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Which is the greater priority: OLB or ILB?

When the 2009 season ended for the Dolphins, the team obviously had issues on defense that still need addressing.

As I explained to you a couple of days ago, the linebacker corps was one of those issues. But the question is where is the bigger problem -- with the inside linebackers or outside linebackers?

Yesterday you saw Mel Kiper vote ILB as his first mock draft of the offseason had the Dolphins taking Rolando McClain of Alabama -- a tackling savant that will be an inside backer tackling machine in the NFL.

Well, lesser known Bucky Brooks of NFL.com comes back and votes OLB as Miami's bigger issue. In his first mock draft of 2010, he's got the the Dolphins taking Texas OLB Sergio Kindle at No. 12 in the first round.

One reason Brooks has the Dolphins taking Kindle might be he also has Denver taking McClain one pick before Miami. In that regard, Brooks apparently agrees with what I wrote yesterday about the Broncos. You see, Kiper had Denver taking Dez Bryant at No. 11, but I think that's not the direction they will go because you can still find good WR help later in the draft, and Bryant has been away from the game for much of a year as he served an NCAA suspension. 

It would be interesting to know what Brooks thinks the Dolphins would do if both McClain and Kindle are on the board for Miami. Stop dreaming! But in his scenario, he sees Miami's OLB corps as needing urgent care.

"Joey Porter and Jason Taylor are at the end of their careers," Brooks writes. "so finding an athletic edge rusher is paramount."

Brooks obviously believes Cameron Wake doesn't fill that paramount need and I don't think any of us think Charlie Anderson is the answer, either.

If you've read this blog every day (it's good for your soul) you already understand how the Dolphins break down how they go about filling out their roster. As I've told you several times in the past, they have three primary categories: Wants, Needs, Must haves.

The Must haves is the priority category. It is the category that must be filled.

The Needs is the second most important. This category is what the team needs but can extend out if lesser players are on board.

The Wants is the luxury category. The Dolphins want a running back that will be ready to step in when Ricky Williams retires and Ronnie Brown is out of contract. But the team can probably survive 2010 if it doesn't address that want.

It is clear inside linebackers and outside linebackers fall either in the Needs or Must haves. No one not named Big Tuna Bill Parcells and Tuna Helper Jeff Ireland knows which position has risen to the priority category. Even they might not know because free agency might play a role in affecting this stuff.

You can argue the Dolphins have bodies at ILB with Channing Crowder and Akin Ayodele. Sure, Ayodele didn't play well in 2010 and Crowder is often injured. So the team needs to address the position. But will things fall to pieces if Crowder and Ayodele are the starters again in 2010?

You tell me. The Dolphins will tell us.

At OLB, meanwhile, neither Jason Taylor nor Joey Porter might be coming back in 2010. I know both of them won't be back. That was a disaster last season. So the Dolphins need to add a body here to go with Wake and Anderson and Quentin Moses. But is this position a Must have?

You tell me. The Dolphins will eventually tell us.

Discuss ...  


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ILB for sure. I think we can eek out one more year from Taylor with Wake on the other side.

I would be happy with either lb because I think they both will have good pro careers. I think both lb spots are equal in priority since we need major help at both spots. i also hope that they swing a trade so we can get more picks.

Sergio Kindle is alot like wake in regards that he's weak vs the run . He needs alot of work in the run game. He also needs to get a little bigger and stronger. . They list him at around 250 but i bet anything he's around 235. kindle also needs alot of work in pass goverage. That 's alot of question marks for somebody at 12th pick. There's alot of good pass rushers available in runds 2-3. Ricky Sapp - clemson , Brandon Graham of Michigan and Jerry Hughes -Tcu. to name a few. Good -night.

ILB and I think we need two of them. McLain would be fantastic. I've been impressed with him for years. I think they need an upgrade over Crowder. I wonder if a certain ILB from AZ might be the answer? If not they need to draft another ILB to get ready to start next year. OLB does need to be addressed but I think this can be addressed in FA. FA could land the OLB starter and then they need to draft one by 4th round. Whatever way they do it they need 2 MLB's and 2 OLB's. Porter and Taylor seem done. Wake does seem like the starter on one side. Kindle from the scouting report doesn't seem like a Parcell's guy. Inconsistent motor, soft, weak at point of attack, take plays off. If McLain is not there they should take Bryant. If he isn't there they must seriously consider trading down. If they cannot trade down then S is probably the best value. What could Miami get pick wise for some of their current WR's?

inside backer a priority, those guys are slow, and dont make any plays. ayodele was the worst ilb in coverage in the league. i agree with tommy one more year with taylor and wake, maybe we draft a olb later in the draft.

