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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.


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.


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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I'm all for trading back where the value seems to be... finding a partner will be harder than last year but maybe Ireland has an angle.

Since ST is 1/3 the game I hope they grab a speedy return guy with great lateral ability as well to cause tacklers to miss that can also play WR.

Jerrel Jernigan or Randall Cobbs or Titus Young.

Lets win the field position battle more and give the OFF shorter fields to work with.

Every now and then you get a quick ez TD on a return so the DEF can pin its ears back more.

On OFF that WR may make a couple of people miss and thus score from 30-40 yards out and skip the redzone fail and kick a field game altogether.

I do believe that drafting a slower plowhorse back in Ingram and asking him to be the next Emmitt Smith is really a stretch. I'd keep Ronnie and fill Ricky and Cobbs spots.

Also to increase Ross's directive of creating a more exciting OFF. Pick up QB VY and draft QB Colin Kaepernick. Two very similar body types with similar skillsets so you can keep the OFF the same in case of injury.

Vince Young may be immature and other things but he has already won a lot in the NFL. We could steal a low first round talent and give up little. Titans have already declared they are letting him go or will trade him. That sentence means he has little to no value to them. Groom QB Kaepernick.

Imagine bootlegs, waggle actions, designed QB runs, wildcat all would have such different meaning with such an athlete under center.

With 1 FA addition and 2 draft picks (Not just the first two picks) we just got muuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuch faster and still have all the other draft picks to fill the RB, OL, Nickel CB, TE

Adding a RB with killer speed like Derrick Locke, Noel Devine. RB Kendall Hunter has good speed but can block some. This would mean we could field an offense that really pressured a DEF when we spread out.

With Ireland still having a BP mantra background I doubt they go with 2 of any type player that was smallish even if they are both blazers... he is still from the BP tree. No delusions here.



Nice job man. Very informed and logical. I think we need to be patient with this regime. You don't build quality overnight. We need continuity. It will take at least another 2 years to build this offense because while they focus, as you say, on the RBs and QBs this year, next year they'll need to address the TEs and whatever glaring hole that emerges. Thanks.

Lots of luck on Logan Mankins. New England will tag him shortly, they will not let him sign with Miami. No way, no how.
RB, QB, OL, RLB, TE, WR, OL, OL. FS, OL, OL, OL, OL. Just a few needs,,,,


O-Line is a Mess with a Lame Duck Head Coach who was a O-Line Coach????

The best thing the dullfins can do is what they've always done. Keep dreaming about the Marino days with Shula. Or better yet, hold on to that udefeated season from a half a century ago. See Duper and Clayton run in your dreams. That's as far as the fish will go. Dream about the glory of yester year

You can pickup a returner in free agency, stop talking about drafting one, it is a waste of a pick, nothing good can come from thinking like this, just ask cam cameron. You can teach a player (RB or WR) to be a returner more easily than you can teach a returner to be a rb or wr.

Thank you Rob in OC. Anyone who thinks Mark Ingram can be Emmitt Smith is frankly an idiot. Emmitt Smith was successful LAST decade. For anyone that hasn't been paying attention, football changed a lot since then. Even Emmitt Smith probably wouldn't be successful in today's NFL. Defenders are faster, stronger, and better at handling the big, bruiser back. Adrian Peterson is the model of an "Emmitt Smith-style" back today. Yes, he's tough, can put his head down and take it up the middle, but he's also fast and can make big, flashy plays.

If Miami doesn't want to be thrown into the wastebasket of history, they'll draft anyone OTHER than Mark Ingram. He'd be the most wasted pick since Ted Ginn, Jr.

Good morning fellas.

DC what's up bro? We have chatted many times but we are definitely going to have to agree to disagree here. Mark Ingram is the real deal in my opinion. I wouldn't compare anyone to Emmitt Smith that is not fair to anyone to be compared to the NFL's all time rushing leader. I am not an Emmitt Smith guy by any means. I think he is an illiterate, yuck mouth when he was ESPN. He is flat out a moron. Kind of crazy he was that good at football and that stupid at the same time. But IMO I think Emmitt was so good he could have played in any generation. He had vision, balance and the ability to run over people at will. I think his running style would have been a plus in today's NFL. No once tackles anymore. There are no more text book, wrap up and drive the shoulder into the running backs lower body and drive tacklers anymore. They all lower the shoulder to make the big hit or are latch on to a guy and tackle.

That being said I am big on Mark Ingram. He is a complete RB and if ended up being the selection at #15 I would be very happy with that selection.

So I will be the "frankly an idiot" today lol.

RB shouldnt be a prioity in early rounds. the new NFL is a QB driven league and we dont have one. we need a vet like vince young,orton,kolb etc that have some idea of how to recognize defenses and run a 2 minute "hurry up" no huddle offense. is it just me but vernon carey cant move his feet or body. he's too fat and whiffs on blocks with a monster salary. there's got to be hungrier guys for alot less money. NO,not dallas rejects. i thought sparano was an oline coach;oh well. he better study bellichek's system of not overpaying for big names and find someone who can play the position.


