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Miami's top personnel needs

A smile came to my face Tuesday when I was driving around town and one of our so-called Dolphins experts on the radio started barking out the Dolphins needs for the coming draft.

Wide receiver, tight end, interior lineman, kick returner, quarterback and running back.

I don't know if the "expert" was doing these needs in the order his mind has concocted them. I do know that's not the order the Dolphins have their needs currently pegged, based on conversations, texts, and emails I've had or exchanged with several team and NFL sources.

(Disclaimer: No one that tells you he knows the exact order of Miami's needs is telling the truth, unless that person's name is Jeff Ireland or Tony Sparano, and even then you might have to consider they might be working a smoke screen.)

(Disclaimer II: Neither one of those guys is telling folks the order of their needs, something that is really mundane but they guard as a draft secret.)

But I can tell you neither wide receiver nor tight end is at the top of Miami's needs list. And I can tell you neither runnning back nor quarterback is at the back end of Miami's needs list.

I think the more accurate order of Miami needs is running back, quarterback, interior lineman, speedy returner (If he's a WR or a RB all the better) and then a WR and TE.

Here is my thinking:

Have you looked at the Dolphins coming RB situation? Ronnie Brown is scheduled to be a free agent. Ricky Williams is scheduled to be a free agent. Patrick Cobbs is scheduled to be a free agent. Lex Hilliard is unsigned, although the Dolphins should retain his contract rights based on the fact he's been in the league only three seasons.

So none of Miami's running backs is signed for 2011.

The last time the Dolphins faced this kind of situation at a position was 2009 when they had Will Allen as the only experienced cornerback tied to a contract. They drafted Vontae Davis in the first round that year. And then they drafted Sean Smith in the second round.

Need solved.

This year? Running back, people.

Think running backs.

Yes, perhaps either Brown or Williams could return for 2011. But that is only an option. That is not the plan written in concrete. The Dolphins might find a RB in the draft and then go into free agency and love the idea of someone available there. No one can predict.

But we can predict the Dolphins will be eyebrows deep in the running back market this offseason.

Quarterback?

Well, Chad Henne is on campus. But Chad Pennington is a free agent and may or may not continue playing, depending on how his shoulder rehab goes. Either way, I do not think Pennington comes back to the Dolphins. Been there. Done that.

Love Pennington but if you re-sign a QB whose throwing shoulder has been surgically repaired three or four times and the last time you needed him, his shoulder dislocated without any contact, you are a candidate to buy land in the Everglades.

You go to that player in an emergency in the middle of a season if no one else is available. But to sign him as a backup? I think the Dolphins will try other avenues first. And second. And third.

Tyler Thigpen is an option. He's a free agent. He was the backup after Pennington got hurt. He's an option.

But the Dolphins need to add one and perhaps two more solid, more promising quarterback options if they can. They need a young guy they can groom, someone out of the draft probably. They need a vet that can challenge Henne for the starting job because, frankly, Henne needs the competition and isn't necessarily a sure-thing to win any competition anyway.

So quarterbacks. Big need.

Receiver?

Seems like a bit of a luxury. Yes, if a stud falls to the Dolphins, absolutely a speedy guy would be wonderful. Titus Young of Boise State comes to mind in the second round (assuming Miami acquires a pick in that round). But as the top priority?

Last year, in talking to a highly placed club decision-maker, I asked about Vincent Jackson. I was told the Dolphins were headed in another direction. And they went in another direction. They didn't think spending that much on another WR was the way to go.

I don't agree with that because you can never have too many playmakers. But that wasn't the internal thinking at the time.

That coupled with the fact Miami has promising young WRs on campus in Roberto Wallace and Marlon Moore, I think the team will view that position as something of a luxury and not the No. 1 priority. The situation may change between now and the draft in that, well, we cannot predict what will happen in the coming months.

Who knows? Maybe Brandon Marshall gets traded once trades are possible again. Yeah, I said it.

But right now, wide receiver isn't the top priority and probably not in the top two.

Interior lineman? Ab-so-lute-ly.

If and when free agency comes around, think Logan Mankins. That same conversation with the club official helped me break the story that Miami had contacted the Patriots about Mankins when he was in a contract dispute with New England.

Mankins is still unsigned.

Yes, it would be expensive. The Dolphins have proven they have no issue with spending money on the offensive line in the past. It makes sense in that Brian Daboll is now Miami's offensive coordinator and he saw Mankins early in his career when both were in New England. And adding Mankins would diminish New England so that's a plus.

So think of him as a free agent priority if he's available. 

Otherwise, the Dolphins could add an interior lineman in the draft.

