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Look to the draft for the biggest talent boon

I talked to two NFL general managers on Monday -- no, not Dolphins GM Jeff Ireland who flees at the mere smell of a tape recorder.

In e-mail exchanges with these two GMs, I came to believe that if a team is going to load up on talent in the 2010 offseason, it's going to happen primarily through the draft. These guys were truly excited about the college talent coming out, have already put in long hours of tape study on college players, and are eagerly looking forward to the Indianapolis Combine later this month.

And, no, they weren't bailing on the idea that free agency will have a few good players in the offing and even some intriguing surprises. But when 140 to 200 players in their mid to late 20s have basically been eliminated from unrestricted free agency lists because of the rules of an uncapped season, you can understand it diminishes the excitement about free agency.

Still, there will be a free agency this offseason, it just won't look like anything we've grown accustomed to in previous years.

Free agency will come in tiers. There will be street free agents hitting the market even before traditional free agency begins March 5. These street free agents are obviously discards, but maybe one or two will help teams in 2010.

One such street free agent hit the market Monday when the Cleveland Browns cut wide receiver Donte' Stallworth ahead of the lifting of his league-imposed suspension. If you remember, Stallworth struck and killed a pedestrian with his Bentley in Miami Beach on March 14, 2009. He pleaded guilty to DUI manslaughter.

That got him suspended by Commissioner Roger Goodell (not to mention it sent him to jail for 24 days, sent him to house arrest and activated other punishment). Well, after a season out of the game, Stallworth is available.

And already I've gotten a dozen e-mails from readers asking if the receiver-starved Dolphins will be interested. I cannot tell you for sure. But I seriously doubt it.

Stallworth is not the answer for a team like Miami that usually avoids such mixtures of mediocre talent and high off-field risks. Plus Stallworth, at age 29 and two years removed from a football game, probably isn't No. 1 receiver material these days.

So I wouldn't bank on him being in a Dolphins uniform despite the fact the guy lives in South Florida and his agent is Drew Rosenhaus of South Florida. But, as I said, that's a guess.

This is not a guess: Throughout free agency, you'll see players come available that typically would not in a capped year. Teams are expected to view the uncapped year as a sort of jubilee, where all their financial mistakes of the past can be erased because no salary cap means no cap hit for getting rid of under-performing players or toxic contracts.

Those players will hit the market. And maybe a handful of them become significant contributors to their new teams. The trick is identifying those few players and pairing them in the right system to bring out the best results.

Another part of free agency is players that have six years or beyond and are out of contract. These players have not been re-signed by their teams for whatever reasons and will be legitimate unrestricted free agents.

But wait, the top players in this category also might not hit free agency. Teams, you see, can slap a franchise tag or one of two transition tags on the best of these players. That could effectively take about 30 players off the market. 

So most of the unrestricted guys on the market will not be game-changers, assuming their original teams do their homework. Some will be aging players. Jason Taylor might be one of those. Some will be younger but not necessarily game-changers. Ben Watson of the New England Patriots might be one of those.

That market, I'm told, will be lean.

And then there is the restricted free agency market. It should not surprise if teams make a play for a handful of these guys. Desperate times call for desperate measures and that is desperation as restricted players rarely get signed away from their teams.

It would not be a cheap venture for any team that tries because draft pick compensation could be due for signing these players.

Why is that such a steep price to pay for proven talent, you ask? Well, because even the most proven free agents can become free agent busts. Because teams will be doubling down on the move -- giving up draft compensation and paying bigtime contracts for the players.

And because in giving up draft picks, teams will not be maximizing their chances in the draft. Yes, the same draft the two GMs told me was full of very good talent.

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Also, when did Fasano not block on numerous occasions to get Henne blasted?

Posted by: Indiana Dolfan

Most recently against the Steelers. He's a good blocker but not great and an average receiver.

