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The draft picks and their roster consequences

The NFL draft is one week old today and, personally, I'm still digesting all the meat it served up. As you know, no team draft's in a vacuum. There are reasons teams pick certain players and certain positions. Like elections, drafts have consequences.

Today we study those possible consequences.

We look at each pick and follow the intended fallout to see what it means, not only for the position but for other players who were already on the roster.

First round -- RT Ja'Wuan James.

Consquence: This one is easy because it practically guarantees that Miami will get back on track in putting its first-round pick in the starting lineup from the jump. The Dolphins took a detour from that last year with Dion Jordan, but prior to that, six consecutive first-round picks dating back to 2007 had been starters on Day One. James is Miami's starting right tackle on Day One and so we can get past the idea that often-injured Jason Fox will be Miami's starting right tackle. Sure, there will be a competition. That's the right way to do it. But, um, James will win the competition. And if he does not, something went horribly, horribly wrong.

Second round -- WR Jarvis Landry

Consequence: Landry is immediately an option as a slot receiver but he will have to play special teams like the dickens to be active on game days. Here is the reason for the uninitiated: The first three WRs -- Brandon Gibson, Brian Hartline, Mike Wallace -- get their reps on offense. None play special teams. The fourth active WR has to play special teams. Period. This pick suggests the Dolphins will keep five instead of four wide receivers on the roster. Last year Miami kept only four coming out of camp. Or, failing that, one of last year's four -- Wallace, Hartline, Gibson, Rishard Matthews -- is gone. Well, yes, one of the last year's four is gone. As I've explained to you previously, Matthews' days with the Dolphins are numbered. Despite his career high 41 catches for 448 yards and two touchdowns a season ago, Matthews is not a favorite of the coaching staff, particularly head coach Joe Philbin. My column explains why. Because Landry is a second round pick, he is almost guaranteed of making the team. So that means veterans such as Armon Binns, Kevin Cone, and Damien Williams are already at a numbers-game disadvantage -- again, unless the club goes with five receivers on the roster instead of four.

Third round -- G Billy Turner

Consequence: The Dolphins have been undecided about which side (left guard or right guard) Shelley Smith will play. The Dolphins have been undecided about which position (guard or tackle) Dallas Thomas will play. Well, Turner not only looks like a guard to me but feels like a left guard. The fact he's a rookie also suggests sandwiching him between veterans Branden Albert (LT) and Mike Pouncey (C) might be a better idea than putting him next to fellow rookie Ja'Wuan James. But here's the ripple effects of that: Dallas Thomas now becomes more valuable to the Dolphis as a right tackle because he can compete with Jason Fox for the backup role. Or he becomes valuable as a swing G/T. If he's the backup RT, Fox suddenly becomes expendable. If he's the swing G/T, that suddenly puts Nate Garner's roster chances on the line, pardon the pun. Turner on the roster means David Arkin, Thomas, Fox, and Garner are in a scramble for a roster spot.

[Peanut gallery: But Mando, you didn't mention Sam Brenner ... Isn't his spot on the line as well?]

Thanks for bringing that up, gallery. In fact, the Dolphins are viewing Brenner as a C/G option. And because center is a big part of that option, perhaps the biggest part, he becomes valuable because Mike Pouncey still faces NFL sanctions for his participation in last year's harassment scandal. If Pouncey misses time, Brenner is likely the starting center.

Fourth round -- CB Walt Aikens

Consequence: The Dolphins committed two early draft picks to the CB position a year ago when they drafted Jamar Taylor in the second round and Will Davis in the third round. The fact they felt a need to go cornerback so high speaks highly of what they think of Aikens but also suggests they are hedging their bet on either Taylor or Davis -- particularly after they signed Cortland Finnegan in free agency. By the way, Don Jones had an awful draft. Not only did he get caught up in the Michael Sam issue, but if Aikens is a good special teams player he threatens Jones's roster spot. Veteran Jalil Brown also cannot be thrilled.