The Dolphins will try to find a speedy return man. It's been three seasons under the Parcells-Ireland-Sparano administration and finding that dynamic return man has been a failure. The Dolphins have been able to put no significant speed that scares the opposition back returning punts or kicks. They've tried. But they've failed.

So look at that as a priority. But again, the top priority? No.

Tight end has been a priority for the Dolphins for some time. Yes, Anthony Fasano got a new contract but the Dolphins understand an upgrade is in order. Last year they liked Tony Moeaki in the draft. Loved him. He went to Kansas City and is showing himself to be a promising player. Those are the breaks.

The Dolphins may try to identify a tight end in the draft. But will they do it high? I do not know for sure. But is that the priority going into the first day? I have a hard time believe that's the ticket to solving Miami's offensive problems given the level of talent already at that position on campus relative to the lower leve of talent available at other positions on campus.

Bottom line: Think running backs and quarterback. 

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what me...1st

from the last blog....
DC...for me the worst case scenario is that Henne starts....if he starts and struggles this blog all year will be full of "its his first year in a new system"......"he needs 3 years to learn the play book"...."wait till next year with a full year under his belt with the new OC"

Henne doesn't seem to make excuses...but he HAS a built in excuse machine.....

If this regime fails...and Ross fires them all....then see above excuses for 2012....this cycle is sick....

I think the best thing is a Vet....with more than the all important 3 YEARS (in the league) comes in and takes the reins...

We can give the keys back to Henne when he earns them back

kris, I think if Henne started and failed again this year, no one would have a leg to stand on saying he needs more time to develop.

But, with that said, I'm with you, hope they bring in a proven vet, let's get some stability back at the QB position, and groom a draft pick to take the reins in the future.

Mankins sounds nice....and since the overwheming majority of people here seem high on Carey ( i don't think he give effort all the time)......I think I should re-evaluate the way I look at Carey and see if I still come up opinion of him.....

Just because I may not agree with the majority is no reason for me to throw a temper tantrum....

If you guys are right on Carey....then with Mankins that is 75% of our line complete......

Thats a start...but we still need a blocking TE and a Pass catching TE....and Fasano is a cross between neither.....flashes of average followed by weeks nothing

Mando, You forgot Head coach................

Too bad bobby isn't here. He'd HATE this post. No priority for a TE/WR. It's RB/QB and olinemen. Ireland may have learned something!!!!

I am curious to see how we handle this....real curious....

@kris

Built in excuse machine? Nah.

More like FANBOYS.

Anyone who thinks no way to a 1st round QB because that player will taken instead of a QB will make us a playoff contender is delusional at the very least


The Big Slow is a room temp IQ low brow, and it is hot in South Florida but it does not help his case very much.

Agree about Rb's, in fact if you look statistically, Henne was the same Qb in 2010 as in 09, the running game simply collapsed so hard that the ST was as likely to surrender a Kick or Punt Return for a TD as Ronnie or Ricky were to rush for a TD (.5 to .4 per game).

QB? A Staff on paper thin ice is going to draft a Qb?

If anything we need someone to book end with Cam Wake on 3rd downs as Misi is a good OLB he is not really a passrusher.

My "prototype" for a RB, Jamaal Charles. I got a man-crush on that guy. CJ's good too, a little too small for me.

I want to hear, "with their 2nd round pick (acquired from an idiot team, lol) the Miami Dolphins choose....Bilal Powell.

1st round (traded back to pick up 2nd)-Cam Newton
2nd round (acquired in trade down) - Bilal Powell

That's sexy!

I'll tell you guys another thing...I don't think we should under value a legit KR/PR....the bears start from the 40 more times than from the 20.....

and you saw what Antonio Cromartie's KR did in that Playoff game.....we need some speed at that postion...

We really blew an opportunity to draft Jahvid Best. Our front office blows.

Something we agree on. WR IS NOT a priority and shouldn't be unless you want to pull a lions and draft a wr with the 1st. I swear a lot of fans dont realize we have a deep wr core. Maybe they didint watch the games this year and are going by last but im not sure.

When i hear peeps saying we should "Trade away Bess + Merling for a 3rd and a late round pick and draft a speedy wr" it makes me cringe.

If they guys are true to form look for them to look for Dallas cast-offs................

Mark, I know you'll hate my 1st round projection (probably not my 1st choice either). But I think the other 3 top QBs will be gone by time we pick (and we know Ireland will do anything to trade back for a 2nd). So I think Cam will be the only one left when we pick. But I'm really not picky, I'll take any of the top, hell, 5-6 QBs.

