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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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For some reason I thought Folsom was like 5'8 or 5'10... Don't know why... His profile shows him a 6'3, I guess he is a little light for LB at 230

The dolphins will draft a safetey or lb and that's a fact!!!! Their is too much depth at wr for them to take one early.. It's not happening.. They are for sure not taking dez Bryant who hasn't played In a year... They need something big and I would prey berry from Tennessee would fall which I know won't happen... But they need a dynamic playmaker on defense... Somebody that offenses. Have to worry about... Stop with this dez Bryant krap!

With the 12th pick of the 2010 NFL Draft, the Miami Dolphins select, "Jackie Shipp...", no wait, "Lorenzo Hampton",no wait "Erik Kumerow", no wait, "John Bosa", no wait "John Avery", no wait "John Avery", no wait "Yatil Green", no wait, "Jason Allen"...get the picture?? It's pretty much a guessing game, especially at WR. Let's get a couple of high quality free agents (aka BRANDON MARSHALL--parcells can fix this guy and Nolan knows him)and yes, ILB is our absolute biggest need. Crowder is AWFUL and injury prone--Ayodole is even worse. Draft that ILB. Porter MUST go, and let JT (who has plenty in the tank) play that roving OLB position to rush the passer. Why JT is playing coverage unless its once in a while is mind boggling! Wake and Andersoon will do fine.

Check out Kentucky's ILB Micah Johnson, no way this guy is first round pick, but physically he is an absolute beast... He would be great value with a mid-round selection, just like the Tuna likes em...

If McClain is gone when the Phins pick in the 1st round, this guy is a great option later on...

The Phins will take a can't miss player with number 12, that means McClain. Joey Porter is gone. Are you really going to keep a guy that doesn't produce and you have to bench for disciplinary reasons. Plus it's a good time to dump any access salary with the upcoming uncapped year. Jason Taylor can come back and easily fill his position with much better results even at the age of 36, he's a bargain. It'll be linebacker by committee on the other side unless the dolphins find an acorn somewhere else in the draft or free agency. I think the dolphins can address the WR issue via trade (Ted Ginn and Turner plus maybe a 4th rounder for Marshall) and it makes more sense. Most WR take several years to develope into peak performers. Why not get a young guy like Marshall from Denver who can produce right away. Hartline and Bess will blossom with a threat like that lined up with them. Also since it's an uncapped year you can give him the big contract he wants this year and get most of the money issues out of the way and prevent future cap issues down the road. Boldin may still be a cheaper trade option given his age and injury issues, and he comes with a lot less baggage. Although I would consider Marshall a much better offenses weapon/threat. A good player will fall into the dolphins lap in round 2, maybe they can pick up a LB, safety, or RB to fill a need after the Ricky and Ronnie era. Oh yeah, if the Pats don't put the franchise tag on Wilfork roll out the orange carpet, if they do we'll probably have to wait one more year to fill that need. Fergie or some other vet and Solia may be the best bet next year.

In the video that was posted. Sergio Kindle had an opportunity for the strip and just went for the big time hit. He doesnt seem like a game changer to me. For goodness sake the QB didn't know he was coming..go for the strip.

What the Dolphins need are safeties!!!! Remember Dick and Scott? The Blackwoods? Oliver?
Opponents will continue to exploit the middle of the field!!!!!!

last years draft was a disaster; then they weren't coached up! im real happy we got a real D coord. now i hope that jeff ireland can evaluate talent coming out of college. im skeptical because of his free agent signings and his reluctance to admit mistakes to the fans. why do we play 2 strong safeties all year? can will allen or vontae play free safety?

Greg Z. what are you talking about? Look at the list of players from the last 2 drafts including undrafted free agents

1. Jake Long
2. Phillip Merling
3. Chad Henne
4. Kendal Langford
5. Donald Thomas
6. Lex Hilliard
7. Davone Bess
8. Dan Carpenter
9. Vontae Davis
10. Sean Smith
11. Brian Hartline
12. Chris Clemons

All these player contributing/starting as rookies and 2nd year players in the league.. hard to argue against that... Pat White is all you got

carlito, i said last years draft was a disaster. we didnt address our needs on D. we should have kept goodie,hill and even vonnie. we didnt need gerbil who cant cover a sleeping baby. the 2 rookie corners weren't needed,were guaranted spots without earning them and gave up almost 50% of the yardage. clemons played special teams and hartline is a 4th receiver. we needed LB's, NT,starting WR and some big guys on the OL and DL. we could have gotten b. dawkins, sharper, bodden,mcfadden etc to fill the void at corner. i said we should have taken a clay matthews as our 1st round pick. white and turner and nalbone were wasted picks.

greg how can you say turner is a waste? meachem in new orleans sat his first year and he turned out ok.

