Weekend Roundup: Talking Davone Bess, Jason Taylor & more

Not too much going on right now - unless you care about the Davone Bess "Twittergate" situation that you can read about here.  I heard back from the Dolphins officials I contacted and they told me they would have their security team investigate it.  Finstache also points out that the "likely impostor" has changed his Twitter name to two different times.  I also notice that he has changed his photos from Davone Bess to Michael Jackson.  But now it seems as though none of the account names he has used in the past are working.  It looks like the impostor is running scared.  Again - once I get official confirmation that it isn't actually Bess, I'll pass that along.

But now let's get to some "real" news - though there isn't much to focus on from this past weekend, to be honest.

DAVONE BESS GETTING SOME NATIONAL MEDIA LOVE
Let's talk about some relevant news regarding Davone Bess.  Remember - this is a guy who had the second best rookie season ever for an undrafted free agent receiver - topped only by Wayne Chrebet's season.  While he didn't get much love in the media outside of Miami last year, Scout.com's Ed Thompson took note.  In his recent article for FOX Sports in which Thompson makes seven points about the upcoming NFL season, point number five is all about Davone:

Point 5:  Dolphins WR Davone Bess will once again make 31 teams wonder how they overlooked him during the 2008 NFL Draft.

The former Hawaii wide receiver really impressed me back in February, 2008 during a one-hour session where selected members of the media were able to view an hour of quarterback and wide receiver workouts at the NFL Combine. Afterward, I wrote that Bess, "did some outstanding work during the gauntlet drill, showing his quick reaction time, good acceleration and strong concentration skills. But he also impressed with his cutting skills while running his routes and for his ability to locate the ball and make over-the-shoulder catches in stride."

Despite three consecutive seasons of at least 1,100 yards receiving, including an outstanding senior year in which he made 108 catches for 1,266 yards and 12 scores, no one used a draft pick on the talented young player.

I'm not sure who was stunned more by that oversight — me or Davone Bess.

"Obviously, it was really disappointing not getting drafted," he told me during a recent interview. "But at the same time, I use every negative thing and turn it into a positive. I try to just go out and prove everybody wrong."

Lost in the shuffle of the magical season last year was Davone's performance down the stretch when he was asked to start ball games.  Davone started the final 6 games of the year and caught 35 passes for 366 yards - leading the team in both receptions and receiving yards over that span.  And if you prorate his numbers out over a 16 game season, the total is an impressive 93-976 line.  In fact, Davone's 54 receptions ranked him third in the league last year among rookies.

However, with Ted Ginn now entering his third year in the league, Greg Camarillo returning from his knee injury, and the addition of two rookies from April's draft, Bess has his work cut out for him if he wants to see an increase in playing time in 2009.  But his hands and quickness should really help cement him into the role of slot receiver.

I'll wrap this up with two interesting stats about Bess.  First off, he led all Dolphin receivers and tight ends (with at least 10 receptions) with a catch percentage of 72%.  But more importantly, Chad Pennington looked to no player more than Bess on 3rd down situations in which the Dolphins needed 6 or more yards to go.  Bess was targeted 15 times, catching 10 of them - with 6 first downs.  That right there says a lot.

JASON TAYLOR RANKED AS 5TH BEST PLAYER OF THIS DECADE
ESPN recently released a list of the 25 greatest players of this decade.  And wouldn't you know that our very own Jason Taylor was ranked 5th overall.  In fact, no defensive player was ranked ahead of Taylor.  Champ Bailey (6th), Michael Strahan (8th), and Ray Lewis (9th) were the next highest rated defenders.

Am I surprised by this?  Of course.  We all know how great Taylor is.  But to see him ranked ahead of Strahan and Lewis pleasantly surprised me.  Upon further look, though, Taylor had 15 more sacks than Strahan since 2000.  And while Ray Lewis was a dominant player, he also had some dominant teammates to help him out.

And that brings me to my next point.  I have to argue that Zach Thomas should not have been left off the list.  Now ESPN does acknowledge that Thomas was one of the final cuts off the list.  But I just can't help but argue my case - that Thomas shouldn't be ranked too far past Lewis.  Lewis has just 1 more Pro Bowl appearance this decade than Zach does.  Thomas recorded more tackles than Lewis this decade (1175 to 1047).  Sure - Lewis has a slim lead in the impact play categories (5.5 more sacks, 1 more fumble forced, 11 more interceptions, and 1 more touchdown).  But I don't think that's enough to have Thomas ranked out of the top 25 if you have Lewis ranked in the top 10.

Either way, though, congratulations to JT for getting the accolades he deserves.

THE JAKE LONG/RYAN CLADY DEBATE IS POINTLESS
I understand that people love to find ways to put down the top pick in the NFL Draft all the time.  Last year, even though Jake Long was voted into the Pro Bowl, many people wanted to put down the rookie whenever they got the chance.  And because Ryan Clady allowed 2 fewer sacks than Long did, people wanted to start a Long vs Clady debate.  As Edgar Thompson points out, that debate is still ongoing.

Sure, Clady's sabermetric stats are better than Long's.  I'm not arguing that.  What I am arguing is that this is a pointless discussion.  The fact of the matter is you can't compare left tackles from two different teams simply by stats.  Circumstances are different.  Situations are different.  Their teammates are different.  The way opposing teams gameplan are different.  There are just too many variables in play here.

But more importantly, the Dolphins could not have spent their #1 overall pick on Clady.  He was too much of a risk and the Dolphins would have been laughed right out of Radio City if they made Clady the pick.  If the Dolphins were going to go LT with that pick, the selection has to be Long.   He had less risk.  He was the consensus #1 tackle on everyone's board.  So trying to now argue that the Dolphins should have taken Clady - as some seem to think - is a case where hindsight is 20/20 - as always.  But when you think back to the '08 draft process, there wasn't one person who thought the Dophins should take Clady.  He was too raw - too risky to invest #1 pick money in.

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