« March 2010 | Main | May 2010 »

76 posts from April 2010

April 23, 2010

Dolphins pick G John Jerry in third round.

Dolphins coaches loved Mississippi guard John Jerry at the Senior Bowl. They also like him on tape.

Now, they'll get to add to the relationship as the Dolphins have just drafted Jerry with their third round pick.

Jerry is a rookie but he's quite experienced. He started 46 of 49 games for the Rebels. He played at tackle a lot but he projects at guard in the NFL.

The Dolphins obviously need help at left guard.

"I feel like I can play either one," Jerry said. "I have experience at both so I feel I can play either one."

Jerry is the younger brother of Atlanta Falcons defensive lineman Peria Jerry.

The team will try feverishly to trade guard Justin Smiley by the time the draft is over Saturday.

Dolphins select Utah OLB Koa Misi

Koa Misi is Miami's second round pick in the 2010 NFL draft.

That obviously fills a need. The Dolphins had only Cameron Wake, Charlie Anderson, Erik Walden and Quentin Moses on the roster. Anderson is a career backup. Wake is unproven. The other two are backups.

Misi has a chance to come in and start and, well, that's the point.

Misi is 6-3 and 250. He comes from the same program that produced cornerback Sean Smith. The Dolphins like that program. Misi had five sacks and 9.5 tackles for losses among his 71 total stops in 2009.

Misi played mostly as a DE at Utah. But he's not worried about moving to OLB.

"I didn't play too much but I played three or four games at linebacker this past year and a couple games the year before that," Misi said. "I feel pretty comfortable at the linebacker position."

And what about dropping into coverage?

"Great! I feel comforable with dropping into coverage," he said.

How does Misi describe himself?

"I'm a hard worker. I like to learn and I'm very coachable. I listen very well and play even harder. This is my dream and I'm finally here. I'm ready to play."

Misi is of Tongan descent.

Misi's father often attended Koa's games. One time, the player said, his dad wanted him to get more motivated so he came onto the field and head-butted Misi. Misi was wearing a helmet at the time.

His full name, by the way, is Nawa'akoa Lisiate Foti Analseanoa Misi.

Live blog of rounds 2 and 3 starts here!

Last night was fun. Let's do it again!

The live blog starts in the comments section. We'll go through the Dolphins pick.

Please understand that I am not going to sit here throughout the evening. There are interviews to be done, phone calls to be made, and I have a column to write. So the smart-alecks that ripped me for not being around all night last night, I hope you now understand why.

The names to look for in the second round, in my opinion?

Koa Misi, the outside linebacker from Utah. Robert Johnson, the safety from Utah. Ricky Sapp, outside backer from Clemson, Reshad Jones out of Georgia and Morgan Burnett of of G-Tech.

Darkhorses? Toby Gerhart of Stanford. I keep hearing the Dolphins want a RB out of this draft although the round remains uncertain. 

Must haves: FS or OLB in the second round

With the 40th overall selection the Dolphins draft another defensive lineman, or offensive lineman, or quarterback, or maybe a punter.

And I would scream!

I spent all of last night defending the trade-down and ensuing selection of Jared Odrick on the live blog and my twitter feed. I defended it in my column at The Miami Herald, and I applauded it on radio for three hours on 790 The Ticket today.

But today is a new day and the Dolphins must address, you know, actual holes in the roster. And the two biggest ones, in my humble opinion are free safety and outside linebacker. So I'm hoping the Dolphins get on their fill-the-holes horse this afternoon and giddy-up toward solutions.

The players available at those positions that seem likely candidates?

At free safety: Reshad Jones, Nate Allen, Robert Johnson (great size and production), Taylor Mays, Major Wright (hitter), Morgan Burnett and possibly Chris Cook much later.

At OLB: Ricky Sapp, Koa Misi, Thaddeus Gibson, maybe Jason Worilds, and of course, Sergio Kindle. Kindle, by the way, apparently has knee issues that caused him to drop like a stone out of the first round. It will be interesting to see how much futher the drop will go.

Remember, think prototypical size. Think production. A workout warrior such as Mays certainly looks the part and runs fast. But did his production on the field stack up?

I suppose the Dolphins could still address nose tackle in the second or third round tonight. Terrence Cody, Brian Price, and Cam Thomas are the names everyone defaults to in that regard.

Two darkhorses to keep in mind in the third round: Dexter McCluster and Toby Gerhart. Just sayin'.

[BLOG NOTE: This blog broke its own record Thursday. More than 120,000 page views, once again leaving every other blog on the site in the dust. I appreciate your visits. Let's do it again! Yes, there will be a live blog again this evening. I'll update just prior to the draft. See you then.]

At least one blemish on Odrick character

When Dolphins General Manager Jeff Ireland described first-round pick Jeff Odrick Thursday night he said Miami's new player is a "big, physical, high-motor, high-character guy."

Perhaps Odrick has character. But there is at least one incident in which he acted like a character.

According to various reports from March of 2009, including this one and this one, Odrick was cited after he got into a fight with four other people -- two male and one female Penn State students and another man of college age.

Outnumbered, Odrick reportedly punched one of the men. He had been drinking according to the citation for an incident that happened at 1:40 in the morning.

Odrick referred the police to his attorney. After interviews with his attorney, police issues a disorderly conduct citation of $430 and the matter was apparently dropped. 

Dolphins GM Jeff Ireland on many key topics

High motor. Good inside pass-rusher. High character. Very powerful. Productive. Explosive. Versatile.

That's how Dolphins general manager Jeff Ireland describes first-round pick Jared Odrick.

Versatility is apparently very important because Odrick projects as either an inside player or an outside player. Amazingly, the Dolphins didn't want to say which one Thursday.

"He's going to play inside or outside," Ireland said. "We'll let the coaches decide that. We've got a pretty good vision for him . We think he can play both inside and outside. I don't really want to get into where we're going to play the kid right this minute. You'll soon enough where he'll be playing."

Ireland had seen Odrick on tape before he traveled to Chicago to see Penn State play Northwestern. He laid eyes on Odrick and, well, Ireland was in love (in a personnel man sort of way, of course.)

"I'm down on the field and I actually remember saying to myself, 'That is a guy I can see playing for us,' " Ireland said. "That looks like a player physically. He looks like one and he's got a good chance because there are a lot of guys that play that position that should look like him."

The Dolphins traded out of the No. 12 pick to get back to No. 28. They picked up a second-rounder in the process which was huge and important and very good work. (Click the link to underdstand why). And in making the trade Ireland said he didn't think the Dolphins gave up a ton of quality in the caliber of player at No. 12 compared to No. 28.

"We felt like if we moved from 12 we'd still have some pretty good players," he said. "If you look at our board, there wasn't a whole lot of difference from the players we were considering at 12 and the ones we would consider at 28. There wasn't a huge jump in caliber of players. That's one of the reasons we dropped down as far as we dropped down."

When I asked Ireland about the logjam the Odrick addition would creat at defensive end for Phillip Merling, Kendall Langford, Randy Starks and Tony McDaniel, he said that the other players have "versatility."

