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76 posts from April 2010

April 09, 2010

A quickie update on B. Graham, Sergio Kindle

You know I like love Brandon Graham. The Michigan defensive end is not a prototype outside linebacker for the Dolphins so there hasn't been much attention paid to him in the form of visits and interviews. I do know Bill Parcells has studied the kid at least twice on tape, although I'm not privy to what the Big Tuna thinks of the player.

Anyway, Graham had his Pro Day on Thursday and apparently other teams like the player more than Miami because 20 of them, including the Steelers, Falcons and Jaguars were present, according to a source. Graham did not run a 40-yard dash time at the workout and instead stood by his combine numbers there.

Graham's combine times were 4.72 and 4.77 in the 40-yard dash with the second being slower because he tweaked a hamstring during the run. Graham did all the defensive end and outside linebacker drills yesterday, and get this, even did some defensive back drills.

Seems Michigan defensive back Donovan Warren was having his private Pro Day at the same time as Graham and I'm told the defensive end/OLB volunteered to show scouts how well he can move around. I don't know if that will help or not, but it obviously says something about Graham's self confidence.

Graham continues his schedule of 15 visits. The Dolphins are not on that schedule. I don't care. I like love this player anyway. I'm a big softie for guys that simply do not quit -- ever.

Oh, Graham's combine numbers show he is 6-1 3/8ths and 268 pounds. His reach is 32 1/4 and his hands are 9 7/8ths. He bench pressed 225 pounds 31 times.

Another outside linebacker type that has been linked to the Dolphins in several mock draft -- but I'm guessing won't be the pick at No. 12 -- is Sergio Kindle of Texas. He has visited with Tennessee, Cleveland and is in San Francisco today, a source tells me.

Kindle also has not visited the Dolphins and no visit is planned right now. 

A speculative but interesting trade scenario

The following is not based on sourcing or reporting and is not likely to happen, alright? The following is merely fanciful speculation so let's get that out of the way before anyone spits up breakfast or the folks at rotoworld report this as fact. (By the way, rotoworld guys, I'm not the Dolphins beat writer. I'm a columnist at The Miami Herald so please get that correct from now on.)

This much is certain and true: Oklahoma State wide receiver Dez Bryant was in New England visiting the Patriots Thursday, according to the Boston Globe, Boston Herald, National Football Post, NESN.com, and probably even the dudes at rotoworld.

The Patriots have a situation at wide receiver because they lack a legitimate No. 3 even as their No. 2, Wes Welker, is recovering from a shredded knee and torn rotator cuff. The knee injury happened the final game of the 2009 regular season so the chances Welker will be his usual 100-catch self by the start of the 2010 season seems unlikely.

So the Pats have receiver issues.

And that's big because Tom Brady requires weapons and right now Randy Moss is the only healthy receiver on the roster that gives opposing defenses pause. Now, it says right here that perhaps the Patriots were working the Bryant visit as one of their evil empire devices. But maybe, just maybe, they have a serious interest in Bryant.

If that interest is serious, is it so far-fetched that New England might be willing to trade up to pick Dez Bryant? And what better place to trade up to than perhaps the No. 12 spot in the draft which is currently owned by ... the Miami Dolphins.

It is possible the Dolphins fancy Bryant because he is the best receiver in the draft and they need an upgrade at wide receiver. But it is also possible the Dolphins have no intention of picking Bryant because, regardless of his talent on the field, his stock has been in free-fall mode because he was late to something or other a couple of times.

Seriously, Bryant is the draft's best receiver. Anyone that doesn't see that is blind. And yet, despite never being arrested, he is reportedly falling because of maturity issues and a nightmarish background.

So perhaps the receiver-hungry Dolphins get a chance to pick Bryant. But perhaps the ever-conservative Dolphins don't really want to exercise that opportunity.

Trade!

If the Patriots want Bryant, well then, come and get him!

Back up a second ... even if the Dolphins like Bryant and would pick him, they should still consider trading the pick if Bryant is there at No. 12 because, let's face it, Bryant isn't going to resolve all their problems. But perhaps the Dolphins can use a chance to pick Bryant as a chip to dangle before the Patriots for one of their three second-round picks.

The Dolphins could give New England the No. 12 overall selection in exchange for moving to New England's No. 22 overall selection and picking up a second rounder -- the Pats own Nos. 44 overall, 47 overall, and 53 overall.

That would give the Dolphins three picks in the first two rounds, which means three possible starters on a team that needs starters at wide receiver, free safety, nose tackle and outside linebacker.

Works for me.

This trade value chart, which assigns a point value for every slot in the draft, says an even trade of this magnitude would require the Patriots to give up their 47th overall selection or the second-highest of their three second-rounders.

That would give the Dolphins Nos. 22, 43 and 47 overall.

