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Kiper and McShay make draft picks for Dolphins; Salguero says be careful about both selections

We are closing in on that time of year, my acquaintances. Draft microscope time!!!

I call this time draft microscope time because the actual draft is still two months away and the games are in our rear-view mirror. So the actual work for the draft involves workouts and visits and the Combine and interviews -- things that are meant to put a player under the microscope without him, you know, actually playing football.

And to celebrate today, I bring you Mel Kiper's and Todd McShay's latest mock drafts.

Both of ESPN's draft "experts" published their mock drafts today and at the No. 12 selection where the Dolphins are picking both went in polar opposite directions.

Kiper had the Dolphins picking Tennessee wide receiver Cordarelle Patterson.

McShay had the Dolphins picking Texas safety Kenny Vaccaro.

Interesting that the Dolphins are apparently so deficient in the passing department (on offense and defense) that the "experts" have them needing both a wide receiver for the offense and safety for the defense in the first round.

That should tell you folks that think the Dolphins are close to competing for the AFC East crown how far this team truly is.

At any rate, let me give you some food for thought here.

Neither projection is wrong at this point. Obviously. But both projections will depend on what the Dolphins do in free agency.

If, for example, the Dolphins go into free agency and sign my newly adopted son Mike Wallace (I added him to the Salguero family that already includes RG3 and Tim Tebow), then it becomes very, very unlikely the team invests a first-round pick on a wide receiver. It doesn't make sense when there are needs at cornerback and defensive end and yes, even safety. That would make the Patterson pick unlikely.

One possibility here would be if the club signs a veteran receiver such as Wallace (yippie!) or Greg Jennings (meh) or Dwayne Bowe (boo!) but allows Brian Hartline to leave via free agency. Then the club's need at WR will remain such that it could require first-round impact.

And if, for example, the Dolphins re-sign pending free agent Chris Clemons, who started every game at one safety spot this year, it is less likely the team will then re-invest in the same position at the level of a first-round pick to take Vaccaro. Remember, I have reported that the team has been talking to safety Reshad Jones about a contract extension so that is an obvious signal one safety spot is locked down.

The Dolphins have too many needs to extend Jones, re-sign Clemons (an expense beyond what rookies make and too expensive to have him sit as a backup) and then use a first-round pick on Vaccaro with the expectation he would start with Jones.

That is the strategic look at the situation as it relates to other moves in free agency that neither Kiper nor McShay are considering.

Now, as to the value of each player, there are some serious questions.

First, both Kiper and McShay have their guys going to the Dolphins at No. 12. But on the ESPN "Big Board" that lists players by grade, Kiper has Patterson listed at No. 15 and Vaccaro at No. 17. Yeah, that's what the Dolphins should do: Draft guys at No. 12 that you have valued several slots lower. In my country, that's called a reach.

Second, let's take a look at the players themselves. Both are solid. Both will be playing in the NFL next year. But neither screams, "I'm going to be a star so watch out!"

Vaccaro is said to be a bigtime playmaker. The Dolphins secondary needs this badly because taking the football away or making plays that get the defense off the field is something the Dolphins need more of. But I look at Vaccaro's stats and he had two interceptions last season. He had no forced fumbles. And he had two passes defensed, not counting the bowl game. And he played on a defense that gave up 50 points to Baylor, 63 points to Oklahoma, and 48 points to West Virginia.

I have not watched the guy on tape, but his statistics don't exactly suggest he's the next Ed Reed.

Patterson?

He looks the part. He's 6-3 and 205 pounds. He's billed as fast. And he's got the overall stats. He caught 46 passes for 778 yards and a 16.9 average with five touchdowns last season. It was his only season at Tennessee.

But dig deeper into that last paragraph.

I would be concerned Patterson spent his first two years at a JUCO and then transferred to Tennesee. Why? What's the story on him not getting in to a major college coming out of high school? Why is he jumping to the draft after only one season?

Whatever the answers, the bottom line is Patterson has limited experience against top flight college talent. So that makes me a bit uneasy.

Then there is this: A closer look at Patterson's impressive stats reveals some issues.

Of his 46 catches, Patterson feasted against lesser opponents but was a much more average player against better opponents. He caught only 16 passes against ranked AP teams and his average was only 11.4 yards per catch against those teams -- five yards less than his overall average.

Flag.

Against the SEC's two best teams -- Georgia and Alabama -- Patterson basically disappeared. He caught two passes for 31 yards against the Bulldogs. He caught one pass for 25 yards against the Crimson Tide.

