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The tale of the drafts that piled bad atop terrible

There was a depressing statistic Dolphins people once used in order to explain the troubled state of the franchise.

During the makeover years of 2005-2007, folks that took the Dolphins' reins were confident they would give direction to a lost franchise. But they noted it would take time because they looked at what they had to work with and were horrified the shelves were bare. They looked back at the drafts from 2000 to the dates when they took over and lamented the failure of those drafts.

People like Nick Saban and Randy Mueller noted the lack of talent on hand because of bad drafting from 2000-2004. 

The statistic they cited was that between 2000 and 2004 the Dolphins had managed to select only six players that were still on the roster, with only two of those players, Chris Chambers and Randy McMichael, becoming starters at that time.

So five years of drafting produced only two starters. Eventually a third starter would be added when Yeremiah Bell broke into the starting lineup, but the statistics were still sobering. Five drafts. Three starters.

Those folks running things from 2005-2007 blamed the struggles they were having, in part, on the drafts of 2000-2004. It was a fair criticism because for Saban and later Cam Cameron, the number of players that should have been coming into their primes as third, fourth, and fifth-year players were practically non-existant on the Dolphins.

That kept the Dolphins from competing with teams which had drafted well and did have a core of young veteran contributors.

Well, the problem with all of that is that neither Saban nor Mueller and Cameron were able to avoid the issues that plagued their predecessors. Saban and Mueller suffered from previous bad drafts. But then they also drafted poorly, leaving a new legacy of draft stinkage to the new administration

Neither Saban nor Mueller/Cameron could do excellent work although they had the second overall selection and high picks in rounds thereafter in 2005. They didn't do good work although they had three picks in the first two round in 2007.

And so today's Dolphins, a team that should be ripe with talent from the 2005, 2006, and 2007 drafts, are bereft of that core of young starters and contributors. Why?

Because the 2005, 2006, and 2007 drafts pretty much picked up where the 2000-2004 drafts left off. Consider:

The 2005 draft: Saban's first draft included Ronnie Brown, Matt Roth, Channing Crowder, Travis Daniels, Anthony Alabi and Kevin Vickerson. The Dolphins didn't have a sixth-round pick that year because that went to San Diego in exchange for David Boston. Well, only Brown, Crowder and Roth became starters and all of them showed flaws early and often. Brown couldn't stay healthy and although he's been able to do that recently, he is by no means a star -- something you expect from the draft's second overall pick. Brown is solid. And he's a free agent. There is absolutely no certainty his Dolphins career isn't over. Crowder? Ordinary. He gets his share of tackles, but as an inside linebacker always around the action, he rarely finds interceptions, or forces fumbles, or recovers fumbles or makes game-defining tackles. He's just ... there. Roth? He earned a starting job with the Dolphins in 2008 after languishing his first three seasons. And it seemed to be working, but then something crazy happened in 2009 and the Dolphins simply cut him. I'm sorry, but I don't blame Roth on that one. He lied to coach Tony Sparano about a groin injury. That was weird. Guess what? Other players have said and done worse and are still on the team. The strange thing is the Dolphins got zero for Roth, who was cut and immediately scooped up by Cleveland where he became a starter the past season-and-a-half.

So sum total of players still on the team: Crowder, with Brown a looming free agent. Sum total of starters: Two. Sum total of stars: 0.

The 2006 draft: Jason Allen was picked 16th overall, followed by Derek Hagan in the third round, Joe Toledo in the fourth, Manny Wright (via the supplemental draft) in the fifth, Fred Evans in the seventh, Rodrique Wright in the seventh and Devin Aromashodu in the seventh. The second round pick went to Minnesota for Daunte Culpepper, but that's another story. Allen was a bust from the beginning and the constant change of coaching staffs hurt him because everyone moved him from safety to corner and back again at least twice. It happened seven times in total. The most successful of those moves came in 2010 when Allen won a starting job at the dawn of the season. Sorry, that was not a statement of how great Allen was playing. It was a statement of how little choice the Dolphins had. Allen survived for half the season, then was benched, then was cut. He goes down as a first round bust. Hagan? He's still in the league but he never made it work in Miami, where he dropped passes, missed assignments and wasn't dynamic at all. Wright was a joke who cried his first practice. What a waste of talent. Toledo was looking good his first training camp then he broke a foot. Then he started recovering and broke it again getting out of the cold tub. Gone. Fred Evans showed tons of potential but he thought he had arrived when he hadn't. He started going out. He got drunk one night on South Beach. He got into a cab and threw up. He got arrested. Cam Cameron cut him two days later. Wright bounced from practice squad to active roster but never really factored. Aromashodu was cut in training camp.