Is that a superior or inferior standing than having No. 12 and No. 43 overall?

Granted, this scenario would give the Patriots the best wide receiver in the draft. But it would give the Dolphins the ability to pick up three starters.

Yes haters, I recognize the two clubs are in the same division.

The Washington Redskins and Philadelphia Eagles are also in the same division and they just completed a trade. The Pats and Fins were in the same division in 2007 and completed a trade for Welker.

The question here, in this speculative scenario, is would you give up the opportunity to draft Dez Bryant in exchange for New England's pick toward the bottom of the first round and an additional second rounder?

I believe after mulling it a good 10 or 15 seconds, yes, I'd do it. 

 

April 08, 2010

Paul Soliai hires local agent David Canter

Dolphins nose tackle Paul Soliai on Wednesday evening signed a new representation agreement with South Florida based agent David Canter.

Soliai, 26, recently fired former agent Leo Goeas over a financial disagreement. Soliai's is signed through 2010 when he is scheduled to make $550,000.

"Paul knows he's now got a local team of people that are behind him 100 percent and will do everything we can to help him with every aspect of career," Canter said, "And that could translate directly to better performance on the football field."

Canter said he and his new client are aware the Dolphins will be looking for a nose tackle in the coming NFL draft. But that isn't their concern or focus.

"The focus is getting Paul playing like the dominant player he's shown he can be at times," Canter said. " ... Everything after that will take care of itself."

Canter also represents cornerback Sean Smith and believes the second-year corner is taking the necessary steps for a good second season.

"He's so focused right now he turned down some off-field [offers] that would have taken literally five minutes of his time," Canter said. 

Ireland declines to discuss Taylor to great extent

Jeff Ireland conducted a 25 minute draft press conference today where the first, second and third questions weren't about the draft but rather the Jason Taylor situation.

And Ireland's answer to the questions is basically that none of this -- why Taylor is still unsigned, whether the Dolphins have interest in signing Taylor, whether the Dolphins are treating Taylor with respect -- is any of the media's business.

"This where we are on JT," Ireland said. "This organization knows exactly our stance on it. Jason and his agent know our stance on it. And I'm not going to air our business through the media. They know exactly where our stance is. We know both sides of it and that's where I'll leave it."

Pressed a bit Ireland repeated he has talked to Taylor's agent, Gary Wichard, and he's told him the Dolphins will be ready to deal with Jason Taylor after the draft.

"They know our stance," Ireland repeated. "We know our stance. I've told Gary this. Tony's told Jason this. We have to evaluate things after the draft."

Then Ireland was asked if it doesn't worry him that Taylor is visiting with the Jets and he started to show a little agitation.

"He's a free agent right now," Ireland said. "We told him exactly what our stance is, and he's free to do exactly what he needs to do. And I thought this was a pre-draft press conference, fellas."

What Ireland did not explain is why the Dolphins have to wait until after the draft to know whether they want Taylor or not. Fact is the guy makes sense right now, not just after the draft.

Taylor, meanwhile, continued his visit with the Jets today. He is scheduled to fly home this evening. Taylor has not been offered a contract by the Jets and will not be signing today -- which is no surprise since Wichard said as much on this blog yesterday morning.

April 07, 2010

With Taylor, Dolphins style is lacking

The Miami Dolphins like Jason Taylor. They say he's a good player and sincerely believe they have a good relationship with him. Coach Tony Sparano believes he and Taylor are as tight as an employer-employee relationship allows, while general manager Jeff Ireland believes he and Taylor's agent Gary Wichard have an open and honest association.

So the Dolphins are not seriously sweating Taylor's visit to the New York Jets.

The Dolphins know what Taylor would like to be paid in 2010 and they say Wichard knows the value they have placed on Taylor. No, the Dolphins haven't made an official contract offer to Wichard for reasons they believe to be sound business, but they insist "everyone knows where everyone stands." There is, by the way, a difference of opinion between the parties about Taylor's value.

But, the Dolphins believe if Taylor gets an offer from the Jets Thursday, or anyone else in the coming days, they will have the opportunity to adjust their opinion.

The Dolphins believe they will have a chance to match any offer any team makes Taylor.

Perhaps that is true. Perhaps it isn't. But that's what the Dolphins believe. So from a purely cold, unemotional, business aspect, nothing the Dolphins are doing really can be deemed wrong or a mistake.

But ...

Dealing with Jason Taylor is not and cannot be just about cold hard facts. It cannot be just about legal tender green dollars.

Taylor wants to be loved, maybe even wooed. He definitely wants to be shown respect because after 13 NFL seasons he rightly believes he's earned that. And the New York Jets are showing him that love and respect at a time when Taylor doesn't think the Dolphins are.