Flag.

Meanwhile, he padded his stats with nine catches for 219 yards against Troy. It was the only game all season he went over 100 receiving yards.

That doesn't mean the kid won't play big in big games. That doesn't mean he's not gifted. That doesn't mean he's not a first-round pick.

But it does mean he requires a lot, much, tons of study to make sure he's worthy of a No. 12 pick. That is a big investment. And he's not exactly screaming that he's the next Randy Moss.

Comments

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Mando,
No way Ireland drafts Patterson. Besides in some mocks he even slides to the 2nd round. But I do like Vaccaro. I personally would take Warmack if available, and re-sign Long.

Part of Long's problems IMO stem from the poor care the team has given him post-injury. We saw that since the last days of Sparano. When healthy the guy is a beast, we all saw that in 2011. A line boosting Long, Incognito, Pouncey, Warmack and Martin should be a tough bunch to beat.

Now here's my plea to Mr. Ireland. Sir, you have nothing to lose, I sure hope you know your job is on the line right now hence I implore you to do something I have always been against but in this case it warrants action: mortgage the future. Trade next year's 1st round pick and a combination of others including this years 4th and 5th (or even more) to get Kenny Vaccaro at S. The guy is a beast, good in coverage, good speed for blitzing and a fearless and hard hitter. He'd be our Polamalu.

The future is today not tomorrow, he have some aging players we do not have the luxury to wait for a complete and slow rebuilding process. Vaccaro and Warmack will make an immediate contribution for this team.

The other needs include a WR in the 2nd round (there is a chance Patterson may fall there if not Hunter, R. Woods should be there) and not one but two TEs (Eiffert and Gavin Escobar), along with one or two CBs (X. Rhodes or Jordan Poyer), and the FA signings of Derek Cox and Mike Wallace (Jennings or Bowe), and the re-signing of J. Long, R. Bush, R. Starks and B. Hartline.

COMMON SENSE
I AGREE THE DOLPHINS ARE NOT AS FAR OFF AS SOME MAY THINK BUT THEY MUST MAKE THE RIGHT CHOICES THIS OFF SEASON. ONE PLAYER IN THE DRAFT WHO COULD FILL THE SAFETY SPOT IF THEY DO NOT RESIGN CLEMONS IS BACARRI RAMBO OF GEORGIA, HE IS A BALL HAWK WHO PLAYED WITH JONES AND HAS BEEN A PLAYMAKER THRU OUT HIS CAREER AT GA. GET WALLACE, RESIGN HARTLINE, DRAFT PASS RUSHER,CB,TE,AND THE FASTEST WR LEFT IN THE LATER ROUNDS AND I DO THINK THE DOLPHINS MAKE THE PLAYOFFS NEXT YEAR. OH AND THEY MUST TRY TO KEEP BUSH ALSO. MILLER NOT READY YET! THOMAS IS GARBAGE!!

Kiper-saurus as so aptly named on another channel(will reveal if interested)is too old school in his WR selection.The fins need raw speed and they should attain the services of M.Wallace in free agency rendering a WR pick moot as a 1st selection(even if Hartline walks)

I will assume they sign Wallace and surprise all the prognosticators, the best choice for the 1st pick a pass rushing DE(bookend with Wake) which will make the most impact on their defense with the addition of only one player(with or without Smith)Less time to throw will help ANY defensive backfield including the stat deficient fins unit.

Maybe the dolphins should just draft the TE from notre dame in the first...he could help out doing two things, catching the ball and keeping Tannahill off his back

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lets be honest here...one free agent wr or wr draft pick wont be enough playmakers..miami needs at minimal two wr's however they get them in draft or free agency, and lets not pretend we dont need a athletic playmaker at tight end neither...then yes we need a safety and corner and maybe a pass rusher..offense playmakers has gotten over looked for years by dolphins..no time to hinder tannenhills development now when we are in a position to act in a big way...i think we will give rookie defensive end another year to see if vernons going to improve or not..he can learn from wake a lot.then athletic talents there..is his heart and drive there?

Ireland has a ton to research on these players and think about...this story does make you aware of some things..not that these two guys won't be solid pros..but miami can't afford a average draft or free agent offseason...but i'm confident we have a really good offseason!!

miami has like what, 5 picks or so in first two rounds alone, ad in free agency...most if not of all of our major needs can be addressed this offseason...relax..

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