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Void at free safety? Dolphins to look at Thomas

Gibril Wilson was a bust so he's gone. Antrel Rolle and Ryan Clark didn't feel enough love from Miami's bank vault. Restricted free agency hasn't been an answer for Miami's free safety issues and neither Tyrone Culver nor Chris Clemons are probably the answer, either.

No wonder the Dolphins have scheduled a visit with Texas free safety Earl Thomas for the first week of April.

Thomas, considered by some scouts to be the second-best safety prospect behind Tennessee's Eric Berry, should be available when the Dolphins are scheduled to pick at No. 12 but won't be around for their second-round selection. So the Dolphins are obviously impressed enough with this playmaker to consider him as a first-round selection.

This does not mean Thomas will be Miami's first-round selection. The club will meet with nearly three dozen players between now and the draft.

But Miami's obvious need at free safety combined with Thomas' resume suggests the pairing could work.

NFL.com draft analyst Mike Mayock has called Thomas "the most instinctive" defensive back in this draft. The knock on Thomas is that he's perhaps smallish and that he is, after all, coming out after his sophomore season so he is a puppy.

All that is well and fine as I'm trying to paint the full picture of the positives and negatives on the player, But consider Thomas is 5-10 1/2 and weighed in at 208 pounds at the combine so he's gained about 10 pounds since the season ended. And if you think that weight gain was done by eating Whoppers, you're wrong. Thomas ran a 4.45 at the combine. As for not being strong, he benched 225 pounds 21 times -- which was two more than top safety prospect Eric Berry.

"I'm physical, versatile, and like I said, I played corner and safety," Thomas said during the Indianapolis Combine last month. "[I'm a] hard- worker. I'm not looking to come in and just sit back and watch. I'm looking to make an impact right now as soon as I get there."

Thomas made an impact at Texas, recording 10 interceptions in 26 career starts. He returned two of those interceptions for touchdowns.

One thing the Dolphins would love about this kid is he's a fine player but also a fine person. He was on the honor roll in high school and is an active member of the Christian church in which his grandfather was the pastor. 


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Can we just sign someone or make a trade already? This Free Agency is like watching paint dry!!!

The Dolphins need to pick NT, OLB or FS with their first pick. I will be happy as hell if they pick any player at these 3 positions. Thomas, Williams, Pierre-Paul, Graham, etc..

I believe you will see Incognito sign within 48 hours "We have playmakers" I do not think they will pass on him, unless Cincy through stupid money at the guy... anything guaranteed would be a mistake. So you may just get your wish...

Dolphins need to address Defense in the first 3 rounds.
2010 will be an 8-8 slumfest.

Worry about scoring points in 2011 when ronnie and ricky move out and Pat White emerges as the offensive firepower the Tuna invested an EARLY 2nd round pick on.

Also, Ernest Wilford would can return with 2 seasons as a pass catching game changing TE that can be had for a 3rd round pick from the Jags.

"Thank God, B Marshall Ho's are not online today! Those who watched the games last year are Talking DEF!!

- Thomas did play in pass happy Big 12 so we've seen him play!

- NT in 3-4 is not a rookie job. We missed the boat on a few seasoned NTs cuz they thought Ferguson was gonna resign (which he did but after the suspension). A NT draft is like a WR or FS, it will take a few years for true impact.

- LB in NFL are like RB. They can have immediate impact, which is what a 1st rounder should do.

- Deon Grant is another SS, not true FS if that matters. Sure would like to know how Nolan is impacting this process (I wasn't sold on Clark anyway, but maybe Nolan wanted him so maybe he will like a guy like Grant too).

- Beginning of season our young CBs struggled but we can agree we all saw what they will be. But at end of the year it was the front 7 that cost us... big runs all over the place.

Thus, we have to finish the LB position THIS year or our back 4 will be having their names called for tackles way too much. SS should not be the leading tackler!! We can't draft everyone. I would change strategy only for Berry, but not for Thomas."