So sum total of players still on the team: Zero. Sum total of starting players: Zero. Sum total of stars: Zero. 

The 2007 draft: This was Mueller's one and only chance to run the draft. Looking back three years later, it was not good. Ted Ginn Jr was the ninth overall pick, John Beck went in the second round as did Samson Satele. Lorenzo Booker came in the third round, Paul Soliai came in the fourth, Reagan Mauia came in the sixth, Drew Mormino in the sxith, Kelvin Smith in the seventh along with Brandon Fields and Abraham Wright. Where to begin? Ginn was a reach. He is fast but hates contact and has no passion for football, which is problem because football is a contact sport that requires passion. Ginn was constantly seeking the sideline and often shrunk in big moments. He was a good return man, but those usually get drafted in the fourth or fifth rounds or come as undrafted free agents. It speaks volumes that Miami could only get a fifth rounder for Ginn when he was traded last offseason. Beck was like Ginn in the respect that the game seemed bigger than him. He played nervous. He looked overmatched. He was put in a position to fail by the Dolphins coaching staff and he did exactly that. Satele started right away and remained there for two seasons. He continues to start in Oakland. There was talent to work with there, but he wasn't big enough for the current administration. He was not a bad pick. Soliai and Fields are the lone remaining vestiges of that draft still on the roster and Soliai is expected to become a free agent.

So sum total of players still on the team: Two. Sum total of starters: Two. Sum total of stars: 0.

The bottom line?

Amazingly, Nick Saban's second draft was the worst of the bunch.

The 2005-2007 drafts have given today's Dolphins four players on the roster, all of which are starters but none of which are stars. Think about that.

These are guys that are in their fourth through sixth years of experience. These are guys ages 26 to 29. These are the drafts that should be forming the established, experienced, cornerstones of the franchise. These three drafts were supposed to be the ones that laid a new foundation after Dave Wannstedt. Instead they offered nothing in the way of stars and little in the numbers of starters.

Combine that with the 2000-2004 drafts that were a dry bones experience, you start to see why the Dolphins still have so much work to do. You start to see why a quick solution has not been possible.

This franchise went from 2000-2007 drafting in a manner that got people fired or replaced for whatever reason. And their drafts are a testament why that happened.

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I Agree most of the posts, but i think trade down pickup a second and take C Ponder if the PHINS draft in the 30' because this years draft is not the strongest by any means and he is projected to be taken in the early second round or first over all second round....

I know I'm a idiot to think like the dolphins

But I think that is exactly what the PHINS are going to do, because they are a idiot just like me!!

"Not a bad Idea I might say"

Man I just hope that IR and TS will get lucky this year and hit on all their draft picks I really Do for the sake of our fans and this at one time great franchise!

1st Round QBs...a decade in review:

2000:
Chad Pennington (18th) - good career..definitely in his twilight

2001:
Mike Vick (1st) - Has revived his career and appears to actually want to play the QB position.

2002:
David Carr (1st) - BUST

Joey Harrington (3rd) - BUST

Patrick Ramsey (32nd) - BUST

2003:
Carson Palmer (1st) - Up/Down..not a complete bust but has he lived up to his draft position? Maybe he just needs a new home.

Byron Leftwich (7th) - BUST

Kyle Boller (19th) - BUST

Rex Grossman (22nd) - BUST...unless Shanahan can somehow revive him.

2004:
Eli Manning (1st) - Franchise guy...probably not HOF...but a franchise guy. Could be a HOF with another ring or two.

Philip Rivers (4th) - Franchise guy...best QB out there without a ring.

Big Ben (11th) - Franchise guy...probably HOF guy unless something disastrous happens.

JP Lossman (22nd) - BUST

2005:
Alex Smith (1st) - BUST

Aaron Rodgers (24th) - Franchise QB...could be HOF if he keeps it up.

Jason Campbell (25th) - Not quite a total bust yet...but he's very close. 1st round QB should not be back up material after 5 years. We'll see if he can stay healthy and get it going.

2006:
Vince Young (1st) - A BUST on many levels....though the guy is a winner...but needs to get his crap together quickly. He's running out of opportunity.

Matt Leinart (10th) - BUST

Jay Cutler (11th) - Borderline Franchise QB...this could ultimately go either way for Jay.

