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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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everyone needs to relax we still have to see what happens with FA and the NFL combine, players stock rises and falls at the combine. everyone agrees that linebacker is a big need and NT and safety, sometimes there are to many holes to fill. I do agree with last years draft was a bust ,outside of davis, smith, and hartline, the rest were wasted picks. hopefully they get correct this year or THE BOSS ROSS needs to step in and make changes.

Mcclain. This will allow crowder to focus on one side of the field whereas last year he felt he had to worry about both sides that ended up having him out of position to make tackles

Eric Norwood from South Carolina in 2nd round.

We need help in both positions (ILB & OLB) but the ILB is a more needed. Crowder and Ayundale aren`t that good. They don`t make any game-changing plays, can`t cover the short pases and Ayundale doesn`t know how to tackle. On the OLB, we still have Taylor, Porter and C. Wake (he is a sack machine). Address the ILB first, then the WR position, then the OLB. Besides maybe in free agency we can solve some of ours needs.

You have to build from the inside out. They need to get stronger up the middle. It would be nice to stop someone on 3rd and 1 or at the goal line for once!

man channing is a tackling machine!! im not comparing him to RAY LEWIS but if you put ray on our defense and channing on the raven i promise you the raven would not suffer. channing is a victim of being sandwich between 2 sorry ass players in AKIN and PORTER. it would be hard to name the other MLB opposite ray lewis b/c he has suggs on the outside and a beast at NT. channing has been pulled out of position b/c the 2 mentioned b4 dont bring nothing to the table as far as run support and they cant cover period. i cant stop laughing at how akin let houston's second string TE just leave him on the one pass play during a important time of the game this year(he looked like a d-lineman trying to rundown a RB 20yrd down field). channing can improve and should want to but the ceiling has been met with akin and porter and you never see channing playing scared or just disappear from a game

His mock sucks Berry at13,Haden at 15,Bradford at 26? Berry is a top 5 pick, Haden ,Bradford are both top 10 picks

PhinFan your spot on. If we are going to continue to run 3-4. NT is the heartbeat of that scheme. I do think we are weak in our LB's (both inside an out). Mostly due to age.If you really look at it Porter 32, Taylor 35, not to mention NT Ferg 35. These guys don't have the burst they use too. Akin terrible in pass coverage crowder over runs every play usually in the wron gap when he's not hurt. I am anxious to see what nolan will bring with D and schemes we are too vanilla. I think we also need to find a good Nickle corner who can cover those slot recivers. FS we need to address wilson was terrible, bell is a true ss not the greatest in coverage. I like out receivers believe it or not. We need to give Ginn on more shot he can stretch the field love bess. Like what i saw late in the year out of Hartline.Camarillo reminds me of MCDuffie Mr. Consistent on 3rd down.

It's a toss up, need both not to mention NT and FS. So, it comes down to who's available.

Those two "wants" from last year, White and Turner and the "need" Wilson have put us in a deep hole.

Both positions need to be adressed but with the extreme weakness we have in the middle, Fergunson 35 and injured who knows if he will be back, our most pressing need would be ILB... alot can happen between now and draft day...

I think Porter and/or Taylor will be gone, because Denver OLB Elvis Dumerville is a FA and under Nolan, Elvis rocked this year! Imagine it Elvis, J-lo, Gloria and Jimmy! Talk about game-day entertainment!

Kindle did nothing in the Rose Bowl against NFL calibar offensive linemen. He was pretty much dominated. I don't want him.

If the dude making the mock draft does not think Wake is a quality edge rusher I would not put much stock in the rest of his thinking.

If we go OLB/ILB, I want:

1. OLB Jerry Hughes or if not there then Brandon Graham.

2. ILB Micah Johnson ILB

Having seen that video before, the one thing that comes to mind is that Kindle would be flagged for an illegal hit on the guy in a skirt, I mean QB.

Mando's question:

Which is the greater priority: OLB or ILB?