OK here's the cubans essay on what the mighty air breathers should do, #1 trade ted(Alligator arms)Ginn and his family along with a 1st round pick for A.Boldin, #2 trade Joey(DUHHHH)Porter and the second rd pick to New England for Vince Willfork,#3 Send Gibril(Why would a mother name her kid this)Wilson and 3rd round pick for antril Rolle,#4 Send Channing(Porters Disciple)Crowder to New York and Pick#4 for Mr Revis, Dont no if he's available but if not maybe we can get a water boy or a couple of blocking sleds for crowder.... Will what do you guy's think????

Let's trade Ginn and White to the Browns for Cribbs. That would a great trade.
Do you guys think we could trade Crowder the NE for Thomas. A guy can dream right

The Draft is the only way to go. WE may end up keeping Wilson because I we can fix our D-Line he may not look so bad.Look what he did in NY.

Cuban Menace has Been in Miami for 3 hrs and is already heavily into the Havana Club

Actually Cuban is a typical NY er, comes down here and telling us Floridians what to do, typical

The novelist is back...lol If you are adverse to long posts please don't read on...

Imho the position is not as important as getting the right player.

Picking up a pro bowl caliber "whatever" is much better than filling a need with a mediocre or buster type drafted player.

The best player available strategy works best when the need and the player intersect.

It is with this logic I say these players, in order, would be best for the Fins in round one either @12 or with a trade back...

Def S Eric Berry (Will be long gone and too far up to trade for)

OFF RB CJ Spiller (Deadly weapon that can move the chains and score from anywhere on the field. Extremely gifted athlete that is an all around football player as well. Also can help as WR, PR and KR)

DEF DE/OLB Brandon Graham (Active, sets the edge very well, tackles for loss and sacks QBs. Great addition, His size would dictate a transition to OLB as the Fins want larger, heavier pure DE's, Reminds me of a more athletic Matt Roth, value should be from 18th pick on)

DEF OLB/ILB Sean Weatherspoon (Very high motor, lots of ability, great motivator for teamates through play and is very vocal...similar to JP in this way, value should be from 21st pick on)

DEF DT/NT Dan Williams (Takes on double teams, can split them and penetrate, is probably a better DT than pure nose, value should be from 21st pick on)

OFF G Mike Iupati (A big mauler type, has long arms and all the intangibles to be awesome at the NFL level, should be a 10+ year high caliber player, value from 16th pick on)

OFF WR Dez Bryant (Has the tools to be a T.O. type receiver, leaps high to make tough uncatchable type plays happen, May have a diva kind of attitude so I would not take him @12. Some have his value in top 10.)

These are the targets I would have for the Fins in the 1st round in MY order. The values mean I think they may still be there at that pick and would be viable to take there or further back.

I have a sneaking suspicion that since Tony and crew were coaching the Senior Bowl that the player they end up selecting first will be from that game. What better job interview could they have then to see, hear and coach potential draft picks in real game terms?? Graham, Weatherspoon, Williams and Iupati were all in the Senior Bowl.

FA: I say one maybe two max. Dansby would be my 1st target. Could walk in and be best LB on the whole team. Can play ILB if need be.

FA S Rolle may be a target if they are planning to let Wilson go. He's a nice all around player and would most likely be an upgrade. The S duties will be quite different in a Nolan scheme.

FA WR Anquan Bolden I have heard all the injury talk, 30yr old talk...fact is he can REALLY play football and still has years left in the tank. He can make tough grabs, fight for extra yards and body people out like no one on our team. Turner has a similar body type but until he gets on the field I will consider him an unknown. Bolden makes sense for a late 3rd - 4rth round pick and may eventually be had for that range. Trading back in the 1st to gain extra picks may make this work.

If the Fins wind up with anyone on this list I will not be disappointed.

Enjoying some Johnny Walker black with my pops and angering my mom at the same time....ahhhh good times.....

Big Dawgg - Henne got sacked twice in the game and they both came in the last drive of 2nd half. The first one was not his fault, 2nd one you could probably blame him. Niether time did Henne get really rocked IMO. I am not saying this to make a stance to cut him or not bring him back. I just do not think he is that bad of a TE.

