So NFL Draft 2011 has come and gone, and while I was out of town for 10 days, I was fortunate enough (or unfortunate as it were) to catch Day 1 of the Draft on TV. And like Matty, I was hoping, if anything, we wouldn't draft Mike Pouncey with the #15 pick. My rationale was similar to Matty's: it wouldn't be a great value to draft a Guard/C that high with other pressing needs to the roster. Obviously, that's exactly what the Dolphins did and regrettably, the passing of time hasn't softened my stance much on this.
I'm also not terribly enthralled with trading up for Daniel Thomas and losing our 5th round pick. Admittedly, I've never seen Thomas play so I will minimize my criticism somewhat, but is Thomas really a significantly upgrade over someone like Ronnie Brown? Couldn't we have used an element of speed in the backfield for the first time in like... ever? Thomas also has fumble and hamstring issues, and apparently goes down easily, so without good speed, I question the need to reach for Thomas here.
The one pick I did like was the selection of Edmond Gates. Like most others, I like the speed element to his game. If he can develop into a 50 catch guy with a >15 ypc average, this would be a nice selection. This pick satisfied both our need for a speedy receiver to stretch the field while providing great value in Round 4.
The rest of the draft I can't really comment on since I haven't seen these guys play. All you can hope for is that 1 guy pans out and contributes to the team in due course. It's a total crap shoot from Round 6 through UFA.
The bottom line from my perspective is that the Dolphins drafted poorly. My biggest complaint is that the front office didn't maximize the value of their picks, and failed to make a bold move the team needs to become elite. This is not a prediction that Pouncey or Thomas won't become good players, because they certainly might (especially Pouncey). But the fact remains the Dolphins drafted the safe "plug & play" type player instead of the high upside type player. I think we could have done much better relative to our spot in the draft. For example:
The Dolphins owned the #15 and #79 overall picks (which turned into #15 and #61 Minus Pick #111) and took Pouncey & Thomas respectively. The Packers owned the #32 & #96 pick and picked (OL) Derek Sherrod & (RB) Alex Green. Yet, despite the Dolphins much higher selections, it could be argued the Packers came out even in terms of talent and future production. Some might disagree, but are Pouncey and Thomas REALLY that much better than what the Packers drafted at similar positions much later in the draft? I don't think so at all.
Also, I question the Dolphins decision to draft OL at #15 instead of trading down to accumulate more picks. If the club didn't want to draft a QB then fine, I can live with that (although I still think we should have traded down and grabbed Kaepernick or even Mallett later). But why not trade down to late first and grab Gabe Carimi plus get an additional 2nd or 3rd round pick in that instance? Is Pouncey so much better than Carimi that you have to take him at #15 instead of stockpiling extra early picks?
At the end of the day, this draft reeked of a "plug and play" type scenario from a front office that's more concerned with improving the team NOW than building for the future. There was no value to be found at all except for the Gates pick, and another guard/C at #15 was a poor choice of pick IMO (although I think Pouncey can become good). Not thrilled with Thomas either as it's more same 'ol same 'ol in the backfield. I give this draft a D+.