So it's official. We've gotten to that part of the year pessimists like to call the "offseason". For me, though, is more like the "on season". Okay, stop it. Why do bloggers always try to be funny in that I-don't-take-life-too-seriously way? At least try to go for the occasional english wit. A jab here, a jab there. Even a gender joke or what do I know.
Okay. The offseason works in extremely strange ways. And more often than not we use to forget this.
There comes a point in time where - after very insightful and respectful debate, plus people incessantly doing
this to validate a point of view-
the community here at The Phinsider agrees to determine what this team's most pressing needs are. Thus, what the "obvious" offseason moves should be. Then the "onseason" comes -first with Free Agency and then the Draft- and all of a sudden we realize we might have been a bit "off" on our predictions.
Exhibit "A": At this time of the year back in 09, we had no idea who Gibril Wilson was. Much less that he was a strong candidate to become a very highly paid Dolphin. It should be noted that to this day many people around here don't have a clear idea of who he is. Just the other day I heard someone say Girbril was the "opposing offense's most dangerous weapon week in and week out". I have to agree.
Exhibit "B". Mike Nolan. Where the heck did this come from you might ask. I don't. Because I know this fits right into this theory Im trying to explain.
However, lets take a look at 3 offseason factors that played a huge role last year in determining how this roster would look like come OTAs. And yes -you guessed it- the outcome was not even close to what some of us around here had in mind.
1- Parcells doing un-Parcells-like moves
Last year, at the end of the season, most of the people around here were convinced of two things: One, we really needed a cornerback to start opposite Will Allen. A true playmaker. And two, we had a #1 receiver in Brandon London (I laugh about these poor souls too this day).
The thing ,though, was that Parcells "didn't draft corners in the first round". And just like that we had to throw out the window the idea of drafting a corner in the first round. Matty focused a lot -and did a great interview- on a NT named Ron Brace. We also talked about then free agent Karlos Dansby as a serious possibility. And, of course, the ultimate Bill Parcells' cliche; the next Lawrence of Alabia. I mean, the next Lawrence Taylor. Matty had us taking OLB Clint Sintim in his first mock draft.
Then -of course- the Draft comes around and the Dolphins draft a CB. Improbable? yes. Un-Parcells like? absolutely.
But it happened.
2- Players move up, players move down
This offseason common mistake is even worse.
The Super Bowl hasn't even been played and people already have "locks" at every possible slot in the draft. Jimmy Clausen is a sure thing for #1 overall. Rolando McClain is not to go past the 10th pick. Dez Bryant will be the first wideout taken without a doubt, etc.
Well, last year Rey Maualuga was projected to go at #12 to the Broncos. There was people -including me- that would throw a spell to anybody that suggested Maualuga would be there where the Dolphins picked. It was impossible. He ended going in the second round to Cincinnati. In a similar case, James Laurinatis was a top prospect back in April. It was widely believed that, had he left college one year earlier, he would've been a top 5 pick. He, too, fell to the second round of the draft.
Finally, Vontae Davis. He was, by far, the most physically gifted athlete -not to mention cornerback- in the entire Draft. By that alone he could have been a top 6 pick, just like his brother. Then the media and rumor machinery got going and the question marks about Vontae's character didn't take long to follow. On draft day he inexplicably dropped to the Dolphins at #25. I might add that to this day Vontae hasn't had a single episode involving said issues.
On the other hand, there are the guys that climb a handful of spots through the media ladder. Mark Sanchez is the perfect example. Before the combine he was regarded as a low first round pick project. Having left school early, with extremely limited experience, thus lots of question Marks. :) Then he hoped on the media express and after a handful of interviews in the NFL Network and appearances on ESPN -plus a weird "lets see how big your hand is" moment with John Gruden- he was thrown into the mix with Matt Stafford as a candidate for the #1 overall pick. He ended up going with the 5th pick to Cleveland.
3- Always expect a surprise
Pat White. Enough said.
In conclusion, I sure am looking forward to debating and analyzing different points of view throughout the offseason regarding Free Agency and the Draft. However, I hope this serves as an example of why everybody needs to keep an open mind. After all, last year proved that nothing is written in stone.