« Done with the old, on to the new | Main | How did Gibril Wilson feel on Super Sunday? »

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.

Follow me on twitter.

TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00d83451b26169e20128777bc515970c

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Look to the draft for the biggest talent boon:

Comments

Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Williams is a beast and Sporono played him a lot in the Senior bowl. much more than cody and the kid from GA. I think he may be the pick. I watched him at UT and he was impressive. It will be interesting if McClain and Williams are there who they will pick.

It would be nice to luck up and get williams, witherspoon and Graham.

I have to believe that this team is gonna upgrade at wide reciever. If we don't it will be among the biggest mistakes we could make this off season. Rickey will be a year older, and he one good game late in the season he fumbled away everything he touched. Ronnie may be our best offensive weapon but he is often injured and there is no reason to believe he will last the whole season or he will come back from another season ending injury at 100%. our offense was decent last year. middle of the road i would guess but every one who mattered except for Henne is getting old. Our recievers are ok but inconsistent and 80 yard drives are hard for a mediocre offense to finish consistently.

kris,

ginn is inconsistent.

Tn, Weathersppon has really moved up the draftboard, I doubt if he makes second round

TN...

Inconsistent would be an upgrade for Ginn

He had an awesome senor bowl as did graham

where do the mocs have him? top 25?

We have 12th pick and 44th, NT and ILB would make me happy if we can fill both IMO

Breaking bottom of round one

graham is there too isn't he?

It only takes one team to like you is Tim Tebow's mantra. See Darius Heyward-Bey LOL. I spose that goes for a guy like Weatherspoon as well. He ripped it up at the Senior Bowl but some of his college game expoits are not nearly as explosive.

I guess it depends on how a team views all star game footage review vs college game history review. I like him and have always loved fiery defenders....period. I say, after it's all said and done, he will be chosen between 21 - 32 in the 1st round.

That's why it would be great to see if we can trade down and somehow get that extra pick

profootbafutures.com has the fins selecting

1.Miami - Sergio Kindle, OLB, Texas
Bill Parcells loves his edge rushers. From LT to Willie McGinest to John Abraham and DeMarcus Ware, he has found an explosive pass rusher everywhere he’s been. Kindle has the talent to be a standout as well.

2.Miami - Arrelious Benn, WR, Illinois
The team lacks a player with the size and toughness to make the tough grabs. Benn has all the talent to develop into a true #1 receiver, which is the biggest weakness on the Phins offense.

Walterfootball.com

1. Miami Dolphins: Rolando McClain, ILB, Alabama
2. Miami Dolphins: Golden Tate, WR, Notre Dame
3. Miami Dolphins: Koa Misi, DE/OLB, Utah
4. Miami Dolphins: Jay Ross, NT, East Carolina

I think we has a couple of pick in round 2 or 3. This site did not reflect that. nor did the other one i posted. I do not think we will select a wr in rnd 1,2,or 3. All defense and starit up the middle... NT, ILB, best available based upon need.

Tn, and these are the guys who claim to be the experts...so again, who knows

I see a huge pool of FAs this yr because of the lack of salery cap, you can shed players without hurting the cap. I see players like Porter and others who have huge contracts and are cut because of it. Now is the time to dump players that are overpaid and may or may not have alittle left in the tank. I see a Peezy on every football team and that means alor of good football players looking for work.

NJ,

does Sean win the grand prize?

carlito...

what is the grand prize? :) lol

Tebow Shmebow, enough hyping this guy! Great college QB. Pro, bench warmer at best, gone in a few years.

tebow will be better than pat white

TNPHINFAN IS A BIG DONKEY

TEBOW WILL BE A BIG FAILURE .

tebow will be better than vince young

NO FAIR, because Sean posted last doesn't mean he wins...Bigafly puts more stupidity in a post then anyone else!!! BIGAFLY

We definately need to address the defense in the draft, no resonable person could deny that. But, you must also be willing to take the best talent available on the board when it is your pick.

Certainly Miami needs to work on getting a true #1 WR in free agency. However, as far as the draft is concerend, if CJ Spiller is available at #12 Miami needs to jump on him, (he is as close to Tennessee's Chris Johnson type of talent as you can get). CJ is a major threat anywhere on the field, as a returner, running back and receiver and would be a huge playmaker for the Dolphins. Face it, Ricky is retiring after this year and Ronnie is always on IR. Parcells would be making a mistake if he doesn't take Spiller in the 1st round.

Use the rest of the draft for ILB, OLB, DE, NT, Saftey maybe a good TE prospect as well.

BIGAFLY,

GREAT POST AND VERY GOOD POINTS .

bobbyd12,

I don't know... Sean says Free Agency is gonna be stacked

Donkey/Al-Loco isn't it time for the nurse to put on ur Depends and place u in bed???

