I thought it was a sure thing when the words trade flashed on the screen. With Ryan Mallett continuing to descend, and with a few quarterback hungry teams waiting in the top half of the third round, it appeared the Dolphins were trading up with the Washington Redskins to snag arguably a top ten talent at the game’s most important position near the end of round two.
Instead, the front office chose to give up their 3rd (79th), 5th (146th) and 217th overall selection in the 7th for Kansas St. running back Daniel Thomas. Thomas is a back that could have been available with the 79th pick, so I’m a little bit surprised that Ireland felt trading up was necessary.
Many felt like the Dolphins would look to draft a scat back, with speed supposedly being a top priority this offseason, but Thomas fits the power, workhorse mold. They will likely be bringing in another back this offseason, though, whether it be later on this weekend with one of their remaining picks or in free agency, so expect a speedy back to be acquired eventually.
With Mike Pouncey and now Thomas on board, the Dolphins are rebuilding their running game and getting back to their identity. I know many fans wanted Mallett here, as did I, but with Mike Nolan’s defense possibly bordering elite status in 2011, maybe a great running game is the only thing preventing the Dolphins from sneaking into the playoffs.
We all assumed the Dolphins lost out on a second-round pick when they were unable to trade down out of the 15th spot last night.
But according to the NFL Network’s Jason La Canfora and Evan Silva of NBC Sports, the Dolphins have been on the phones today in an attempt to trade up into the second round.
The feeling is that they want to jump ahead of the Raiders who select 48th. If that is indeed the case, it’s quite possible that the Dolphins are targeting Colin Kaepernick, as the Raiders reportedly let Colin know he is number one on their draft board.
Other possibilities would be Andy Dalton and Ryan Mallett, but I think it’s fairly obvious that if the Dolphins are trying to acquire a second-round pick, they are doing so because there is a quarterback they want.
The price to make such a move would be costly, however. Without having a second-round pick to swap with another team, the Dolphins would possibly have to give up a selection as high as next year’s first, but more than likely this year’s third, fourth, and a mid-round selection in 2012.
If the Dolphins are convicted either Kaepernick, Dalton, or Mallett can be a franchise quarterback, it would be worth it. But if they feel so strongly about one of them, you have to wonder why they didn’t just take whoever it is at fifteen.
You all know where I stand on this, though. I’ve been a huge advocate of Ryan Mallett throughout this whole process. I just feel like some team is going to get a great steal whenever Mallett comes off the board tonight. He’s the only player I would give up so many picks to move into the second round for. But that’s just me.
I get the feeling the Dolphins would make such a move for Colin Kaepernick. Besides wanting to leapfrog the Raiders, who appear to be a strong contender to draft Kaepernick, Jason La Canfora reported earlier today that the Dolphins strongly considered taking him at fifteen. And this isn’t the first time Kaepernick has been linked to Miami.
It’s not that I dislike the kid. I think he’s got great tools and a fantastic head on his shoulders. But I just worry how he will transition to a pro-style offense after running the pistol at Nevada. He seems like the definition of a project to me. I don’t know if this regime has time to invest in a project.
Reactions to the Dolphins drafting Mike Pouncey with their first-round pick have been mixed amongst Dolphins fans. Everyone pretty much agrees Pouncey should provide the boost the offensive line needs to get the running game back on track, but many wanted to see this front office swing for the fences on a quarterback.
I have to say, though, the more I think about it, knowing in advance the Dolphins couldn’t trade down, there isn’t one player I would have taken over Pouncey outside of Ryan Mallett. Fifteen is too high for a running back, there isn’t a speed receiver or tight end that could have been had outside of a gigantic reach, and quarterbacks like Andy Dalton and Colin Kaepernick don’t have franchise QB potential in my opinion.
It’s really pointless to judge a draft until the players are given a couple years. So if we look back on this draft a few years from now, and Mike Pouncey has solidified the Dolphins’ interior O-line, while Ryan Mallett never emerges as a solid NFL starter, we will all be able to rest assured Jeff Ireland and company made a wise decision.
With Pouncey growing on me some, I thought I would put together a few videos in his honor. Unfortunately, you can’t find too many highlight videos for offensive lineman, but I did find Jeff Ireland explaining the pick in his presser last night, Todd McShay condoning the Dolphins’ decision, a Sports Science feature that shows Pouncey go a perfect 30 for 30 on shotgun snaps, and one brief, but well done highlight clip. Enjoy.
Another first round has come and gone, and the Dolphins have given us another “blah” first-round pick. Sure, Mike Pouncey addresses a need for Miami, as they desperately needed interior offensive line help, but it’s a very conservative pick.
