Remember back in 2005 when Nick Saban (sorry, had to say his name) took over the Dolphins and in his first draft he went with a Southeastern Conference player in the first round? And he picked an SEC player in the third round. And another in the fourth round.
Saban said he picked guys from the SEC because he had coached in the conference at Louisiana State and was familiar with the players. Saban also plucked Kevin Vickerson from Michigan State in the seventh round and it was no coincidence he had coached at Michigan State before LSU and was still closely tied to folks at that program.
The point is familiarity was something Saban believed -- right or wrong -- gave him an advantage. It obviously didn't play out that way in 2006 when Saban picked an SEC guy in the first round again, especially when we all saw Jason Allen trying to cover people. But, again, familiarity was important to the coach.
Fast forward to the Bill Parcells era. He had an amazing tie to Montana, for some reason. And the Dolphins drafted Lex Hilliard from Montana. And the Dolphins signed kicker Dan Carpenter from Montana. And the Dolphins added Cory Procter to the roster at different times last year. Procter came from the Dallas Cowboys via, you guessed it, Montana.
I say all that to say this: All NFL teams have programs they feel very comfortable with. They feel they get inside information from those programs. The coaches on the NFL team feel they have a kinship with the coaches on the college team.
Bill Belichick had that with Saban at LSU and with Urban Meyer at Florida most recently. I guess that's the reason he felt comfortable picking TE Aaron Hernandez when other teams were worried about the kid's drug tests.
The Dolphins used to have a program they were pretty comfortable with once upon a time -- the University of Miami. This column in today's Miami Herald outlines the history of the ties between Miami's professional and collegiate football teams.
But the relationship got broken around the middle of the last decade for reasons the column explains. And that wasn't good for either, in my opinion.
It didn't hurt as much as it could because the Hurricanes haven't been championship-caliber in recent years. So the Dolphins haven't exactly missed out on players that were difference-makers -- with the exception of Jimmy Graham last year. (Yes, that's only a projection, but I love that kid's potential and cannot understand why the Dolphins didn't get him). I seriously wonder why it is a kid like Sam Shields, who played at Miami and was available as an undrafted free agent, signed with the Green Bay Packers and not the Miami Dolphins?
That kind of stuff shouldn't be happening. And apparently Dolphins GM Jeff Ireland is working to keep that from happening in the future. At least it looks like he is.
That's good because other teams are apparently working things at UM these days as well. Not the least of those teams is the Patriots, who got themselves a pretty sweet connection to the U in former quarterback Bernie Kosar, who is working for New England as a consultant.
But apparently Ireland has the right idea in making nice with the Canes and making sure the valuable information on players that the college coaches might have goes to the Dolphins also.
The Canes had their Pro Day last week. Bad weather caused a suspension and postponement. They will pick back up March 25. The results of Pro Day are only partial because the event did not conclude. I have shared with you the available results below.
And if you are not impressed with any of the players available from Miami this year, that's OK. This isn't about getting a fast fix. The relationship I hope the Dolphins and Canes are forging is a long-term one that will take advantage of Miami players well into the coming years.
At the very least, the fact the lines of communication are open again is good news.
|Name||Pos.||Ht||Wt||40 Yd Dash||Vert. Jump||Bench Press||60 yd Shuttle||Pro-shuttle||L Drill|
|DeMarcus Van Dyke||DB||6-010||174|