NJ PHIN,

I reread the post you started earlier @ 12:49am that the FA cupboard would be bare and there would only be a few FA's. It stated most would be over 30, past their prime and overpaid.

Do you know something about LB Karlos Dansby, NT Casey Hampton and/or WR Anquan Bolden that leads you to believe any or all won't be available in FA? Tagging info perhaps?

I have stated Dansby would my single FA if I only had one to choose. He is a 6th year pro, 6'3", 251 lbs, 29 years old, runs 4.56 in the 40. He may fetch a hefty price as a FA but that is the nature of the beast... FA's get raises, especially in bidding wars. Let's pray that Washington doesn't think he is the best FA or Snyder will bid others out of the race for his services. His position flexibility is huge as well. He is capable of playing ILB or OLB.

Anquan Bolden will be 30yrs old in Oct. and I believe he could play till 33 or 34 anyways? I reiterate that if he can be had for a late 3rd or 4rth that would be a ideal. If the Fins can trade back in round one they could gain and extra pick in one of these rounds.

I would say it's unhealthy and unfeasable to chase a bunch of FA's so you only really need to win the derby for 1 or 2 to help shape a roster significantly.

Would you agree that if they get LB Dansby the Fins would significantly reduce their need to chase LB with the 1st pick? I mean they could double up at LB but, they now would have more flexibilty to chase another position if they feel it's merited by the player's ability... agreed?

To me, if they land Dansby they can get another LB in the 2nd or 3rd and they will already be headed down a defensive draft path.

Maybe Cody or CT or Troupe later on for NT help in the 4rth or later and they address needs and get some good value from their picks.

That would allow them the freedom to choose the player they feel will be the most impactful and play the most years at or close to a pro bowl level.

Cheers,

Rob in OC,

Sorry for the late response but, let's agree on one thing. The draft is an art, not a science. You can approach it like a science but it's all in the eye of the beholder. It's also about perception (not reality). If McClain and Williams are there, who's to say one is really better vs. the other? You can even argue that a good NT needs a good ILB and vice versa.

I do agree that we just need to put trust in the Trifecta and hope they draft the best player for their scheme. Draft gurus usually only rate the best player at the position, which differs for each team based on what they want to do. A great player for one team may not be the best for another.

As for Mario Williams vs. Reggie Bush... I thought Williams was the wrong pick but honestly, now, I think neither were worthy of #1 or #2. But so goes the draft... That is why you find gems in the 5th and 7th rounds and busts in the 1st.

Rob in OC...did u see Cody?? U would draft a guy like that??? He has a stamina problem and u believe by playing in the Miami heat and humidity he would be better??? And wishful thinking when it comes to Cam or Troup in the fourth...Cam with his Senior Bowl performance rating into high second round and Troup looks like third rounder AT WORST...combines could move them up

Carlito. i'm back. Sean has moved into the top 5 knocking down the prefesser .

FIN4EVER,

While I don't like to talk in such absolutes in something as hit or miss as drafting talented college players, I do feel VERY strongly that RB is much more of a need than many Fin fans would think. I was actually rooting for the Fins to get Shon Greene last years in the 3rd but the evil Jets snatched him.

I agree Spiller is very similar to a Chris Johnson type prospect. I think with Ricky being another year older and retiring after the 2010 season, Ronnie Brown making it through only 1 season healthy, Cobbs (coming back from IR), and Hilliard being a brute but not a threat to go the distance we could definitely use a RB of Spiller's speed and moves. His position flexibilty would help more positions than any other single player imho. RB, WR, KR and PR. He adds the ability to change our field position dramatically on PR or KR and would be a nightmare matchup for LB's that are not allowed to touch him past 5 yards.

As with any draft hindsight will be 20/20 but I think Spiller will have a big impact on the NFL. McCluster is a poor mans version of Spiller that will go in the 2nd or 3rd but he is about 20-30lbs lighter and goes down much easier.

To all the McClain or bust bloggers I will put Spiller vs McClain any day in the open field or for what I feel their careers will be in the NFL hands down.

> If the Dolphins use their first 4 picks on a NT, a safety, and 2 LBs, you wont hear a complaint out of me.

Me either.

Rob in Oc . You mention Bolden as a free agent in one sentence along with hampton and dansby and then in the next sentence you would trade a 3rd or 4rth for him . Bolden is NOT a free agent . He has 1 year left on his contract. Miami is 2 maybe 3 years away from being a super bowl contender. Bolden will be finished by then. If miami can get him for a 4rth , Fine . From what i'm reading hampton is in contract talks with the steelers as we speak. Dansby contract that just finished at 9 mil a year. How much do you think he going to want ? 6 mil year. He good but he not that good or worth 6-7 mil a year.