2007:
JaMarcus Russell (1st) - BUST

Brady Quinn (22nd) - BUST

2008:
Matt Ryan (3rd) - Franchise QB and showing it very early

Joe Flacco (18th) - Franchise QB and showing it very early

2009:
Matt Stafford (1st) - statistically abismal rooky season...looked good in the 3 games he played this season. Need to stay healthy to learn more. JURY OUT

Mark Sanchez (5th) - We'll see. He seems to be allowed to play and make his mistakes. Statistically unimpressive and seems to have accuracy issues. Running game and defense carry the team at this point, but the Jets seem willing to let him develop. JURY OUT

Josh Freeman (17th) - Statistically abismal in his rooky campaign but took off like a rocket this past season. We'll see if he maintains that consistency for a couple of seasons but looks like the real deal. JURY OUT...but very promising.

2010:
Sam Bradford (1st) - Actually surprised me. Let's see if he can stay consistent and what he can do with some weapons. JURY OUT

Tim Tebow (25th) - The pick that made my jaw drop! We'll see if he can be molded into an NFL QB. Has a lot of intangibles. JURY OUT.

Wolfman1313....

I interpert your your post to say...DO YOUR HOMEWORK....DUE YOUR DUE DILLIGENCE...AND HAVE SOME BALLS.....

I also urge you to look at the number of 1st rd QBs who have won SB's in the last 20 years...and how many have have played in SBs in the last 20....

Because while you may not always hit....

When you hit...your team is set for 10-15 years...with consistent playoff apperances....

I'm out...have a good night fella's...we'll do battle tommrow

Respectfullu of course

Wolf, one change I'd make to your excellent history, I don't think Grossman is a bust. He got his team to a SB (ok, the defense got them there, but he did enough to not mess that up). I wouldn't call him a good QB by any stretch of the imagination, but I think if you get your team to a SB, you have to be rated mediocre-decent at worst. I'd say he's a mediocre QB. Same for Vince Young by the way. You can't be a bust with a winning record (no matter how much of a freak you are). I'd say jury's still out on VY.

Good talk all. Catch you later.

kris - yeah, that's about right. If you look at QBs taken in the 2nd round and later....not too many franchise guys out threre. Your odds of landing one in the 1st round are much better. That said, you can also see in that history....some classes are just better than others.

DC - I see your point on Grossman...but at the same time, he's a 1st round pick 7 or so years into his career. For me...a 1st rounder still battling for a starting job that deep into his career is a bust. He may be a servicable QB...but from the standpoint of draft position he's a BUST IMHO.

Alright, I'm out. Busy day tomorrow but hopefully will be able to find a little time.

Oh...one last thing in RE to 1st round QBs.

There's a catch....you pick a QB in the first, you're stuck with him come hell or high water for at least 3-5 years for better or worse. If he pans out everything is groovy....if he doesn't you have a really high priced tackling dummy. Hard to unload them too with the big fat guarantees they get. You unload a guy after year 3 or 4 with a 6 year contract you're going to pay out the nose and take a major salary cap hit for absolutely nothing.

This is why I think in general teams lean towards O-line/D-line, etc. Odds of hitting and at least making an impact are much better for the $$$.

That said...yes, sometimes you just have to sack up!

OK...I'm out.

Flowery, dreamy, wishful thinking does not cook the rice. Years of bad drafts, bad personnel decisions, bad ownership, bad coaching, a revolving door of QBs and mediocre players has doomed this team for years to come. There is no easy way out of it. It fully explains why the powers that be keep trying to force Henne down everyone's throat, basically because they feel he's their best chance from the bargain basement. Couple that with no coach or player of any significance wanting to play in Miami and voila, what you are seeing is what you get. To get Marshall and our star LB, we had to pay the highest salaries for their positions to get them. This offensive coaching staff put together looks like a scraping of the bottom of the barrell. How embarrassing to show up and try to battle elite coaching staffs with this bunch. It's like showing up to a gun battle with a squirt gun, really.

Armando, so basically you're agreeing with us.....the fans have made better picks/ suggestions than the Dolphins have! Nuff said, thanks for confirming the fact....

If Salguero and everybody else want to give Sparano and Ireland the benefit of the doubt, then why wouldn't they also give Henne the benefit of the doubt? Look what this kid had to work with: A senile offensive coordinator; a bad offensive line; mediocre running backs; the diva, Brandon Marshall; only one tied end; and, worse of all, his coach did not hesitate to show his lack of confidence in him. Compare that to Ryan's attitude towards Sanchez and the improvement in Sanchez's performance.

There is an interesting article published by Dave Hyde in the SS about the Draft and written by some supposed draft gurus. I enjoyed it (although not hook, line and sinker, of course). You People might enjoy it.

