I have to say that I'm very happy with how day one of the NFL Draft played our for the Dolphins. I know all of you who felt we neeed a true wide receiver at some point on day one might be disappointed. But like I've said, I didn't see wide receiver as a big need. And I'm glad the Dolphins addressed their secondary in a big way on Saturday. The additions of Vontae Davis and Sean Smith really help sure up a secondary that was looking pretty questionable heading into this weekend. And I know it's early to say this - but I couldn't help but think of "Pat Surtain/Sam Madison, version 2.0" when the Dolphins drafted both Davis and Smith. Davis will probably have the more immediate impact - especially since Smith isn't nearly as experienced at the corner position - but both are going to be, at the very least, very solid players.
So first let me highlight those two cornerback picks before we get into Pat White.
Davis, as we know, is a very talented player. Based on talent alone, he's easily a top 10 pick. But "character concerns" dropped his draft stock a bit. But Vontae doesn't see himself as a bad person:
"That is what people keep talking about. But everybody who knows Vontae, knows that I am a great person, a great player and Bill Parcells speaks louder than words and for him to draft me he knows what type of person I am."
Sure, he speaks in third person sometimes. But that's fine. I love his swagger. I love his confidence. Asked about the expectations for his rookie season, Vontae responded, "My expectation is to be the defensive player of the year in the National Football League."
General Manager Jeff Ireland had this to say following the selection of Davis:
"We got Vontae Davis from Illinois. A big corner. Explosive athlete. We feel real good about him. He fits the mold of what we like in corners. He's big. He's physical. He's fast. He can play either man or zone. He can play man off. He plays the run really well, and he's a good kid. We like the player very much. We feel like he can compete for a position right away."
But is he concerned with Vontae's "character questions"?
"I talked to a lot of people that know Vontae, specifically Ron Zook. Coach Zook and I were together with the Kansas City Chiefs. I know him pretty well and called coach Zook himself. He spoke very highly of the young man. Some of the things that he got in trouble with early in his career were not things that really bothered me. And they were when he was younger. He's a competitive kid. He's a gym rat and a good kid. I don't think we have to worry about any integrity problems there, so I felt very comfortable with it talking to the coaches there, and talking to the kid himself. I worked him out and had a nice visit with him. I feel like I know the kid pretty well. I don't have any problems with the kids character....For the 25th pick in the draft I feel like we're drafting a pretty good player. Again, I think you guys are making much to do about nothing."
Let's understand something. Bill Parcells and Jeff Ireland did their homework on Vontae. And, clearly, they like him a lot. They had to in order to pass on players who were slightly less talented than Davis but who were probably "safer" picks in terms of character.
In terms of Sean Smith, Ireland said that while he isn't as experienced as Davis, he's still going to play early on:
“I wouldn’t say he’s more of a project, I would say he hasn’t played the position as long compared to (Vontae) Davis. His skill set is rare for his size. We have to do a good job of continuing to develop those skill sets. I think he will play, and I think he will play pretty early. He was picked a little later in the draft compared to Davis, so he has a little ways to go, but I think he will play pretty early.”
Ireland also made it a point to say that Smith will be a cornerback - not a safety, as some thought he might be in the NFL.
As far as Pat White, this selection created a big stir among Dolphin fans. But I think we all need to reserve judgment on the pick until we see how he's going to be used. I love the pick - honestly. I think he brings some amazing versatility and adds an element of surprise to Miami's offense.
Many wonder how White will be used right out of the gate. We know that Pat has said he wants to play quarterback. But he said he's willing to do whatever the coaches ask:
“I fit fairly well in the Wildcat. That might be my quickest way on the field.”
“I just want the opportunity to play. Do what coaches ask me to do.”
Meanwhile, Ireland said that he does envision White as a quarterback. But he'll also be used in other ways:
"Pat White has an unusual set of skills that can help us. He enhances our offense, and enhances how we'll play [on] offense. He has an unusual skill-set, whether he'll play quarterback, or whether he'll play another position. There will be a lot said about how we'll utilize him. I think we're creative enough as a coaching staff that he'll be able to enhance our offense in a multitude of ways. We're excited to have him and I'm excited to see what this young man can do not only as a quarterback, but in other ways."
Of course, we will talk much more about all of Miami's draft picks in the coming days and weeks.
One last thing. Let's end the Ronnie Broen trade talk. Said Ireland on Saturday about those Ronnie trade rumors:
“We can put them to bed. It’s funny, before the draft, you have a lot of people calling you, a lot of people calling you, and somehow those things take on a life of their own. I’ll give you an example: someone calls me and says ‘any players available by trade?,’ and I say ‘yeah, they are all available for a price.” Someone might have said ‘does that include Ronnie?,’ and I said ‘like I said, they are all available.’ I don’t know if someone took that and ran with it, but we are not looking to trade Ronnie Brown - you can write that.”
Good to hear!
Join us tomorrow beginning at 10 am eastern as round three gets underway.