Great post Pansy Blog! Art vs science is dead on. I do think that LB McClain vs DT Williams or any other match up on a given round is up to the blogger/beholder to call it if they think they can.

Anyone can roll with the masses and say whoever is the #1 guy concensus wise should be drafted 1st due to need etc. I prefer to use my own eyes to do the homework, game watching, research and then predict who can play and who can't... just like BP & Co are doing. I watch the draft, see how it shakes out and watch the careers of the college guys I liked coming into the NFL unfold.

As you stated a player good for one system may not be right for another and the draft guru's tend to stack things not based on scheme fit, team criteria etc.

As for R. Bush vs M. Williams I think its only fair to compare both to each other as they went 1-2. Using our 20/20 goggles in hindsight is an unfair way to decide that neither was worthy of a #1 choice. Before that draft, as you remember, everyone thought Houston was only taking Bush #1. Nearly everyone expected Bush to be a star which is why Houston got so much flak for the pick.

You are correct in saying that neither have merited the #1 overall choice thus far from their NFL careers.

So goes the draft indeed... Man I love this time of year!!

Cheers,

bobbyd12,

Sure did see Cody at that weigh in and yes he is very overweight at this time. That guy will have to decide if football will be his job for 6-8 years+ or if he plans on just getting whatever 1st contract payday he can and then eat his way out of the league. He did play on a very talented Alabama team for Nic Satan. Two down stamina or not someone is going to draft him. If he falls enough he will be worth a risk... The farther you get from round one the harder it is to project where the players will get taken. If Miami has not filled the NT spot with FA and feels like any of those potential NT's has the ability to help very soon then anything from round 2 on may be the call.

What I do know about the Miami heat and humidity is that you can lose weight quickly if you are working out in it. I also know that Cody is naturally big enough and talented enough that he won't go undrafted. The later he goes, the more value a team will get.

Me personally, I would not draft him until the 4th rnd or later.

Why has Porter not been cut yet?

" Why has porter not been cut yet ? " . scalzo wins best post. :)

Stallworth blew a .126 minutes after police arrived on the scene. In Florida, the legal limit is .08. While there is no question he was over the limit, he was by no means "trashed.". Moreover, florida's DUI manslaughter laws require an element of causation- it's not enough that he was over the limit... being over the limit must be the proximate cause of the accident. In this case, Reyes was jaywalking across the a1a, late at night, no crosswalk or streetlight in sight. Immediately after the accident, stallworth called the police, took responsibility for his actions, and took care of the man's family financially. While none of that absolved him, it certainly doesn't make him a bad human being. As for his 'light" sentence, the state attorney offered him the deal because he knew the causation issue could have easily gotten stallworth off in front of the "right" jury.

NJ PHIN,

It seems your engrish has suddenly gotten so shaky at the tail end of your last post 10:02pm bud...hmmmm, possible imposter??? Who know's on this blog.

Anywho... I know WR Anquan Bolden is NOT a FA. The post I made is incorrect in saying that. I was trying to allude to the fact that he may be traded for with draft picks as AZ was shopping him last year...price was too high then. Now, with No Warner, I feel AZ will try to run more often to take pressure off QB Matt Linehart or whomever they go with at QB. The emergence of WR Early Doucet and WR Steve Breaston should lower AB's value even more. That is how I think he can be landed for a 3rd or possibly a 4rth. I also included that if the Fins trade down in round 1 they could pick up an extra 3rd or 4rth to make the aquistion of AB sting less draft pick wise.

Cheers,

No imposter. " HE'S " > is that better ? Do i need to go back on your earlier posts to correct your grammer ?? It's late and i'm a little tired to post then edit. It's only a blog . Sue me. LOL ! :)

lol...

It's actually kind of a compliment as it says that because the grammaer got so bad so quickly, I thought it wasn't you.

I will let all grammar go in your posts from now on NJ PHIN.

Go to bed!

*grammaer Lol, we are all getting into the act.

" i spose that goes for a guy like weatherspoon as well .......... but some of his college game expoits are not nearly sas exlosive " posted at 7:46 pm by rob in oc. LOL !! :). J/K. i still have to announce the winner of the contest.

"GRAMMAR " . we both need to go to bed. LOL !

The Dolphins were decimated at the end of the 2007 season. The turnaround in 2008 had more to do with the team being able to maximize strengths they had and camouflage many weaknesses against mediocre teams. The team is getting good talent after just two drafts but they were tested in 2009 against many good teams. The passing game was horrible and our defense was exposed.

The free agent and waiver grabs are a mixed bag. Yes there's busts like Earnest Wilford and Gibril Wilson but we have solid players like Jake Grove, Justin Smiley, Nate Garner, and Randy Starks. I believe this season is about unloading those cancers like JPeezy and Channing Crowder along with bad contracts like Gibril Wilson and Ted Ginn JR (and his family) more than grabbing many of the hyped up overrated free agents. I see more risks than rewards in signing Anquan Boldin. (Even giving up a 3rd round pick is paying too much.)