Even if Pouncey turns out to be a solid starter from day one and eventually a Pro Bowl caliber player, an interior offensive lineman isn’t going to put the Dolphins over the top. They’re still a mediocre to decent team regardless of whether Pouncey pans out or not.
If you roll the dice on a potential franchise quarterback like Ryan Mallett, though, the Dolphins would have possibly selected a guy that could have taken them to contender status. Of course, there would have been a much greater chance of Mallett busting, but with a higher risk comes a much higher reward.
But enough about what could have happened today, let’s focus on what the Dolphins now have. What they have is hopefully the first step in the right direction to a reborn running game. The biggest question I had before Jeff Ireland’s presser tonight was whether or not Pouncey was drafted to play guard or center for the Dolphins. My original thought was guard because the Dolphins resigned Richie Incognito, who was average at best at left guard but showed promise in limited action at center.
As always, it seems the Dolphins’ line of thinking differs from mine. “He’s a center on my board,” Ireland told the media. "Right now we're going to line him up at center.”
If the Dolphins feel Pouncey is better suited to play center, then by all means play him at center. But what that does tell me is the Dolphins still have some work to do in order to shore up their interior O-line. If they intend on keeping Richie Incognito at left guard, competition probably needs to be brought in because I have my doubts he can be anything more than so-so at guard being that he has a difficult time when asked to pull.
The right side is also far from settled. Nate Garner, who will be returning from a foot injury that sidelined him for the entire 2010 season, is expected to compete with John Jerry for the time being, but both are far from sure bets. Having said all of that, I wouldn’t be terribly shocked if the Dolphins drafted another interior offensive lineman sometime this weekend; particularly a guard that is athletic enough to be an effective puller.
If they pass on another lineman, they better dish out some cash for a proven veteran when free agency starts, which is expected to begin in the next few days. Either way, Pouncey is far from the last piece of the puzzle when it comes to returning the Dolphins’ running game to respectability, especially when you consider two new running backs still need to be drafted or signed.
After a crazy, unexpected first fourteen selections, the Dolphins make a safe pick by drafting Mike Pouncey. Unfortunately, Jeff Ireland and company weren’t able to find a trade-down partner, even with a stud cornerback like Prince Amukamara still on the board.
The Dolphins also resisted the trend of taking a quarterback with Andy Dalton, Colin Kaepernick, and Ryan Mallett still available, after an unforeseen run of four quarterbacks in the first twelve picks.
As far as Pouncey goes, he’s a player I wasn’t very high on headed into the draft. I just feel like his stock was skyrocketed by the success of his brother Maurkice with the Steelers. But it can’t be argued that the Dolphins desperately needed to upgrade their interior offensive line.
Yes, I feel like Chad Henne’s wildly inconsistent ways held the Dolphins back in 2010, but the problems on offense started with not being able to run the football. And it didn’t matter if the Dolphins retained Ronnie and Ricky, signed DeAngelo Williams, or drafted Mark Ingram, they weren’t going to improve the running game until the interior O-line was remolded. So taking the highest rated interior offensive lineman makes sense to some degree.
I am interested to see if the Dolphins keep Pouncey at center or allow him to move back to guard. Most believe they resigned Richie Incognito to play center, where he showed some promise in relief duty in 2010. We have plenty of time to discuss that, though.
I will have more to come on the pick later tonight or tomorrow morning. Enjoy the rest of the first round.
The day has finally arrived. After months of speculation, smokescreens, and frequently changing mock drafts, the day die-hard NFL fans have been anticipating since the final whistle of the Super Bowl is here. We’ve come a long way since the beginning of the offseason, but we are no closer today than we were in January from pinpointing who the Dolphins’ first-round selection will be.
Yesterday on ESPN, Jeff Darlington of the Miami Herald picked Ryan Mallett in Sports Center’s mock draft, his co-worker Armando Salguero wrote this morning that the Dolphins are unlikely to select a quarterback in round one, the Palm Beach Post’s Ben Volin selected OT Gabe Carimi in his final mock, Omark Kelly of the Sun-Sentinel took Mike Pouncey, NFL.com’s Pat Kirwin predicted the unthinkable with Brian Gabbert slipping all the way to fifteen, and NFL network insider Jason LaCanfora seems pretty confident the Dolphins will surprise by drafting Colin Kaepernick.
