With OTAs officially getting underway on Tuesday down in Davie, I figured now would be a good time to talk about which "new" Dolphins we are all most excited about. And I swear that I had this idea planned for today for a week or two - before Rzayo24's fanpost on the topic. But since his thread got hijacked, for the most part, I don't see any reason for me to skip this post.
So below are the top 10 "new" Dolphins I'm most excited for. After reading my list, share your list with us.
10) DE Tony McDaniel
McDaniel was acquired from Jacksonville in mid-March for a 7th round draft pick. He's a huge player, measuring in at 6'7, 310 pounds. While he could play anywhere along the defensive line, his combination of height and weight makes him an ideal 3-4 defensive end. He'll likely factor into Miami's defensive line rotation, possibly filling the void left by the released Vonnie Holliday. McDaniel's agent said when the Dolphins traded for him that Miami "got a steal." It'll be interesting to see if that is indeed the case.
9) S Chris Clemons
The Dolphins spent a 5th round pick on this safety from Clemson. Clemons is a very athletic safety. At the Scouting Combine in February, he turned in the fastest time among safeties in the 40 yard dash (4.41 seconds). His 37.5" vertical leap was the 4th best among safeties and he benched 225 pounds 19 times - 7 more than the first safety selected in the draft (Louis Delmas). Clemons also was a standout in shorts at the team's rookie camp. He'll be a player to keep an eye on when the pads go on in training camp.
8) WR Patrick Turner
The Dolphins opened up their day two festivities on draft weekend by selecting this former USC wide receiver with their 3rd round pick. It was a pick met with a lot of criticism - especially from those so-called "draft experts." But Turner is 6'5, 223 pounds with 33" arms. He will likely be looked upon to become the Dolphins receiving redzone threat. His 10 touchdowns in 2008 at USC bode well for his potential in this role in Miami. But I'm anxious to see if he is indeed able to create separation against NFL corners - especially considering he struggled doing so at the collegiate level.
7) DE/OLB Cameron Wake
Back in January, the Dolphins signed "this guy from the CFL" and it went unnoticed for most of the country. But in Miami and in Canada, fans and analysts alike raved about Cameron Wake's potential. The two-time CFL Defensive Player of the Year, who tallied 39 sacks in 2 seasons, will be asked to convert to outside linebacker and will likely have one major role - getting to the quarterback. He's got an explosive first step and knows how to get after the signal caller. But how will he transition to the NFL level while learning what is essentially a new position?
6) C Jake Grove
The signing of Grove back in March really created some arguments among Dolphin fans. But we've since learned that Grove is a much stronger player than former center Samson Satele and he has performed very well against the bigger nose tackles that he has faced. And that's exactly why he was brought in here - to help block guys like Vince Wilfork and Kris Jenkins and to help open running lanes for Miami's talented backs. If he can stay healthy, I think Grove will prove all the naysayers wrong.
5) QB Pat White
I simply can't recall a single Dolphins player who has created the kind of buzz - both locally among Dolphin fans and nationally among general football fans - that Pat White has created in Miami since the Dolphins made White the 44th overall selection in the draft back in April. We have no real clue yet from the coaches about their plans for White - and we likely won't know anything for sure until we see it in the regular season. But what we do know is that White is a proven "winner" and is an exciting football player - no matter where he lines up on the field.
4) S Gibril Wilson
When the Dolphins signed Wilson back in February, many thought that meant the end of Yeremiah Bell in Miami. Little did we know that this regime planned to use Wilson at free safety and to team him up with Bell - who the Fins re-signed later that day - creating perhaps the most physical safety tandem in the NFL. Wilson loves to make the big hit but is also capable of making the big pick. He's got very good speed and should make for a solid upgrade over Miami's recent free safeties. The only question will be how Wilson handles making the secondary calls at the line of scrimmage - a duty usuallt reserved for the free safety.
3) CB Vontae Davis
The Dolphins spent their first round pick on Davis and clearly have high hopes for this kid. While some Dolphin fans were disappointed in his selection, I get the feeling that those same fans are going to love him once they see what he can do on the field. He's a physical corner who loves to hit. He's got good speed and ball skills and has that "swagger" that cornerbacks seem to need to thrive in the league. He was the most physically talented corner in the draft and the Dolphins stole him with the 25th pick. I get the feeling Vontae is going to come in with a chip on his shoulder to prove all those doubters wrong - and us Dolphin fans will reap the rewards.
2) CB Sean Smith
So if I'm so high on Davis, why is Sean Smith higher on my list? I truly believe that the police should be called on the Dolphins - they simply fleeced the entire NFL by taking Smith with the 61st overall pick. Many of you know that Smith was my #1 "mancrush" in this draft. It's simply not every day that you find a 6'3 1/2" corner who can run a 4.47 40 yard dash and have the athleticism to blanket receivers on the outside. And if you need tape to see how good Smith is, I suggest finding video of the 2008 Sugar Bowl between Utah and Alabama. Smith was the defensive star for Utah, registering 6 tackles, a sack, a forced fumble, and perhaps the game's biggest pass deflection - leading Utah to the upset win over the Crimson Tide. I think Smith has the highest ceiling of any corner in the '08 draft and cannot wait to see him wearing the aqua and orange on Sundays.
1) DE/OLB Jason Taylor
Was there ever any doubt? Sure - we aren't getting the vintage Jason Taylor we are accustomed to seeing wearingthe #99 jersey. But when the Dolphins signed Taylor last week, you couldn't help but feel thrilled that one of South Florida's most beloved athletes was returning home. Taylor's decision to come back to Miami grows his legacy here - but also really highlights the kind of transformation we've seen in Miami from 2007 to now. I don't care if Taylor only plays 20 snaps each game. He's going to go out and give it his all whenever he's on the field - and I get the feeling we are in store for at least one more truly unforgettable, classic JT moment at some point in 2009. How can you not be excited for that?