I wouldn't count out OT as a high draft option either

DC, I absolutely wouldn't hate Cam Newton. I rank him 3rd of the 4 "1st round talent QBs". I prefer him to jake locker by a mile for example.

Darryl, I posted this at the tail end of last blog.


Darryl, this is for your edification. Quotes are from ESPN.

But economists are quick to point out that those sorts of numbers are generally grossly inflated, because the estimates don't factor in the finances of a normal week in the city, the vendors who come from out of town and, perhaps most often forgotten by the public, the cost to ready the city for the festivities

Economists also point out that the impact of Super Bowls in hot-weather sites is minimized by the tourism already booming at that time of year. Those cities are forced to account for the normal gains experienced in late January/early February when they figure the added value of the Super Bowl.

Because the NFL provides the city with no money to operate the event, the value of being given the rights to host the Super Bowl is arguable. Still, spending is rationalized to the public with reports of an expected windfall of a couple hundred million dollars in business.

Two years ago, the Houston Super Bowl Host Committee estimated that its game would generate more than $330 million in economic impact. But when the controller's office tallied the numbers, it came up with only $129 million in direct spending, and that was over the two-week period surrounding the game. The event generated $3.2 million in sales taxes for the city, and the net profit was a measly $913,397.

Posted by: cocoajoe | February 02, 2011 at 04:33 PM

Remember Wallce returned a kick out to like the 45 yard line.....

Next KR.....slow a ss Cobbs was back there returing kcks back to the 18 yard line.....

I think that was the same game Wallce had a TD reception...Next game....he doesn't even dress.....

I can only scratch my head.....i had better leave it to the "football guys".....

Need O-Lineman and a running back big time.......Let's face it, Ricky burnt the bridge and Ronnie looked tepid the whole season.......

I've got four word for anyome thinking of wasting a no.1 pick on Ingraham or any other RB:

James. Stark. Arian. Foster.

Good RBs can be found at lower spots & developed thereafter.

And get Mankins asap.

Tell em Seer, RB in rd one has no value at all.

IMO, take a shot at the QB position late in the draft if anyone qualifies, and bring in some veteran leadership at the back up position. Henne should be given another shot with a different OC.

GO DOLPHINS!!!

Tepid? I like that Cuban.


Remember Wallce returned a kick out to like the 45 yard line.....

Next KR.....slow a ss Cobbs was back there returing kcks back to the 18 yard line.....

I think that was the same game Wallce had a TD reception...Next game....he doesn't even dress.....

I can only scratch my head.....i had better leave it to the "football guys".....

Posted by: kris | February 02, 2011 at 05:03 PM

Kris, If I'am not mistaken it was the Oakland game, Moore also caught a 60 yard TD pass too.....

Cuban....i'm not sure which one it was either.....since they hardly got any playing time they could have been the double mint twins for all I knew.....

I kew it wasn't Marshall because he was injuted...

i knew it wasn't Bess because i didn't see any dreds....

I knew it wasn't Hartline because he wasn't white....

So my I deduced...it had to be ONE OF THEM....

Armando. With all due respect a running back can be found in mid to late rounds and even off the street. Think Ben Jarvis Green Ellis or Arian Foster. Spending a mid first round pick on that position will be a wasted selection in my mind unless your getting the next barry sanders, and from what i remember, Barry didnt fall past pick 3 in 1989. One word Armando.

Quarterback. What happened the last time this organization picked a QB in the first round. If i recall correctly some guy named Marino. That seemed to work out well for everyone. Over the years we have passed on guys like Brees, Brady, Rodgers, Flacco, Ryan to name a few. Great teams start and end with a solid to great field general. This team has went the cheap route thinking guys like pat white, ray lucas, jay fiedler, jay feeley, and and cast of many others who either past there prime or never had a prime to begin with set this franchise in reverse and floundering in mediocrity since the day Marino hung up the cleats.

Until this team realizes that great QB's tend to get drafted in round 1 and not after(brady being the exception), this team will give its fans false hope and 7-9, 6-10, wildcat silliness, and field goal fist pumping. Im out.

For those who haven't seen this, its from the Palm Beach Post, pointing out why trading down to get that second round pick is not going to be so easy this time around. So with all the blogging that will be going on about trading down to get a second and draft 'so and so', assume nothing, we need to keep in mind we just may not have a trading partner for that to happen.

http://blogs.palmbeachpost.com/thedailydolphin/2011/02/01/dolphins-gm-jeff-ireland-will-have-to-work-some-magic-to-re-acquire-a-2nd-round-pick/

Same Game that Marshall sat out with a injury....

There is no phrase I hate more than "let's address Qb with a late draft pick"

That is akin to ...