Greg Z,

Didn't need the rookie corners? Alright, then who would be starting without Smith and Davis. To suggest that they didn't earn their spots is ridiculous. Smith earned his by beating out other corners in training camp and Vontae earned his throughout the season with solid play. You are way off base on that one. Also, Hartline has become the most explosive wr on the Dolphins and Clemons was getting more time on D as the season went on.

Gibril Wilson is horrible, but you can't use his bad play to say Miami should have kept Goodman, Hill, and Holiday. None of these 3 is a great player and all 3 are old with inflated contracts, glad they are gone. Not to mention, the Fins pass d was atrocious with them last year too.

carlito, what im saying is the regime thought the fins were better than they really were. we made some frivolous picks like p.white,turner, nalbone. i thought we needed other needs filled like ILB,OLB,NT and a starting WR. we had goodman(excellent corner) and hill (better than gerbil). we let them walk to pick up davis as 1st round and gerbil. what im saying is take clay matthews or similar and sign a FA corner so you dont waste a #1 pick!!!!!! i liked the 2008 team better because they were a rag-tag bunch that didnt quit and overachieved. this 2009 team were guaranteed positions and you could see it in uninspired play. watch the replay of the texans game at miami for a playoff spot. or the last 3 for that matter. you need veteran corners; not rookies with no one to mentor them. they were lost and looked the part.

Greg Z,

Andre Goodman is an excellent corner?

The only frivolous pick in that bunch is P. White. Pat Turner and John Nalbone were both in positions of need, and even though they haven't shown much, yet they are mid-late round rookies... what do you expect?

Vontae Davis is physical specimen and will be a very good corner in this league, he is in no way a wasted pick. Many of the times he was beat this year were due to not having any help over the top. Every rookie will make mistakes, but this guy is a hard hitter, good in run support, good in coverage, and has great hands. Vontae Davis is one of the best defensive players and the best cb on the Dolphins.

Tenn Eric Berry
USC Taylor Mays

Take them both if we can!!!!!!

Glad to see some fool from the midwest using my name. I'm Flattered.

Carlito , if you thought that was me , then you're just as big a fool as him. You shoud know better that wasn't me.


I know that wasn't you, I said it was the bizarro NJ, did you see my post on Micah Johnson ILB from Kentucky... Great mid round prospect for ILB...

Carlito , i have mentioned Micah Johnson numerous times on this blog . Me and marcus have talked about him and like him alot. If miami doesn't get McClain , Micah needs to be considered in round 3. Keep on an eye on TE Dennis Pitta of BYU during today's east-west shrine game.

Carlito , i have mentioned Micah Johnson numerous times on this blog . Me and marcus have talked about him and like him alot. If miami doesn't get McClain , Micah needs to be considered in round 3. Keep on an eye on TE Dennis Pitta of BYU during today's east-west shrine game..

i think people forget that some drafts are loaded with quality at certain positions.

Perhaps the reason we picked smith and davis last year was 1. to move towards a younger team and 2. because of how deep the draft is this year at the LB position.

also to consider is the number of years it usually takes for a player of a specific position to get on the field and start making plays. The magic year for receivers seems to be 3, perhaps the time for LBs is 1 year less than the time for CBs that will need to play man to man in an aggressive defense.

Just saying, the football minds in this administration may make mistakes, but parcells has proven time and time again that he can build solid teams that can compete for years.. so I trust in what he and the team are doing.