Well, you know Starks isn't going anywhere because he had a great season in 2009, so he's staying at defensive end. Langford doesn't seem like a guy that's capable of moving anywhere. McDaniel has played defensive tackle and nose tackle before so that's a possibility.

Merling, the under-performer of the group given his talent, seems headed for a possible move.

On other matters:

Ireland said he never really met with Brandon Marshall before signing him. The club spoke to him on the phone several times. Ireland even saw him at the East-West Shrine game in Orlando and eyed the guy  (in a personnel man sort of way, of course) but didn't speak with him.

Still, the Dolphins recognized a need to get an outstanding wide receiver such as Marshall.

"I think if you watch this team, I've been watching this team for two years now," Ireland said. "You know that's a piece we needed to improve on. We had good players, good, young core players at that position. But we needed a guy who is dynamic. We felt Brandon was that dynamic piece. He gives us a shot in the arm in terms of offensive output."

Ireland said the team "did a lot of due diligence" on Marshall's legal history (google it) and "felt pretty good about it."

The Marshall trade made Ted Ginn expendable and he was traded to San Francisco for a fifth-round pick. "We didn't feel Ted would get a fair shake if Brandon was taking all his reps," Ireland said.

There are more things happening with the Dolphins on the trade front.

The Dolphins are eager to trade Justin Smiley but Ireland said, "there's always a possibility," the player could be brought back. Sorry, I don't buy it. He's getting traded, folks -- possibly before the weekend is out.

The Dolphins have been willing to trade running back Ronnie Brown for the right price. But they will not trade him during this draft. They cannot. Ireland confirmed that a team cannot trade away a restricted free agent unless the player signs his tender from his team.

Brown is a restricted free agent, but has not yet signed the Dolphins tender. So he cannot be traded.

The trade that sent the No. 12 pick to San Diego brought back inside linebacker Tim Dobbins. The guy is a special teamer and backup type.

"A player we liked very much in the restricted free agent process ... We felt like that was a need for us," Ireland said. "We can help the back end of our roster at the inside linebacker position. He's a core special teams player. He's had some starts at both the Mike and the Moe. He's coming from a familiar scheme."

Finally, Ireland offered an olive branch to any fan that believes the Dolphins disrespected Jason Taylor in the handling of his depature this offseason.

"I wish Jason the best," Ireland said. "I think what he's meant to this organization was tremendous. I like him personally. I like him as a player. He had a great career here. A lot has been said about what's happening around here. I can tell you this. We didn't mean any disrespect. And if there was any, it certainly wasn't intended. Tony, Bill, myself, we have a great respect for players from top to bottom.

"We have great respect for Jason. but we had a plan, a business plan in place. There was constant communication between me and the agent. Never at any point did I feel communication broke down there. I feel good about the communication between Gary and I ... Again, I wish Jason well."

[NOTE: I will be hosting three hours of Dolphins and general sports talk from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. today at 790 The Ticket in South Florida. You can listen online at 790theticket.com. You can also call the show at 786-360-0790.]

April 22, 2010

Dolphins select Penn State's Jared Odrick

He is 6-5 and 305 pounds. He is a pass-rusher from the defensive tackle spot and the Dolphins think he can simply upgrade the defensive line in several ways.

He can play defensive end on early downs. He can rush up the middle on passing downs.

Jared Odrick is Miami's first round draft pick.

"I think I'm a great pass rusher," Odrick said. "I think I'm a great run-stopper."

The Dolphins believe they have added a three-down player. If I'm Phillip Merling, I'm suddenly feeling a little nervous.

The Dolphins have loved this guy since before the Senior Bowl. Then he went to the Senior Bowl and played and practiced well and hard. The love affair was on.

"I spoke to the staff going way back to Alabama and I knew they had a strong feeling about me but I didn't know how strong," Odrick said. "I can and will play any position on the defensive line," Odrick said. "I played the one-technique in college (DT) so if they ask me to play nose tackle, I'm for it. Let's do it."

Odrick played for the North squad in Mobile. The Dolphins coaches worked with the South squad. Odrick said he once asked Sparano what the first play of that game was going to be.

"He said, 'We're sure as heck not telling you,' " Odrick shared.

Dolphins trade 1st pick San Diego Chargers

The night just got longer for the Dolphins. And their quiver of arrows to use in this draft just got more full.

They have traded the No. 12 overall selection in the first round to San Diego for No. 28 overall. The Dolphins also gave up their fourth round pick (110 overall) and a sixth round pick (173 overall).

The Dolphins got the San Diego second-round pick, No. 40 overall, and a fourth round pick (126 overall). There is also a rumor, unconfirmed, the Dolphins got linebacker Tim Dobbins.

Dobbins is now oficially confirmed as coming to the Dolphins.

The Chargers used the pick to select RB Ryan Mathews of Fresno State.

Miami's pick will now come around 10:30 p.m.

The Dolphins have a total of 10 picks now in this draft. As I wrote today, this helps Miami pick up not one starter in a deep draft, but two starters in a deep draft.

I like it!

[LIVE BLOG CONTINUES IN COMMENTS SECTION]

Draft live blog here at 7:30 p.m

Just arrived at Dolphins camp and this is what I'm hearing at this hour.

Yes, the Dolphins want to trade down. This surprises you? I wrote a column about the possibility in today's Herald and tweeted about it 20 hours ago. Big whoop.

The national networks are breathlessly reporting the Dolphins want to trade back. I would tell you to keep in mind that to trade back, you have to have a partner. Among the teams everyone knows are trying to trade up are Dallas, Philadelphia, Green Bay, and the Giants.

I hear the Chargers are also trying to trade up, but they are offering players as chips to make that deal, not necessarily draft picks. Short of Antonio Gates or Vincent Jackson, I have a hard time believing the Dolphins would go there with the Chargers. I know Bill Parcells was not in the past a huge Shawne Merriman guy.

Part of any Dolphins trade scenario today and beyond could include Justin Smiley or Ronnie Brown or one of the quarterbacks as part of the deal.

And what happens if the Dolphins drop?

I'm narrowing my list of favorite players to be picked to five if the Dolphins trade: Michigan's Brandon Graham, Penn State's Jared Odrick, Georgia Tech's Demaryius Thomas, Fresno State's Ryan Mathews and Boise State's Kyle Wilson.

For the wider list of players on the radar, check out this post on my blog from last night.

That's it for now. I'll be in and out of the blog between now and 7:30 p.m., when I'll start blogging live. Get it!

Final word (I think) on Taylor offseason offer

Before we continue our regularly scheduled draft coverage, I want to share this with you. We've got a few hours before the draft begins anyway.

This morning, excellent NFL insider Adam Schefter posted this story on ESPN.com qouting a source close the situation, saying the Miami Dolphins did indeed make a contract offer to Jason Taylor after the 2009 season that included an $850,000 raise on his 2009 salary and would have raised his salary to more than $2 million.

If this is true, it would obviosly change everything because it would have meant that Taylor indeed had an opportunity to return to the Dolphins this offseason and didn't take it.

Well, the validity of the source close to the situation is up for scrutiny by actual named persons as close to the situation as you can get -- both Jason Taylor and Gary Wichard, his agent.