On Wednesday, the Jets flew Taylor to New York for a free agent visit. He and his wife Katina were picked up by limousine and taken to the Mandarin Oriental Hotel, a five-star facility overlooking Columbus Circle in midtown Manhattan. The Jets later put Taylor in a helicopter and flew him to their new stadium in New Jersey. The place is in a wasteland called the meadowlands but the Jets sold it to Taylor as his new home he can help decorate with a Vince Lombardi Trophy.

The Jets wined Taylor. They dined Taylor. And Rex Ryan repeated to Taylor what he told Wichard the past couple of days as he was setting up this visit: If Taylor signs with the Jets, he will have between 12-15 sacks in 2010 because Ryan would use him as a pass-rusher coming from every imaginable and unpredicatable location on the field except perhaps the pressbox.

Jason Taylor was never recruited by bigtime college programs before he went to Akron but by Wednesday night he definitely knew what it's like to be wanted.

And that is the biggest difference between the Dolphins and Jets right now. The Jets have the Dolphins over a barrel on style if not necessarily on substance.

The Jets may not be able to pay Taylor very much at this time because they are limited by NFL Final Four rules imposed on clubs that made it to the conference title games. Taylor would like to make approximately $3 million per season and he would like a two-year deal because he wants to play two more seasons. Under the rules, the Jets seemingly can't get much higher than $1.5 million in the first year of the deal and cannot raise Taylor's 2011 salary more than 30 percent to $1.95 million.

But the Jets are nonetheless chasing Taylor like he is invaluable.

The Dolphins? They're the team that made it clear to Taylor last year he had to earn his roster spot after he signed. They're the club that isn't showing its cards or any emotion in dealing with Taylor. The Dolphins are the club that have returned some but not all of the calls from Taylor or his agent this offseason.

That matters to Taylor. And so does this:

Taylor has noticed that Miami signed Jason Ferguson this offseason after he tested positive for performance enhancing drugs but they keep him at arm's length. The Dolphins have signed Chad Pennington when his shoulder might or might not be 100 percent going forward but they're biding their time on re-signing the same Jason Taylor who played an entire month with a bum shoulder last season.

Understand that the Dolphins don't see any problem here. They see nothing wrong with approaching folks in a direct and candid way or putting other folks on the back burner when necessary. But one man's candid is another man's tactless. One man's back burner is another's contempt. That's perhaps a reason safety Ryan Clark returned to the Steelers rather than signing with the Dolphins.

Clark didn't get more money from Pittsburgh than he might have from Miami. But he felt he got a whole lot more love.

The Dolphins are not big on that love thing. They don't show everyone a lot of love and particularly not to Taylor for some strange reason.

While Rex Ryan and Bill Belichick were calling Taylor's agent multiple times last year, the Dolphins acted like they were doing Taylor a favor in signing him at a bargain $1.5 million price. And Ryan's continuing chase of Taylor this year is in sharp contrast to Wichard approaching Ireland at the Indianapolis Combine in February and having to sell Taylor as a sound investment, like a pitchman stumping for his product.

Again, nothing wrong with Miami's substance. But the style raises eyebrows.

It is clear that all things being relatively equal, Taylor would love to continue playing for the Dolphins. The Dolphins know this and are absolutely using it to their advantage. And that's fine. The NFL is, after all, a business and Ireland is trying to conduct good business by getting the best deal for his team.

But good business is also about having good timing. And while the Jets are acting in their own timing, the Dolphins are banking on reacting to a New York offer.

Good business is also about keeping a good relationship. And there is no room in a good relationship for being lukewarm when someone else is being red hot.

Good business, in short, is also about style -- especially when it threatens to affect substance.

Jason Taylor visiting with Jets today

Jason Taylor boarded a 7 a.m. plane to New York today. He is visiting the New York Jets as an unrestricted free agent, according to his agent Gary Wichard.

"I pushed him up there," Wichard just told me. "I twisted his arm. He loves the fans in Miami and he gave up $8 million last year to play in front of fans. I am the one to push him to go up there because I don't know what will be available to on April 23 or 25th or whatever."

According to Wichard, Ryan started calling, trying to get Taylor signed the same day they lost kicker Jay Feeley to Arizona in free agency. The Jets are a Final 4 team and can add unrestricted free agents when they lose unrestricted free agents.

"How do you say no to Rex Ryan? Wichard said. "You got to listen to him. I cannot explain to you how much Rex wants him up there."

Wichard said Taylor would probably not sign a contract while he's on the visit.

"He's going to hear, feel and touch the situation, and then we'll meet to decide what happens next," Wichard said.

Taylor's schedule is to be up in New York today and Thursday. He is traveling with his wife, Katina.

Miami Dolphins reach out to Jason Taylor

A few weeks ago I shared with you how the Dolphins were pretty much ignoring Jason Taylor while carrying on with business on other matters.

