This morning on my radio show, Armando and the Amigo, NFL Network insider Jason LaCanfora was on for his usual Thursday morning segment and I asked him what his best information says the Dolphins are going to do with their 15th overall selection in the first round this evening.
He said the Dolphins are going to pick Nevada QB Colin Kaepernick.
And now that my chin is off the floor, I am writing this post. Look, I like Kaepernick. I know the Dolphins really like Kaepernick.
But in the first round?
At No. 15?
I have one word for that: Reeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaaaaccccccccchhhhhhhh!
If the Dolphins love Kaepernick, they should try to trade down and get him in the second round -- where he is rightly rated, in my opinion. If the Dolphins love Kaepernick, they should understand they'll be waiting a year or so before he is viable as a winning QB in the NFL. If the Dolphins love Kaepernick to the point of having to pick him at No. 15, I would say they missed the opportunity to address equally pressing needs with players that will be NFL-ready sooner.
Personally, I would go with Andy Dalton before I pick Colin Kaepernick. I think Dalton will be the better NFL quarterback. And if nothing moves with trades, I take Mike Pouncey and that's that. That's my prediction, by the way -- made that call Monday.
But why is Kaepernick nonetheless viable?
Because Kaepernick is a QB. And although teams know the rules about drafting a quarterback, they often violate those rules because, well, they're reaching for a quarterback.
I hope the Dolphins can resist the urge to go crazy and do something really unorthodox. I hope they resist the urge to bow to fan or any other kind of pressure.
And there is pressure.
The angry throng of fans that jump on radio call-in shows and blog sites to advocate, indeed, even demand the Dolphins select a quarterback in the coming draft’s first round. But they are actually insisting Miami do something more far-reaching than get a player to be the face of the franchise.
Anyone wanting the Dolphins to draft a first-round quarterback for the first time since Dan Marino is also:
A -- Putting faith in a rookie quarterback helping the team when history suggests most will not.
B -- Practically assuring Chad Henne will be the 2011 starter because no rookie will be handed the job immediately and none of this draft’s signal-callers are complete enough to dislodge a veteran who already enjoys a head start with the offense – particularly because players are locked out and unable to contact coaches.
C -- Asking Dolphins coach Tony Sparano and general manager Jeff Ireland to ignore their personal concerns about job security.
That’s why there are clues floating around the Dolphins suggesting the team will not pick a quarterback in the first round when the draft begins tonight.
Yes, this flies in the face of logic.
The NFL is a quarterback-driven league. Many believe the Dolphins need a quarterback. I share that belief. And despite their public embrace of Henne, the Dolphins know they need someone they can trust at the position.
But the circumstances prevent it. Sorry.
Historical analysis and current events could conspire to push the Dolphins in another direction. And that’s before desperation kicks in. (Desperation in this case is defined as the urgent need to win immediately, particularly at home, to avoid heads rolling.)
If you’re one of those fans mentioned above, kindly stop yelling at me now. Allow some logic to mingle with what is always an emotional argument.
The Dolphins, you see, need the right quarterback more than they need a quarterback. And there is no expert, no personnel man, no NFL general manager who can guarantee anyone the Dolphins pick in the first round will be right.
Not in this draft. And not that low in this draft.
Consider that 46 quarterbacks were drafted in the draft’s first round the past 20 seasons, from 1991 to 2010. Those folks wanting that immediate talent bump from that new QB should digest the fact only 20 of those 46 QBs started even half of their team’s games as rookies.
Nope, drafting a QB in the first round does not guarantee an immediate starter. It doesn’t even guarantee a good player has joined the roster.
Among that list of 46 first-round quarterbacks, 25 became bitter, unmitigated failures over their careers. In my country, we call them busts.
Only 18 of those first-round quarterbacks became successful and worthy of the picks invested on them. But even from that grand group, Chad Pennington, Daunte Culpepper, Carson Palmer, Phillip Rivers, Michael Vick, Donovan McNabb, Aaron Rodgers, and Steve McNair did not start as rookies and some didn’t even start until after their second season.
“The test case for this is Aaron Rodgers,” said ESPN’s Mel Kiper. “That’s the way you should develop a quarterback. What would have happened if he had gone to the Redskins? I don’t think he’d have been Aaron Rodgers right now. He probably would have been kicked to the curb.
“But he developed. He changed his whole delivery, his whole mechanics of throwing the football. Now he’s a potential Hall of Famer and has a Super Bowl ring. There you go.”
It’s too early to tell which direction the three remaining first-rounders on the list of 46 will go just as it’s impossible to know who among this year’s quarterback class will succeed.
“I like the players that are in this draft,” Dolphins general manager Jeff Ireland said of the incoming quarterback class. “I think there’s good depth there. I think you can find a good player. I don’t have a crystal ball about what kind of players they’re going to be in this league. There are lot of things that go into that, but I think it’s a good depth group. I think there’s starters to be had.”
Notice he didn’t say “immediate starters.” That’s important to the Dolphins and should be important to fans.
That contingent of fans wanting a new quarterback right away should probably be looking toward free agency or a trade because, barring a quick resolution to the league’s labor troubles, rookies will handcuffed.
Henne already knows the Dolphins new offense. He spent weeks with new offensive coordinator Brian Daboll learning the system before the lockout happened.
A rookie won’t be allowed to work on the field with a Miami coach or even talk to a coach on the phone until the lockout ends. That means the incoming rookie quarterback will be competing for the starting job with one arm – his passing arm – tied behind his back.
Perhaps that doesn’t bother the fan with a long view of Miami’s problems. That person will be a fan a decade from now, assuming the Dolphins actually win a home game between now and then.
But what about the Miami braintrust?
The men actually making the decision whether to pick a quarterback in the first round have no guarantee they’ll be here next year, much less a decade from now. The only security they have is success – now.
So do they gamble that success on a player who might not play for a season? Or do they pick a player that is more likely to immediately start and help the team and their cause right away?
Ireland is on record saying he’ll take a long view of things rather than concern himself with something so trivial as his job status.
It’ll be interesting to see if that’s true when the Dolphins are on the clock in the first round and Miami’s GM is weighing that long-range project QB we’ll see in 2012 or that running back, lineman or outside lineabaker (Purdue's Ryan Kerrigan) who will start right away.
The angry throng is waiting for the decision.
[NOTE: I promised I'll be updating this blog several times today. I mean it! So continue to come back and remember there is a live blog of the draft tonight. Also, follow me on twitter.]