"Source this, source that, there was no contract offer from the Dolphins, end of story," Wichard just told me. "I never got a call from the Dolphins saying, 'We want to sign Jason. Here's the deal. That's all we can do.' If I had a contract and had told Jason, he would have said let's get this signed.

"We never had a contract he could sign before he went to (visit) New York, after he went to (visit) New York or until the day he signed with New York. There is no Dolphins contract JT could have signed at all this offseason. End of story."

The Dolphins confirmed to me this morning that as of two days ago when Taylor decided to accept an offer from the New York Jets, there was indeed no offer on the table for him to sign.

Is it possible there was a deal available to Taylor in the days just after the 2009 season ended and the offseason began, I asked. My source did not know that for certain one way or the other.

Taylor this week told South Florida media there was a contract extension proposal during the 2009 season but that offer was withdrawn by the time the regular-season ended.

He called a source suggesting he had a chance to sign any Miami contract this offseason, "a liar."

Me? I'm done with this. It is draft day. Jason Taylor is a New York Jet. The Miami Dolphins will draft his replacement today or in the coming days. Can't we all just get along?

[BLOG NOTE: I'll be posting again in a bit just prior to kicking off the draft coverage. There will be a live blog here today. Join me. It should be a good time.]

Draft day is here! So what happens?

NOTE OFF THE BAT: Salguero favorite players are in bold.

Is it going to be Earl Thomas or Eric Berry or Nate Allen because the Dolphins need a safety? Is it going to be Jerry Hughes, Derrick Morgan or, my future adopted son, Brandon Graham because the Dolphins need a pass rusher? Is it going to be Mike Iupati because the Dolphins need a left guard? God, I hope it's not Dan Williams even though the Dolphins need a nose tackle. (I just don't think Williams is a value pick.)

Everybody backed off the idea of Rolando McClain after Miami signed Karlos Dansby. But what if McClain is the highest guy on Miami's board?

Maybe it will it be a surprise pick.

If Oklahoma TE Jermaine Gresham had not suffered a major knee injury in 2009, he would be a Top 10 pick this draft. Defenses will have nightmares about this kid some day. It would be wonderful if they were having those bad dreams the week they have to play the Dolphins.

Maybe Dez Bryant is a possibility because if one troubled but talented receiver is good, imagine what the Dolphins can do with two troubled but talented receivers. If you want to stay away from the troubled receiver, Demaryius Thomas is a WR that simply could be trouble for opponents. Big, fast, he is under the radar. Until now.

Maybe it's a running back because Ronnie Brown or Ricky Williams or both won't be around in 2011. In that case it might be Fresno State RB Ryan Mathews, who could be the workhorse for the next five years. Is C.J. Spiller a possibility? I don't see it, but I'd love it! He's a potential TD every time he touches the football.

You want a name out of the blue? Literally? Someone told me the Dolphins might address their free safety issues by picking Boise State cornerback Kyle Wilson and moving either Sean Smith or Will Allen to free safety. Why do I say this is out of the blue? Have you seen Boise State's field?

By the way, local agent Drew Rosenhaus has been hoping the Dolphins take Jason Pierre-Paul, who is supposed to be a latter day Jevon Kearse. If Rosenhaus successfully planted that seed in Bill Parcells' brain I vote him agent of the year.

Of course, many other names would be in play if the Dolphins trade down as I wrote in today's Miami Herald. 

Anyway, that's the set-up for the 2010 NFL Draft that begins at 7:30 p.m.

[BLOG NOTE: You will notice the extensive list of players posted earlier on this site as compiled by Chris Cordero has been taken down. Apparently the template for that list was taken from another site. While Cordero added to that list, subtracted from that list, and then worked on commentary for the list, the standard for the work here is high. It's orginal. When it's someone else's work, in this case universaldraft.com, I tell you or link to it or both.]

April 21, 2010

Trade down, Dolphins, please trade down!

My column for tomorrow's paper is available to you today for the discounted price of, well, free. It is after all, the Internet. It is, after all, my column so you get what you pay for.

But I digress.

The column talks about trading down, specifically the Dolphins trading down. It gives you the teams most likely to enter into a trade scenario with Miami Thursday night. So check it out.

Why did I write about this?

Because I know for a fact teams selecting later in this draft are calling other teams in the 10-12 slots to weigh the possibility of exchanging places and picks and perhaps even players.

The Dolphins are in the market for talent, whichever way it comes, as long as it is younger talent.

Thomas: Dolphins have to show respect

If a Mount Rushmore of Dolphins players existed, Zach Thomas would be up there with Dan Marino and Larry Csonka and a couple of others. He was a Dolfans' favorite player from the second in 1996 he stepped on the field as a short, no-neck-having, self-deprecating rookie to the day in 2008 he packed his belongings and left.

And to this day Zach Thomas remains a South Florida resident, a fan of the Dolphins, and someone the organization admires enough that it considered him to join the new radio team being assembled to work on a new flagship station -- the team by the way, would not consider me as a commentator because I'm not enough of a homer.

Anyway, the point is when Zach Thomas is peeved with the organization, well then, something is wrong -- not with Zach, but with the organization.

And Zach Thomas is steaming about how the Dolphins have treated his brother-in-law Jason Taylor (married to Zach's sister Katina). He's upset about the handling of the latest Taylor saga in particular and and about the way the Dolphins handle inconic players in general.

Yesterday on the Sid Rosenberg show on 560-AM here in South Florida, Thomas pulled back the curtain on how Jeff Ireland and Bill Parcells handled his departure when he was waived by the Dolphins.

"The only thing that was like a punch in the gut to me was the day I was cleaning out my locker, the day they cut me, [agent] Drew [Rosenhaus] asked them if I could just say thanks to the fans through the media at the Dolphins facility and their answer was, 'No, he's not a Dolphins player anymore, he's got to do it off premises.'" Thomas said. "That's when you know, like, 'Wow,' the whole loyalty and everything they preach with team and things like that goes out the window."

None of this is commentary on how the Dolphins make football decisions. There is no arguing it was time for Zach to go. He didn't fit the Dolphins scheme. He was getting up there in years. He was coming off a year in which he had concussion issues.

But this is commentary on what happens after the football decisions are made. A player like Zach Thomas basically gets kicked to the curb in much the same manner as Abraham Wright would.

After he was waived, Thomas had to find a way to say good-bye to Dolphins fans. He had to call media members one by one, me and many others included, to say his farewell to ... you.

That is wrong.

This regime doesn't like making exceptions. They like to treat all the players the same. The Dolphins, for example, are one of the few NFL teams that do not welcome new free agents with press conferences because the team doesn't want to make it seem like the new players are more important than the ones already on the roster. The Dolphins also don't get mushy when former greats such as Thomas or, yes, Jason Taylor leave are or forced to leave.

And that is fine if you're talking about Shawn Murphy being traded. But if Jason Taylor is being traded, that needs to be handled differently.

The strange thing here is that general manager Jeff Ireland is aware of how great players should be treated. He sometimes talks about how he doesn't want to do anything that would sully the organization's great name or history.

Ireland's stepfather was a Hall of Famer E.J. Holub. His grandfather Jim Parmer was a former Philadelphia player and Bears executive. Those men knew the importance of legacy and standing. Those guys respected those ideals.