Yet you never know if the next ultimate free agent is a player that fits in with the Dolphins in the same way that Drew Brees fits in with the Saints under Sean Payton. It's a crapshoot. And the Saints were fortunate to grab FA's like Shockey and Sharper.

Ultimately the Dolphins in the long haul must build their talent via the draft. This is a year to upgrade WR's, TE, OLB's, ILB's, and safeties.

Yup, I'm out! Till the next draft chat rumble.

To be fair NJ PHIN,

This is a cut and paste from my 7:46pm post and "expoits" is the only true typo...

"I spose that goes for a guy like Weatherspoon as well. He ripped it up at the Senior Bowl but some of his college game expoits are not nearly as explosive."


For writing so many damn novels I think I do ok at the spell check grammaer *grammar part...lol

Cheers,

LOL @ Rob. You do ok , Indeed . LOL . cheers !

OK it's midnight and a new blog is up. The winner of the biggest buffoon post of the day is a tie between Flipper and Bigafly. Fishypete was a close 2nd . Honorable mentions go to bra 1n , the prefesser , waterboy , sean , kris for making fun of the word buffoon while misspelling that very word and indiana dolphan for just being himself. :)

Hey NJ PHIN,

You have a good one bro.... gets some winks so you can be sharp for the next Fins - blog-a-thon. lol

cheers,

He would be our Best WR right away. I would take a risk on him if we can't get a better FA.

I have always said and thought and said the draft was the WAY to build a team but for some reason the my fins never thought so. Shula was always trading away 2cnd and 3rd and 4th round picks to move up a few spots

We gave up a 2cnd round pick for culpepper (aint you glad we didnt waist a pick on Drew Breez?????????? oh yea, Breez wouldn't have cost us a draft pick and he said he felt unwanted by the dolphins.

We gave up a 2cnd rounder for whats his name A.J. Feeley.
We drafted Pat White in the second round.

I was so hopeful when we had all of those early picks years ago. We needed to trade down several times and get MORE picks. Jake long is OK but for the first overall pick??please and what did we get after him????? Hilliard looks like he might be coming on!
This team is so horrible I really cannot tell is Chad Henne is the answer at QB or not and Parcells and Ireland will not get him any WR's with speed or who can catch. Jake long thinks it's "COOL" when he gives up a sack and gets Henne plastered on his backside. Pat White can't throw a pass and Ginn and Turner cant ctach one if they could. I guess we draft Tebbo who can't take a snap hu???
What good is the dradt unless we get someone who knows how in the hell who can run it? I would give both my ba..s to see Parcells and Ireland gone Lets get Ozzie Newsome from Baltimore to run our Personel department. If not, the 2010 draft will be a joke draft 3 or 4 lb's from small schools who carry free agent grades 2 s's and 2 wrs with 4'8 speed from southeastern wasihington State a TE who can't block or ctach from Valiparazzo and maybe a decent guard in the 5th round from Texas who may end up starting because we simply have nobody better to chaenge him oh and lets not forget an ption qb who can run the precious wildcat who can be the heir apparent to Pat White who is the heier apparent to Henne.

Again what good is the draft if we have no one to run it for us?

I love Ginn. CJ SPILLER prepare to be a Dolphin. 2 players that run a 4.2. See Ya! Go Fins 2010!

HEY DEREK IN WPB! CHAD HENNE SUCKS O.K. WHAT YOU SEE IS WHAT YOU GOT, A PRETENDER TO THE THRONE. WHEN HE'S NOT OVERTHROWING RECEIVERS, HE'S UNDERTHROWING THEM. ALSO, NO POCKET AWARENESS, HE GETS HIT WITH KILLSHOTS, ON A CONSTANT BASIS! ALL OF YOU CHAD PENNINGTON BASHERS WHO WERE CLAMORING FOR HENNE, WELL, YOU GOT HIM! HENNE IS NOT THE ANSWER AT QUARTERBACK FOR MIAMI! SO, AS FAR AS I'M CONCERNED, THE SEARCH FOR MARINOS' REPLACEMENT CONTINUES. SOME HAVE SAID,GET HIM A DECENT OFFENSIVE LINE, A COUPLE OF TOP FLIGHT RECEIVERS, BUT GO AHEAD AND, GET HIM THOSE PLAYERS, WE'LL HAVE THIS CONVERSATION AGAIN NEXT OFFSEASON, WHEN HENNE DOES NOT FIT THE BILL!!!!!!!!!!! HENNE = DEER IN HEADLIGHTS!!!!!

« 1 2 3 4 5 6

The comments to this entry are closed.