I believe strongly in Intention, preacher. Pray? Sure, why not.

The O Line is the key to being a better(playoff) team. They can get a running back anywhere...get O line and the running game will be better and QB ? Henne will be better.

I blame Wanny (and the mess just outlined) on Marino, who couldn't let his ego be tamed (even for his own) good by Jimmy Johnson. Wanny was the big terd that JJ left us on the way out of town. I love me some Marino but seriously the Marino worship has held us back and it's not even deserved, no Super Bowl trophy. At least let's worship a guy who did it all and won it all, except nobody can remember that far back.

It was unrealistic on JJ's part to try to mould Marino into something he wasn't(Marino, no less!), however Jimmy's big fault was not finding a consistent QB for the Team.

Agreed Henne is NOT our guy.

Henne. Dolphin staff hires especially on offense do not make sense on the surface. Ireland is a turncoat and sparano can't click manage.

I have a opinion about JI and TS, I'm one of those fans that criticized JI and TS.


But I think anyone with common sense will
Question their decisions on the new assistance coaches, but we have to give these guys one more year even if their coaching philosophy! I just hope that they can pick a decent draft and not do like the last clowns! Remember Tuna is not here to pick the players and JI admitted that he takes the blame for Wilson White and al the other bad picks! Let's see what happens in April!

Good article Armando!

Excellent work armando--I bet sparano has already forwarded a copy to Ross.

Yikes! Armando you are totally right this time. Never occurred to me that it was that bad. No wonder the O-line collapsed this year. One injury and the dominos fell.

After reading all of these articles I am even more convinced than ever that we should trade for Kolb when the CBA is done!!!
He is the next Rodgers and is ready now. Him and Marshall could do awesome things!!

Offer Philly
#15 and Henne
For there 2nd round pick or 3rd. We could get one of the two??
Who agrees?????????

phinsman,

Making an offer and getting it done is a two way street. Kolb will likely stay in Philly, and why would they even want Henne?

And what do you suppose they'd do with our #15? Probably more than we would, given the track record of this organization.

Due to the CBA, the only thing guareented is the draft, and for that reason, we need to use that #15. Sure, it would be nice to think we could get 2 second round selections for a #1. But every team is facing the same obsticles regarding the CBA.

You can't start throwing in signed players as part of the pot, to round up or down.

@gulfdolphin
I see your point but, Kolb has shown he can play. And the first team to offer Philly a 1st round pick will get him. Because Vick will be there for at least 3-4 more years. They would maybe want a developmental QB which would be the reason for throwing on Henne.
Also, what do we care what they do with the 15 th pick? As long as we get our man and a pick. Point is, Kolb is young. Talented and could be the next big thing! If he were in the draft at 15. We seriously wouldn't take him? That's a lie.
Ownership. If your reading. Think about this!!!!!

phinsman,

I did not say Kolb isn't wortht a #15 if you are getting a second round pick back too.

I was saying that with CBA in limbo, (and predicted to stay that way throughout the draft cycle) teams will not be able to deal and or shuffle their signed players to trade up or down.

We can't even give away Henne for a second round, much less get Kolb in exchange.

Although I really don't care what Philly would do with our #15, I suspect they would use it on a needed priority, like everyother team. April 28 - the start of the draft - isn't that far away.

FA would be the fastest way to repair our team.

When a CBA is reached of course.

It's just that of all the years in the NFL, this is the one year you may want to invest in your 1st round, and trade none of the picks down.

Very good article.

It's gotta turn around at some point right? Riiiiight? ............

"Anyone who says Miami is a Qb away is wrong! The one huge mistake this regime has made is with the OL. If the OL had performed up to expectations Miami probably would have had a 10-6 record even with Henne at the helm"

The thing is our line was the most battered with injuries. I think every lineman by incognito missed a game or was seriously injured.

Even Jake Long was hurt this year in last preseason game and bears game,rare,but he still played which made me nervous.

Corners,

I am first to agree the oline stunk at run blocking and pass protection. I am all for the upgrades starting there, beginning with this upcoming draft. Followed up with the FA once the CBA is done.

Otherwise, we will remain at the lower end of the league.

It doesn't matter really where you draft a player, you gotta make sure they have the leadership qualities and drive and determination to work hard and become star players. That's what this team did in last years draft and it's worked ok so far.
yes odrick got hurt but misi did great, after reshad finally got to play he did well. clutch even.
henne better do some massive improving in his decision making to be our starter. we should still draft a qb with all the fundamentals and then develop him with pennington, not henne. or bring in kolb to light a fire under henne's butt.

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