NJ is starting to look like a fraud or at least not a "College draft GURU" like he claims...?? --just a thought, no hard feelings

CM wish i was there to eat some ropa vieja, platinons and some cafe con leche with cuban bread, but since i'm not i will just enjoy my single barrell and wait until gator nationals next month and go down to gainesville then.

KY, Sometime this week when Iam out with the old gang Iam sure I'll be enjoying some of Lynchburg's finest, tell your ladie her company's doing a fine job.....

Indiana Dolfan,

How many times did Fasano miss his guy causing a knock down or rushed pass? Fasano may be a good run blocker but he's poor at pass blocking and average (at best) as a receiver. I'm not saying cut him but he's not a #1 TE.

I think we have to look at it from a finacial perspective. How much more does Fasano make vs. Hanynos and determine if he's worth it or not. Both of these guys will compete with Sperry and Nalbone. I'd like to see how these two do after a year under their belts.

Big Dawgg, Ol'Prefesser,
Fasano started out slow, but bounced back well and helped out the team like he did in 2008. If you look at his numbers from 08 to 09 you'll see that his number in 09 would've been better had he started off good and had he played all 16 games. And since when do TE's block for QB's??? Thats what the OL and backs are there for. I would hate to see him go and I'm really surprised that some people would bash him for no reason.

She told me the other day we had a couple of more weeks to spend up the rest of her allowance this year so I have to go out and buy $400 worth of liquor.

Her company makes El Jimador tequilla, Finlandia Vodka, Chambord, Old Forester and Woodford reserves bourbon

cuban is beside himself for he 's a farmer very happy to be in the cheesey state of florida .

Enjoy the snow Aloco....

i am .are you a farmer ? corn or eggplant ?

Enjoy KY.... OK guys Iam out till later tonite...

i am filling for the cuban .

Rob in OC,

While I'm not usually a fan of the novel, I do agree with your theory for drafting. However, there are other factors to consider as well such as value of the pick. Would you rather take a pro bowl guard or a solid WR. A lot of this depends on the scheme the team runs.

Another factor is the availability of the players at the actual pick. You might not think Dan Williams is a #12 but if there is nothing else worthwhile on the board and we can't trade the pick, what do you do?

More factors to consider are depth of the position in the draft and impact of the pick. There could be a big run on one position leaving a higher caliber player at another position. Would you pass on ILB/OLB at #12 but select a OT? I'm not sure that would completely help the team and at #12 you expect someone who can come in and contribute right away. Where would an OT fit into our 2010 depth chart?

OK i want to make the top of NJ list, and since the current top 2 involve Brandon Marshal I guess I will have to say

Give up a 1 and 3 for Brandon Marshal
Keep Joey Porter because we can't have enough cancer in the locker room
Do whaterver it takes to get Vince Wilfork from N.E. even if it takes giving the rest of the draft picks
Sign T.O.

enrique1085,

Regardless of the slow start and the numbers (I'm not even sure what they are, if you plan to quote them, you should post them), he's just not a #1 TE. He can't stretch the field, he's not demolishing guys in the running game and can't help during max protect. These are all key roles for the TE. Who game plans against Fasano specifically? He doesn't scare anyone.

I'm not bashing him like some, I'm just saying what he really is.

snow isn't so bad. it's fun to play football in and who doesn't enjoy building a snowman not to mention hitting an empty parking lot and doing donuts. plus it gives the homeless a chance to build iggloos and say at least once in their life they owned a home.

Fasano is an average TE at best..He is nothing special and his numbers are decidedly middle of the road.He is nowhere near ELITE.haynos will not make it.He is very very slow and quite uncoordinated.He has reasonable hands but is no real threat offensively....We need to definitly UPGRADE this position.

With respect to all those bloggers saying draft picks are so valuable....

Tell me this...how many draft picks over the last 5 years have been successes for Miami..???
VERY FEW is the answer...isnt it???