The column, which basically said the Dolphins weren't returning calls from the Taylor camp, prompted some fans to begin an e-mail writing campaign requesting the team bring Taylor back. The column also got something of a rise out of the Dolphins.

Although Taylor has not discussed the matter with me, I'm told by a good team source that the day the column published, coach Tony Sparano contacted Taylor. And the contact effort was two-pronged as the Dolphins have since reached out to Taylor's agent, as well.

Now, this does not mean Taylor will absolutely, positively, 100 percent be back with Miami in 2010. The Dolphins didn't call to offer Taylor a contract. But things are looking better than they did when I originally wrote the column and that is good news for Taylor fans.

Taylor obviously wants to return. If the choice were his, he'd be on the Dolphins now, today. But the Dolphins are not at that stage yet. They are still in draft mode and want to take care of that important business before resolving the Taylor issue.

But the club doesn't want to write Taylor off altogether. He still has value. Miami obviously wants to keep a good relationship with him until a final decision whether to bring him back or not is made.

That likely will not happen until after the draft.

So there is no rift at the moment. At least folks are talking.

Good news.

[BLOG NOTE: Come back early afternoon today because I'll update with any newsy item from a national conference call with Mel Kiper. I know you folks cannot wait to hear what Mr. Kiper has to say.]

April 06, 2010

Four Dolphins meet incentives, get raise

A couple of newsy notes this A.M.:

Although there is no salary cap this year most NFL teams are nonetheless trying to contain salary costs because they have to deal with the real world economics of running a business in today's tough economy while also realizing an uncertain economic horizon looms in 2011 for the league.

Despite this, some players are seeing 2010 salaries rise based on play-time and other incentives that they met in 2009. Those incentives roll into base salaries and that is exactly what happened for four Miami players that increased their 2010 base salaries by a combined $1.325 million.

According to NFL Player's Association figures, wide receiver Greg Camarillo got a $150,000 pay increase for 2010 based on incentives he met so his base salary goes from a scheduled $1.15 million to $1.3 million.

Punter Brandon Fields, entering his final contract year, will see his scheduled base rise from $550,000 to $850,000. Fullback Lousaka Polite will see his scheduled $1.12 million base salary jump to $1.27 million.

And the biggest jump will go to Pro Bowl left tackle Jake Long, whose scheduled base salary of $9 million has risen to $9.725 million, based on incentives he met in 2009.

The higher base salaries are not unique to the Dolphins. Throughtout the NFL, players that met play-time and other incentives will get a 2010 salary bump -- some as significant as Arizona OT Levi Brown, who is getting a $2 million bump in his base salary based on incentives. The complete list of players getting a pay increase can be found on Mac's Football Blog.

Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez, by the way, is getting a very nice increase due the fact he was the team's starter as a rookie. His base salary is going from a scheduled $3,181,250 to $6,442,500 -- a startling $3,261,250 increase.

What a republic!  

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The names of players visiting the Dolphins continue to pour in through various sources.

Add Weber State wide receiver Tim Toone to the upcoming visits. The 5-10, 185-pounder ran a 4.4 at his Pro Day and was very good returning punts. He is scheduled to come in next week.Toone is also visiting the Jaguars.

Virginia Tech outside linebacker Jason Worilds has already visited, according to a source.

Utah safety Robert Johnson, who had six interceptions as a senior, has a visit scheduled with Miami as well, according to a source. At 6-2 and 203 pounds, he is a roaming pass swatter in the deep secondary. You may remember the Dolphins plucked cornerback Sean Smith from the Utah roster last year in the second round.

Add those names to the ones I reported here and here and here and here and here and, of course, here. Eventually, I will try to compile as complete a list as I can and share it in one post.

The Dolphins will have their locals visiting Friday, meaning 30 players who played at local universities or high schools or are simply from the area, can be brought in for a looksee. I'll try to share some more of those names also in the interest of being as complete as possible.

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Last week I posted a poll asking you, the fans, to select Miami's No. 12 overall selection.

Well, as of this hour, 6,047 individuals from as far away as Malaysia, Australia, and even one dude in Fukuoka, Japan voted on my poll. Folks in Rio De Janiero, Brazil, Lima, Peru and Quito, Ecuador also voted.

The only American state not represented among the votes cast was North Dakota.

Oh yeah, the results?

Not surprisingly, Oklahoma State wide receiver Dez Bryant is the fan choice with 37.7 percent of the vote. My pick -- because Brandon Graham wasn't included -- was Texas safety Earl Thomas and he is running second with 21.7 percent of the vote. Tennessee nose tackle Dan Williams is running third at 18.2 percent of the votes, followed by Alabama ILB Rolando McClain (11.1 percent), Georgia Tech OLB Derrick Morgan (6.9 percent) and Idaho guard Mike Iupati (4.4 percent) bringing up the rear.

