The rest of the country is acting like the visit of Texas safety Earl Thomas to the Dolphins this week is breaking news, but readers of this blog knew about it two weeks ago. I nonetheless am going to use the visit of the outstanding free safety to make a couple of points.
Point One: Regardless of the speculation about Miami's first round draft pick, I think the conclusion we should all agree upon is the Dolphins should probablypick the highest-rated player on their board when their turn comes.
Unlike last year when Miami went with a fine player that also fit an obvious need -- cornerback Vontae Davis -- this year the Dolphins seem to have so darn many needs, it's likely anywhere they turn will handle a need.
So might as well just pick the best player, I say.
If that player is an outside linebacker such as Derrick Morgan, great. Miami's got a need.
If that player is a nose tackle such as Dan Williams, great. Miami's got a need.
If that player is a free safety such as Thomas or Eric Berry, great. Miami's got a need.
If that player is a wide receiver such as Dez Bryant or Demaryius Thomas or Arrelious Benn, fine. Miami's got a need.
If that player is an elite left guard such as Michael Iupati, great. Miami has a need there.
If that player is a running back such as C.J. Spiller, great. Miami needs a home run hitter and next season Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams are out of contract. As an aside, a club source tells me Spiller has not visited the Dolphins and has no visit scheduled so that should temper all the unsubstantiated rumors out there. I put up his video anyway because he's electric.
Miami has a need or could use upgrading at practically every position. The areas I would say are absolutely not likely to be addressed or need addressing in the first round are cornerback, quarterback, kicker and punter.
Otherwise, you can make a solid case for adding an elite player at just about any other position on the roster. Think about that long and hard. The Dolphins could easily stand upgrading along the OL, at LB, FS, RB, TE, WR, and DL.
That brings me to my next point.
At season's end there was a debate on this blog (I know there was because I started it) about how close the Dolphins are to championship caliber. Ronnie Brown made the point on his radio show that the Dolphins are close. Many fans commenting here agreed.
I made the point the Dolphins were not yet in the same conversation with the Saints and Colts and other playoff teams.
Well, if you see just how much improvement the Dolphins can use, you should be able to agree the Dolphins aren't close. I mean, they don't have a starting FS on the roster right now. Thomas would be good, Berry would be great.
They don't have a dynamic receiver on the roster right now. My apologies to coach Tony Sparano who insists he's happy with this group because, well, what else is he going to say?
The NT situation is a question mark.
They don't have a proven starting OLB on the roster right now.
And even the team's greatest strength -- the running of Williams and Brown -- is something that will have to be addressed by next year at the latest.
Now, maybe the stars align right and good things begin to take shape immediately for Miami. It is, after all, Holy Week. But barring that, the Dolphins still have significant work to do. They have much building yet to do in this draft and next.
They are not close.
[BLOG NOTE: Come back later this afternoon because I will post all the relevant news (perhaps a Dez Bryant update from his Pro Day) plus a new blog entry on why the Raiders' chase of Donovan McNabb makes sense historically and what intriguing connection that has to the Dolphins.You will be interested.]