I think NT is a bigger need that LB. Did anyone notice that the run defense just folded after Ferguson went down? That was not just coincidence. NT is the key stone to any 3-4 defense, the problem is that taking any NT at the 12th spot would be a reach. So I say if the opportunity is there trade down and try to pick up another 2nd rd pick, take someone like Cody and than pick up a ILB and a WR in the 2nd rd. If they stay I say they have to go with McClain. There is much more talent at the OLB spot with Wake, Anderson and Moses. Than Keep JT around as well. I think he will do a lot better in a aggressive defense that Nolan runs. Our best ILB is Crowder which dose not say a whole lot.

take the best palyer on the board!!! period end of discussion

"take the best player on the board " . WOW , that was real insightful. Good info. Jeez !


I totally agree with you regarding NT.
If the nose in the 3-4 isn't occupying two blockers. It won't matter who is you line backers. But he would be a bit of a reach at 12. But I don't think Parcells would care to pull the trigger for he does'nt listen to any one else but him and his regime.
Now if at 12 McClain is there it would be HARD to pass on a very good ILB.

Typos: your line backers. but himself

I think ILB is more of a need than OLB because you can always blitz or use pass rush specialists like Jason Taylor or Cameron Wake on third down. But you can't magicly create a scheme to stop the run if your ILBs are bad. You can put 8 men in the box, but that would compromise your defense against the pass. So while you can scheme your way around not having good pass rushing OLBs, you cant scheme your way around having bad ILBs.

To me it's amazing that this regime literally has to fix and address every position on the roster because we've had 8 years of bufoons making personnel decisons. Using linebackers as an example, this regime inherited a 35 year old Zack Thomas, a 31 year old Joey Porter, and a serviceable Channing Crowder. The trifecta has to fix every freaking position. That's why I am giving them such a long leash. The roster they inherited was an expansion roster that was every bit as bad as their 1-15 record.

The team needs an impact player...A game changer...There are not many game changing nose tackles...Saying that Miami is sure to take the safest player on the board...Probably the lineman from Tenn,Dan Williams. Who I predict will be a starter in the NFL and be good for 30 tackles a season...In other words a warm body...

There are a few line backer who are free agents this off season: One that has been mentioned often is Karlos Dansby 29, the others are DeMeco Ryans who at 26 is younger than Dansby and probably even better. I'm not sure if he's a restricted free agent. But he's sure as hell gonna command top dollar. Another is Kirk Morrison from the Raiders 28 and has had 5 straight 100 plus tackles last five seasons. Signing one would of the three would be huge and open up Parcells draft playing hand.
Then Parcells can either trade down and take a highly needed NT such as Dan Williams or again if at 12 McClain is available set the ILB's corps. But I'm not so sure NT isn't the biggest need? Again you have to have a cog in the middle who takes up two blockers. We shall see...

Good night Dolphins faithful and keep the faith! Parcells will get it done!

Brooks has never heard of Cameron Wake

Fake GM
Yup baffons for the last 8 years! Set the Dolphins back as this current regime has inherited a night mare. Parcells is getting it right though, but still he has alot more work to do and maybe even 2-3 more drafts' before we can kick ass in the playoffs and be the dominate teams Parcells has put togther in the past. OK good night and keep the faith!

I think the Dolphins will draft 3 LBs this year depending on what they get in the first round. If they get McClain at ILB, they will draft 2 OLB. If they get an edge rusher like Kindle at OLB, they will draft 2 ILB. There will definitely be 3 LBs drafted in April.