If you haven't voted yet, I encourage you to click on the link above and exercise your God-given right. And if you know any Dolphins fan from North Dakota, contact them and tell them to represent.

   

April 05, 2010

WRs don't make great draft investments

Got my Draftmetrics book in the mail over the weekend and in browsing through it, I cringed at the Chapter Three conclusions because it shows why drafting wide receivers is often a risky proposition.

The folks at Draftmetrics studied NFL drafts from 1990-2009, and in those 20 years the return on so-called skill position players was bad and the return on wide receivers was, well, horrible.

Of the 677 wide receivers selected in the 20 years only 32 percent of them have enjoyed careers of five years or more. Obviously the percentage is driven down because those picked the past five years have not yet had the opportunity to play five years or more. But when you consider the same variables applied to other postions -- defensive linemen (40 percent), linebackers (41 percent), defensive backs (40 percent) and even punishing positions like RB (38 percent) -- they still yield a higher chance the player will play five years for you and the investment on a wide receiver begins to look prohibitive.

And the statistics aren't that much greater for wide receivers picked from 1990-99 who already had the opportunity for extended careers. Only 39 percent of them lasted five years or more while percentages at other positions soared into the 40s -- linebacker 46 percent, defensive lineman 50 percent, defensive back 49 percent.

Now here's the part that should scream buyer beware: A depressing 36 percent of wide receivers managed even a modest career length of two years with 25 percent not making NFL rosters at all. Only 10 percent started as rookies.

Wide receivers, Draftmetrics concludes, have the lowest percentage of players who last three years or more in te NFL.

Conversely, defensive linemen and offensive linemen are the least risky positions to draft. Fifty percent of defensive linemen selected from 1990-99 had careers of five years or more and 11 percent started as rookies while 49 percent started at least one season.

For offensive linemen, 49 percent selected from 1990-99 had careers of five years or more and 15 percent started as rookies while 51 percent started at least one season.

Said another way, if a team picked an offensive lineman he was more likely than not to be a starter for at least one year.

[NOTE: Draftmetrics is available to the public. Go to the website if you're interested.]

Second and third-day players on Dolphins radar

The names of college players who have met or worked out for the Dolphins in recent weeks has focused primariliy on first-round options because everyone wants an idea which player Bill Parcells will pick in the first round.

But the NFL draft will be a three-day affair and the first round is only the first of those days.

So today we concentrate a little on the lesser-known players. Today we give you some second- and third-day options in whom Miami has shown interest.

We start with Notre Dame wide receiver Golden Tate, who has been on Miami's radar for quite some time. He met with the Dolphins at the Combine and the team was represented at his workout. At his workout, Tate wowed some people when he improved his 4.4 Combine time in the 40-yard dash to 4.32 and 4.37 -- which is flying.

At 5-10 and 202 pounds, there are questions about Tate's ability to get off press coverage. But watch the kid and you'll see a tough player, a competitor. He will learn to get off the line and do it well.

South Dakota State outside linebacker Danny Batten has a visit scheduled with Miami. Miami was represented at Batten's work out last week.

Batten is 6-3 and 246 pounds so he has good size. Batten had good but not great production last year with 4.5 sacks in 12 games. He ran a 4.71 and 4.72 on a fast rubber track at his Pro Day. Batten is one of those guys that coaches simply call a football player.

Does he look amazing stepping off the bus? No. Does he measure out with incredible times? No.

Does he play well and hard? Yes.

Ohio State inside linebacker Austin Spitler has met with the Dolphins and that makes sense because the team is looking for a value pick late in the draft that could play special teams. J.D. Folsom was that player last year. This year the club is looking at Spitler as well as Arizona State linebacker Travis Goethel as possibilities for that duty should they be available in the seventh round.

The Dolphins have also met with TCU linebacker Daryl Washington. Washington is a productive outside linebacker. He led the Frogs with 109 tackles, including 11 for losses, and that is saying a good deal because that defense was tops in total yardage allowed and also boasted first or second-round prospect Jerry Hughes. Washington is 6-2 and 230 pounds.

The Dolphins will this week host their local visits of players that grew up in the region or attended high school or college in the region.

Included among the players visiting are Clemson wide receiver Jacoby Ford, who went to high school in Palm Beach, Florida safety Major Wright, who attended high school in Fort Lauderdale, and Miami tight end Jimmy Graham, who obviously played at the University of Miami.

All are second or third-day picks.

Ford, perhaps the fastest player the Dolphins have hosted, has been something of a sleeper during the current draft season. Some experts have somehow decided that a guy that ran a 4.22 at the NFL Combine doesn't play fast on the field.