Great post & I agree with everything you wrote. Asking a rookie NT to start the season is asking for too much. If we actually got the right player in draft to play NT, he wouldn't be ready to start until after Ferguson came back. I guess we're going to either start the season with Soliai or we'll trade him & sign a veteran that gets released to plug the hole until Ferguson's suspension is over.

We do need an instant playmaker with our first pick & I believe that guy will be Sergio Kindle.


Getting a top safety in this years draft like a Thomas , or Mays will let those 7 guys up front attack attack attack the QB!

This Regime has failed to address the following positions for 2 years:

1) NT: we were all talking about this before the 2009 season, what if Fergie gets hurt we asked... we sucked when this happen

2) ILB: Ayodele and Torbor? Torbor made ayodele look like Usain Bolt..... What happens if Dansby or Clam Chowder go down...

3) WR

flphinfan - Do you really think they force Ronnie Brown to get tackled hard 100 times in practice or have the defenders tackle that many times in practice? Teams don't want their players getting injured in practice. I am not saying they don't practice hard and bang each other up, but I highly doubt they are having safties take shots at a running back to create possible injury to either player.

Top NTs. Hampton highest at 19th overall. I am convinced front office was set to go one more year with Ferguson (or J Williams could have been signed off of HIS injury, but Ferguson's injury must have not concerned our guys). Then the suspension screwed everything up. Now we are torn between NT, LB, and FS for best value at #12 A look at NTs that have been real good. I know someone was left off, but this is a brief look at where great NT come from. I bet they had a plan of LB in first, FS in second, NT in third, RB in 4th.

Jay Ratliff, Cowboys, 7th rounder, 2005
Vince Wilfork, Patriots, 1st rounder, 2004
Kris Jenkins, Jets, 2nd rounder, 2001 Panthers
Ryan Pickett, Packers, 1st rounder, 2001 Rams
Kelly Gregg, Ravens, 6th rounder, 1999 Eagles
Casey Hampton, Steelers, 1st rounder, 2001
Aubrayo Franklin, 49ers, 5th rounder, 2003 Ravens
Jamal Williams, Chargers, 2nd rounder, 1998

We have needed WR's for a couple years now stop talking and get one

I love Earl Thomas. He has been in my top 5 prospects for Miami since I started looking at the draft. As much as I would prefer a Demarcus Ware type (Derrick Morgan), watching Earl Thomas, Vontae Davis, and Sean Smith grow together would be amazing. Like a lot of others are saying, the depth at OLB is the jewel of this draft - you can always get one later.

As much as I like Dan Williams in my top 5 - I don't think he would make much of an impact next year. NT is the toughest position on defense and it takes time and Terrel Troup also impressed me at the combine - he would be a nice consolation prize at the position.

And those saying Thomas is too small - he's the same size as Ed Reed and current Dolphin - Yeremiah Bell. The ballhawking safety is the missing ingredient in this group. Thomas would be nice at 12.

Waterboy - You honestly think Pat White will be more explosive than Ricky and Ronnie?? Are you on crack? Tuna also invested a 2nd round pick in Chad Henne if you don't remember and White is NOT going to play at RB...

JWE, when those guys were picked the demand was lower for NTs. More teams are playing the 3-4 right now. Just look at the money paid this off season by teams to keep the NT they had on their rosters (wilford, pickett) and Williams got cut and gets good money as an older injured player from Denver. Plus B.J. Raji went #9 last year at NT. NTs values are at an all time high. Of course that don't mean you can't find a guy later, but when you have a guy available that you don't have to wonder if he can play NT cause he's already done it at the highest level in college (the sec) than you make that move to sure up the front.

great in pass coverage not so much in run support

Bob Sanders is 5'8. Antoine Bethea is what 5'9? Thomas is big enough. Just think Nate Allen, Morgan Burnett, Major Wright, and Chad Jones are pretty good too and you can get them a round or two later. It's a great year for safeties. Same for TEs.