LOL, what's up Andy. I meant idiot in a loving way, lol.

I guess we can agree to disagree. I think Ronnie can be serviceable to do what Ingram would do personally. Ronnie's smart, he's tough, yes, he tap dances too much, I think we discussed before he's not the "bruiser" he should be with that size, but he can play that role for the most part. I'd rather see a quicker back drafted. Also, I don't think you take a 1st-round RB unless you're going to base your team around them (like an Adrian Peterson, Chris Johnson, etc.). I don't see us basing our team around Ingram (again, could be wrong on that). RBs can be found all throughout a draft, and with all the holes needed to be filled on this offense, I think they'll keep the 1st-round pick for another position (especially if we have no 2nd). I think it's almost inevitable we draft a 1st-round QB, maybe get our 2nd back, and probably think about RB in the 3rd-round (when Ingram will be long gone).

So, we'll see. But, just for fun, can you think of any other "Smith-type" back that's successful in today's NFL? James Harrison had a good year in Cleveland, as did Peyton Hillis, maybe a Brandon Jacobs, but again, none of these guys are "elites" to me in their position. Good, yes. Elite, no (not like Peterson, Jamaal Charles, Chris Johnson). Maybe the closest to me is a guy like Thomas Jones (who I do like). He's been pretty successful in his career, not really a threat catching out of the backfield, but definitely a very good downhill runner.

As a RB "prototype" (besides Jamaal Charles who would be my favorite), I like Stephen Jackson. He's the best of both worlds (strong and fast). He catches out of the backfield, a true all-purpose back. I think Bilal Powell might fit that spot the best. I wouldn't mind seeing him drafted.

I agree with you DC, drafting a RB in the first round would prove to be a huge mistake as it was when we drafted ronnie brown. If you look at 2 most productive rookie running backs in the NFL you will find Legarrette Blount and Chris Ivory; 2 undrafted free agents. As for us going out and signing logan mankins I think that mike pouncey can be a decent NFL guard, and I think that our free agent dollars should try and be spent on signing Nnamdi Asomugha. Just like everyone has been saying, the NFL has changed and is a pass happy league. Our defense was good with one decent cornerback in the game could you imagine if we had Vontae and Nnamdi. Finally, I personally think Colin Mccarthy would be a great replacement for Channing Crowder and good competition for edds...... but only time will tell

we don't need asomugha. He's gonna be way too expensive. he tore up his 16million/year contract because he wants more. I think champ bailey would work better as nolan already knows him.

only scenario going RB in 1st is Mikel Leshoure late after a trade down

what would it take to get Vince Young from the Titans ? Look, he's a nut case, but a nut case with upside and still WAY young. What do you think ?

Boulder his contract was voided after he failed to achieve his incentives he didnt tear anything up..... I dont know where you picked up that info. Also Champ has publicly stated that he would like to make the swtich from Corner to safety to extend his career.

I'm with you on Carey greg z. Ever since he got that new contract (sound familiar?) he has been average. He is overweight...makes me wonder about their weight chart and why he hasn't been fined.

I keep hearing move him to guard. How's that going to work?

Cam Newton if there @ 15. If not, get Pouncey from Florida, true center, 6-5, 309, make Carey lose 30 pounds, move Incog to left guard. Line solidified. Powell in the 3rd round. Nevada's QB, any starting skilled player from Oregon's bowl team for the speed returner. Also a pass catching TE, one from Nevada or Graham from Louisville. Done

I want to throw a question out here. Under the old CBA, players were fined $400/pound (if I remember right) for being overweight. But who determines correct weight? I'm guessing weights are determined by each team.


jeffrow says:
February 2, 2011 at 11:18 pm
NJ,your so easy to mess… with its like playing cards with a monkey..LOL

Don't forget the Dolphins sorely need a defensive back or corner that doesn't bounce interceptions off of his chest. Somebody with coordination that can catch the damn ball.

I just think champ bailey with his leadership skills and his familiarity with nolan would be a better and probably more cost-effective pickup for our secondary. If we can get asomugha for the rigth price i say go for it. But I bet he wont be cheap and wants a long term contract.

Rick, I'd dispute the "sorely need" characterization. That's a "want" to me, not a "need." Right now, Miami has 2 young serviceable corners. I think as the pressure increases (from the DEs and LBs) then the dback play will improve. I don't care if you have Revis, as long as a QB (like a Brady, Manning) has enough time, they will complete passes.

So to me, especially since last 2 drafts basically were defense driven, the majority of picks in this draft should be offense. I'd rather get more LBs/safeties than another CB if they do anything on defense (maybe another NT to go with Soliai).