But Ireland, under Bill Parcells, isn't really holding up his end very well in that department. The Dolphins fumbled on the Zach Thomas dismissal two years ago. They dropped the ball again in the manner they treated Jason Taylor this offseason.

Their football decisions were probably correct in both instances. Their people skills were lacking both times.

"You've got to know to respect great players," Thomas said. "You've got to know that. Jason is going to be a Hall of Famer. He's going to be in the [Dolphins Ring] of Honor. His name is always going to be in Dolphin Stadium, and that's big. And you know what, you can do it in a different approach. It might not be their approach. But I get disappointed when I see guys that have put everything on the line for the Dolphins organization and have a Hall-of-Fame career like Jason Taylor and it goes down like it has the last couple weeks...

"I'm not trying to be hard on Jeff Ireland. But he's saying it wrong, especially for a guy who has so much history with the Miami Dolphins. He's the all-time sacks leader among active players, and you're going to talk about him like he's a first- or second-year player. He should know how to respect guys that have been great to the game. ... It's fine if you don't have a need for him. But you tell him up front. And you don't go through the media and act like you're shocked that it's being brought up. I don't like the organization to look bad that way."

Here is a quick suggestion to the Miami Dolphins, an organization that thinks it knows it all: Sign Zach Thomas for a day. Hold the press conference now that you refused to grant him in 2008. Allow Zach to say good-bye the right way.

You can't do anything about how you handled Jason Taylor's departure. Right the wrong you did with the Zach Thomas departure. And do it soon.

Where JT, Dolphins agree and disagree

From 7 p.m. until approximately 10 p.m. Tuesday night, I spent time on the phone and in person listening to Jason Taylor, or people close to Jason Taylor, or family members of Jason Taylor, or associates of Jason Taylor. (I admittedly did not communicate Dr. Doolite-style with Jason Taylor's dog.)

When I arrived home I got a call from the Miami Dolphins and spent 45 minutes on the line listening to what they have to say about, you guessed it, Jason Taylor. By the way, 45 minutes on the line with folks representing an NFL team is an aging experience.

Following that I will now share with you what I know and what is curiously not settled as this chapter of Taylor's Dolphins career comes to a close.

What I know:

1. Taylor on Tuesday morning accepted from the New York Jets the only contract offer he had on the table to him. Period. There was a report on the Dan LeBatard radio show here in South Florida that quoted a source saying the Dolphins had an offer on the table for Taylor and he decided to take the Jets offer anyway.

Wrong.

"It was take this or go on a nationwide (Dancing with the Stars) tour with Jerry Rice," said Taylor, who also called LeBatard's source "a liar."

The Dolphins are in agreement with Taylor on this issue. They confirm they did not currently have a contract offer on the table to Jason Taylor.

We're off to a good start.

2. The Dolphins offered Taylor a contract extension in early November of 2009. That was reported here yesterday, Taylor said it in his press conference, and the Dolphins confirm this is true.

And the manner in which the offer came is also not up for debate. It came in a private meeting between Taylor and Bill Parcells himself.

And the offer came in the form of a Post-it note.

Parcells wanted to deal with Taylor directly. No agent was supposed to be involved. That seems to be increasingly the way the Dolphins operate with their veterans. Remember that last year Parcells approached Ricky Williams to discuss his contract?

Williams thought the team wanted to cut his salary. Instead, Parcells handed Williams a note with the figures for a contract extension. The caveat to the note was that Parcells didn't want to go through Williams' agent. And so Williams, needing money, happily left agent Leigh Steinberg out of the loop and accepted the Parcells contract extension on a Post-it note.

Well, the Dolphins tried the same thing with Taylor.

He declined the offer and instead referred the Dolphins to his agent Gary Wichard.

"It wasn't the right time," Taylor said. "I wasn't comfortable with the contract situation coming up then. Maybe I grew up old school, back in the days of Jimmy Johnson and Dave Wannstedt and Rick Spielman. We didn't talk contract once the season started. My focus was on trying to get to the playoffs, not on talking money. And why would I do a deal without my agent? Bill Parcells and Jeff Ireland have an agent."

3. The Taylor camp believes that once the player declined the Big Tuna's personal offer, that triggered something that doesn't resemble love. The Dolphins do not argue the point that perhaps -- perhaps -- Parcells was not thrilled Taylor rejected his personal overture.

4. The Taylor camp to this minute does not know if the Dolphins would or would not have offered them a contract after the draft. And the Dolphins don't know 100 percent, either. That decision, they say, was going to be made after the draft. And they admit they might have decided not to offer Taylor a contract.

5. The idea about after the draft is troubling but moreso in that there is agreement on it than not. The Dolphins say that after Taylor received an initial offer from the Jets, they were told of the offer from the Taylor camp. No disagreement there. And the Dolphins say their response to finding out those numbers was to inform Taylor and his agent they wished to make their decision on Taylor "after the draft."

And, they say, that as late as Monday, the Taylor camp was "fine" with waiting until after the draft.

The Taylor camp agrees that they were initially "fine" with the idea of waiting until after the draft. No disagreement there, either.

Now here is where we get into disagreements:

1. The Dolphins, far as they know, still believe the Taylor camp was "fine" with waiting for Miami's decision after the draft. The Taylor camp obviously felt that a decision needed to be moved up because the one offer they held -- that of the Jets -- could easily disappear after the draft.

The Taylor camp says it reached out to the Dolphins when it became clear the Jets could pull their offer. The Taylor camp says it requested a decision one way or the other but got no response.

Why there wasn't one last-minute, last-gasp attempt to keep Jason Taylor in a Dolphins uniform, is unclear to Taylor. In fact, to this day Taylor doesn't know why he didn't get any Miami offer. "If I was told why, I could express it to you," he said. "But I wasn't told."

The Dolphins say there was nothing to express. They were waiting until after the draft.

2. About that November contract extension:

The Taylor side feels Parcells took Taylor declining to deal without an agent personally. The Dolphins side doesn't necessarily refute this as stated above. But ...

Parcells would not allow personal feelings to get in the way of completing imperative football business even if his feelings have a little boo-boo. (Salguero personal opinion: Taylor simply wasn't imperative to the Dolphins. If he was 25 instead of 35, he would have become imperative. But he isn't.)

3. Taylor said that once he turned the situation over to his agent he expected the negotiation to continue but that eventually the offer was pulled. The Dolphins say that once Taylor declined Parcells' offer, it was turned over to Jeff Ireland to handle and that negotiations indeed continued for some time between Ireland and Wichard.

(I'm getting a headache, aren't you?)

4. The Taylor camp is not really going here, but I am: They believe they were disrespected. Taylor, they say, is an all-timer with the Dolphins that, no matter what your football evaluation is, should be respected and treated well based on what he's meant to the franchise for 13 years.

They don't believe either Parcells or Ireland recognized the player's place in team lore and dealt with him poorly by playing the "after the draft" game. Taylor just wanted to know outright if the Dolphins wanted him or not. Black or white. The Dolphins told him to wait until after the draft in 2009, but they also told him they wanted him. They told him to wait until after the draft in 2010, but didn't hint as to whether he was in their plans or not.

