In light of the NFL.com’s Jason La Canfora’s report earlier today that suggested that the Dolphins don’t have much interest in former Arkansas quarterback Ryan Mallett, maybe the prospects of Christian Ponder being a top the team’s wish list are improving.
Although, that report seems pretty ludicrous to me. Not saying the Dolphins are seriously considering Ryan Mallett, maybe they’re not. We are talking about a regime that prefers high character guys and a quarterback who is extremely questionable in the character department, after all.
But there’s no way the Dolphins would let it be known if they really had no intent of drafting Mallett. It’s not the Dolphins’ style, or really any team for that matter, to tip their hand a whole month before the draft. So if the Dolphins really leaked that type of information out to the public, it screams smokescreen.
But enough about Mallett, today’s post is dedicated to Christian Ponder, a guy who I believe the Dolphins are intrigued by to say the least. If you like playing the comparison game, let’s move from focusing on a prospect like Mallett, who has similar attributes to Chad Henne, to a guy who could be the next Chad Pennington, in Christian Ponder.
I believe Ponder will still be on the board when the Dolphins are on the clock with the 15th overall pick, but if they are able to trade down until later in the first, they could still possibly snag him. That may be risky, though, as Ponder is a guy whose stock has been on the rise as of late and could be higher up on draft boards inside NFL war rooms than you would think.
School: Florida St.
Size: 6-3, 227
Projected Round: 1-2
Pros: May be the most NFL ready of any quarterback prospect in this year’s class. May be the most accurate passer as well, as a guy who has the potential to be surgical in between the hashes. He’s also very intelligent, boasting a 3.7 GPA at Florida St. Unlike Mallett, Ponder is a trustworthy kid, with a good head on his shoulders. He would be the type of leader you could build a team around.
Another huge upside to Ponder’s game is his athletic ability. No, he isn’t on the same level as some of the athletes coming out this year like Cameron Newton and Colin Kaepernick, but he has the athleticism and footwork to keep plays alive in the pocket.
If it weren’t for a senior season plagued by injuries, we may be talking about Ponder going in the top ten. He regressed his senior season after a breakout junior campaign, which may be a key reason why he isn’t being thought of as an elite prospect. But during the draft scouting process, it’s been clear that Ponder is back to 100%, and he’s been throwing the football as well as he ever has in pre-draft workouts.
Jake Long, Chad Henne kick off organized workouts
During the lockout, coaches will not be able to conduct offseason conditioning programs like in years past. Instead, the Dolphins are currently relying on Jake Long and Chad Henne to lead players through weight lifting and conditioning. According to reports, about thirty Dolphins were present for day one of the workouts that will run four days a week.
Some of the notables in attendance included Cameron Wake, Randy Starks, Chris Clemons, and Channing Crowder. But no worries, other Dolphins, like receivers Davone Bess and Roberto Wallace, are putting in work as well. The Miami Herald’s Jeff Darlington offers this video as a sneak peek into their routine.
Darlington’s co-worker at the Herald Armando Salguero informs us that Brandon Marshall has been hitting the weights for six weeks now, which could be the most of any Dolphin as he attempts to rebound from what has to be considered a disappointing season for his standards. So rest assured, even though we are in the midst of a lockout, the Dolphins will be ready for the 2011 season whenever it begins.
Dolphins workout Ingram today, Mallett tomorrow
The Dolphins reportedly worked out Mark Ingram today and are scheduled to workout Ryan Mallett tomorrow. Reading much into these pre-draft workouts would be a waste of time. Teams, especially the Dolphins, tend to throw smokescreens out there in the form of workouts/interviews or leaked interest in a prospect in order to conceal which players truly have their consideration.
With these two prospects, though, I believe the Dolphins are just doing as much homework as they can on some possible first-round selections. Both will likely still be on the board when the Dolphins pick at 15th overall, if not still available in the event they are able to find a partner to trade down with later in the first round. Both would also fill huge needs, as Ingram is the consensus highest rated back in this year’s class and Ryan Mallett, the best pure passer.
Mock draft talk
ESPN’s AFC East blog revealed some of the network’s “draft experts” mock drafts today. Of the eight experts, not surprisingly, five have Mark Ingram going to the Dolphins with the 15th overall selection. I’m still not a fan of taking a running back that high unless they are truly a can’t miss prospect. Ingram is going to be a good pro, don’t get me wrong, but I think the Dolphins could easily find a solid starter at the running back position in the second, third, or even fourth round.
The three other picks, though, were quite surprising. NFL.com’s Pat Kirwan slotted Nebraska cornerback Prince Amukamara to the Dolphins. Personally, although Amukamara has potential to be a lockdown corner in this league, I think the Dolphins are pretty set at cornerback. Vontae Davis had a breakout year in 2010 and he’s only going to continue to get better, and Sean Smith actually graded out as one of the best cover corners in the entire league. The other two mocks had Nolan Nawrocki projecting Jake Locker to the Dolphins and a computer simulation from Draft Tek predicting the Dolphins will select Boston College offensive tackle Anthony Castonzo. I have to say, I would be extremely disappointed with either of those selections.