Short answer: Yes.

mcclain kimble or bryant all fill a need either way we go!


olb allthe way.
a playmaker a gema changer on d

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

Larry: "this year" is over & Henning is still here? Do you mean after 2010-11 season, i.e., NEXT year?

Ditto for Parcells---according to reports he's at east-west game scouting college players. While I too wondered about his staying, everything SINCE we lost to Pitts sez he's here at least thru this draft & FA/

Parcell's builds teams from the inside out. If he doesn't fill the need in free agency or a NT outside the state of Nebraska has one hell of a combine, then McClain is his man.

we where stout against the run b4 ferg went down, we was getting killed by TE and RB all over the field strong and weak side,once taylor and bell got on the same page teams start picking on porter and wilsons side of the field. why? b/c teams knew porter only cared about sacks,as a free safety wilson should have been the deepest defender on the field but if you have to worry about porter's man of course that will bring him down sometimes(it wasnt only wilson biting but clemons and culver too).how many sacks did we have from the mlb spot(next to none).its easy for teams to stop a blitz when they know its coming from the outside vs. the outside and inside together and we never did that,we ran a handful of conerback blitz at the end of the year(wow). we never matched up with our CB on WR regardless of where they lined up on the field!! why? to vanilla!!! get a beast a NT first and fill the LBs spots second,and we cant have an overload of safeties,we need to see if the player is in-house be it wilson, clemons or culver but first grab a NT, then a LBs and the free safety spot will take care of itself.oh yea please dont draft no more CB either not this year.NT LBS TE and maybe a WR like thomas from GT if there in late 2nd early 3rd. AKIN was the weakest link on the defense hands down,next porter and then wilson(fix akin and porter spot,wilson will be okay if not try the kids on the team

we need ILB, they drop back into coverage and how many times did we get burned by TE this year, Crowder and company cant get it done. Can someone tell me when the Marlins are going to get the hell out of our stadium?

That mock draft was pathetic. First off, if Eric Berry fell to us (he was drafted the pick after us in the mock) we'd pick him up in a heartbeat. Earl Thomas is another excellent fit. Look at what having a play-making safety can do for a team (Troy Polamoleau, Bob Sanders, Ed Reed). I think Thomas would be an excellent fit.

OLB isn't strong in this draft. there are better values at areas of need. If McClain isn't there or Berry doesn't fall, look for Thomas to be in aqua and orange.

Kindle is one dimensional and is not a stalwart at the point of attack. Anyone see him against Alabama? Has a couple of pressures and downfield tackles but gets completely handled by a good college OL. I mean he gets HANDLED.

Here you go,
1. R. McClain
2. E. Norwood
3. A. McCoy
4. Trade to move up
5+ big bodies to try out at NT or big CB to try out at free safety.

FA-Ryan Pickett or Casey Hampton
Might need to move up two spots to get ahead of Denver, I think a 4th rounder might do it. With McClain you have our ILB set for at least 3-4 years. For some reason Crowder gets no respect. He is not spectacular by any means but he is a good player against both run and pass. He is also handicapped with the other ILB. Teams killed us with passes to the TE and RB that last two games as well as runs up the middle that we did not see earlier in the year while he was out. If you put an explosive player like McClain next to him we will be set. Norwood is a do everything player who along with Wake can bring it. Keep Taylor for another year to help mentor those two. Parcells has made a living finding NT later in the draft (Ferg, Ratliff) and no reason to think otherwise. Big, nose tackles that only play two downs usually don't go in the first couple of rounds. We can sign Pickett or Hampton in case Ferg can't make it another year while a young guy develops. Finally, draft a "tweener" that might not be great at run support but with CB like coverage ability in the secondary.

Anthony McCoy from USC is an athletic TE who can actually block. I think that frees up some of the receivers if teams have to protect against a TE running up the seem

Don't see the Dolphins passing on Eric Berry in that Mock draft.