Boulder, I'd rather Champ too (especially if he wants to move to safety). He's on the downside of his career, but he's still good, and like you said, a leader and very smart (football-wise). Nnambdi would be nice, definitely would put us in the top 3 CB teams, but will come at a great cost (as we all can see).

The reason I suggest Nnamdi is because 2 stud cornerbacks, not one stud CB and a saftey is what makes a Nolan style defense flourish



the powell guys looks like a game breaker and he can return kicks also, mankins while good is gonna want alot of money we just waste 130 minllion on the line only to cut guys and have one eat himeself to an injury. There are no franchise qbs in the draft worth going after anyone of them could mean disaters in years to come. hold on to henne, bring in a vet, sure up that line and draft a rb and sign another (dwilliams is out there could be cheap and in his prime)and grow as coaches (which may be hard to do) the differnce between the pats jets and us they play to win. we play not to lose.

Thank you for counting the blank spots on the depth chart and reporting the obvious conclusion.
The rest of us have already done that and we've been discussing it for a couple months in here.

If we draft 3 rb's 2 qb's and 2 OL all seven picks have to make the roster just to fill out the depth chart.
Fortunately we have 2 trash piles to pick over looking for acorns: Dallas and Cleveland.

Here's A Topic to Investigate: Chad Henne is entering the last year of his contract.
Will the team extend him before the draft or not?
If not does that cause Henne to declare he 1)wants a trade and 2)has no intention of reporting.
Henne finished 15th in yards and 16th in completion percentage in spite of the fact that he was pulled off the field 60 0r 70 times for the wildcat and missed the Chicago game in its entirety.
He's only 25 and would be an upgrade for many teams: Oaklnd, Minn, Seattle, AZ, Carolina, Cleveland, Cincy, Dallas etc.

OL First.

No one can run, or throw the ball behind the OL we have now.

If Juilo Jones (Ala WR all american) is available does the Dolphins pass or draft? How could he not be the best player on the board?

The Fins need OL, OL, OL. Then another RB and resign Ronnie, figure out something with QB, I am not sure any of the draft prospects are that great? Sign a veteran QB to compete with Henne....

I still like Thigpen.

If we draft a QB, I would rather watch Thigpen than Henne. Since a rookie QB wouldnt play anyway. Why waste money on a Vet when we dont have to. I personally think Thigpen would run the offense just as well as a Vince Young, McNabb, etc.

Then in 2012 we can insert our 1 year groomed QB and see what happens.

Draft needs are QB, RB, a speedy WR and Safety.

If you think Belichick will allow one of his good players to go to a Division rival, then, you must be using some powerful yayo.

Ingram? you really think he is that good? Not very big or fast... Coming from a great Alabama team makes him look better than he is. Don't be fooled be a great O-Line, or a horrible O-Line like the Fins' line. Ronnie can still play, you will see it next year with the Fins or with another team if they don't resign him.

I'm thinking that we do not have to draft an offensive player in round 1 or 2( if we are lucky enough to get a second pick) What if, and it seems unlikely. But what if Von Miller OLB falls to 15. Can we pass on him? He IMO is the best player at his position in the first round. So we get another edge player. Some will say we have Misi, and he should get a chance to develop. I say I think Miller can make a difference right now, and gives us a huge advantage with pass rush, and outside contain.

Here is where I'm sure I'll be roasted, but this is how I make the team better. Second round draft a corner back. That kid from North Carolina(I can't remember his name,brain fart)
could come in and play some nickel, or even go outside, and move Vontae to nickel in some situations. Before ANYONE says why Vontae at nickel. Watch Green Bay this weekend. Woodson has been playing in the nickel spot for the last month.(on nickel situations) And it has worked great. Even Revis moved inside against the Patriots. The thinking.. These are the largest spaces to cover. Why not create a mis match in our favor. Instead of letting the offense dictate the mis match. This strategy does not work if the corner you move to the outside cannot cover. Whatever happens, we better play from the nickel spot.

So I have identified 2 ways to get better on a unit that is very close(but not yet there)to being very very good. This is just another option. The idea is trying make the whole team better. There are still very good players at running back, and reciever to be had in rounds 3,4,5. We also will be able to pluck off 2-3 guys in free agency, or via a trade when that time comes. My draft strategy goes with taking the best player. If Von Miller happens to be there at 15. To me it is an easy call.


DD @ 12:26 Kendrick Burney..

ALoco, you mean besides monitoring this blog? Yes, I have another job. Do you?

I agree that getting Ingram or any RB at #15 is a waste. If my memory is correct, we went from being one of the top rushing team last year to dropping down below 20 this year. You can't blame it all on R&R for aging rapidly or forgetting how to run. The OLine was a mess.