Taylor was ultimately frustrated by the gray of "after the draft."

You saw part of that peek through when Taylor said, "I'm happy somebody wants me to play for them. The Jets have given me an opportunity to play and not just an opportunity but they showed me they wanted me up there ... They made it clear what they wanted to do."

The Dolphins? They insist they respected Taylor's historical standing.

But, they add, at the end of the day, they simply made a football decision.

[BLOG NOTE: I know there were issues with all of you being able to post comments on Tuesday. I was flooded with e-mail complaints that the blog was broken. I'm told the issue is being resolved. Personally, I blame it all on the New York Jets.]

April 20, 2010

Taylor to address media tonight

Jason Taylor played 13 years for the Miami Dolphins.

So, darn it, he's going to speak to the South Florida media first before he goes to New York for a press conference.

I'm told Taylor will conduct a press conference at his foundation's headquarters at 8:30 p.m. I will be there.

By the way, 790 The Ticket here in Miami is quoting "a source," as saying Taylor had a contract from both the Dolphins and Jets on the table ...

... And that Taylor picked the Jets.

Sorry, fellas, not true.

Where do people come up with this stuff?

Anyway, what would you ask JT tonight?

Jason Taylor to play for the New York Jets

Jason Taylor has decided to join the New York Jets, according to his agent Gary Wichard. The NFL's active sack leader and the player with more sacks than anyone since 2000, will sign a contract with New York as early as Wednesday.

Taylor is tentatively scheduled to fly to New York to meet with Jets management Wednesday morning.

Taylor, who wanted to return to the Dolphins in 2010, decided to accept New York's offer after realizing there was no opportunity for him to play for the Miami Dolphins. The Dolphins have refused to offer Taylor a contract since the end of the 2009 season, saying they would make a decision on that after the draft.

Taylor's decision, looming for days, was finalized late Tuesday morning as the NFL draft threatened his only opportunity for a contract at this time. While the Dolphins were holding Taylor off until after the draft, the Jets offered Taylor a chance to join the NFL's No. 1-ranked defense in 2009.

Taylor recognized his opportunity in New York could disappear if the Jets draft someone that plays the same position. That would leave Taylor, 35, with no contract offer from any team and no assurances from Miami.

Wichard called the Jets to commit Taylor to them on Tuesday morning. The contract is a two-year deal for $13 million but that is not a true number because it includes a large roster bonus in 2011 the Jets aren't likely to pay. The real deal is essentially a one-year deal that could be worth up to $4 million with numerous incentives.

Taylor's decision was sealed this week upon his return from a mini-vacation in Costa Rica. He'd hoped he would return to South Florida and meet with Coach Tony Sparano -- a meeting Sparano requested and then postponed last week. But that meeting was never rescheduled, another hint to Taylor the Dolphins didn't want him back.

Clues that the Dolphins are moving in a different direction away from Taylor were everywhere. The team scheduled a workout for free agent OLB Travis LaBoy late last week. The club also seems ready to draft an OLB in this draft, with that pick coming as early as Miami's No. 12 pick in the first round.

And even as they were searching for pass-rushers -- a position of need -- the Dolphins did not offer Taylor a contract and did not provide either private or public hints there would even be a contract opportunity after the draft. At times during the last two months, the Dolphins have not returned calls to the Taylor camp.

The Dolphins have refused to explain why they are taking this approach with a player who has deeper roots in South Florida than Bill Parcells or Jeff Ireland or Tony Sparano combined. Ireland's stance on the matter recently was, "I'm not going to air our business to the media."

But the fact is this isn't typical of the way the Dolphins have done business this offseason. The club eagerly signed Jason Ferguson and Chad Pennington this offseason. Those moves were made despite the fact Ferguson, 35, must serve an eight-game suspension to start the 2010 season and Pennington, like Taylor, is recovering from shoulder surgery.

Clearly, the Dolphins didn't need to wait until after the draft to retain Ferguson and Pennington. 

Taylor is "disappointed and even hurt" the Dolphins didn't ask him to return for 2010, according to a family friend who asked not to be identified. Clearly, returning to play in front of Dolphins fans was his priority. Taylor wanted to finish his career in Miami because he has ties in the community, wants to retire to South Florida when his career is over, and wants his charitable foundation to continue doing work locally.

Basically, Taylor didn't want to do anything that would be misinterpreted as him leaving the Dolphins for a rival. "He's leaving the Dolphins because they've given him no choice," the family source said.

To that end, Taylor is expected to be introduced at a press conference by the Jets Wednesday. But after working out with his new teammates into the weekend, Taylor also expects to have a press conference in South Florida to address with the local media about his feelings on this move.

Taylor, the source said, sees this move as a separation but not a divorce from South Florida and Miami fans. "Logically, he had to go to Jets," the source said. "But emotionally, his heart is with Dolphins fans."

Taylor also views joining the Jets as an opportunity to reach the NFL playoffs. The Jets reached the AFC championship game in 2009 and have added several big-name players this offseason, including running back LaDainian Tomlinson, cornerback Antonio Cromartie and wide receiver Santonio Holmes.

Tomlinson was part of the full-court recruitment of Taylor by the Jets, as the running back called Taylor to convince him to join the team. That recruitment began in earnest when Jets coach Rex Ryan called agent Wichard three weeks ago to ask if Taylor would be interested in the idea of playing for Miami's division rival.

Wichard, holding no offer from the Dolphins, convinced Taylor to visit with the Jets on April 8-9.

Last week, the Jets called Wichard again. But this time it was owner Woody Johnson, general manager Mike Tannenbaum and Ryan on the line all at the same time.

"It was not to pressure Jason," Wichard said last week. "It was a respectful call. They wanted to share how much they thought of Jason. It wasn't like they were blitzing me. No pressure. We talked about how much Commissioner Roger Goodell likes Jason.

"The Jets have been great throughout this process."

The Jets and Dolphins could not be more dissimilar.

While the Dolphins last year referred to Taylor as an "acorn," a player plucked off the market at the last minute and unexpectedly, the Jets have treated Taylor like an icon -- taking him on helicopter rides to their new stadium, putting him up in a five-star hotel in midtown Manhattan during his recruiting visit.

Weighing the treatment of acorn and icon, Taylor obviously picked the latter.

This will mark the second time Taylor leaves the Dolphins.

Taylor played for the Dolphins from 1997-2007 then was traded to the Washington Redskins in 2008 for a second-round pick. He returned in 2009 and collected seven sacks and 42 tackles. Taylor started all 16 games in 2009 and was a team captain. Taylor turned down $8 million guaranteed from the Redskins to return to Miami for a one-year, $1.5 million deal.

It was such a successful reunion, the Dolphins offered Taylor a contract extension early last November, according to a club source.

The Dolphins have done this before with others players -- Parick Cobbs, Lousaka Polite, Greg Camarillo and Ricky Williams -- performing at a high level.

The difference for Taylor was that the contract offer was basically for the same money he played for last season. There was modest base salary increase offered from $1.1 to $1.5 million and there was one interesting stipulation: The Dolphins wanted to deal directly with Taylor and not let him include Wichard in any talks.