And as Carlito says, just because we have so many needs, does in no way justify us as fans to expect pro-bro caliber play from rookies. Starting in your first year is not usual for rookies unless they are top 15 or maybe 1st round.. after than, they are usually projects that will need some serious improvement at some part of their game to excel at the NFL level.. I am pretty happy with the contribution of those players picked in the last 2 years. Our previous regimes would still be at 1-15, thinking we were a few dazzling playmakers away from being champs... instead, without a solid foundation, we would have college stars getting their azzzz kicked by other teams.

Those who want to justify Pat White and Sean Smith in the second, Pat Turner in third. John Nalbone last year, need to start watching a different sport.

Last offseason was a collosal failure, and this front office has gotten behind they need a miracle to save their behind.


Haven't heard you guys talking about Micah Johnson, but he is one of the dudes thats been training at the gym I go to for the combine... Lets just say he looks very intimidating in person... would not want to make him mad... MICAH SMASH

On a different note,

I just noticed Sun-Life and Landshark corporate logos are same colors... at least Mr. Ross save some money for paint

i saw a surprising stat on espn today!! ted ginn ranked second behind percy harvin with 17.7yds per touch min 100 touches!!! no he's not a #1 wr but neither is harvin!! we have to find a way to use him to our advantage

harvin was 17.8yds per touch

I can't justify Pat White - even if he was better this year than he turned out to be.. I think it was a WANT pick and I think it was too early for want picks..

But I think sean smith will be good once he matures and it is too early to write turner and nalbone off completely..

phinfan from birth73,

sad to say, the best way for the Dolphins to use Ginn to their advantage is to put him on another team.

Sean Smith is very good in coverage, and Qb's tend not to throw in his direction alot, which tells you something... his biggest fault is that he isn't very physical...

Sun life is our employee insurance provider and manager of our profit sharing/retirement program.

What am trying to say is they best have left some money to pay off my dental claim!

OK guys what are we talking about today???

Sean Smith is very good in coverage, and Qb's tend not to throw in his direction alot, which tells you something... his biggest fault is that he isn't very physical...

Posted by: carlito from golfito | January 23, 2010 at 01:53 PM

Absolutely - and I think as he matures, he might spend more time at the gym trying to get more physical than heading out and partying/playing as much as he does..

i think we drafted white b/c we needed another qb, and i dont think the trifecta wanted somebody who was already set in their ways. i dont think white will ever be starting QB material but give the kid a chance to show his worth. the kid was a deer caught in headlights but you cant argue he was one of the best college QB of all time. better than henne for sure in college

Maybe he can cut down on the twittering and concentrate on the gym huh???

am trying to decide what to eat for lunch.. and no, I won't be having a meatball sub - i try to limit my carb intake and stay away from dairy

I cant wait for twitter to die like myspace



Go for a Italian sub from sub-way....

exactly, CM.. and watching film.

he has a lot of potential and has good cover skills that are enhanced by his tall frame..


brb - gonna see what we have in the house.. before i decide I want something I can't make...

kinda like how the Jets are selling championship gear for a game they can't win. ;)

carlito in my opinion thats a bad idea! we dont have speed on the offense besides him! plus how many times have we gave up on a player for them to blossom elsewhere! like i said b4 ginn never had a veteran show him the rope,maybe the wr coach is that good,or maybe the OC just dont know what to do with him. we all agree wr is a spot that takes time and the fact that ginn was a db coming into college and switch to wr his second to last year at ohio st. he just need time(veteran wr help). it seems we give up on players to quick and grab player who never pan out for us.

wr coach not that good

would not want to make him mad... MICAH SMASH

Posted by: carlito from golfito | January 23, 2010 at 01:45 PM

LMAO! Carlito from Golfito you are one funny man. And your right about Greg Z does not know what he is talking about.

NJ, Will you be having a creatine and colonic on rye????? Just think you can gain weight and lose it at the same time....

Maybe have some Colon blow for those pesky intestine hangers ons....

lol @ colon blow. one of the best product names out there

is Armando going to be blogging from Indy tomorrow?

Interesting question. I think it comes down to BPA/LB. Many people have McClain rated very highly, tops of all LBs, and indeed he is the Butkus Award winner. As for me, I saw him in 3 big games, and I have watched tape. He certainly is an athlete and looks to be a leader/play caller. He moves well in space has good timing on his inside blitzes. That bodes well for covering slot WRs and Tight Ends, both of which killed us last year.

