Last week I explained to you that the prototype player is important to the Dolphins.
I told you the Dolphins have certain specific size and speed and other requirements they don't deviate from very much. And I know you like it when I tell you things like this because then you get to argue with me about it.
But then someone with serious credibility says the same thing I said and then you come around because suddenly Salguero's not on the island all by himself anymore.
Well, Tony Sparano explained the idea behind drafting for the prototype, signing prototype free agents, and being careful about not making too many exceptions on the prototype during the NFL annual meeting a couple of days ago.
Here are his thoughts:
"If you continue to turn your cheek to prototype, to size, to speed, to those types of things, to the mental part of it, to the prototype players, to the position specific skills, then all of a sudden you turn around and two years later you look at your football team and you have a team full of non-prototype players," Sparano said. "So you have a lot of non-prototype players and you’re a small team, you’re not a big team. You’re a slow team, you’re not a fast team because you like this kid and you like his qualities and he’s a good football player.
"So I think in some situations you’ve got to be cautious about the prototype thing and that you might be passing on a good player, so we try not to do that. We try to take all of those things into consideration and we do, that’s a fact. But I also do believe that you don’t want to look back later on and see a team full of non-prototype players. That’s not good in this league, to be a small team or to be a slow team or to be one of those types of things. It’s not a good thing. The thing I keep hearing from people that play us is, ‘Wow, they’re physical. Wow, they’re physical. They’re big, they’re physical.’ That I think is because of the type of people that we bring in."
And so that is the reason that despite my appreciation for Brandon Graham, for example, I see little to no chance the Dolphins would draft the Michigan star to be their OLB because he's 6-1 and not 6-3 or 6-4. It is a shame because, clearly, the adherence to prototype forces the Dolphins to pass on certain guys.
Dwight Freeney would have no place on the Miami roster. A Zach Thomas, even in his prime, probably wouldn't be a fit, either. Neither would Darrell Green, who I would rank as the best cornerback of all time. He was only 5-9 and 180 pounds.
But the Dolphins have a philosophy and it has succeeded in the past in a number of different places so who's to argue. I'm just here to 'splain stuff ... and hope coach Sparano backs me up on it as he does this time.
By the way, tell me who you believe to be the best cornerback of all time. And tell me other non-prototypes that were among the game's greatest players.
[And come back later this afternoon. I'm going to wash the Vette this morning, but I'll update the blog in the afternoon or earlier if there's any news.]