We're only about two and a half weeks away from the NFL Draft and, needless to say, the draft is all people are talking about right now. The same thing goes for the media.
So here's an Easter weekend roundup, very heavy on the draft.
working out lots of prospects, with one very noticeable exception
Historically with this regime, we have no idea if having a player in to workout at the team facility actually means anything. Well with that said, the parade of college players has started and will continue between now and the draft.
In addition to hosting Dez Bryant last week, the Dolphins also had outside linebacker prospects Jason Worilds (Virginia Tech) and Austin Spitler (Ohio St.). These three guys, by the way, count against the league-mandated 30 players a team can host at their headquarters. But note that visits with players who have South Florida ties are not limited at all.
And that brings me to this next bit of info. Two players who grew up in the South Florida area will be among the large contingent the Dolphins will host during their local prospects workout that is coming up in the next week or so. One is Clemson receiver Jacoby Ford while the other is Florida safety Major Wright. And I like both of these kids.
Ford might be just 5'9. But he's got the kind of blazing speed that is only matched by Chris Johnson in the NFL. His official 4.28 40 time at the Combine was the fastest of any player this year. But he's not just a guy with track star speed. Unlike our own speedster, Ted Ginn, Ford is quick and can make tacklers miss in the open field. And despite his small stature (5'9, 186 pounds), he's a tough kid who does not shy away from contact. To me, all of this adds up to an elite return man who can also contribute a little bit as a receiver (he did catch 110 passes and 10 touchdowns combined over the past two seasons). But the question with Ford becomes how early is too early to draft a player like Ford?
Va Tech's Jason Worilds is also a guy we should all take note of. Like it says above, he's coming in as one of the 30 non-South Florida players for a workout. He's 6'1 1/4" and 256 pounds, running a 4.7 at the Combine. He's got very good strength and will play the run as effectively as he rushes the passer. Like Jerry Hughes, though, he is on the short side (Hughes is actually taller with longer arms). But if prototypical size is as important to this regime as we all think, passing on a Hughes in round one or two in favor of a Worilds in round three would make sense.
One guy who has not been brought to Miami for an official visit is Tennessee nose tackle Dan Williams. Williams confirmed on Friday that he is "hoping to hear from them" but hasn't yet. Does this mean anything? It could. But it probably doesn't. After all, the Dolphins had essentially a full week down in Mobile at the Senior Bowl to get to know the big man. And I'm sure you can learn more from coaching practices and one game over the course of four or five days than you can by working the player out individually at the team facility.
Just some more food for thought, I suppose.
Does Parcells "love Tebow"?
As much as I hate to open up the Tim Tebow can of worms, this little blurb deserves some mention. In a piece written over the weekend for NFL.com, Pat Kirwan lists the Dolphins as a potential "darkhorse" candidate to draft Florida QB Tim Tebow. Writes Kirwan:
And now here are some dark horse candidates that may very well have more interest in Tebow than they've let on to this point. I played golf one day with a former NFL head coach who said, "Parcells loves Tebow.":
Bill Parcells loves football players, and Tebow fits the bill. The Dolphins are not swayed by things like how the public feels about Pat White. If Parcells is intrigued enough, then they will consider him.
I guess we shouldn't be surprised with this. If Parcells and this front office could fall in love with Pat White enough last offseason to draft in early in round two, it would make sense for this regime to also fall in love with a better version (though slower) of White.
With that said, there's no way the Dolphins spend another second round pick on a quarterback. That would be four consecutive drafts with a second-round quarterback - three of which would have been by this very front office. And since I'm sure Tebow will be long gone by the time the Dolphins are on the clock in round three, I don't really even think this should be of any concern to us regardless of if you like or dislike Tebow. The Dolphins have too many other needs to worry about with their first two picks. Another gimmicky quarterback is not a priority - no matter what the media may want you to think.
Would Parcells actually agree to drafting Bryant?
ESPN's Tim Graham asks an interesting question. But I say this not for the reasons Graham mentions in his article. In a nut shell, Graham wonders aloud if Bill Parcells and the Dolphins might be more willing to take a risk now with a player like Dez Bryant as this regime enters it's third year in Miami. He talks about Chad Henne needing a play-maker at receiver and how the signing of guard Richie Incognito might be enough evidence that this regime is now willing to take chances on top talent.
That's all well and good. But I am looking at this from a different angle.
There are some out there who believe Bill Parcells likes to find the right troubled player out there and take him under his wing - be a father figure of some sorts. Many believe that's why Parcells and Lawrence Taylor got along so well in NY despite his off-field issues. Bill Parcells didn't draft Keyshawn Johnson with the Jets, but when he got to NY after Key's rookie year, it seemed as though Johnson and Parcells also got along quite well - for the most part.
Some might say that's why Parcells loves Ricky Williams so much. And this theory, if proven to be true, might just sway the decision in Miami to draft troubled receiver Dez Bryant - a player who has a ton of talent but grew up in very tough circumstances and who still clearly has maturity issues. Perhaps Parcells is just what Dez needs...or vice versa.