I just don't see passing on McClain if he's there at 12, (even if they both are available). Crowder and Ayodele are uninspiring. Ayodele tries but simply isnt that good, while Crowder is constantly out of position and misses too many tackles. But Crowder and McClain are a vast improvement. We can likely squeeze another season out of Taylor if we'll use him as a pass rusher, but I think the key to which LB they would take depends on what they do with the NT position. We can't count on Ferguson, though I'd love to see him return (and stay healthy) for 2010.

for those who think a safety would have fix what was the problem are kidding yourself. getting killed underneath by TE and RB set up all those big pass play against us. berry and thomas would have the same problem as Wilson believe me. it seems as if y'all think a free safety is the first line of defense instead of being the last line of defense. the reason ed reed and troy are great at what they do,is b/c they have trust in the guys in front of them to get the job done,which leaves them the room to roam. they make play b/c they have nothing else to do but roam the field

First off, NT is obviously the biggest need but there isn't a BJ Raji or Haloti Ngata in this draft who is worthy of the #12 pick so it won't happen.

So either they trade down and pick the NT or they get one in free agency.

If they stay at 12, the pick has to be Derrick Morgan or Rolando McClain. NOT Sergio Kindle - he's not worthy of the #12 - no way. I watched a lot of college ball this year and he disappears for weeks at a time. As mentioned earlier, he's also light in the loafers and doesn't fit the mold as far as the Trifecta goes. They didn't like Zach Thomas because he was 225 and they aren't going to pick up a 235 lbs linebacker in the 1st of any draft.

The options for picking either McClain or Morgan are as follows: The ILB spot can be filled by Dansby who the current staff really likes and looked at adding last year. The OLB spot in this draft is mega deep (who was it that said it was weak in this draft??? get a clue). You can address the OLB spot in the 2nd or 3rd with a pretty good player.

For these reasons, the other option would be to pick Earl Thomas.

An offseason that included picking up Karlos Dansby, Earl Thomas, Jerry Hughes or Greg Hardy or Eric Norwood, and finding more depth at NT sounds good to me.

Armando, you should read ESPN's Draft Lab write up on McClain. It points out some serious concerns about his potential that you might find interesting. You sound as exicited about the prospect of landing McClain as I was before I read that article.

I would go with the best player on the board but for the past 2 years for the phins they have gone with the biggest need as their draft plan and admitly there were good players around to fill that need. Picking at number 12 is a bit too high for a ILB IMO unless they are very very exceptional. So I would drift toward the OLB, NT, RB and WR first and figure that there will be ILB help later. Right now the NT would help more on defence right away and of course WR on offense. But if a great safe talent falls then you pick it up. I hear that is happening with Spiller to some degree and as much as I like Cobbs I say you take that guy to proctect yourself against Browns injuries and Ricky's age. Next year Ricky will retire and this team is built around running the ball.

Kindle does have the drive to play pro ball -- he got soft once he hit it big with his deal with Amazon.

You have to admire his smarts, however, in figuring out how to get numerous whole books into such a small device.

Either McClain or Kindle will definately be available at 12. Some team in the top 10 will make a crazy pick, aka the Raidumbs with DH-B at what 7 I think? It happens every year that some guy projected 6-8 will fall to 12 and it will happen again this year. Need is great at both ILB and OLB but I say OLB is the way to go. Unless you have a dynamic offense like the Colts or Saints your only hope is to put pressure on the QB and make him uncomfortable. See the Giants a couple years ago, the Jets and Ravens this year. None of those teams have offenses worth a damn but all are contenders because they can pressure the QB with consistancy.

No way you go WR in the 1st round if we want to be a true player in 2010. Name one WR who was a star right out of the gait. It just doesn't happen. There's a longer learning curve for WRs than for LBs. We must go WR in FA and Defense in the early rounds of the draft to have even a chance for a Super Bowl run next year.

Pat White was a WANT which looks foolish in retrospect for a team with so many MUST HAVES & NEEDS. But you can't win em all.

mcclain even if it means trading up a few spots!!!! draft a te or a safety with #2
send #3 and camarillo to AZ for boldin

Now these three guys would all start. We can't keep wasting high picks on guys taht do not play
Pat White Pat Turner Merling J Allen , these high picks have to play

I hope Bill leans towards a big NT 1st. I'd love to sign Dez at WR, but I do not think that's going to happen. ILB would be the best choice to pick if we are just talking about LB's. A stud in the middle is always a great thing to have. Ray Lewis type, speed, tough, leadership and never ending motor.