The dolphins will get McClain he will make it to 12th. Then they need to trade Joey Porter, Greg Camarillo, Gibril Wilson for a low 1st pick and go after Sergio Kindle, Terrence Cody, Golden Tate, Jason Pierre-Paul, Bruce Carter,Ricky Sapp,Navorro Bowman, or Jermaine Gresham any of those would fill major needs. Then in 2nd rd. if C.J. Spiller is there take him to so he can replace ricky williams. In FA the dolphins need to sign three or four players and not be afriad to spend money they know they have ok starting with Vince Wilfork, Anrel Rolle to replace Gibril W., Vincent Jackson or Anquan Boldin instead of tradeing for them. and to top it off go after Carlos Dansby to sure up the LB'S. SO SAY THIS IS HOW THE DRAFT GOES
1ST Rolando McClain
draft up for Sergio Kindle,Bruce Carter,Terrence Cody
3rd.Golden Tate
not sure from there on

If Miami can put this together we WILL BE SUPERBOWL CHAMPS FOR SURE AND SHOCK THE WORLD.....Chad Henne will be AWESOME

I believe that ILB is a bigger need than OLB but as some others have suggested I think Miami will be drafting multiple LBs, at least 2 but quite likely 3.

A wildcard that I see in the mock drafts that I have read is Jacksonville taking Tebow at 10, I believe it for the seat sales alone Jacksonville will take him but they have to be pretty aware it is highly unlikely another team would draft him in the top 20. The Jags may not want to wait until round 2 to grab him so I see them trading down being very likely which allows another team a shot at McClain.

I would go inside first. Our ILB's are blow average by NFL standards. The Phins need a playmaker there in the middle. I think Wake can have a bigger season next year and he is young. Porter or Taylor will be back next season so that will lock the other side.

Every DC wants to stop the run. In the 34 the positions to do this in order of priority are.

1. NT
2. ILB
3. DE
4. OLB

Our ILB tandem/trio were atrocious.

Kindle is low 1st to mid 2nd. He could be there for us in the 2nd round, if not, others will be.

Bucky Brooks' mock draft was as daft as I have seen in recent years.

"Then they need to trade Joey Porter, Greg Camarillo, Gibril Wilson for a low 1st pick . . . "
Posted by: dolfan88 | January 22, 2010 at 02:24 AM
I don't know what you're smoking but Ricky would sure like some. Go back to Madden!!!

The answer is easy. Draft best available player at the position of need. This isn't the number one spot where you take the best player. So if the NT is a better player than the other positions of need you take a NT.

I want to see Kindle crush Sanchez and Brady in 2010.

Our first pick should be MCCLAIN, ILB from Bama ...... but, I think he will be gone when we pick at 1-12

In that scenario we should then trade down from 1-12 to maybe 1-20 (and obtain another 2nd round pick)

then, at 1-20 we can probably get either HUGHES, OLB (TCU or KINDLE, OLB (Texas) ....

and ... in the 2nd round


and with our second pick .... the best available WR, LaFelle LSU, or BENN, Ill

last years draft class was bad. we cant afford to miss on this one! rex ryan took the jets to the #1 defense in one year. but our cupboard was almost bare so we cant afford to waste picks! thats jeff irelands only job! i'd give him a D grade for 2009. he misses on FA's too.

I think ILB and OLB are almost even in terms of need. Joey Porter isn't THAT good. He stunk it up 2 years he was here and his 18.5 sack year was misleading because he got a sack every time he pressured the QB. The dropoff from Peezy to Anderson or Moses isn't big.

I would rather have an upgrade at ILB, but I don't think McLain will be available. With JT and Wake (and Moses), they can at least pressure the QB from the OLB position. The ILBs can't stop the run and they can't cover. McClain is a large upgrade over Crowder or Ayodele.

im pretty sure our LB core graded out as some of the worst in the league. we use a 3-4 D where a NT and LB'S are the keys to the D. no wonder we couldnt stop our opponents. we spent last year addressing the wrong positions because we thought we were better than we are! the jets GM tannenbaum talks to the fans on what they are doing. why is jeff ireland in a vacuum?? im not sold on his talent evaluations; alot of misses!

Eric Berry at 13? Really? We need help at safety position as well.
I don' think McClain will be there at 12 (Denver) if he is, get him.
We have so many needs that i think we should trade the pick for multiple ones, if McClain is not there.

the ravens have a really good LB on the bench. i'd like to get jameel mclain, a 3 year guy out of s.u. 6'1 and about 255. he played the nose in college;big and tough LB and can run and cover the tight ends and backs.

I want to see every dolphin on D crush sancheese and brady in 2010.Throw in a manning or two or a brees and I'll be happy.Hey playoffs and superbowl and it could happen.AHHH DREAMS but I belive dreams sometime come true.