Taylor wanted to include his agent and that concluded the talks.

Interestingly, soon after Taylor rejected the curious extension offer, his playing time changed. Taylor still started. But the guy who led the team with 5 1/2 sacks with most of November and December still to play, suddenly wasn't part of Miami's pass-rush package all the time.

Taylor, playing with an injured shoulder on run downs but less so on passing downs, collected only 1 1/2 sacks the season's final two months. Meanwhile, Joey Porter, who had struggled early in the season, was allowed to stay on the field on pass downs and sometimes even waved off substitutions from the sideline on those downs.

With the Jets, Taylor is expected to play only on passing downs. Ryan has promised to be innovative and let Taylor attack the pass-pocket from every angle and side. That isn't exactly a new approach. In 2006, Nick Saban used Taylor in that fashion. Sometimes Taylor would rush from the right side, sometimes the left side, sometimes up the middle, sometimes Taylor would drop in coverage.

Taylor won the NFL Defensive Player of the Year award that year.

When the Dolphins signed Taylor in 2009, their plan was to use him only on a limited basis -- again, mostly as a pass-rusher. But starter Matt Roth failed his training camp conditioning test and so Miami pressed Taylor into a starting job.

Taylor was happy to take the job and didn't give it back. Roth was eventually waived.

Now the Dolphins don't have either Roth or Taylor.

Now the Dolphins will face Jason Taylor twice in 2010.

Follow Armando Salguero on twitter.

Schedule: Six road games vs playoff teams

The NFL will continue to show off it's ability to turn a non-event into a much-anticipated and chronicled celebration tonight when it releases its 2010 regular-season schedule. If the idea of finding out when the Dolphins play doesn't excite you on NFL Network, you can switch to ESPN because it also will telecast a program about the schedule release.

By the way, Major League Baseball, the NHL and NBA also release their schedules months before the games are played. Does anyone notice? Ah, NFL dominance is in the air this morning.

Anyway, The Miami Herald will share in today's public relations conspiracy by publishing the Dolphins' schedule on its website as soon as one of our reporters can type it up, analyze it, and get the web folks to post it. (I'll be doing other things tonight.)

But since we already know Miami's opponents, I figured this would be a good time to look at how the competition is looking so far and how the Dolphins currently stack up:

The Dolphins are scheduled to travel a total of 21,570 miles to their road games in 2010. The Dolphins, an AFC East team, will play its 10 non-division games at Baltimore, at Cincinnati, at Green Bay, at Minnesota, at Oakland, and host Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Chicago, Detroit, and Tennessee.

Away games against playoff teams Baltimore, Cincinnati, Green Bay, and Minnesota to go with road games against divisional opponents and playoff teams New York and New England do not exactly make for easy road trips. Miami plays eight road games and six will be against 2009 playoff teams. Miami's only road games that don't offer a playoff-caliber team is at Oakland and at Buffalo.

The home games against Pittsburgh and Tennessee are rematches of 2009 losses that cost the Dolphins a playoff berth because of a late-season three-game losing streak.

Obviously the games against Cleveland, Detroit and Buffalo seemingly offer Miami a small respite as all three finished last in their divisions last year and are not expected to be playoff-caliber in 2010. Of course, the Bills laid the wood to the Dolphins in Buffalo last year anyway, so they are dangerous.

Depending on the schedule, the Dolphins might miss a few star players from other teams. New York's Santonio Holmes will miss the first four games of the regular season while serving an NFL imposed suspension for testing positive for drugs. The league is also soon expected to soon announce a suspension for Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger for violation of the league conduct policy.

The Minnesota game is interesting because the Vikings promise to be better with Brett Favre than without him. But even if Favre answers the bell on his 20th season, which I predict he'll do, I would surmise Miami has a better chance against the Vikings early in the season than late. Simply, at age 41, Favre might be easier to beat than at age 40. After October he might be more beat up, he might be less healthy in some way.

Recall that in 2008, the Dolphins were 1-1 versus Favre. They lost to him in the regular-season opener and beat him in the regular-season finale.

Speaking of openers, the Dolphins must somehow address the increasingly troubling habit of starting slow. Last year the Dolphins were 0-3 out of the gate. In 2008, they were 0-2 out of the gate. In 2007 they were 0-13 out of the gate.

Wouldn't it be great for Miami to be at the front of the pack when the gun sounds in 2010? I would hope the coaching staff will make this a focus in training camp and the preseason -- perhaps by having starters play more snaps in some games, including the preseason-finale.

Any way you look at it, the Dolphins need to get off to a fast start in 2010.

Follow me on twitter.

April 19, 2010

Rumors: 'Can't take it no more'

Rumors.

They are everywhere. Everywhere!

Sometimes, they have zero credence, like the one that said Jason Taylor's contract with the Jets was "close to done." That was almost two weeks ago. I guess close can be a relative term -- like the moon is close to the Earth, if you compare our planet's distance to Pluto.

Sometimes the rumors are based in fact. Remember the rumor I reported to you about Brandon Marshall telling a Denver Broncos teammate he was headed to Miami? Remember the rumor about Ted Ginn being on the trade block?

Well, the days leading to the draft are perhaps the most rumor-filled days on the NFL calendar. And there are some interesting ones floating.

There's a rumor Ronnie Brown is on the trade block. The truth is, Brown cannot be traded right now. He cannot be traded until he signs his restricted free agent tender. The truth is the Dolphins are not actively calling all 31 other NFL teams and offering Brown. But the truth also is if a team approaches Miami about Brown, the Dolphins are more than happy to listen. I believe the Dolphins would gladly trade Brown for a second-round pick. I also believe they aren't likely to get that for him. We'll see.

There's a rumor the Dolphins are intrigued by the idea of trading for Giants defensive end Osi Umenyiora. Apparently the NYGs have taken a sort of liking to South Florida's Jason Pierre-Paul and if that liking develops into them drafting him, that makes Umenyiora not only endangered, but practically extinct on the roster. Umenyiora played at Troy. Bill Parcells regularly looks at players from Troy and, indeed, picked DeMarcus Ware from Troy in 2005. Thus these trade rumors.

But this one is a head-scratcher, if you ask me. Umenyiora would project as an OLB in Miami's defense, but he's never played the position before. So the Dolphins would be interested in giving up a draft pick for Umenyiora after a 29-tackle, 7-sack season even when a team from New York has decided he's no longer a fit. But the Dolphins are apparently not as interested in giving up zero draft picks for Jason Taylor after a 42-tackle, 7-sack season even when a team from New York has decided he'd be a great fit. Yes, I know Umenyiora is 28 years old and Taylor is 35 years old. But I also know the draftee it costs to get Umenyiora would come cheaply and be maybe 21-22 years old.

On the positive side, if the Dolphins do indeed swing this deal for a fifth-round pick, they will have effectively traded Ted Ginn Jr. for Osi Umenyiora. That sounds like an upgrade to me. Ronnie Brown for Osi Umenyiora? Both Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw are recovering from various surgeris. Of course, so is Brown. We'll see.

