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Sparano explains why he sticks to prototype

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.]


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Sure he's a little "Off" mentally but arent we all ? ? ?

I'd say Deion Sanders - he was exciting and it was so hard to throw his way.

I find it hard to say his tackling was suspect - because as I recall, he would kind of dance with you until someone else make the tackle! But his coverage skills and big play ability were remarkable.

Also, I think Blount would be suspended for the rest of the year on the first pass his way if he played today... so hard to compare..

Team Tuna, I agree 100% with your post on Iupati and Thomas. The only problem is Thomas is only 190lbs, not good for a safety. Maybe we trade back a few spots to th G-men and take Iupati and also pickup another pick.

We need another Jim 'Crash' Jenson and John Offerdahl.

For those of you on the Darryl Green, Duper, Clayton bandwagon, just remember they were closer to prototypical than you think. Back in the 80's all players were smaller. Green's Redskins were the first to have a 300lb+ O-Line. Could they perform the same today. Hard to say, but keep in perspective the size and speed of the players 20 years ago and could they keep up today!!

tied between Deion Sanders and Ronnie Lott (Lott was a pro bowler as a safety and CB)

Deion was the best pure cover guy and Lott brought the lumber better than anyone and was the most versatile.


I forgot to say thanks the other day for a post I did that you commmented on.

Thanks for the read and shout out bud.



It's only the 3rd time mentioning that Derrick Morgan did not bench but who's counting? =)

I was doing the article @5:11am from a Combine results perspective and Morgan did not bench there. No crime on his part I was just noting it as I had not heard any injury news on Morgan.

I appreciate you running down the Pro Day 225lbs bench rep #'s as reference.

Wow only 21 reps at his Pro Day? Only 2 more reps of 225lbs than long, lanky JPP did??... Not too hot. I thought he would do better than that. I guess you could say "Strength is not Morgan's strong suit." eh? LOL, (pun intended)

How is Dimitri T. gonna do in your estimation?


Mike C: Are you sure about Thomas being 190 pounds? If you go to espn.com, and you look at the description for Thomas, he is quoted at 208 lbs., only 3 lbs. lighter than Eric Berry, who is projected as the top safety going at #3. Also, if you watch some of the highlights (I like going to youtube), Thomas is very physical in run coverage and is not afraid to come up to the line of scrimmage to make some monster tackles for loss or no gain. He is even projected as a safety according to the draft listing on espn.com. I think he would make a great safety. I also think he brings great cover skills, something predecessor Gib"urned" Wilson lacked. Thomas is very instinctive. There is a highlight of him luring a QB into thinking a WR was open, then hopping the route, intercepting the ball, and returning it for a touchdown. If you watch highlights on Thomas, look at how he returns interceptions and even does returns on special teams. He looks a lot better than Ted Ginn in that regard, much more elusive. We might be able to address special teams and safety at the same time with Thomas ("position flexibility" as Sparano likes to call it). That would pretty much render Ted Ginn a paperweight, considering that his main attribute is as a return specialist. We could probably trade Ginn during the draft and pick up another third or fourth round pick, perhaps from Baltimore with Ginn's admirer, Cam Cameron.

It's quite simple Mando,

If the Dolphins do anything differently than what you feel is the way to do it , they obviously must be flawed and not very smart or good at what they do!

If they could only afford to hire you , we would be in the Superbowl every year !

cocoajoe, @ 10:06am

That was a very funny post! Good job.

That REALLY hits home with me as when I was growning up we would do a Disneyland run 1x per year and I used to hate/dread that "You have to be this tall to ride this ride line".

As a youngster I would stand on my tip toes so I could ride the rides.

Damn Trifecta setting Disney's "height" standards too!! Haha.


'Neon' Deion Sanders!

Team Tuna,

I see your high on S E. Thomas and there is a lot to like about him.

It would be great to trade Ginn to Baltimore but they used their 3rd and 4rth rounds picks to get WR A. Boldin.

Cam already scooped and re-signed QB J. Beck which he drafted in Miami and the Ravens poached RB Jalen Parmele off the Fins practice squad. Last year, Jalen had 9 kick-off returns when KR Ladarius Webb went down, Parmele racked up 283 yards for a 31.4 average with his longest return being 53 yards.

I am sure Cam Camoron would not mind getting "Ginn and his family" in a trade but I feel Ozzie Newsome would veto a Ginn trade.


T h e y
D o n ' t
D r a f t

S M U R F S !!!

That means...

No Brandon Graham for Rob-bie,.. No Brandon Graham for Rob-bie!
No Brandon Graham for Rob-bie,..No Brandon Graham for Rob-bie!
No Brandon Graham for Rob-bie,..No Brandon Graham for Rob-bie!
No Brandon Graham for Rob-bie,..No Brandon Graham for Rob-bie!
No Brandon Graham for Rob-bie,..No Brandon Graham for Rob-bie!

You're just gonna have to deal; my fellow Fanatic.

Unfortunately you have to choose your battles. The Trifecta has a certain guidelines for their players. The downside is, like Sparano said, "Sometimes you miss on good players."