I get the feeling Locker’s stock has been plummeting in the minds of NFL GM’s for awhile now, despite the majority of media outlets still maintaining his first round grade. And as far as Draft Tek’s mock goes, if the Dolphins are going to address the offensive line that high in the draft, it better be a guard or center. Right tackle Vernon Carey is certainly replaceable down the road, but he’s still solid enough to hold down the job for the time being, as the Dolphins rebuild what was a pathetic interior in 2010. Speaking of mock drafts, be on the lookout for my pick in Bloguin’s inaugural mock draft on April 8th. Also, I plan on kicking off Phins Phocus’ 2nd annual mock draft sometime in the next few days.
It’s about this time of year when I start suffering from some serious football withdrawals on Sunday afternoons. Of course, with the lockout jeopardizing the 2011 season, those withdrawals come with the fear that our Sunday afternoons may be as empty in the fall as they are right now. Nonetheless, some visual aids every Sunday would help in holding us over. And in the spirit of the draft season being upon us, let’s start with this year’s top running back prospects.
Personally, I hope the Dolphins hold off on addressing the need until the second or third round because the shelf life of running backs just isn’t worth a first round pick anymore unless we are talking about a truly elite talent. But there isn’t really any arguing that the Dolphins are going to go running back early in the draft. Here are some highlights of the prospects the Dolphins may be strongly considering.
Mark Ingram, Alabama
Mikel Leshoure, Illinois
If you’re not following Brandon Marshall on twitter yet, you’re missing out. Not only because he’s the Dolphins’ biggest star, but because a personality like his is sure to use twitter as an avenue to post all sorts of interesting comments, albeit let’s just hope none of the controversial variety. So far, Marshall has used twitter as a campaign ad for the Dolphins to sign Mike Sims-Walker, Brandon’s former teammate at Central Florida and a impending free agent. A sample of Marshall’s tweets that lobby for Mike Sims-Walker to bring his talents to South Beach are below:
@Mattst99 if we had @MikeSimsWalker it'll be a show every Sunday.
@MikeSimsWalker where r u taking ur talents?
RT @Str8_Joker: imagine IF @MikeSimsWalker takes his talents to South Beach, he'd reunite with @BMarshall19 , talk about a top 5 WR duo in the NFL
RETWEET MikeSimsWalker RT @ProFootballTalk: Mike Sims-Walker would like to follow in LeBron's footsteps http://wp.me/p14QSB-v4J... http://tmi.me/85zri
I'm D-Wade and @MikeSimsWalker is Lebron.
While this may all appear like Marshall is just trying to reunite with a buddy, the Dolphins signing Sims-Walker would actually make a lot of sense. Jeff Ireland admitted himself that the Dolphins need to add more speed. Sims-Walker would be a useful asset for the Dolphins as a target that could help stretch the field. Looking at the Dolphins’ offense, there isn’t one player that makes defenses wary of the home-run.
Sims-Walker ran in the mid 4.3’s in his pre-draft workouts back in 2007. That’s the type of speed this offense could use if they want to be more explosive and produce more big-gainers in 2011. The move makes perfect sense on paper, but whether or not the Dolphins will be willing to dish out a lucrative contract to a receiver, a position that could use some more speed but doesn’t necessarily have to have it, in an offseason where offensive guard, running back, quarterback, and tight end are more pressing needs, is up for debate.
It would probably all depend on whether or not Sims-Walker is willing to give the Dolphins a bit of a discount to stay in his home state and play with his old college teammate. Based on these tweets, though, I’m sure Marshall has been in his ear, trying to convince him to do just that. With no end in sight to the lockout, however, Marshall and Sims-Walker are going to have to be patient to hear the Dolphins answer to all of this.
Dolphins awarded 7th-round compensatory draft pick
It probably won’t amount to anything, but the Dolphins were awarded the 234th overall selection of the 2011 NFL Draft today for the departures of Jason Taylor and nickel back Nate Jones in free agency last offseason. It’s not likely, but who knows, that pick could be used to find a real late-round gem.
Bill Parcells now officially has no ties to the Dolphins. The Big Tuna stepped down from his role as a consultant with the team to take a draft analyst position with ESPN today.
Under Parcells’ watch as vice president of football operations, the Dolphins rebounded from their worse season in franchise history by pulling off one of the most improbable playoff berths in league history in 2008. After a mediocre 2009 season, though, that saw the Dolphins finish 7-9, Parcells relinquished full control of player personnel to Jeff Ireland before the 2010 season.
So, really, today’s news means nothing at all. Parcells was basically just getting paid top dollar to poke his head in the door every now and then. Still though, now that Parcells officially has no title with the team, it’s as good of a time as ever to reflect on the few years he spent in Miami.
As a coach and football mind, Parcells’ legacy is as intact as any NFL legend. But here in South Beach, how exactly will Dolphins fans recall Parcells’ impact on this franchise? Back in 2007, the Dolphins were the laughing stock of the entire league. They were a fluke 64-yard Cleo Lemon hookup with Greg Camarillo away from completing the first 0-16 season in NFL history. They were in the lowest of lows. They were in a place one of the most storied franchises in the league should never be. They needed an icon to restore respectability, to restore hope.
Bill Parcells was just what the Dolphins needed. From the moment he stepped in the door, a culture change was almost simultaneous. But just because the man was respected and could instantly change the perception of an entire franchise, was he really the reason the Dolphins were able to pull off such a drastic turnaround? no comments