Thats because every year we beleive that GREAT TALENT exists in the draft...and yes it is there....but WE HARDLY everpick PRO BOWL talent out of the draft....name 5 in the last 5 years....the draft is a crap shoot..Its a MAYBE..at this point in our development we need PRO BOWL talent and you will probably have a far less chance of getting it via draft than via FA.This year FA wont be as good, but the chances of picking up PRO BOWL talent is WAY higher via FA than any draft...thats why you pay much more for the talent.Because its almost a definite....

People say yeah but what if Brandon Marshall blow out a knee or has issues etc...well so could McClain, or weatherspoon or any one else...

You wanna see some wasted 2nd draft ick talent...look at WHITE...GINN...what about Murphy, Turner ( very doubtful), wheres Nalbone at ???...

Cmon...many draft picks are wasted...it goes with the territory....so trading a 2nd or a 3rd is no huge issue for proven talent...in fact its a far better bet....wake up FFS.

Alfy from OZZZZZ

BIGALFY IS A FOOTBALL MIND .

Hey guys.. Have we hired a OLB coach yet?

I like Middleton Indiana - he's got some skills but would have to be an end in the Dolphins 3-4 scheme and I don't know how he will hold up against the run. But he is a nice pass rusher though - better in the 4-3

Ok guys , i'm back for minute. bigafly has now moved into the top 5 . The top 5 are flipper , fishypete , bra 1n , biggafly and waterboy/ol prefesser .

Kyphinfan doesn't count , he's not serious.

I don't believe Waterboy can actually be that dumb in real life...Bigafly on the other hand....

Big Dawgg,

Thanks for slogging through my post! I appreciate your questions as well. You pose some very interesting muses. The whole random, river boat gambler vs play it safe draft style thing is always a fascinating part of the draft process. BP & Co seemed more inclined to stay and pick whomever they like best. If they can pull off a trade back I feel they will get the most bang for their draft buck.

I see so much more value at the latter stages of the round then in the top 15 picks. That said, does that mean most GM's/Orgs see things similarly?? I dunno and never profess to have any kind of inside track on that type of info.

As to if Dan Williams is worth a #12 and we can't trade back I say they need to go with their most highly rated player left at that time... if it's Dan Williams than so be it. Some would say he is a reach there. I say it depends on how ends up playing. If he's a huge stud then it just looks like they saw somthing in the draft process. If he ends up being a Glen Dorsey / V Gholston then he was very overrated @ #12. It's my belief that they do all that research, film study, interviewing and reviewing of game tape to get an order to stack things in. From what I can gleen, Parcell's likes a short board and is not a fan of having 250 players stacked in order per every round. The directive to his scouts was get a few guys they really feel strongly about. A player that can make a difference and be the most impactful as it applies to the Fins system. It should be interesting as to how much input Nolan will have as the new DC. I think the draft eye will wander towards heavy pressure / blitz oriiented players.

To put the Guard vs the non pro bowl WR into my perspective I would offer this as an example:

I feel It would be better for the Fins to get a guy like perennial Pro Bowl G Steve Hutchinson on our squad and shuffle the line-up / possibly trade a player than to have serviceable non Pro Bowl guys like WR Jerrico Cotchery, WR Mushin Mo, WR Lee Evans, WR Kevin Walter, WR Lav Coles etc.

With my original post I was putting the value into a dual role position of value as it relates to other players at the specific # and value as to how far back they could go and still have those players still available.

Whether they trade the pick or not, I feel Spiller still being on the board @ #12 will be paramount to having many teams trying to jump to that spot ahead of others. If Spiller goes before #12 then I feel the buzz to get to #12 will be lessened.

In your example of an OT being available at #12 and passing on ILB/OLB I would have to say if they thought he was a Jake Long they would contemplate it. This is assumong that they don't have ANY OLB/ILB in this draft rated @ #12. They took Jake #1 overall. This means they could further solidify the OL (I don't see how anyone can think this is a settled area after the Jags game last year..serious patchwork going on) and have options to bump V Carrey inside or trade any of the players that have value for more draft picks. The answer for ILB/OLB would have to come through FA Dansby or Drafted in the 2nd rd on like a maybe Weatherspoon, Brandon Spikes, Micah Johnson, Pat Angerer or an up and comer they may like.