Kindle seems a bit small to me. i feel thats a reach at 12

ILB needs more fixing. they could not cover underneath at all last year. and yes Ferg going down hurt our run D but i feel who we have in the middle now are average to below average players. Akin was just a veteran that the Trifecta added to fill what was a horrible roster. going into year 3, his purpose was served good bye. Channing, man i was sick when we resigned him. we have to keep him now i assume. but he's just not that good, in my opinion. talking makes him look even worse of a player cause i just dont see the tough talk translate into tough play

i feel Nolan can get just below Dummerville production out of Wake. and w/Moses and bring back JT..also Anderson and maybe pick up a OLB AFTER we address the ILB position.

if everything goes great for us in free agency, i would trade out of the first round all together. i like tampa 2 picks in the 2nd round with a 3 and 4 or new englands 3 picks in the 2nd round with a 5(want happen) but there are to many players with the same skill set the year coming out. i see SPIKES as being more of a better fit that Mcclain as a MLB, the only thing that scares me about SPIKES is he played at Florida(they dont make good pros) to often but he plays hard and tuff

Neh, McClain is what we need. Nice video and all, but Sarah Palin could sack a QB if she went unblocked.

The whiplash and subsequent helmet hitting the ground and the head concussing at :44 - :47 of the video is breathtaking cinema and a thing of great beauty. Thank you for sharing that with me.

OK, Mando, everyone, Sergio Kindle is not the OLB 1st round option. He is not a #12. The option is Derrick Morgan DE/OLB, GT. Even Jason Pierre-Paul DE, USF would be a better option. Kindle just isn't it for the reasons mentioned in my earlier post.

kindle is awesome super athletic but seems a little undersize in general mostyl weight which he can pack on but will he be as fast he is definitely not the freek orakpo of last year plus if he his teammate lamar houston is there down in the 3rd round hed be a great pick up

if mclain is there his instincts alone are hard to pass up besides that he is a giant in the middle

if we have to outside linebacker i think everson griffen is a slight reach still a first rounder but reminds me of a dwight freeney or richard seymour if he reaches the pats pick theyll take him

ILB all the way! To me the inside back can line up anywhere in the box on blitz packages, which frees up the the outside guys. If Miami can get a guy that can cover as well, the D improves like that! If they get an ILB that hit hards and is a tackling machine(100+) then that's an improvement. If they can get an ILB that can do all 3, then skies the limit for this D next year.

That might have been the worst mock draft I've ever seen. I'm in no way a Sam Bradford fan but if he thinks he's falling to #20, he's crazy. I wont speculate who we take because we have no idea who will be available.

As for our team, we need help at all LB spots so we take the best one available when our pick comes.

"I know both of them won't be back."

Inside Info ?

Thanks !


No way Tuna or Ireland take a NT before RD4. Look at Fergusen & J. Ratliff. Both late round players in his 2 most recent destinations. I agree its the most pressing need for a 3-4, but it won't happen.

Dump Ayodele. He missed so many tackles that turned into huge gains. He stinks in coverage too. Bring back JT but dump Porter. We already have a part time pass rusher with upside(WAKE). I say we trade down a few picks and try to acquire some additional 2nd & 3 rounders. We need alot of help.

Dump Wilson & give Clemons a shot this year. Or keep him around and use him wisely. He has better cover skills than a LB. So, in dime & Nickel, instead of keeping a slower LB in there, put in Wilson to roam the intermediate zone and whack guys like Welker when they come across the middle. Or try blitzing him, he did fairly well at it last year.

Regardless of what people think, offense must be addressed. This team is built to be a smash mouth team. If thats the case, did anyone notice how many rb's we lost this year? Ronnie, Cobbs & almost Rickey. They are all 1 year older, 2 are coming off big injuries & one is set to retire. This team needs 1, if not 2 RB's ASAP.