A strong OLine like the Pats' can make 'Frodo' Woodhead look great. I think Ronnie and/or Ricky are still serviceable, along with finding another RB lower in the draft. The real priorities are QB and the OLine.

There is lots of depth at the running back spot. I like Mark Ingram. But I think we can get similar value in a later round. Some guys that should be around round 3 and later.
Demarco Murray.
Derrick Locke
Shane Vareen
Bilal Powell
Delonte Carter
Tawain Jones
Any of these guys would be a nice choice, and could be had later in the draft

I say grab a rb and work on the oline in the draft.. and then everything else get out of free agents. While they are doing that they should probly pick up eric weddle at free safety couldnt hurt to help the defense a little more. I think Henne should get one more year to prove if he has it in the nfl.

A good offensive line would make any running back look good. Spring for the 0-line!!!

Interesting draft strategy DD. I think drafting a LB and CB 1st and 2nd is duplicitous. If you have a great pass rush, you don't need elite corner play (that's pretty much Nolan's strategy from Denver). The defense would be helped more IMO from a better cover safety. Also, going your route, you're pretty much saying Miami will either go with Henne, or will be chancing the FA market if the CBA is figured out. Drafting a QB 3rd-round+ is pretty much saying you're looking for Thigpen's replacement (seeing as how this is a weak QB class). Therefore, you're competition will be Henne and a possible FA. But what if that FA doesn't get into town until 2 weeks before the season starts? So, now all you have is Henne, and he's the guy until the FA QB gets acclimated to the team.

I think with the CBA issue, Ireland will be pressured to bring in a 1st-round (2nd-round at the very latest) QB. So that in case the CBA takes longer than expected, Sparano can still say he's trying to solidify the QB position.

Hey DC Dolfan: I'm reading this incredible article called "The Cranky Redskins Fan's Guide to Dan Snyder." Have you seen it?

For those who complain about Ross, you might want to read this. If factual, then Snyder is the biggest sleazeball in the NFL. After the article was published, Snyder threatened to sue the newspaper unless they fire the writer.

I'm so glad we have Ross. I'll take his rookie mistakes over Snyder any day.

Here's the article:

lol LA, "frodo" Woodhead. That's a classic!

QB, OL, RB, WR/return guy, TE/Safety/OLB/ILB
Those would be my priorities and positions based on need.

Trade Henne and Thigpen for second round picks. Sign Kolb and draft a Q.B.

Yeah LA, there's a lot of fallout from that article. First off, it's totally accurate. Snyder is a sleazeball punk bully nerd (bully cause he's a billionaire). Knows next to nothing about football, yet had his hands in the Redskins for the last decade (and everyone can see how that went). But, you're right, he's trying to sue the paper (a small alternative paper at that) and that's adding more fuel to the fire of locals against him. He owns a sports radio station here, and EVEN the hosts on shows there are hating on him. One good thing about living in DC, I get to see a franchise close-up that's even more screwed up than Miami. Gives me good perspective.

I want to see Tom Brandstater emerge. 6'5", 225.

The way I see it and I think it has always been, is, first, you draft for need, if not there, then you draft the best player available but ALWAYS trying to stay within your needs. Look at what Belichick did with those two rookie tightends, even finding new formations for them. Julio Jones? If he's the real deal, why not? I'm sure we could accomodate him.

DC, I monitor you, You monitor them, They monitor us, and, well.....you know the story.

DC..This is my whole point. You said with a pass rush this should negate some pressure to cover. That is the idea. But we aren't going to get to the quarterback every play. The better teams in this league, in our division killed us when they were able to exploit the width of the field. Sideline to sideline, and in the middle of the field we got toarched. Nickel corner could be the most difficult ask on the defense. You have so much ground to cover, and no sideline to help you. You have to be fast and pysical. Teams are slow to recoginize this, but have been moving their best cover guys away from the number 1 reciever to the nickel spot, on CERTAIN situaions. Outside corners get help from a saftey. Nickel corners rely on linebackers(most of the time) Where is the offensive advantage?

Quarterback wise. I think that free agency, or a trade is the best option for this year. You mentioned a new guy may not have time, maybe a few weeks to learn the system. True. But a rookie is going to be even farther behind. No rookie camp, they can't even have a playbook. None of theses guys is ready to play now, and all of them have a ton of flaws that will need practice time they will not have. We can't draft a first round quarterback for the sake of saying...Look we did it. Finally we took a chance. Screw that. We need a player that is ready to go week one. None of those players gives us that chance.

I also have read that the nickel position is very challenging, DD. But I am expecting major improvement from Nolan Carroll, he's smart and fast. Perhaps he could cover the nickel position? (Not Benny Sapp, please!)


Although I am not fully unemployed, ALoco, we appreciate your gesture.

ALoco, posting up on the block in Roxbury sellin' nicks and dimes ISN'T working hard (even in inclement weather, I'm sure you hopped in the Benzo when you got cold).

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