I do not agree, but I'm not an expert. Ford is only 5-8 and 186 pounds so he isn't the prototype big target the Dolphins are seeking at wide receiver. But his speed has to be intriguing for a third-day selection.

Wright is more a strong safety than a free safety and having followed this kid's career since high school I still see him as one of the most punishing hitters I've seen in the deep secondary at any level. The guy simply uncoils like a viper. His ball skills need major work, which is the reason he's not a free safety prospect, in my opinion.

The Dolphins do have a Pro Bowl strong safety in Yeremiah Bell. But Bell is 32 years old, so it might be good to add a backup in the mid to late rounds to groom an heir.

Graham was supposed to be something of a secret that stayed here in South Florida. Well, the secret is out. Graham, a former basketball player, has caught the fancy of half a dozen teams that see great potential in him. He's still raw, needs a strong base to block better, and has to be more consistent with his hands. But at 6-6, he's an impressive target and will likely go somehwere in the late second or third round, in my opinion.

As previously posted on this blog, the Dolphins have also met or set up meetings with Georgie safety Reshad Jones and Georgia devensive tackle Jeff Owens. Owens, you may recall, is the player who benched 225 pounds 44 times at the Combine.

[Update: As you know Syracuse WR Mike Williams worked out for the Dolphins a couple of weeks ago. He had an open workout for any team that wished to attend today in Buffalo. The National Football Post reports Williams ran a 4.53 time on one of his 40-yard sprints.] 

April 03, 2010

If Parcells loves Tebow what does that mean?

I have said on this blog and on a couple of radio shows that I've been a guest on that Tim Tebow is a bigger, stronger, better Pat White.

Everything the Dolphins liked about White last year, Tebow brings to the table this year only with greater promise -- speed being the one exception. Tebow could run the spread formation, has a better arm, is more accurate, is more powerful as a runner, and has the prototypical size that White at 5-11 and 195 pounds lacks.

Tebow is simply an upgrade on Pat White.

And now comes this report from Pat Kirwin of Sirius Radio and NFL.com that Bill "Parcells loves Tebow."

The report includes Miami among the darkhorse teams to pick Tebow in the coming NFL draft.

And I cannot disagree!

Tebow is a winner and with the right apprenticeship, he will be a good NFL quarterback. If he's still there in the third round and the Dolphins are on the clock -- granted probably won't happen, but the remote possibility exists -- it would not surprise that he could be the pick.

Do Tebow's throwing mechanics need further work? Yes.

Does Tebow need to grow into being an NFL quarterback? Yes.

In both instances, the same can be said of Pat White. White is still very raw and the Dolphins are still trying to refine his mechanics. The difference between the two are Tebow has more upside because, again, he is more accurate and has a stronger arm. 

You are probably thinking that the Dolphins have too many serious needs to stockpile yet another project quarterback. But the fact is quarterbacks are valuable. They are currency. Former Green Bay general manager Ron Wolf, a Parcells buddy, proved that time and time and time again.

So is picking Tebow in the coming draft a likelihood? No, he'll probably be gone by the time the Dolphins pick in the second round and almost definitely be gone by their third round selection.

But I remind you that the Dolhins draft for value. I remind you Parcells has a high regard for adding his "guys," and I'm thinking Tebow might qualify as he has hired the same agent, Jimmy Sexton, that also represents Parcells and Tony Sparano and Jason Ferguson.

So if the seemingly unthinkable happens and Tebow is there when Miami picks in the third round (73rd overall), hold your breath.

Because Tebow might be a value pick the Dolphins cannot resist.  

Hamlin not necessarily a fit for Dolphins

The rumors swirling around the Dolphins vacant starting free safety spot got a turbocharging Friday when the Dallas Cowboys released safety Ken Hamlin. Anytime a Cowboy hits the market it seems Dolphins fans assume he is a fit with Miami.

And while Hamlin plays a Dolphins' position of need, I would like to remind you he has no real ties to Tony Sparano and Jeff Ireland and Bill Parcells.

The Cowboys signed Hamlin as a free agent in April of 2007 after Ireland and Parcells and Sparano were already in Miami. So the ties that supposedly bind the Dolphins to Dallas talent don't really make a connection here.

[Update: Obviously, I made a mistake. Jeff Ireland and Tony Sparano were indeed in Dallas in 2007. The years are starting to run together for me. Salguero regrets the error.]

Anyway, Hamlin is available for a reason. He struggled at times in a secondary that ranked No. 20 against the pass. He missed some tackles. He had one interception the past two years.

Why should the Dolphins jump at this opportunity, again?

Anyway, Hamlin is out there. So is Darren Sharper and O.J. Atogwe and others.

Can we talk?

The Dolphins need to address this safety situation in the draft, if possible. If these guys are as good as everyone believes, they need identify and develop their own young, cheaper talent rather than hoping to pick off someone else's.