I wouldn´t be surprised if we went al out this year on defense. taking with the first 3 picks both ILB,OLB and a NT. After that maybe go for a TE, and add up bulk at OL.

As we all know things can change at FA...but as we´ll seen in the past 2 years Parcells is not a big splash type of guy.

The problem I see is the strict commitment to a defensive formation no matter what. For example, when Ferguson went down, why not go to the 4-3 and take the heat off the ILBs? Perhaps I was spoiled early on by Arnsparger who could adapt to the talent he had.

It depends on our NT situation. ILB becomes more of a priority if we don't secure a top notch NT. Our run D would suffer. I'm sure one of the Taylor/Porter combo will be back. We really need both. I'm sure the boss will pick the best of the board or trade down if a great offer is there.

No way a WR is picked for us in round 1.....

I think it all depends on what happens in Free Agency. If the Dolphins sign Dansby or Ryans,MLB becomes less of a priority for the draft but as it stands right now....i'd still say ILB was the greater priority cus we still have Porter and Taylor on the outside,even if they were'nt the best last season. Hopefully,the Dolphins can sign a good OLB in Free Agency then select McClain in the draft.

I think it all depends on what happens in Free Agency. If the Dolphins sign Dansby or Ryans,MLB becomes less of a priority for the draft but as it stands right now....i'd still say ILB was the greater priority cus we still have Porter and Taylor on the outside,even if they were'nt the best last season. Hopefully,the Dolphins can sign a good OLB in Free Agency then select McClain in the draft.

Can't go wrong with D but I see a WR in 4 or 5 unless bill gets a FA,then it's D early and more OL help late.

Oops when I said we really need both I meant ILB and OLB, not Porter/Taylor.

some dreames sometime come true .i am dreaming we won the super bowl .

Henne will be twice as good this year(not say'in that is awesome)but better.If we don't trade ginn it's do or to the scrap heap for him,who wants a WR that looks to hide?Last year for him if he's not gone allready but for some reason I think he will be her.OOPs isint that what bill called that WR in NE?

Neither LB position is as important as the DT or NT. Get a monster on the line first and it will make average guys look way better than yet are. It's not rocket science.

Was he from OSU too?

(better than they are)

But ILB is more important because they are usually the leaders of the defense and call defensive audibles when needed.

Terry Glenn....Ya thats her name

Just like ZACK

Hope he takes Bowmen at 3 or 4.......

I think that we should pursue OLB before we even think about improving an other spot on our defense. The whole basis for the 3-4 is to get pressure on the quarterback and cause mass chaos on the otherside of the ball. This isn't achieved by having monster ILBs, its achieved with the D-line and OLBs. This is the root reason why our defense was HORRIBLE this year. I'm not saying that we are fine as long as we get some talent at OLB, because thats just not true. We still need a safety, talent at ILB, and a NT, but I think that the talent we have at those position now could do well if we could just put a pass rush on the quarterback.

I'm not sure the criticism of the OLBs pass rushing is deserved. The Dolphins rank 3rd in the NFL with 44 sacks and while there was no dominating individual, the group produced around 25 sacks. More disconcerting was Joey Porter’s inability to set the edge in the running game and the lack of coverage skills of the LBs in general. Porter’s knee was a problem for him the whole season and it’s definitely a chronic injury that is not going to go away. For that reason I think Porter will be let go, which would leave an obvious void but I think it will be filled via free agency.

On the inside, Channing Crowder and Akin Ayodele just never stood out to me. Crowder seems to overrun or be caught out of position all the time and Ayodele disappears for whole games. Neither one is good in coverage. So while there are weaknesses at both positions I would rank ILB as the must have and OLB as a need. I think the ILB position will be filled in the draft especially if McClain is there at 12, but we won’t know anything until after free agency and the combine.

