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The prototype is important to the Dolphins

As I hope you know, I wrote a column for today's Miami Herald pointing out that it is a mistake to believe the Dolphins don't chase players with questionable characters or keep troubled players simply because of what Bill Parcells said in his one and only press conference with the team years ago.

Please read the column and see how the Richie Incognito acquisition thus makes sense to the Dolphins. For those that disagree with me and think the Dolphins should put a full-court press for acquiring a troubled type such as Brandon Marshall of the Denver Broncos, the column might give you hope that move is still possible.

My opinion is it would be a mistake but that's another matter.

Anyway, in doing the legwork for the column, I re-read the transcript of that long-ago Parcells press conference and came across something that we all should remember as the Dolphins go forward in selecting players this offseason:

"Traditionally, I've tried to set a prototypical standard for each position," Parcells said in that presser. "I try not to make too many exceptions in that regard."

What that means partly is that the people running the Dolphins have a certain standard they set for their OLBs, ILBs, CBs, QBs, NTs, every position. If a player meets that prototypical standard, he can be graded in the other areas these folks view as critical factors for playing the position and being on the team.

If a player cannot preliminarily meet the standards, he's unlikely to be considered much further.

That, I suppose, is one reason the Dolphins weren't really interested in keeping Zach Thomas around for the 2008 season. Sure his age and injury history played a role, but the fact the guy is 5-11 and 230 pounds simply doesn't fit the Dolphins prototype of an inside linebacker which is 6-3ish and 245-250 pounds.

I suppose this adherence to prototypes -- prototypes proven through the years on both offense and defense -- might be a reason the Dolphins aren't likely to pick Michigan's Brandon Graham with the No. 12 overall selection in the coming draft.

Simply said, Graham apparently doesn't meet the standard for a Dolphins outside linebacker. He's 6-1 rather than 6-3 or 6-4. That minor size deficit costs Graham in Miami's evaluation. He would have to have great agility, great hips, great ability to leverage his opponent, great change of direction, great speed, all manner of great attributes to make up for those two or three inches of height.

The Dolphins want monsterous offensive linemen. The 295-pound guys that helped the Denver Broncos win back-to-back Super Bowls years ago are not the types that interest Miami.

The Dolphins generally are looking for big receivers. They want receivers that are big targets for young quarterback Chad Henne.

The Dolphins need 300-plus-pound defensive ends. Jason Taylor, who broke into the NFL as a 242-pound defensive end in a 4-3 defense, has to move to OLB in Miami's 3-4 scheme.

Generally, the idea of bigger is better is a Dolphins staple now.

Sure there are positions where size doesn't eliminate a player from consideration. But there's a reason players such as 5-8 Jim Leonhard and 5-8 Bob Sanders play safety for other teams and not for Jeff Ireland and Bill Parcells.

Obviously the Dolphins braintrust believes in what it does because they've seen what has worked in the past. And, yes, while there is always a possible exception, sometimes when the these guys make an exception it backfires.

Take Pat White for example.

He doesn't have prototype quarterback at height at 6-feet tall. He's light for the position at 190 pounds. He doesn't have an exceedingly strong arm. He's not exceedingly accurate. In none of these regards does White meet the prototypical standard for his position.

Was he a winner in college? Yes. Was he a playmaker? Yes. Did he start a bunch of college games and gain a ton of experience? Yes.Is he bright? No doubt. Is he all about team and not very much about self? Yes. In these regards, he meets some critical factors for a Parcells-Ireland quarterback.

But before the duo got to those critical factors, maybe they should have gone back to the prototype. Because they seemingly made an exception with this player ... and the results aren't good so far.