The reason I say this is when you pick off someone else's discards, you are getting someone another NFL team has decided isn't good enough. Gibril Wilson wasn't good enough in New York and Oakland anymore. The Dolphins found that out the hard way.

Sharper is the most proven veteran safety out there. He's on the market because he's out of contract, not because he lacks ability. He is indeed a productive, outstanding player. But he has a contract offer on the table already although it obviously isn't one that has caused him to scurry and find a pen so he can sign it.

The Dolphins haven't shown any interest in him. Chances are he will return to the New Orleans Saints where he clearly is a valuable member of a veteran Super Bowl champion.

As to the draft:

As has been reported here earlier, the Dolphins have met with Texas safety Earl Thomas. He is fast, instinctive and a playmaker as his 10 interceptions in 26 starts suggest. But Thomas is not very big at 5-11 and 208 pounds.

They are also meeting with Georgia safety Reshad Jones, according to an NFL source. Jones looks more like a safety at 6-1 and 214 pounds. He ran a 4.52 and a 4.48 on one scout's stopwatch at his Pro Day.

Thomas is a first-round option. Jones is more likely a second or third-round option.

April 02, 2010

The good news is Sunday's coming

As spaces such as this often spend much time detailing the flaws and failings (both on and off the field) of the men they cover, I wanted to give you perspective about some of those men on this Good Friday.

Dolphins running back Ricky Williams spent part of the morning with teammates distributing Easter meals for needy families. The project combined the efforts of the Ricky Williams Foundation and Feeding South Florida and handed out more than 300 meals at Sun Life Stadium today.

"I was just thinking about something to do in the offseason and I know we give away meals for Thanksgiving and we give away toys for Christmas, but nothing for Easter," Williams said. "When I was a kid, we had Easter dinner and it was almost like Thanksgiving. I wanted to take the opportunity to give people a better Easter dinner."

Jeanette Sparano, coach Tony Sparano's wife, and players including Davone Bess, Greg Camarillo, Vernon Carey, Patrick Cobbs, Tristan Davis, John Denney, Richie Incognito, Jake Long, Nate Ness, John Nalbone and Tyler Thigpen took part in today’s event with Williams.

"Today was really nice," Williams said. "I went around the locker room to ask guys to come out and support this event and a lot of guys came out,” Williams said. “It’s nice that they supported me like that and we support the same goals of giving back to our community. It’s unfortunate that there are so many hungry people out there, but hopefully those people that came today won’t be hungry for this Easter."

Some folks call it Easter. Some folks call it Resurrection Sunday. It marks the day Jesus Christ rose from the dead after being crucified on Friday. I'm not here to preach to you. Your faith is your business.

But I am here to encourage you. Christ seemed defeated on Friday evening. He was dead.

And perhaps you feel defeated in these tough times. You might be unemployed. You might be going through a divorce. You might be facing foreclosure or bankruptcy. Maybe drugs are the demons that torment you.

You might feel like your life is not headed in the right direction or perhaps the thing that makes you unhappy is that your football team seemingly doesn't have a chance to win a Super Bowl this year.

Whatever the problem, I'm here to tell you Sunday's coming. What looks like a defeat today can turn into a victory tomorrow or the next day. What seems like terrible news and terrible times and terrible circumstances today can always change, sometimes within a matter of hours or days.

Defeat is not permanent.

Christians believe Christ defeated death, hell and the grave when he rose from the dead. You can surely rise from your circumstances. That is a fact whether you be Christian, Jewish, a believer in atheism or are a worshiper of your left big toe.

If you are down. Get up. Rise up. Hold on. Fight on.

Sunday is coming.

You make the pick for the Dolphins at No. 12

Well, for four months since the season ended way too early for the Dolphins, the experts have been debating which player the Dolphins should pick with their first round draft pick -- the No. 12 overall selection.

As you know the Dolphins have studied, poked, and prodded every possibility. Before it's over, Miami will have met, dined with and visited with each of the players on the list below. No one will be exempt from the process.

[UPDATE: Bryant is in town Friday to meet with the Dolphins, a source confirms. Now all the players on this list have met, talked to, worked out or played for the Dolphins personnel or coaching staff at the Senior Bowl. The Bryant visit was first reported by the Cowboys blog at ESPNDallas.com which adds Bryant also has visits set up in Cleveland, Denver, Seattle, and Tampa Bay.]

But the question here is whom do you, the fans, want the Dolphins to pick?

Ultimately, you don't get a say. That was clear in 2007 when everyone wanted Brady Quinn and the Dolphins picked Ted Ginn Jr.

But for today's short indulgence you do get a say.

I'm just curious which player the people want. And so have at the poll below. Make a choice, then go to the comments section and tell everyone what choice you made and why.