They can try for FA NT Casey Hampton or try drafting a NT Cody, NT Cam or NT Troupe from the 3rd round on to solidify that part of the DEF.

Sorry Big Dawgg... short posts and I don't get along. Too much Fin passion. lol. I hope those answers make some sense and feel free to give me more food for thought.

PS Notice in ANY of my posts McClain is no where to be found. I am one of the few that don't believe he is going to be a big stud as his dimensions dictate he should be. I think he takes false steps, has trouble sifting through trash and will hop on a ball carrier and ride him instead of go through him. Because he is so highly touted and gets a lot of pub I feel he will go very high in the draft...much higher than I feel he is worth. I realize I am sticking my neck out for abuse as McClain is some people's #1 pick above all others. I say, let's wait and time will tell if I am high or recognize more talent a tad better than the masses. After all, it is truly an educated guessing game.

Charley Casserly took massive abuse and may have lost his job over the DE Mario Williams pick before RB Reggie Bush in that draft. He said Houston needed a player that would be on the field more and that Bush was not an every down back... time has shown him to be more correct than most ever believed.

Cheers,

NJ
lol can't say i didn't try; i'm not for trading draft picks for anyone, and as far as the draft goes i just have to wait and see who is available, since some may or may not fall into our laps and some may be a reach.

I do know one thing whoever they have targeted they will have talked to the agents to see if they are agreeable to a $ range based on last years 12 spot to see if they are amicable since Parcells likes to have them in camp from day 1

Stallworth working out with the Lions tomorrow...There u go

Hey NJ PHIN,

Sup man?

I was just wondering, when you started off with your posts on page 1 of this blog if you feel that Spiller or Dez Bryant should not be drafted by the Fins and would be a wasted pick due to lack of need by the Fins, lack of ability of those two players, you like taking those positions later on, your not a best player available guy or ???

Secondly do you see any FA's being added by the Fins? Anyone you think they will target or that you would target?

Thanks bud.

Cheers,

Hey NJ PHIN,

Sup man?

I was just wondering, when you started off with your posts on page 1 of this blog if you feel that Spiller or Dez Bryant should not be drafted by the Fins and would be a wasted pick due to lack of need by the Fins, lack of ability of those two players, you like taking those positions later on, your not a best player available guy or ???

Secondly do you see any FA's being added by the Fins? Anyone you think they will target or that you would target?

Thanks bud.

Cheers,

This buffoon would like to know the asking price for Marshall.

Damn! I hate those hiccups that make it seem like your post was posted.

Sorry for the 2X post...grrrr

Stephen baker , You're not a buffoon. You asked a legitimate question. The answer is TO MUCH !!

nj,

what do you propose to solve the #1 wr position we desperately need. BTW I am stephen baker. I signed in with the wrong screen name. these pain killers are wonderful.

Rob in OC . If you read my first post you would know the answer. It's not a question of their talent or best available player . As for free agency, there's not much you can do with this uncapped year. That's the problem. Who knows . You'll have to see who gets cut but i wouldn't count on anybody great be available that 's going to really help that much. That's why miami needs to address the defense first. Miami isn't going anywhere next year , so first things first. DEFENSE !!!! I'm out til later.

NJ NUMER# 1 BUFFON IS SAYING THE SAME CRAB HE TOLD US LAST YEAR BEFORE DRAFTF AND SEE WHERE WE ENDED .

I agree with nj, I have studied FA over the weekend and anyone that we would want will be tagged. The non cba is going to screw wit opportunity. That said we need to load up the draft with defensive picks... NT, ILB, OLB, FS and DL. I guess we could get by with our current receiver core if we build a dominating D. We are at least 3 years away from a deep playoff run. But like the Jets... get in and anything can happen.