Fifth round -- TE Arthur Lynch

Consequence: This one really, really interests me. At first I viewed Lynch as another Jeron Mastrud -- a role player whose role is an in-line blocking TE grunt. But the more I talk to people about Lynch, the more I hear he's an underrated pass catching threat as well. No, he's not fast. He's not been dynamic in college. But he's got possibilities. And that should worry a number of guys on the roster. Charles Clay is not one of those. He's just been picked as one of the NFL's Top 100 players by a voting of his peers. (The vote means nothing other than it shows respect for Clay but at the point he's ranked ahead of Dallas TE Jason Witten, the vote loses credibility). Anyway, Lynch's addition should worry Michael Egnew. This kid has basically been on scholarship for two years because he was a third-round pick in 2012. But that was a different GM and a different coach, in that that Philbin could afford to carry some dead weight on the roster his first couple of years but he's coaching for his life now. His job is on the line in 2013. I don't see another scholarship year for Egnew. This pick also suggests the team is not as enamored with Dion Sims, a fourth-round pick last year, as it seemed. Again, Sims was picked by a different GM and, it must be noted, is pretty much supposed to be the same kind of block-first TE that Lynch is. Meanwhile, if I'm Kyle Miller, I see the writing on the wall. Lynch does not close the door on Jermichael Finley (I don't see that) or a return for Dustin Keller (his reps say he's healthy although he's not ready yet) but I can see only a crack of light through that opening.

Fifth round -- LB Jordan Tripp

Consequence: People who live in the clouds will tell you this means Phillip Wheeler is out because Tripp is going to start at Middle linebacker or weakside linebacker, allowing the Dolphins to move on. Well, Wheeler may indeed be out after 2014 but not necessarily because of Tripp. It would have to do with Wheeler's performance. No, this picks should be ringing in the ears of players such as Jonathan Freeny, Jelani Jenkins, and perhaps even Jason Trusnik. This pick is immediately about special teams. And that is primarily where Freeny, Jenkins and Trusnik make their bones. Trusnik, you should know, is a fine special teams player. But he's going into his eighth season and he's scheduled to cost $1,071,688 on the salary cap. He gets cut, the Dolphins save $855,000.

Sixth round --WR Matt Hazel

Consequence: Unless Hazel is an epiphany that shines suddenly and violently out of pitch darkness, he will have a hard time making this team's 53-man roster because for all his gifts -- he's long and relatively fast -- he simply is not ready to beat out the top 4-5 guys right now. Maybe he gets the rookie scholarship and makes it just because he was drafted. That wouldn't say a lot for Williams and Cone. At worst, Hazel is a practice squad possibility.

Seventh round -- DE Terrence Fede

Consequence: The Dolphins seemed to have more defensive ends than they knew what to do with last year. With Cameron Wake, Olivier Vernon and Derrick Shelby around, there were hardly enough snaps to go around for then-rookie first-round pick Dion Jordan. So how does Fede fit? Who does he beat out? None of them. I suppose he's insurance in case of injury. I suppose he is practice squad material.

Comments

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Steve Ross, worst Dolphin owner ever?

Good thing we didn't travel Manziel!
Home tell us again how JuWan cut his finger on a saw.

H
B
O

Home
Boys
Odor

The story of his life...

draft Manziel

Usually don't play this Steve Ross worst owner ever angle at all.

But if the team doesn't acheive this year and goes through another half measure... then I will be ready to jump on that bandwagon too..

Home never wanted these players and had hundreds(maybe thousands) of posts on each one and only these players:

Satale
sean smith
Martin
Egnew
Tannehill

all post started b4 they played even one game for the Dolphins

and folks started to catch on
no matter how painful the reality was/is

Some things are so obvious even the secretive men inside Stalag Dolphin have to admit to them. And the difficulty the entire NFL has witnessed Ryan Tannehill have throwing the deep ball since he joined the Miami Dolphins is one of those things.

Last year we saw Tannehill miss a wide open Brian Hartline a handful of times when the receiver was open deep behind defenders. This year, Tannehill is armed with dynamic deep threat receiver Mike Wallace. But 10 games into the season, Wallace's deepest catch went for 49 yards.

And fans have seen Tannehill miss Wallace, open behind the secondary, on at least five ocassions -- either by underthrowing the football and forcing Wallace to fight for it against defensive backs, or underthrowing it and having a sure touchdown result in a mid-range completion, or throwing out of bounds, or just missing short altogether.

“The one the other day, let’s talk about the one the other day, that’s the most recent," coach Joe Philbin said Wednesday. "The guy is open, you have to get the ball to the receiver. You have to put a little more air under it so he doesn’t slow down and the DB doesn’t have a chance to break up the pass. It’s not that complicated, throwing the ball down the field.

"It does take the right timing, the receiver has to leave enough space, especially when you’re throwing the ball outside the numbers which we had on that particular play. You have to make that throw, [Tannehill] knows that, I know that, everybody who was at the game knows that. Those are the facts, we have to keep working at it and I’m confident we will start making more of those."