Esteban, forgot about Raji, thanks. you're right about the high demand for NT cuz of 3-4 and seems even more teams are switching. Just don't think NT in this draft will change things this year as much as LB will. I was on Dan Williams bandwagon for several weeks after reading what coaches were saying. This was a spot to be filled in FA with a vet. The suspension really screwed us up. What about McDaniels rotating with Soliai till Ferguson comes back? ew, I threw up a little just typing that sentence. Is Williams a Raji, Hampton, or Wilfork? If so, go ahead and get him.

I REALLY like Thomas but I don't believe he will be our pick at 12. I think we have other more pressing needs.....LB and NT come to mind. I like everything I hear and see about Thomas but I think it would be a mistake to take him at 12. If we can trade down or trade back into the early 20's form lower down I would be fine with that. Sorry guys, your not going to convince me that taking Thomas at 12 is a good value pick, as good as I think this guy will become.

And thus the Ryan Clark/Antrell Rolle debacle "rolls downhill,' forcing the Fins to draft at # 12 a position that could have been filled via FA, and thus to pass over another more needed position, like NT or OLB.

DEBACLE CITY USA = Nova Facility.

JWE, i'm a Cody fan more than Williams. Williams got the body and strength for the NT spot - butt rivals Hampton's in hugeness factor. But only did good his senior year and that was in Monte Kiffin's 4-3. Very different requirements. Cody on the other hand could have gone pro last year and no one would have been surprised cause he was so dominant. He came back this year and again was dominant (even saved the season for them with that blocked field goal against Tennessee), but he showed up with man breast at the Senior Bowl and his stocks goes tumbling. And people knock him for being a two down lineman, but aren't pretty much all the NTs in the league on the sideline in clear passing situations?

This is going to be such an important draft. I honestly think that we won't be able to fill up all of the holes this year. Every single player we draft this year has to turn out to be a home run. If I were Jeff Ireland I would honestly trade back and grab Brandon Graham or even the kid here Earl Thomas. They can both be had later in the 1st round in my opinion, plus we get extra picks. Thats where we can address our wants like Tight end or even a extra Defensive End. That is the best way to not only address our needs, but we also add a little depth here and there.

So why didn't we at least bring Sean Jones from Philly in to talk about FS spot? Anybody?

So why didn't we at least bring Sean Jones from Philly in to talk about FS spot? Anybody?


Because the Front Office, as the British say, have "lost the plot," or as we might say, "spit the bit."

They simply assumed they'd snag Clark, and had absolutely no Plan B after he upped & left!

Sergio, some of the holes need to be filled by guys currently on the roster - clemons maybe at safety, Wake if he can take the next step at OLB. Still lots of time though before training camp. Can see what you get in the draft and try to fill slots after. Plus the June cuts will bring some other names to the free agency pool.

JWE, Jones is a journeyman. he can wait.

Senor Winces.... seriously, I am trying to say this without cracking up... Do you honestly believe Rolle should be the highest paid safety in the NFL? With exception to Int's, Wilson had better stats (Far Better) the Rolle did. And, as far as Clarke goes, I know everyone is dying to blame Miami on that deal... but Clarks own agent told the truth... It was Nothing about money... He was here to jam Pittsburgh for a better contract, and, he got offended when Miami "Rightfully" inquired about his health issues, and he bailed on the second meeting that was planned with the D-backs coach. To believe the player in this matter who is trying to protect his image is just not realistic. Parcells could care less if people think his offer was to low or high... He is not protecting shyt... Clark was on a mission from the start... and congrats to him... he played it perfect... even good enough to have Miami fans suckered by his moves.

Mando, I hear you on all this talk about bringing in "good people." That's all I've been hearing about lately from you (and others); how Miami needs decent people outside of football (like we're interviewing for a teaching position or something). Can I just interject, THIS IS FOOTBALL. I pretty much could care less if the guy is drunk from sundown to sun-up and hates the world. All I care about is "can the guy play football." I hate to break everyone's bubble, but my athletic experience is that many of the better athletes (generally), aren't terribly well-rounded. They have issues, some of which are more of an impediment than others. Look, Bill Parcells would NEVER have won a SuperBowl with the NY Giants without Lawrence Taylor. Can ANYONE here vouch for Taylor as Humanitarian of the Year? Doubt it. The guy had problems. But you know what, he was one of the best players at his position of ALL time. That's what we need (and it might be Brandon Marshall and then again it might not, I'm not sure about that one). But I want tough, physical, "something-to-prove"-type guys that scare other football teams. That's who I'd like to have on the Miami Dolphins. And you know what, if they get into fistfights every now and then, or if one guy runs afoul of the law at times, I'm willing to overlook that. I'm not looking for guys that I can bring to my church, I'm looking for guys that are going to bring THIS team to a SuperBowl, PERIOD!!!!