My house is falling apart so I'm going to apply some chewing gum to the foundation.

I mean, at that point, what is the point of even doing that????

With a new coaching staff in SF Ted Ginn is sure to get whacked. Sign him cheap to return kickoffs if no one else is available. If someone more promising blossoms then trade or cut him again. Sorry, I just went insane for a moment. Must be all the snow up here in OH.

No Cuban, you were correct, it was Moore who caught the 60 yd TD pass in Oakland...

Roberto Wallace is Mando's "Boy" that's why I remember it,Mando had a big article on him during training camp.......

Cuban and Kris, you guys are talking about Marlon Moore. Not Roberto Wallace.

M.Scott, My memory is bad, Mike Scott, Never utter the Word Ted(No testicular Fortitude)Ginn again in this blog.... Ever..

So I think the Fins have a couple "Sleepers" In Moore and Wallace, I Say go for a O-Lineman and a QB, What are your thoughts.....

Fins should be able to get another 3rd round steal such as Patrick Turner!

Why do I think Ireland will trade Moore or Wallace to New england for a fourth round pick and it bite's us on the back side???????

Cuban, that was not me who mentioned the Teddy graham. I am in agreement with you about him/her. As for Moore and Wallace being sleepers i say YESH. One of them will pan out to be a very very good WR. Maybe both if we are really lucky. Also, Oline and QB would be nice, but oline might not be as big of a priority as everyone seems to think.

I'm a big fan of John Jerry myself. Thats one of our guards. Then we acquire Mankins if possible. That would be the best thing to happen to this team. Period. There, our guards are taken care of. Leave Carey alone, hes fine. Not great, but good. And the big thing to me is Nate Garner. Anyone know if he can play Center ? If he can, then our Oline is good to go. IMO...

And here's why I think John Jerry will work out at guard. First of all, I don't think he's the smartest guy on the football field, which is why he had so much trouble as a rookie. The mental part will come to him eventually, and when it does, he will be a force because his physical ability is impressive. He might not be very good at pulling, but if we land Mankins, we won't need him to. Just let him be a mualer type guard, in the mold of Leonard Davis for Dallas. That's my take anyway.

Can't Run the ball or protect the QB without Quility lineman..............It's the difference between 4 and 12 and 12 and four. IMHO

Another possibility for Jerry is to switch him and Carey. I'm not a big fan of this scenario though, b/c idk how good Jerry is in pass protection. But its an interesting possibility.


Can't Run the ball or protect the QB without Quility lineman..............It's the difference between 4 and 12 and 12 and four. IMHO

Posted by: Cuban Menace | February 02, 2011 at 05:43 PM

Abso-fruitly correct. That is why Mankins has to be priority No. 1. And Nate Garner returning is HUGE. This is why I don't think either of our first 2 picks should go to the O line.

Draft Mark Ingram with the 1st pick. I don't like to draft RB so high but it solves our RB problem plus keeps him away from NE.

Fair enough assessment, Mando. I think you are on to something.

Did I mention that New England has 8 picks in the first 3 rounds??????

CT, drafting one to keep him away from NE is a BAD decision. Remember Pat White ?

Garner reportedly has and can play C. I say find one lineman and let him and Richie battle it out. The loser is the 6th lineman off the bench.

Man, Mark Ingram probably isn't even the best RB at Alabama. I would absolutely hate that pick.

Mark, I agree with you about Ingram. Not a big fan at all. Also, I thought Garner did play C for a little while 2 seasons ago, but didn't know for sure. I don't know how I feel about keeping Richie Incognito. Was not impressed with him AT ALL. I personally prefer Jerry over him.

M. Scott - that's what she said!

I am only intrigued with Richie at C as far as starting goes. Otherwise, I think he's a backup.

Ireland is in a tough spot...one he's at least partially responsible for. He needs pics to produce from the get go or adios GM job.

Greatest need is QB, hands down. But you don't have to be an 'expert' to understand every last QB in the draft is a project. A good GM would realize this and draft Stanzi late or Kaepernick (not likely) if he falls. Draft other needs (LG,RB, FS (yes FS, I said it). Note: TEs are even weaker than QBs this go around.

But Ireland will do what he thinks is good for Ireland

Mark, LOL thank you for recognizing.

Who do you think would be a bigger upgrade over Berger; Incognito or Nate Garner ? I personally like Garner, but am concerned about his power. Incognito is strong as an ox, but may be as dumb as one too.

??

The way you grade Richie/nate is the way I see it too

cocoajoe, just out of curiosity, what FS in the draft do you think would be an upgrade over Clemons ?

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