Confident or not, Philbin was concerned enough about the issue to talk to Tannehill about it this week. It's become more than just a rare happenstance now. It's an issue -- one that Tannehill got advise on how to solve.

"We talked to coach Philbin yesterday and that’s one of the things he told me," Tannehill said. "Just go out there and let it rip. When a guy gets that open, sometimes you kind of tense up and you don’t want to overthrow him so you end up underthrowing him. I just have to go out there and let it rip and not overplay it."

I asked Tannehill if he's likely to take Philbin's advice and attack the situation differently this week.

"Yes, I think so," Tannehill said. "We had a couple other shots in the game where he got behind guys and one time I got flushed out got bumped and flushed out and I had to throw it to (Rishard) Matthews over the middle and another time I got sacked on it. We had a couple more opportunities where he got open, just wasn’t able to get him the ball. You’ve got to hit the ones that are there, if you only get one shot a game to get him the ball I have to just throw it out there and let him run underneath it.

"That’s what he’s here to do. He’s got the legs to run underneath it and it’s on me to just throw it out there and let him get it.”

Here's the thing: Tannehill is a young quarterback and he's still learning the job. But I get the feeling he's trying to be too fine and too perfect for his own good. He needs to trust his instincts more. He needs to use his many gifts -- one of which is the ability to throw the football a long way.

He's been aiming the ball. He needs to simply pass it.

"Yes, I think I just get conservative," Tannehill admitted. "You see a guy, like I said with so much space and separation between him and the defender, he had five yards or something on the guy. You see that space and you're thinking just get him the ball. Instead of, just throw it out there, play football and let it rip."

This can go one of two directions now.

Tannehill, reined in for too long, can feel free and start playing rather than thinking. And we'll start to see his deep completion percentage improve.

Or.

Tannehill, despite given the freedom to rip it, simply hasn't the touch or deep ball accuracy that must be inate to a quarterback to be the launching point for a deep passing game.

There is some reason for hope here. Last year Tannehill completed zero percent of his attempts of 41 yards or more. He was 0 for 3. This year he has completed 16.7 percent of his 6 throws of 41 yards or more. That still isn't good enough, but it suggests some improvement.

The question is can Tannehill make a much more significant improvement.

You have to consider that Wallace averaged eight touchdowns per season and 17.5 yards per reception his four seasons in Pittsburgh. In Miami he's basically been turned into a possession receiver who has one touchdown and is averaging 12.1 yard per catch.

But in Pittsburgh, Wallace played with a quarterback in Ben Roethlisberger who completed at least 33.3 percent of his passes on throws of 41 yards or more the past three years and in 2009 completed a whopping 46.2 percent of such passes.

Big Ben can wing it.

Can Tannehill match those numbers? Impossible to tell.

But he needs to bring his numbers up soon. Otherwise, what everyone sees as an issue that needs work could soon be viewed as a fatal flaw in Tannehill's game.

Read more here: http://miamiherald.typepad.com/dolphins_in_depth/2013/11/tannehill-changing-how-he-attacks-deep-throws.html#storylink=cpy

yes
Even Mando saw what Home Scout knew all along

Now we pass on John Manz

Home 4 GM only shakes his head

Hey MIT congrats!!

Jim Kelly's death wish

Don't move the Bills out of Buffalo

Torontosucks.com

In 2012
When the Panthers selected Kuechly out of Boston College, Home Scout said: "I call him Clark Kent, and he can turn into Superman on Saturdays and Sundays. He's one of the cleanest players in this draft. His instincts and his pass-coverage ability might be the best of any linebacker I've seen come out of the draft." "Quick read, amazing tackle numbers, a leader"
"Dolphins just screwed themselves out of the best LB to ever grace their franchise, yes better than ach Thomas"

Home 4 GM

Associated Press named Luke Kuechly its 2013 Defensive Player of the Year.
It's the second straight year Home's pick for the Dolphin's Kuechly has won a major award after being named Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2012. He was the best player on a defense that allowed the second fewest points in the NFL this season, finishing with 156 tackles, two sacks, and four interceptions. Kuechly's Week 16 performance against the Saints likely solidified his DPOY candidacy. He received a total of 19 votes to beat out Robert Mathis (11.5), Earl Thomas, (7.5), Robert Quinn (6), Richard Sherman (4), and J.J. Watt (4)

"Now the Fins pass on John Manz

. . . this franchise deserves to suck"

Home Scout

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