THIS IS EASY!!! we need 2 stud OLBs!!! i like taylor at OLB b/c he came into his own as the season went on but he's getting old!!! Like i said before the 34 starts with the NT being able to occupy 2 o-linemen and ends with the 4 LBs behind him making the plays. i feel channing is a good MLB and the only LB really worth playing every down, i think Talyor played great toward the halfway point of the season but truth be told, he's not a LB,Porter is old,slow,dont support the run and offers no pass coverage(what happen to the porter that picked culpepper off when he was still with pittsburg never saw him again), and akin he can just go anywhere(pure garbage). if we have a strong NT like cody(who actually play NT not DT dan williams who's only big enough for the position but no on the job training), channing, and 2 fire OLB who can cover,pressure the QB, and support the run we will be just fine. it dont make sense to have 2 strong MLBs and be weak on the edges. the telling sign of how weak the LB unit is,is the fact that a secondary with sean smith had more tackles than the LB unit and that should never never ever happen. i think we will trade down and pick CODY for no other reason than the fact how bad we tried to get or wanted a NT last year(ferg is not promised next year) plus this draft is full of LBs and DE who could switch over to LBs. i like the kid PAT ANGERER from IOWA as a MLB and we can get him in the late 3rd to 5th round of the draft. the kid is a PLAYMAKER period.

I’m not to sure about McClain but i am sure Bill Parcells loves the inside LB position. This is the most important position to Billy. If McClain is really as good as everyone writes, then we will draft McClain if he is available.

oh yea, love what CAM WAKE brings to the table as far as rushing the passer but i cant get that picture of the kicker put a move on him for the 1st down. i dont think he will ever be a starting LB

The strength of a defense has always been in the middle of the field. The scheme does not matter. DT/NT; MLB/ILB; SS. Those are the positions that provide the run stopping power and the push up the middle against the pass. This team is weak in the middle. They need to fill the NT, ILB, and SS positions. I don't care how they address them as long as we get quality players. They don't have to be big name, self-absorbed, chest thumpers. Just strong, fast, hard-nosed football players.

If McClain or Spikes is there at 12, we need to take them period. Our first pick is critical this year, but there are 11 teams ahead of us who also need a lot of help. The mock drafts that are coming out now are seldom correct and are just speculation. Bottom line, we need to take the most talented player on the board when our pick is up.

we really dont need the big stars at any position,just fundamentally sound tough players who can "TACKLE"!!!! im glad nolan is a dolphin because he could be the head coach with all his experience. he will make us fundamentally better! get jameel mclain from the ravens and rolando mclain in the draft! ship out "i cant practice but i can play porter"!

ILB 1st.rd., def. tackle 2nd.rd., olb 3rd., safety 4th. Keep Taylor for a year. Of course free agency can change this in a heartbeat. I could be wrong, but it seems after Crowder got his fat raise, he lost interest.

does any one knows if shawne merriman will be a free agent this year?? i wonder if he tanked it on the chargers or if his knee just wasnt strong enough this year but i do think he has alot left in the tank and would be an upgrade over any player we have or could draft

I think Miami should try to draft out of the #12 spot if McClain and Bryant are not available and pick up an extra pick. If you draft down at that point there should be value choices at NT, FS, OLB.

Armando, to answer your question, the greater priority is ILB. Take a look at our players who under contract and will probably be back:
ILB: Crowder, Ayodele, Torbor
OLB: Taylor, Wake, Moses,
Crowder and Ayodele falt out stunk up the joint in 2009 and are the weakness of this 3-4 alignment
Wake, Moses and Taylor all performed when given an opportunity.

The final question for the Trifecta is, "Which group of players improve with Nolan's scheme so as to move the drafting position from MUST HAVE to NEED?" If you believe that the OLB can improve, you have an answer to Armando's question, and also my reasoning for choosing the ILB position as a MUST HAVE!!

listen i have read your blog for years i know u do this to boost your blog up but u and so many people make me scratch my head sometimes heres why...

- we are not letting go porter & taylor because with nolan will revive them 10 sacks ea in 2010, they will how ever be gone the year after

- we do not need a RB, Lex, Cobbs will carry the load once ricky is done, we also have 24 year old sheets in the practice squad

- we will trade for marshall or sign a.bryant at worst case we will get a WR in draft watchout for Dez or Parcells Drafted Austin via FA (dout it!)

- Gibril will not get released, he will be blitzing safety/back up...clemons & culver will share starting spot ,,,watch out for Allen's ...

-we will not draft an outside LB wake will do great with the new Defensive staff

-Drafting McClain is a possibility but if that does not work out we will trade down ...watch out for Dansby via F.A.(We have Money)

-Penny will be back as Backup and future fins staff

-David Lee will be our new Offensive Coach because henning will retire after this year and parcells will leave as well

mark my words....you heard it here 1st
also do not critic on typing ive seen worst!

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