Lets not forget TE's either, big blocking guys are a must with this type of offense. Haynos is a bum & a FA. Fasano came on later in the year and I think should be resigned. We still need another TE. Nalbone is waiting to be the #2-3.

We still need a WR too, not sure where we can find a dependable target.

My opinion is, all our holes are must haves.
2 RB

Remember the ILB is the QB of the D. He sets the tone, and for the most part relays the plays on D. He should be the guy with the C on his jersey. When you have players like Crowder and Akin, who are average in that position, you need an upgrade and let those guys do what they do best. Be a role player and back up the big boys!

i would go ilb becuase they are the corner stone and they run the 3-4 dfense we have a early second round pick so if one slips we can get on olb because this draftis full of them but i would also look at nost tackle we need help unless they can sign wilfork which would help our draft buy taking 1 position out.

i truly believe CODY will fix the problem in the middle of the defense even if we are stuck with akin next year!! how many NT play the whole game or all three downs(that where big paul comes in). we need OLB period ones who can cover,rush the QB, and support the run thats the only way a 34 is going to be effective. my draft would be cody,norwood,d. thomas(wr),micah johnson or pat angerer,and jimmy graham(te) and maybe a S in the later rounds and another LB

we thought we could get a NT last year later in the draft and there was none!! we better take one early if we dont get one in F/A

BOTH are must haves. To be a great 3-4 defense you have to have big, fast stud linebackers who can hit like a train and are great tacklers. We have no one that fits that description that isnt on their way out because of age. Crowder and Ayodele sure arent the answers inside, and right now we have a situational pass rusher in Wake and that's it outside. We need both, and this will be the year the Tuna and company load up on LB in the draft. I predict we will use 3 picks on it.

phinfan, i could live with taking a NT early if the Trifecta really believes in one of them (I'm undecided on the 2 big ones in the draft) but not at #12. If there is a NT in the 1st round, there should be a trade down and the acquisition of another 2nd pick. That would give the team a lot of flexibility - they can take 2 OLBs later in the draft, trade a later pick for a guy like Boldin, etc.

But I think it's very important that they upgrade the MLBs. Signing karlos Dansby would be sweet.

I think what Nolan really wants to run his 3-4 is a power pig. A NT to eat up blocks and free up his LB's. Yes we are old there, and we need to add some new young talent, but bring in someone like a Vince Wilfork or even a more pass rushing DT like Dockery would help out our LB crew tremendously, Randy Starks and Langford need some help. I love Fergie but hes breaking down, awesome career though.....

McClain all the way if it comes down to him and Kindle or some other 3-4 OLB or even FS Earl Thomas and WR Dez Bryant. If the top players that would be available in the #12 range that fill the Must Have and Need categories are there (FS Earl Thomas, OLB Segio Kindle, WR Dez Bryant, ILB Rolando McClain, NT Dan Williams, TE Aaron Hernandez) are all available - I don't doubt that Tuna Conglomerate draft's McClain.

Maybe Nolan can bring D.J. Williams back to Miami from Denver. He is a free agent!

That guy Brooks has us passing on Eric Berry, who will be picked 13 by the 49er's. If he is there, the Dolphins wont pass him up. He is a ball hawk free safety and tackles very well. He would be great on this team.

OLB is probably the bigger need, but we can still get a solid one in the second round. ILB is a notch beneath it, but it's a much safer pick, and after the first round start from day one ILB's will be few and far between. I say go with the safer pick of McClain and look OLB in the later rounds. We could get a solid one in the second or grab 2 in the later rounds and see which one sticks. There are a ton of lesser known potential OLB's in this draft that may be better than the more well known prospects in the long run.

Kindle is too small,... He'll get blocked in the NFL

I drafted a ILB with my 1st pick in my Madden 10 online franchise. Hit me up if u wanna join (sorry Dolphins are already taken lol). Ps3 name is GOTGAME4U.

Crowder is not good. For 3 years he has hit the wrong hole many of times. He had Zack on one side for

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