As you can see, nobody can agree on anything. The Dolphins are just that hard to put your finger on in this year’s draft. Anything is possible tonight. Don’t get your hopes up for your favorite quarterback in this year’s class, and certainly don’t rule out off-the-radar prospects like UNC’s Robert Quinn, who wouldn’t address a pressing need but could be the best player available when Miami is on the clock. With that said, let me add to the mayhem by posting my final Dolphins’ seven-round mock.
Round 1, Pick 15: Dolphins trade 15th overall selection to team in picks 25-32 for that team’s 1st, 2nd, and 6th round selections- Most aren’t as optimistic as last year that the Dolphins will find a trade-down partner and acquire a second-round pick, but with free agency expected to start on Monday, I see someone willing to sacrifice a second round pick to land one of the premiere pass rushers or offensive tackles in this year’s class.
Round 1, Pick (25-32): Ryan Mallett, QB, Arkansas- Reports are circulating around the web that the Dolphins are unlikely to draft Ryan Mallett because of the “character concerns” that have haunted him throughout the entire scouting process. But I’m sticking to the pick I’ve made all offseason. I don’t think the Dolphins have tipped their hand by letting it leak out that they likely won’t take Mallett. Either those reports are just opinion or the Dolphins are throwing out a pre-draft smokescreen.
I just can’t wrap my mind around how Mallett can be the fifth and sixth quarterback on some of the “expert’s” boards. Like I’ve said all offseason, Mallett has elite size and arm strength, he played in a pro-style system, meaning he actually knows how to take a snap under center and go through progressions, and he’s arguably the only quarterback in this year’s draft that could potentially immediately contribute. This regime doesn’t have the time to invest in a project, but they must realize the Dolphins will never emerge as a legitimate contender until they find a franchise quarterback.
As the ongoing labor dispute continues, even now as the lockout has been lifted, we will continue to focus our attention strictly on the draft. The major news outlets do a great job of explaining the uncharted waters the league is currently in, and frankly it’s hard for me to wrap my mind around the ramifications of Judge Nelson denying a “stay” as expected. So we will keep our focus on the draft, while the league potentially turns to chaos.
We’ve talked all offseason about players like Mark Ingram, Mike Pouncey, and Ryan Mallett. Players that would fill pressing needs for the Dolphins if taken in Thursday’s first round. But it’s important to keep an open mind when dealing with this front office. Last year’s draft should have taught us our lesson.
In 2010, most of the pre-draft speculation centered on outside linebacker, nose tackle, and free safety prospects. What did the Dolphins do? Only shock us all by taking defensive end Jared Odrick with Randy Starks, Kendall Langford, and Phillip Merling already on the roster.
The next day we learned that the Dolphins planned on moving Randy Starks to nose tackle, which rationalized the pick. Ultimately, though, that decision didn’t last as Starks was forced back over to end due to injuries to Merling and Odrick, and Paul Soliai went on to blossom at nose.
The point being, don’t limit your expectations for what the Dolphins will do with their first-round pick, whenever it will be made. It’s clear that Jeff Ireland prefers the best player available strategy early on, and in the event that the Dolphins are unable to trade down, I doubt he would be willing to reach for a player that would fill a need but doesn’t grade out as a mid-first round prospect on his board.
It’s important to keep in mind that the Dolphins’ board could drastically differ from the experts’ projections. For example, just because Ryan Mallett doesn’t grade out as a first-round pick to Mel Kiper, the Dolphins could easily have him ranked near the top of their board. But there are several prospects that aren’t being discussed among Dolphins fans that could easily be on Ireland’s radar. Without further ado, here are the top five prospects the Dolphins could surprise us with tomorrow night.
1. Aldon Smith, OLB, Missouri: I’ve seen some Dolphins’ writers and bloggers pencil in Robert Quinn as the pass rusher the front office could surprisingly take in round one. I highly doubt Quinn falls all the way to the 15th pick, though. Aldon Smith, on the other hand, is a realistic option if the Dolphins decide to forgo addressing their offensive needs in the first and attempt to sure up their pass rush opposite Cameron Wake instead. Smith has all the tools to be a double-digit sack guy at the next level and could potentially be the last piece to an elite defense in Miami.
2. Gabe Carimi, OT, Wisconsin: We all know the Dolphins need to upgrade the interior offensive line, but if Carimi is the best player available when they select at 15, Vernon Carey’s time in Miami may be numbered. Carey has been a very solid starter for the Dolphins for seven years now, but has had a difficult time staying healthy lately and has seemingly lost a step or two. He’s also compensated fairly well; possibly a little too much for the Dolphins’ liking. Carimi is a good all-around tackle that could potentially be ready to start from day one.