I was really excited to see what Lorenzo Booker was going to do when we drafted him. Even clam chowder was quoted saying he was very difficult to bring down. The entire defense had trouble with this kid. What's one of the first things the Trifecta does when they roll in town??? Trade Booker to the Eagles, I think anyway, without giving the kid a shot.

No one said it's the only way to do business, it just happens to be the Trifecta's way. Nothing any of us have to say will change that.

Morgan has the same length as JPP---which puts both at a disadvatage in a bench press----Alligator arms Graham has the advantage thier--


All your stats and reasons to stick up for BG are valid but dont 4get one aspect---Which is the basketball anagolgy---im a scout for Division II level basketball program-----

Its not only about comparing thier production at the college level---for a couple of reasons----

Some players are just more developed at a earlier age----like BG when compared to a JPP--- He has some hand techniques that these other guys havnt devolped yet----

second its about projections---just because a well developed/with a maxed out build--like BG dominated the Big Ten----doesnt mean he has a better chance of dominating the NFL than a JPP---

Best analogy----tyler hansborough---dominated college---was the best player on the College floor vs. NBA talent----but that doesnt mean he is going to do it at the next level---and thats why he wasnt a top 15 pick---compared to guys that he outperformed in college----

The biggest intangible---is which 4-3 end-----BG, JPP, Morgan, or kindle----will transition better to standing up---B/C THEY ARE ALL PROJECTS IN THAT ASPECT-----we didnt even get to see BG do positional drills standing up once this offseason

Correct allen.

There's no proof that Graham (with his short arms) will perform well against the upper half of the League's Offensive Lineman.

(and size-stats from the past 30 years make him too high of a risk at #12)

Zack Tomas (and others) are Anomalies ...and have exceptional features of their game that allow them to compensate for their shortcomings. I'm not sure what BG's unique exceptional feature is. A super-aggressive (But short and stubby) ILB will not succeed against Jake Long because Jake can simply extend his arms, (most of the time,) and lock the guy out.

allen, Joey in Jersey, Lou Costello

Allen the 1st statement of your post is easily rebuffed. Russell Okung OT 36 INCH ARMS = 38 reps, Bruce Campell 36 1/4 INCH ARMS = 34 reps in the bench! How do you explain that?? Isn't it better to say that strong guys are strong and weaker guys are weak? That is WAY more true than saying "long armed guys are always struggling" as you have said quite a few times.

I hear what you are all trying to say as well. You are throwing more of the "proto-type" arguement logic at me. The "can't miss" Trifecta logic... sorry even those studs miss, sometimes badly. I am ok with that because every expert, GM, coach and football guys misses.

I give you statistical data and that doesn't phase you. You / the Trifecta/ others are mesmerized by the "Big, Tall, Athlete" I can see that and get it. I do it sometimes too: TE Jimmy Graham is my favorite TE in the draft where he can be drafted.

Allen I am not trying to argue that because BG produced great numbers in college that he would automatically be a can't miss. I have and always will say that he is a great football player in my eyes and can't wait for him to prove it in the NFL. Judging by the Trifecta's somewhat rigid ideology he will end up being one of the ones that got away.

Mayock brought up a list of the last 10 guys of round 1 in 2009 and made the statement that the last 10 guys outperformed the 1st 10 draft picks. We aught to know as Vontae was a contributor in the last 10 of the round. There were knocks and reasons those guys were taken later and not first 10. Too much trouble, not tall enough, not fast enough, not enough flexibilty, arm length and on and on. They were simply better football players for the most part, at least 1st year. Some can be explained away as went to good systems, better coaches etc.

You do see the "inexactness" that is drafting right?

I hope you all realize that there is only about a 60%-70% or Less success ratio for ALL 1st round picks. All means ALL including the can't miss McCoys, Suhs, Bradfords and Berrys down to the more tall,exotic, potential filled, look the part JPPs, Greshams and Dez Bryants. If this year it happens to be 60% that means 4 outta 6 guys won't be working out long term. That's like 13-14 guys outta 32 not panning out of the entire 1st round. I am using middle of the road stats...some years are worse.

Remember that when your using your own height and arm length stat logic to combat/rationalize my shorter, less lanky, stronger, more productive draft choice logic.

I'm not trying to hide anything:

Grahams arms are 32 1/4.
Exactly 1 inch Longer than Weatherspoons Exactly 1 inch shorter than Kindles
3/4 inch shorter than Hughes
2 1/2 inches shorter than JPP (JPP 3 3/8 Taller)
2 1/4 inches shorter than Morgan (Morgan is 1 5/8 taller)

If you feel good and comfortable stating that a LESS productive college career stat guy is gonna get sacks or stop NFL OT's from locking on to him because he is the length of a toothpick taller (Morgan) or has the length of a business card longer arms (JPP) then more power to ya. Good luck with that and their lack of strength.

Allen the hand skills may or may not be able to be learned. BG's arms, hands will be coming from a little different position heightwise and with more power. We shall see how your JPP and Morgan stretch limo armed guys do.