There's a rumor the Dolphins are trying to trade G Justin Smiley. It is true. It also hasn't gotten done so far. The bottom line here is Smiley has shoulder issues. He had them in San Francisco. He had them in Miami. They are not going away anytime soon. Furthermore, once the Dolphins put Smiley on the market and told him not to report for offseason conditioning, they basically alerted the rest of the NFL Smiley isn't in their long-term plans. The price for Smiley has dropped. Despite this, the Dolphins don't want to simply give him away. Their stance is they can hold onto Smiley up until training camp is set to open in late July. So what might Smiley bring in trade?

Not a lot. Purely speculating here: Maybe a sixth-rounder. Sad isn't it? We'll see.

There's a rumor the Dolphins will attempt to trade down in the coming draft. This is true. Although the chances are better that Miami will have to stick with pick No. 12 for lack of trade-down options, the team seriously would like to drop a handful of spots and pick up a late-second pick in the exchange. The Dolphins are not the only team wanting to do this. Denver might want to trade down also and the Broncos are scheduled to pick at No. 11. So, you guessed it, we'll see.


A mock draft of picks 1-13 by national media

For a few years now writers and columnists from the 32 NFL cities have been doing a live mock draft. The idea is to have folks with a solid finger on the pulse of their teams run through the exercise and see how the actual draft might go.

The first leg of that draft happened Sunday, as 13 selections were made. I made the selection for the Dolphins among the list of national media. (And I recognize you are now asking, 'Why did Salguero make the Miami pick if it's supposed to be done by someone with a good idea what the team will do?')

Folks, this isn't science. I made the pick for Miami, like it or not.

I am not predicting this will be Miami's pick.

The greater point is, judging from the picks made by folks ahead of the Dolphins, I would tell you the Dolphins will have quite a few talented players to pick from at No. 12 if the writers have any clue what their teams might do.

The exercise suggests that when Miami picks at No. 12 great talent will remain on the board for the Dolphins if they do not trade down. In this mock, Earl Thomas, Jimmy Clausen, Mike Iupati, Derrick Morgan, Dez Bryant, Sergio Kindle, and Dan Williams are all available to Miami at No. 12.

If that happens on draft day, I would tell you the Dolphins will try to bug out of No. 12. Clausen will have value to someone. Bryant may have value to someone. Thomas will have value to someone, as well as to Miami.

The Dolphins may be able to trade down and get back a second or third round pick. Of course, all this is speculation, an opportunity for you to disagree. It's a mock draft.

1: St. Louis Rams (By Jim Thomas, St. Louis Post Dispatch).

The skinny: After passing on Mark Sanchez and Matt Ryan in the past two years, the Rams won't pass on Sam Bradford this year. Only what GM Billy Devaney calls a "king's ransom" of picks and players in a trade down will keep St. Louis from taking Bradford. After three subpar seasons, two-time Pro Bowler Marc Bulger was released, leaving only A.J. Feeley, and small-school projects Keith Null, and Mike Reilly on the roster at QB. The pick: Sam Bradford, QB, Oklahoma.

2: Detroit Lions (By Mike O'Hara, longtime Lions beat writer for Detroit News).

The skinny: The Leos have ranked last in the NFL in yards allowed for three straight years, and the interior defense has been especially soft. Ndamukong Suh can give them more than a run-stuffing tackle. He can get pressure up the middle on the quarterback, and his presence will free up players such as Kyle Vanden Bosch and Cliff Avril to get single blocking to rush the passer. The pick: DT Ndamukong Suh, Nebraska.

3: Tampa Bay Buccaneers (By Ira Kaufman, Tampa Tribune).

The skinny: The Bucs finished last in rushing defense and their starting DTs were Ryan Sims and Chris Hovan. Enough said. It's hard to imagine the Bucs passing on either Suh or Gerald McCoy at No. 3. If both are gone, the Bucs will entertain offers to move down and perhaps land S Eric Berry. Other pressing needs are DE, WR, CB and G. Tampa Bay was strangely silent in the offseason for a 3-13 club, signing free agent S Sean Jones and trading for Eagles WR Reggie Brown. Second-year QB Josh Freeman desperately needs more weapons, but GM Mark Dominik and coach Raheem Morris are committed to rebuilding a once-proud defense and the D-line is in shambles. I believe they prefer Suh over McCoy, but they won't mind turning in a card with McCoy's name on it Thursday evening. The pick: DT Gerald McCoy, Oklahoma.

4: Washington Redskins (By David Elfin, longtime beat writer for the Washington Times).

The skinny: If there was any doubt that the Redskins would use the No. 4 on a LT to replace Chris Samuels (who had to retire because of spinal issues), that was erased when they traded for Donovan McNabb to replace incumbent Jason Campbell. After a 4-12 season, their worst since 1994, the Redskins have plenty of needs (see above) not to mention unhappy DT Albert Haynesworth and LB Rocky McIntosh, who skipped this weekend's "voluntary" minicamp, but they are bereft at LT beyond the marginal Stephon Heyer, who started at RT last season. Washington hopes that Okung can be a carbon copy of Samuels, who made six Pro Bowls in 10 seasons after being chosen second overall in the 2000 draft. The pick: OT Russell Okung, Oklahoma State.

5: Kansas City Chiefs (By Randy Covitz, Kansas City Star).

The skinny: I would be lying if I said I had any idea what Scott Pioli is thinking other than I know it's something completely different than the rest of us (see Tyson Jackson). While they don't have a safety to line up and play a game, I'm not buying into the Eric Berry hype. Just too high a pick for a safety when the Chiefs can grab one with one of their two second-rounders. Of course, some say they can get an OT in the second round. I really think Pioli wants to trade down, pick up extra picks, take a Rolando McClain or an Earl Thomas later in the first round or one of the second-tier OTs. Short of predicting trades, I've been giving them Iowa OT Bryan Bulaga with the fifth pick in most mock drafts, though if Suh falls there, they'd have to grab him. They can play Bulaga at RT or move Branden Albert from LT to RT and plug in Bulaga at LT. He's a safe pick and fits their profile. The Chiefs allowed 45 sacks last season. Trent Williams' inconsistency and work ethic does not fit what Piioli calls The Right 53. The pick: OT Bryan Bulaga, Iowa .

6: Seattle Seahawks (By Danny O'Neil, Seattle Times).

The skinny: General manager John Schneider is running his first draft, and in Green Bay he worked for a team that made a habit of trading down in the draft order to acquire more picks. Trading down will be a consideration at No. 14, but at No. 6, expect Seattle to take a left tackle. While Walter Jones has not officially retired, the Seahawks are planning as if he won't return. Seattle started four different players at left tackle last year, two of whom were not on the team's roster when training camp began (Brandon Frye and Damion McIntosh). Seattle held its first minicamp last week, which showed just how thin Seattle is along the offensive line. Both of the tackles on the second-string offensive line were tryout players. Seattle is high on safety Eric Berry, who played for Monte Kiffin last season at Tennessee. Kiffin remains a formative influence on new Seattle coach Pete Carroll, but the Seahawks' needs on offense are simply more urgent as Seattle hasn't chosen an offensive player in the first round since choosing center Chris Spencer in 2005. The pick: OT Trent Williams, Oklahoma.

