Early thoughts about draft weekend

Over the coming days and weeks, we're going to really break down what the Dolphins did in the draft.  But one thing you won't see here are "draft grades."  Why?  Because it's impossible to grade a draft class that hasn't even ptaken the field in a practice yet.  Most agree it takes 2 or 3 seasons to really evaluate if a draft was good or bad.  So why do so many insist on trying to determine how good a draft was just days (or sometimes hours) after the draft is over?

I'm not going to do that.  Instead, let's just talk about some of this weekend's developments.

WHAT IS A "REACH"?
This is something I don't understand.  Why are so many Dolphin fans saying that Pat White was a reach in round two?  Or saying Patrick Turner was a reach in round three?  Here's the thing.  We think they are reaches because guys like Mel Kiper tell us they are based on how they graded out the player.  But I think this draft was a perfect example of how inaccurate all of these pre-draft mock drafts are and how we really don't know at all what teams are thinking.  If you listen to the draft experts of the world, you would think that there were a ton of "reaches" in this draft by many teams. 

But these teams have information we don't.  Maybe Pat White would have been drafted by the Patriots or Cowboys in round two if we didn't take him at #44.  Maybe another team was seriously considering Patrick Turner or Brian Hartline until we selected them.  It's unfair to call any of these picks "reaches" because we simply don't know how far that player would have fallen if we had passed on them.  And doing so is basically displaying ignorance because none of us have the information that our front office had.

Do I think we could have gotten Pat White or Patrick Turner a round later than we did?  Maybe.  It's certainly possible.  But if Bill Parcells and Jeff Ireland liked the player a lot, why take the risk on missing out?  To me, our front office showed that they have the guts to stick to their gut and make the selection they feel is best - regardless of how others might feel.

I don't know about all of you, but I'm going to trust this regime until they give me a reason not to.

But it was GM Jeff Ireland who said it best on Sunday, when asked about the draft critics and their criticism of some picks:

“I would say that the ones that are projecting them and are not in the draft room and aren’t in the business, really don’t know what we go through. We keep it highly secretive, its highly confidential information, our scouts don’t talk and so I don’t know where some people would get their information. Unless they have been on the road scouting, like myself and our other scouts who do a tremendous job, they would not know the needs of the teams are, sometimes they don’t know the character of the player, they are just kind of going out there and I don’t know where they are getting their information. So I don’t pay much attention to it to be honest with you and don’t really care to be honest with you.”

WHAT THE DRAFT TELLS US ABOUT OUR VETERANS
Lost in all of the picks that were made is what the picks might reveal about how Miami's front office feels about the players currently on the roster.  The Dolphins didn't address the supposed need at outside linebacker.  I think this says a lot about Cameron Wake, the CFL star Miami signed this offseason.  It could also say a lot about Erik Walden - a special teams standout who is also a pass-rushing OLB.  And don't sleep on Charlie Anderson.  This regime was high on him when they signed him last offseason and he began to make some plays during the second half of last season in his limited playing time.

The Dolphins didn't draft any interior offensive line help, either.  This has to be a sign that both Donald Thomas and Justin Smiley are progressing very well from their injuries last season.

On the flip side, the Dolphins spent two day one picks on cornerbacks - Vontae Davis and Sean Smith.  Personally I'm thrilled and I think what this tells me is that Jason Allen better show something during training camp or else the JA experiment could be over and he could go down as one of Miami's biggest draft busts.

And the selection of two big wide receivers - Patrick Turner and Brian Hartline - could be a sign that the Ernest Wilford debacle could be coming to a close.  His cap hit will no longer be a reason to keep him around - as the Dolphins do have the room to send him packing.

WHY PATRICK TURNER AND BRIAN HARTLINE?
Without a doubt, taking these two big wide receivers back-to-back in the 3rd and 4th rounds today created a stir among Dolphin fans.  But I'm actually excited to see these two take the field because I think that hitting on at least one of these big receivers will go a long way towards improving Miami's offense.

Here's what Jeff Ireland said about Turner:

"We feel real good about this young man.  He is a big, tall receiver; I think he runs excellent routes.  He scored ten touchdowns last year, he’s a playmaker, he’s played inside, he’s played outside, he’s smart.  I think he’s got some versatility and some very good hands.  A highly recruited player coming out of high school, played at a very successful program.  They know how to develop receivers there (USC), who usually go on to get drafted.  I feel really good about this young man."

Turner himself compares himself to a Marques Colston type of player - which to me reads as a big, physical possession receiver who runs good routes.

Hartline seems like the kind of kid that we're all going to enjoy rooting for.  He comes off as a kid who will do whatever it takes to get on the field and be successful.  Hartline compares himself to fellow Buckeye WR Anthony Gonzalez, saying:

"I like what he does. I like what he brings to the table. But I'm my own player. I don't know what Miami has in mind, but whatever they have in mind I'll get the job done."

Hartline added:

"I'm a big kickoff coverage guy. I love cracking heads."

If nothing else, the selections of Turner and Hartline will add to the number of things we have to watch for when camp opens.

OTHER HIGHLIGHTS FROM IRELAND'S PRESS CONFERENCE ON SUNDAY
-Says Chris Clemons is a big, aggressive safety with good cover skills and will "contribute to the roster very well."

-Says Andrew Gardner will be a left tackle - he's got "left tackle feet" and is very smart.

-Says J.D. Folsom is a "developmental candidate" who is a smart kid and a "real good core special teams player."

-Says the Dolphins haven't discussed the idea of bringing Jason Taylor back in any detail yet.

-Says Miami plans to bring in 8 to 10 undrafted free agents.

-Says he and Bill Parcells are more comfortable drafting from bigger schools they start a lot of games and there's a lot of film on them - meaning you don't have to guess as much.

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