Allen, you also KEEP throwing around maxed out builds yet BG is not all ripped up? He is far from maxed out. He even talks about eating Crunchberries for breakfast in one of his training videos leading up to the combine. He will get stronger in the NFL you watch. JPP is the most raw of all and has the most upside... I get it!

Upside doesn't always win or else scouting would be easy. You as a BB scout should already know that.

I can't wait to see BG racking up sacks with whatever team grabs him... You better hope it's not an AFC East team as, sorry fellas, Henne will get dumped on his kiester.


if dan williams gets to miami at 12 bet on it!


You could be very right about Williams.


BG and anyelse of course you can change your build and get more defined or stronger---but as a scout u look at JPP build and BG build ---and you know one guy has potential that he never reached in college----BG will never play at a higher weight then 270---

The length of the arms is a concrete anysis---guys with shorter arms have an advantage on the bench---doesnt mean every long armed guy isnt goin to throw up a lot on the bench-----

Its all about a PRojection---and no1 is wright or wrong----BG could be what u think he is a domiant pass rusher in a 3-4---

Or what i think, which is a guy that potential wise isnt great---and what you see right now is what you will be getting down the line---he already has the skills, you cant teach body types-----i see him a solid---4-3 end----like a darryl tapp---and im not comfortable with that type of player at 12.

dion was good but he could be beaten with slants all day long, thats why he finally retired.i think the best all time at least in my era was troy vincent.rarely was he thrown at.

Geez Rob:

What is gonna take to get you on board.

The Louisiana Purchase?
The Cornhusker Kickback?


We just happen to believe that a guy who is born with 'Prototype' Tools, who appears to be coachable, has a better potential to perform well at the next level than a short stubie guy with a great motor.

Having said that I LOVE the way that BG Plays.
T h a t s..the way ALL defensive players are supposed to look once the ball is snapped. He hits with his Body, not his Arms. He COLLIDES with people! In short (no pun intended...) he wreaks HAVOC!!!
So...I forgive you for the emotional reaction that you're having to his style of play.
If Brandon Graham were 3 inches Taller then he'd EASILY be a TOP 5 Pick.

But for THAT to happen he'd have to get in a Time Machine and travel back to age 11 and take HGH. (Then he could be 6'4". and about 5 Million Dollars Richer.)

But at his present size...
I hope you don't seriously think that BG will be able to beat Jake Long. I'd have to put my money on Jake.
because most above average NFL Lineman will usually handle a smallish College standout.

(WAR "Stretch Limo Arms" & "Crunchberries".



I saw you post answering mine...thanks for the answer.

The fact that Bruce Campbell, Russell Okung and McCluster are all examples on the bench seems to answer my mantra... "Some guys have long arms and some guys have short arms but either can be strong depending on the individual."

Those guys are just 3 examples of many guys that break molds. That is all I'm saying. It is such a cop-out for some to say "Oh, well so and so can't bench because he has long arms." That would imply that all short armed guys can bench and thats not true at all. You know this as a BB scout though.

It's all good man. You make your points and I make mine just like it's suppose to be. I appreciate our less than heated but very chirpy debates.

We shall see if BG ends up going to a 4-3 team as you think.

You know my thought it's 3-4 OLB all day long.

I wish you mad success in all your BB scouting!!


Darrell Green was not typical but at that time in the NFL the receivers where not 6'2 and 220 lbs... so its all relative. As far as Zach Thomas, he was short he was good but he got his runned over many times... he was no Mike Singletary or Rey Lewis..... Favorite all time safety, Ronnie Lott by far, punishing hits (of course before the NFL got so fragile as it is today) lol....... Dolphins need a play maker at WR to make all the other WR's better.... very simple.... Randy Moss made Wess Welker into a superstar!
Same thing happened in Dallas where Austin became the stud WR after they signed the guy from Detroit.....

They never would have drafted Zach Thomas then. They must make acceptations because we got pat white (give him a chance people)

barry sanders is probably the best example. mike singletary I GUESS WAS BARELY 6FT. i have to throw in mugsy bogus was 5'3 and played 14 seasons in the nba,and he participated in the nba dunk contest

funny, but when I watch the Dolphins play I DO NOT think of them as physical.

This regime will be gone in two years with approach they have. These guys have no power with Bill Parcel's hangin over every move that why he placed his puppets in position. Most Fans will have given up hope by the time they get it together. Let's see how long Ross put up with this when we stop buying tickets.

Talk about a non prototype player, what about 5' 7" Emmitt Smith, considered one of the best RBs. He was very small, a DWARFED by his team. C'mon guys, talent is talent. If your not looking for star, just drones then prototype it is!

Just reviewed the you-tube clips of Jason Pierre-Paul....seems too SLOW to me.
Tuna wants prototype players...main role for a DL is to contain the outside and not allow RB's to turn the corner...well I saw many instances where he did NOT contain, and these were against inferior teams.
DO NOT WASTE #12 on this guy....talent yes, but very raw talent that is not worthy of a #12 pick.


Why are you dissing the Dolphins Coaching Staff? Please stop calling them out.

Ram Rod

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