However, I would argue that he is not a "tackling savant" or "tackling machine", at least as compared to Willis or Mayo, 2 recent examples of ILB excellence. He plays way too high, and many many of his tackles are drag down, rugby tackles or throw down tackles in which the runner is actually gaining a few yards before being put down. NET, he is no Dick Butkus but a fine all around player. Is he the guy? I think so but would not be terribly disappointed with Kindle either.


WOW !! KDEE. You don't like the way mcclain tackles but you wouldn't be disappointed if miami drafts kindle who can't tackle himself , is weak vs the run , needs to get much stronger and cover for shyt???. McClain tackles just fine thank you.

Menace , what time is your flight out on monday ??

NJ, Will you be having a creatine and colonic on rye????? Just think you can gain weight and lose it at the same time....

Posted by: cuban menace | January 23, 2010 at 02:05 PM


Sean Smith is very good in coverage, and Qb's tend not to throw in his direction alot, which tells you something... his biggest fault is that he isn't very physical...

Posted by: carlito from golfito | January 23, 2010 at 01:53 PM

Maybe its because he gets help from Gibril all day long, and qb's target single coverage on Vontae?

I have seen McClain play too and IMO has some of the best anticipation/instinks for college LB and was frequently blowing up screens behind the line of scrimage. Good pick at 12 buit if not there I think Parcells should trade down and get add another pick in the 2 or 3rd rounds if can? Because we need more picks to fill alot of holes.


Posted by: Victor Barney | January 23, 2010 at 02:00 PM

I like how these folks claim the pass rush will some how magically stop Peyton Manning or Brew Brees or Matt Shaub or Phillip Rivers or any decent QB with a legit WR, TE or RB that can catch the ball out of the backfield.

Wasting a pick on an ILB or OLB will be the dumbest thing Tuna and his helper has done to date. If we're relying on our LB's to make all the plays then what the hell is the Line doing? If we use the pick then we use it to move down and grab a NT or DE.

Pass rush starts up front. Blitzing comes from our LB's. The Jets get great push from their front 3. We don't! Do we even have a defensive line?

NJPhin Fan;
I think McClain tackles just fine if you like your ILBs facing downfield, hanging onto the legs of the running back. Show me one tackle on any video in which you see him drive back a player. Most of his tackles are arm grab, throwdowns...they get the job done I guess. He is around the ball, but at times I see him gesturing like a coach, and not getting turf in his facemask.

I still think he is a very good player. An ILB needs to do many things, not just knock guys out. His coverage skills would be great for a team that gave up many TE/Slot and RB passes over the middle. I will take his other skills, but call me old school...if you draft an ILB at #12, it would be nice to see a guy lower the boom once in awhile....
As for Kindle, I guess I we will have to take your word for it about all his problems. I saw an 8 tackle, 2.5 sack BCS game and he was OK there. If not Kindle for OLB, then who? Hughes, Sapp, Weatherspoon?


Did you happen to see the championship game against Texas? Blow up a few screen plays driving the running back, back into the ground.

What good is fortifying your defense 5 yards behind the wall? The enemy is already INSIDE your perimeter. Need to beef up the WALL. We need to stop them at the FIRST LINE OF DEFENSE.

1. First line: Defensive line
2. Second line: LB's
3. Third line: Secondary

FOOTBALL TACTICS 101! Our line got pushed around like little 2nd grade school girls this season. Need to put dresses on these guys. Our LB's were getting run over by the offensive line PUSHING our defensive line back 5 yards. Our LB's had to tackle our own school girls just to get to the offensive line.

They suck to high heaven.

Kdee , before that Bcs game kindle had a whopping 45 tackles ( finished with 53 ) and 3 sacks. LOL !! I don't know what tape you've been watching on McClain but you need to get better or more tape on McClain. This gut is in opposing backfields all the top and is fine tackler. He plays 3-4 ILB and isn't going to put the huge tackling #'s like a MLB in the 4-3. He sniffs out screens better than anyone i've seen in a long time. He 's also real good in coverage. As for other OLB's to look for , yes hughes , sapp , Brandon graham and even a greg hardy if he drops because of his injury history.

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