Sean Jones looks a lot like Gebril Wilson in terms of physical ability. Jones is almost linebacker size. I don't think they wanted to repeat the same mistake.

Deon Grant who is just out there is a big name and used to be a premier player. I didn't watch Seattle play a whole lot last year but their pass defense was awful and he probably had something to do with that so he might have lost step at 31????

journeyman FS that started in NFL or rookies FS ?

Mark, i agree 100% with ur 11:59 post.

I had Forsett on FFB and watched alot of Seahawks games online. I think Seattle had same kind of DEF problems up front we did the second half. Grant may be worth looking at closer. It was one of those "surprise" cuts based on money that come around.

JWE, depends on the rookie. Gibril Wilson has started in the league. We don't want him anymore. And he was good at one point. Jones has never been good in the NFL. He's been good enough to start on teams with bad safety play. That's why even the Browns let him go just like even the Raiders let Wilson go.

Esteban, I would love to see Clemons or Culver step up. But if it doesn't come before the draft, do you think they will keep waiting for them, or draft a need?

I bet they're trying to trade down. I doubt they'd take Thomas at #12. They have some other pretty glaring holes on the team as well at NT and LB.

Sergio, i'd take a safety in the 2nd or 3rd. will be good options available. cause even if clemons or culver steps up you need someone ready to take Bell's spot in a year or two. Plus Bell gets hurt so often you might need someone to fill in sooner than later.

Been reading comments for a few hours. Guess nothing will change so I might as well use my vacation time for something else. Summation:

NT, LB, or FS with first two picks. ESPN "experts" are still saying Bryant. Such an overly simplified analysis to think a WR would keep Indy, NO, Tenn, Houston, and Pitt out of the endzone.


then trade Ronnie Brown for a 2nd round pick (we might have to sweeten the deal by including Turner and maybe even a 7th round pick)

with two picks in 2nd round: CAM THOMAS, NT (UNC) AND BENN, WR (ILL) OR LAFELL, WR (LSU)

3rd round .... R.JONES, S Georgia
4th round .... best available OLB ...

JWE, you never know who falls. Might grab a WR in the 2nd or 3rd that was expected to go higher.

indiana it was a figure of speak with ronnie brown and thomas. thomas is to light to deal with ronnie brown type backs!! hell peterson would run him slap over!! thomas need to play conerback to last in the nfl!! besides who's to say will allen wont play safety if he's still on the team

i would take will allen,vontae davis, sean smith and y. bell as a defensive backfield all day

No one is going to know where Clemons or Culver are until the end of the Preseason. Perhaps camp will shed some light on his progress. But there will likely be significant improvement if only from a game preparedness side. I expect all of the stand out Rookies from lest season... Hartline, Davis, Smith, Clemons to be better players... that is the nature of developing players, once we get into NEXT season, there will be an even larger jump OR that is where they hit the ability wall and Bust out. Of those 4 names I presented I do not see a complete Bust.

This video was suppose to convince us that he's a great safety and validate your article? This the worst highlight video I've ever seen. He was burned on some plays. Come on...

We need s play maker WR on offense

Mike, I think if you take Spiller at #12 he'd work great as a complement to Ronnie Brown. And just imagine Brown running the wildcat with Spiller coming in motion full speed...would be big plays from one of the two.

I agree with Sergio at 11:45,

The chances of us filling all our needs for the start of next season is incredibly slim.