7: Cleveland Browns (By Tony Grossi, Cleveland Plain Dealer). 

The skinny: Forget a trade up with Rams. Forget taking Jimmy Clausen. Mike Holmgren's statement to me about wishing he liked Clausen more was not a smokescreen; he was being candid. Could he have been won over by now? Possibly, but Holmgren realizes the team has many more urgent needs. He paid Jake Delhomme $7 million for 2010 and thinks the world of backup Seneca Wallace. Odds are down to 50-50 that Holmgren even picks a QB, perhaps using two 3s to move into 2d for McCoy. Otherwise, he might wait till 5th ... I seriously doubt they would trade up with Kansas City to take Eric Berry. I just don't think they like Berry enough to give up a 3 for him. Like everyone else, they like to move down. Potential move-down possibilities are Penn State DE Jared Odrick (they love him and they've got nothing but over-30s at DEs) and OG Mike Iupati. If they stay at No. 7 and Berry's there, I'd say Berry. If he's not there, they may consider Odrick that high, but my best guess would be Texas S Earl Thomas (if Berry's not there). CB Joe Haden was eliminated when they traded for Sheldon Brown. Dez Bryant or C.J. Spiller? I think Bryant scares them (post-Braylon Edwards). Spiller is a glorified Jerome Harrison, who they already have. Derrick Morgan or Jason Pierre-Paul? Neither are fits in the 3-4 and the Browns had more sacks (40) last year than 8 playoff teams, including God's gift to the NFL, the Jets. The pick: FS Eric Berry, Tennessee.

8: Oakland Raiders (By Nancy Gay, AOL Fanhouse)

The skinny: Al Davis is tempted – really tempted – to pick Notre Dame quarterback Jimmy Clausen here, since he is still on the board and even the owner seems to be losing patience with JaMarcus Russell. But can the Raiders afford another first-round quarterback mistake? No way. The team has four quarterbacks on the roster now (Russell, Bruce Gradkowski, Charlie Frye, Kyle Boller) but has no legitimate left tackle to protect any of them. He may consider Oklahoma OT Trent Williams here and is intrigued by the potential of USF. DE Jason Pierre-Paul, but Davis won’t be able to forget what one of the Combine’s celebrated workout stars. The pick: OT Bruce Campbell, Maryland.

9: Buffalo Bills (By Mark Gaughan, Buffalo News).

The skinny: The Bills' entire 2009 season was held hostage by the OT position. But the top three tackles are gone. Don't think they will reach for Anthony Davis here. I don't think they will go with Clausen even though you could make a good case for it. They're kind of stuck. Look for a surprise pick. They will go best player available. Possiblities include C.J. Spiller, Dan Williams and Rolando McClain. The pick: RB C.J. Spiller, Clemson.

10: Jacksonville Jaguars (By Vito Stellino, Florida Times-Union).

The skinny: What they want to do is trade down. They hope somebody will want to trade up for Clausen. They want more picks and don't think they'll get value at 10. Think they'll have to overpay. They would have liked one of the 3 OT tackles and could play Eban Britton at guard but they're gone. So is Spiller. Gene Smith is a best available guy. The pick: ILB Rolando McClain, Alabama.

11: Denver Broncos (By Jeff Legwold, Denver Post)

The skinny: If the Jags or anybody else indeed take McClain as this scenario had unfolded, they're going to be looking to get out and move down. They're looking wide receiver at the top of the second, though Josh McDaniels (some smokescreen) went on and on Friday about how Dez Bryant is not a bad guy. So that is a slight possibility here. However, they would love to move down a little, get a pick and take Florida center Maurkice Pouncey, who could start from the moment they draft him. So, that's who I would give them here with the caveat they would try to move down to do it. They do like Dan Williams as well as a guy to go in the rotation at the nose so he is a possibility as well. But Pouncey would be my pick with a move down to do it. The pick: C Markice Pouncey, Florida.

12: Miami Dolphins (By Mando, The Miami Herald).

The skinny: The Dolphins are in the market for extra picks. They want to recover the second-rounder they gave up for Brandon Marshall. Another reason they want to add picks is they currently have no proven starter at FS, SOLB, and LG. NT is also a problem because 36-year-old Jason Ferguson will serve an 8-game suspension for testing positive for performance enhancing drugs. He won't be availabe until November, meaning Miami has issues at NT as well. If Miami cannot get out of the pick and add a second- or third-rounder in the process, it will look to fill one of its top needs. Bill Parcells is still looking for his new Lawrence Taylor. After carefully considering Earl Thomas (who's visited twice and worked out) and Dan Williams (who has the measurables at NT), the Dolphins go with the pass-rusher. The pick: OLB Derrick Morgan, Georgia Tech.

13: San Francisco 49'ers (by Nancy Gay, AOL Fanhouse).

The skinny: Offensive tackle (LT Joe Staley is very solid but RT Adam Snyder struggles in pass protection and is really a backup thrust into a starting role); cornerback (LCB Walt Harris is recovering from ACL surgery, big-money free agent bust Nate Clements was replaced in the starting lineup last season by ’07 fifth-round pick Tarell Brown and talented Shawntae Spencer is better as a nickel CB); outside linebacker (Niners need a hybrid pass rushing LB/end who can excel in both fronts); nose tackle; wide receiver. The 49'ers are thrilled to grab the top-rated CB in the draft, who excels in press coverage and should have an easier transition to the NFL than most college cornerbacks. Coach Mike Singletary isn’t worried about the knocks on Haden’s speed; he’s more impressed with Haden’s physical play against top SEC receivers. The pick: CB Joe Haden, Florida.

OK, the countdown is on before someone comments that my pick is wrong. 3-2-1...

April 17, 2010

No rest when Dolphins are planning, working

I'm trying to take a day off but my phone was buzzing with a handful of texts on the Dolphins possibly making some moves in the coming hours or days. The name most prominently mentioned in the "rumors" is Ronnie Brown.

Not a surprise. But I assure you, nothing is happening right now.

Funny how the Justin Smiley trade talk has died down.

That doesn't mean something won't happen. As I wrote in my column for The Miami Herald print edition, the coming week will be a busy one indeed for the Dolphins. Come to think of it, it might be the most busy week of roster activity in team history.

Check out the reasons I say that.

Last week was also quite a blast as the Dolphins added wide receiver Brandon Marshall. It's a good thing when the Dolphins make a move that have ripple effects throughout the league.

Adding Marshall resonated throughout the AFC East, including in New York where Darrelle Revis plays. Revis is the best cornerback in the NFL right now, just slightly better than Nmandi Asomugha. If you read this blog or follow me on twitter you know that Marshall reacted to playing Revis twice a year, asking "Where is Revis Island?"

Well, Revis also has thoughts on Marshall.

"It really doesn’t matter to me," Revis said when asked his reaction of Marshall coming to the AFC East. "You see it, people text you, people tweet you, so it’s well-known what’s out there. It’s just another thing where a big-time receiver is in the AFC East. It’s good for [the Dolphins]. They needed a big-time receiver and I get to play against him twice.

So does Revis relish playing Marshall twice a year?

"I love competition," he said. "That’s what I do, I compete no matter who steps up and no matter who comes into this division.’’