I did not include an "other" candidate, but again, you can speak up in the comments section about that as well.

This obviously is not a newsy item. This is a lighthearted item. Sue me.

Meanwhile, have a blessed Good Friday.

April 01, 2010

Dolphins have 17th toughest 2010 schedule

We don't know exactly when the Dolphins will play their 2010 home and away regular-season games, but we do know who they play and where and that is enough to figure Miami's schedule won't be an easy one in 2010 ... but it will be easier than it was in 2009.

According to NFL calculations, the Dolphins will have the 17th toughest schedule of 2010. In 2009 the Dolphins had the toughest schedule according to the won-loss records of their opponents from the season before.

The 2010 schedule offers teams with a combined won-loss record of 128-128. 

The Houston Texans will face the toughest schedule in the league according to, yes, league calculations. The Texans' opponents posted a 140-116 record in 2009. The Arizona Cardinals are at the other end of the spectrum with opponents that went 114-142 in 2009 for the easiest schedule in 2010.

Coach Tony Sparano always says his team's goal is to win the division first, and a look at the AFC East provides an interesting picture. The New England Patriots, the defending division champions, have the sixth toughest schedule at 136-120.

And here is where it gets nuts, the New York Jets and Buffalo Bills both face opponents with 128-128 records in 2009, same as the Dolphins. Yet the NFL ranked Buffalo's schedule the 16th-toughest, Miami's 17th-toughest, and New York's the 18th-toughest.

How the league makes the distinction when the teams face opponents with the same won-loss records from the previous year, I do not know.

I do know the Dolphins will play eight games against 2009 playoff teams. The Patriots will play eight games against 2009 playoff teams. The Bills will play eight games against 2009 playoff teams. The Jets will play six games against 2009 playoff teams.

The Jets advanced the furthest of any AFC East team, losing to Indianapolis in the AFC Championship game.

Which Dolphins WR suffered from drops in 2009?

In speaking of his receivers last week coach Tony Sparano said he was "happy with group of players we have right now, been very productive over the last couple of years, and are continuing to get better."

And that's fine because a coach is supposed to show his players love, sometimes. But a coach is also supposed to know the truth and the truth is the receiver in which the Dolphins have made their biggest financial and emotional investment is not getting better.

Last year when everyone was expecting him to take a major step forward he took a significant step backwards.

That's not opinion.

Ted Ginn regressed in 2009 and the tangible measure of that is available at ProFootballFocus.com as Sam Monson's crew have broken down league-wide drop percentages for pass catchers.

The good news? Greg Camarillo, despite whatever shortcomings he has in his game, is nothing if not dependable. He didn't drop a pass in 2009 in tying for the NFL lead in drop percentage at zero. You cannot get better than zero drop percentage.

Camarillo had 50 catches on the season without a flub.

The bad news? Ginn.

Forget all you know about Ginn's draft pedigree and how in three years he hasn't really lived up to it. He's not dependable no matter if you think of him as a draft bust or a guy who came in as a street free agent. That's because Ginn had a 2009 drop percentage of 20.83, which was the third worst in the NFL behind only Kansas City's Mark Bradley (25.00 drop percentage) and Green Bay's James Jones (21.95 drop percentage).

Pro Football Focus defines a drop as when a receiver gets his hands on a ball, but drops a pass you would reasonably expect to be caught.

According to the tape study by PFF, Ginn dropped 10 passes while catching 38 passes last season. That means the guy dropped one of every five passes thrown to him.

And that followed a 2008 season in which Ginn dropped eight six passes while catching 56.

Fewer catches, more drops in 2009. That is not progress.

I will attempt to get you the statistics on Davone Bess and Brian Hartline today.

[Update: Bess dropped seven of 83 catchable passes. He had a drop percentage of 8.434 to go along with his team-leading 76 catches. Not terrible. Not great. Hartline dropped three of 34 catchables passes. His drop percentage was 8.824 to go along with his 31 catches. Interestinly one of the receivers that fell between Bess and Harltine's drop percentage was Randy Moss. He dropped eight of 91 catchable passes for an 8.791 drop percentage. Of course, Moss kind of makes up for those drops by, you know, catching 83 passes for 1,264 yards and 13 TDs. Perspective.]

Meanwhile, tight end Anthony Fasano was more dependable than probably some of you realized.

His drop percentage of 8.823 was about middle of the pack among tight ends. He dropped three of 34 catchable passes according to PFF. The most dependable tight end in the NFL last season?

Jeff King of the Carolina Panthers didn't drop any of the 25 catchable passes thrown his way. Former Dolphins tight end Randy McMichael (seven drops and a tight end-high 17.07 drop percentage) and Donald Lee (six drops and a 13.95 drop percentage) obviously struggled in 2009.