The fact that Ferguson was resigned leads me to think that Parcells is already thinking NT is'nt that much of a priority and wont be picking one early in the Draft and instead going with Soliai and Fergie.

Without giving names,i'll give you positions that i think we'll Draft with the 1st 4 picks...

1. OLB
2. WR
3. FS
4. NT

Mark, no offence, but this draft the needs we have will outweigh any value placed on players. FS and NT are so much more important than another OLB or WR.

Flphinfan, the best safety in this league is Ed Reed...5:11 200 pds, Antoine Bethea 5:11 203 pds...to say Thomas at 5:10 1/2 208 pds is " too small" really makes no sense

Remember that Free Safeties are not run supporters. You have Safe Safeties for that. Free safeties are practically the last resort you have out there. They are the ones who help the CB's with coverages and need to be there to tackle the Receivers when a coverage breaks down. You don't see Ed Reed or Darren Sharper making a lot of highlights against the run don't you?

Sergio... they are called strong safeties. And Yeremiah bell is an excellent strong safety who is incredibly helpful in run support.

He is a nice player at safety, but I have two words for the trifecta:

Golden Tate

Grym...at #12?

DerekFor Dolphins:

It ain't my money or your money,and I couldn't care less if Ross has to spend some of his money, AND there's no cap consequences to spending money this yr.

Either Clark or Rolle are better than Gerbril or who we have left now...plus, my main point was NOW we HAVE to draft a FS high, meaning some other player at some other position who might have been desirable will fall away.

Stuff rolls downhill, y'know?

Sorry t but i think OLB is a bigger need than NT.

Although Soliai is'nt great,he can do a half decent job whereas at OLB,we have Wake,who only played at a minimum last season and Jason Taylor,who might not even be resigned.

I would go McClain in the 1st,then put Dansby as an OLB. That way we kill 2 birds with 1 stone so to speak LOL. Just my opinion buddy

I'd love Golden Tate on this team. Saw every ND game Tate played. If you don't watch ND football, you'll soon learn why Clausen is gonna struggle. Clausen throws the ball in the vicinity of Tate, and Tate just goes up and gets it. Forget size, this guy is a football player. Hope to hell he doesn't end up in NY or NE. He runs routes and is awesome after the catch. He'll also replace sissy Ginn returning the kicks and won't won't shy away from a hit. Clausen will be a bust, Tate will be a star. Ask any ND fan and we all know where those 'comebacks' came from.

When's the last time we had a star in Miami? Thomas will be a star in this league. There are a lot of big bodied nose tackles out there. You have a pick in the first 12. Let's get a game changer! Stop with the unrealistic trade scenarios. Brown ain't going anywhere. Our defense is already improved and will not be perfect. The nt in a 3-4 is not a stat position and it will never be. Important yea but the skill set necesary is of the generic variety. Big and strong! Earl Thomas=ball hawk!!!

the main thing that makes me be skeptical of Tate is that he reminds me a lot of Josh Reed from when he was at LSU.

tate to jets or pats as their number 2 and we are screwed. late first, early 2nd round pick.

Kingtito, Mike Nolan "the most important position in the 3-4" Tony Sprano "the NT is the quarterback of the 3-4" that's the head coach and DC saying that, it all starts with the NT....u can have the greatest LBs, safties etc in the business and u will have an average defense without a "quality" NT... People on this blog need to learn that u build from the inside-out not the other way around

The guys over at Universal Draft just tweeted that Paul Soliai is better than any nose in the draft. Nolan is switching up the defense where his 3-4 is not the traditional 3-4 and is more like a 4-3... They said Miami won't touch a nose until later on in the draft, not early...

The last guy we need is Golden Tate, the Fins have enough small type receiver with the same type of ability...Golden Tate is a 5:10 luxury, the Fins need a Big, Strong Receiver such as Thomas or Mitchell, 6:3-6:4 big hands...this is what we need, Tate will be a nice player for someone, but not us

I'd take Thomas...Mitchell can go to a team i dislike.

And that's why the guys at Universal Draft are the guys from Universal Draft - Paul Soliai - really?

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