Donkey,

NJ is no buffoon, he is realistic.

TnPhinfan, we have a 6:4 225 pd receiver on our roster that has been with us a year and we know nothing about yet...Dint be suprised if we already have the solution

I agree... we just do not know. Did he play last pre season? if so how did he look?

Donkey is old man Al-Loco trying to stir up the blog..if u ignore him his Metamucil will kick in soon and his grandkids will take back the computer

TNphinfan, thanks !!. The value of this wr class in rounds 2-4 . You might get lucky and find a gem . The good fa wr's will be restricted. So no big help there. Next years wr class has the potential for some pro bowlers and fa/salary cap should be resolved. Gotta run !!

Bobby.. would you take a NT or ILB with the 12th pick. I am thinking maybe try to trade out and go NT 1st (dan williams). If we cannot trade down go with best available LB.

That's the thing about Turner, maybe a year of practice, some off season conditioning and a full preseason this kid will step in and be the man...at least that's what we can hope for, but again, only the coaches have that answer

Hey Armando: I now live up here in Charlotte and word up here is the panthers most likely will let go Julius peppers. Sources say that he wants to leave Carolina because he wants to play Stand up linebacker in a 3-4 system. What's the chances of us making a run at him and do u think it would benefit us to have as a pass rushing LB???

BOBBYD12,

EVERY YEAR WE SAY THE SAME THING AND MR BUFFON NJ SAYS THE SAME THING AND WE END UP W/ NO PLAYOFFS .

We cannot write off what we currently have either. who knows, with a healthy Brown and Running back group and healthy linemen our O may be just dangerous enough to do some good things. Last year when Brown and Cobbs went down we were pretty much one-dimensional. 1year can make a difference. and If our D gells.. look out.

WHY I FEEL I RED ALL THESE POSTS BEFORE ?

Tn, I would absolutlry take McClain if he's there...If we can't trade down, Dan Williams NT would be my next choice..NT is deep enough though that hopefully guys like Cam Thomas or Troupe will be there in second round for us..

Donkey, we have a thing in my home town called Mule Day. Come on down and join the fun... I am sure you will fit right in... with the jackasses in the parade that is:)

where do you go to study those available in the draft? I have not really found a good site?

Who in the hell uses the word buffon?

Mr. Burns from the simpson maybe....and we got the word twice from TWO DIFFERNTpeople in the same post

This draft looks deep enough where IMO we can fill our NT and ILB deficiency...but I agree with you and NJ this will be all about the defense

no one here knows whats up with Turner but it makes you think the coaches knew all year he wasn't ready and figured it be better he sit and learn then hit the field not ready and hurt his confidence or himself in the process. plus having hartline making plays as he was given more time didn't force miami to plug turner in there regardless of if he was ready or not kinda like ginn was after cam ousted chambers.

I would be willing to bet the farm Dan Williams will be our #12 pick. I have gone and watched his interviews and seen some of his video in games... He is all about what Sparano and Parcells are looking for. He is smart as hell, Big (not that tall at 6'3") but BIG... He is very fast off the ball and can tie up 2 guys at once. He is not a NT, but at DT is a MAJOR upgrade from where we are. I agree with those who feel Boldin is going the wrong direction in his career, However, I can remember when Miami brought over Fryar from NE. He had already been in the league for 9 years and gave us a few good ones before moving on and giving Philly a year or so. Even if Miami takes a receiver in the 2nd or 3rd... they will need 2 years to acclimate to the system and speed of the game. Hartline had just started to get good at what he was doing in the last 4 weeks. We STILL have yet to see if Turner was a Bust or what... You have to believe if turner can't get on the field, how is another 3rd or 4 round pick going to?

I just read different Mock Drafts and see if there is a consensus on players...I like most others don't have time to follow most of this, and when combines come things will change again, but it's all speculation... If it was up to Al-Loco the blog would shut down after Superbowl and open after draft, that way no one could speculate or give opinions

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