. If you get an upper-third starter in the second round, it's a good pick. And so on.
If Davis is a Pro-Bowler, Pat White is a dynamic part of the offense, Sean Smith is a good starter, and/or Patrick Turner is a starter, this was a great draft. If you hit on guys past the third round, that's gravy.

Someone check out Vaughn Martin's combine results. If you compare him to BJ Raji, he beats him out in almost every category. He ran a sick 40 time for a 330 lbs man, is bigger than Raji, faster than him, and smarter - he just falls short in strength. You know that he placed in the 91st percentile in the Wonderlich? If he went to Michigan instead of U of Western Ontario, he would ahve been a top 5 pick. Smart pick SD!

By the way, what was KC thinking picking Tyson Jackson ahead of BJ Raji? If you wanted a lineman for a 3-4, he was the smart pick.

I'm happy with the Dolphin draft but I would have liked to see help at the NT and OLB positions - but there is reason to think there are guys on the roster already that can step up there. Minor criticism but I won't lose sleep over it.



Very thorough look at what all the possibilities were Mando. Thanks.

give me a headache why don't ya!

bring my amigo jason back, he will cure all ills, do you agree with me D4life ?

Posted by: V.D | May 12, 2009 at 01:08 PM

No I respectfully do not think we should bring him back.

In short; Its better to trade a player a year or two early than a year or two too late.

As much as I loved Jason Taylor and what he brought to the Phins D, its time to move on.
He's about to sign with NE and that just fine. Will be cool to watch Long dismantle Taylor.

once jason comes back we will be in Heaven

oh 1st on the 2nd page sukaaazzzz.

That guy Marko Mitchell looks dynamite. I so would have drafted him with a #7.

D4life, i wanted your take on jt thing cause i do like your take on football issues, i have a question,do you study movies ?

The 1 thing I do not understand is why the Tuna did not think Rashad Jennings would be an upgrade over Lex Hilliard in the 7th round.
That may have been the biggest flop of a fishtail.

It would be nice to see this analysis for last years draft or the year before so we could play the could have/should have game.

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