Free Agency Losses:
Reggie Bush: Bush is not getting used as much and Thomas is getting more touches. I think they do not plan on resigning him this offseason. Bush will want a lot of money and it seems Philbin thinks Thomas can do the job just as well. If Miller gets better at pass blocking, we could see a two headed beast like we saw at the start of the season.
Jake Long: Long has not been playing up to the level required to get paid like he will want to this offseason. This will mean he won't be resigned. I think the next team he signs with will let him rest in TC; in order to heal his back injury. He will come back out next season at full strength for some other team. It's a shame.
Free Agency Gains:
Rashard Mendenhall: This one makes a lot of sense. The Steelers have found a good back in Dwyer and will not want to shell out more money to Mendenhall for more of the same. The Dolphins just released their star HB and will want to replace him, as Thomas is not dependable to go a full season without injury. Mendenhall is a big, yet quick back that can break open long runs. I think he fits what this offence wants in its back, so it will be easy to see why we would want to sign him. 4 years, $18 million
Matt Slauson: Slauson has proven to be a powerful guard for the Jets and the Jets are once again in cap hell. I think we will be able to get him without much struggle because of this. He fills an immediate hole along the interior OL and will help open up holes for our other FA. 5 years, $33 million
With the 13th pick of the 2012 Draft, The Miami Dolphins select Jonathon Banks, Cornerback, out of Mississippi State.
This pick will surely help our pass D and will give us a cornerback that quarterbacks are afraid to throw at. This position of need has been written on by many here the past two weeks, so I will not keep beating the horse.
http://youtu.be/lmgOKeeiZOU (Videos are not working for me today)
With the 45th pick of the 2012 NFL Draft, The Miami Dolphins select Quinton Patton, Wide Receiver out of Louisiana Tech.
Patton is a fast, quick WR that has the size to be a true #1 in the NFL. He does not have the bulk to be one of the NFL's insane athletes, but he uses his length well. He can get deep and catches everything thrown at him.
With the 57th pick of the 2012 NFL Draft, The Miami Dolphins select Matt Elam, Safety out of Florida.
Matt Elam is going to be a special safety at the next level, and I will be ecstatic if he wound up in Miami. He has the range to play in our system and the play-making skills we need out of our top safety. Elam will bring a physical presence to the secondary that will keep opposing quarterbacks from having a field day on our secondary.
With the 77th pick of the 2012 NFL Draft, The Miami Dolphins select Oday Aboushi, Offensive Tackle out of Virginia
With our first third round pick, we attempt to replace Jake Long. The combination of Aboushi and Martin will be good duo for the future. It will remain to be seen which one ends up taking the left tackle position, but that will be sorted out in training camp and preseason. Aboushi has a good frame that can be filled out and is an athletic tackle. He has played well his senior year, but will need to gain strength to run block effectively.
With the 91st pick of the 2012 NFL Draft, The Miami Dolphins select James Gayle, Defensive End out of Virginia Tech
James Gayle is an athletic freak. He is raw, but he has shown that he has the physical ability to rush the edge effectively. He needs to do a better job of anticipating the play. He rushes upfield too many times when it is a run and bites on play action. He does, however, blow up many plays. He will get better as he gets a few years in the NFL.
With the 109th pick of the 2012 NFL Draft, The Miami Dolphins select Duke Williams, Safety out of Nevada
Duke will add much needed speed to our secondary. He needs to improve his play on the ball, but his hits are just nasty. He levels wide receivers going deep or over the middle. He has the power to force drops and keep quarterbacks from testing his zone.
With the 141st pick of the 2012 NFL Draft, The Miami Dolphins select Mike Taylor, Linebacker out of Wisconsin
Taylor has terrific instincts and athleticism, but he is only 230 lbs. His ability to cover might push him into the starting lineup and force Burnett to WOLB. If our DTs can keep a hat off of Taylor, he will do well against the run, but I don't think he will succeed if our DL lets us down.
With the 173rd pick of the 2012 NFL Draft, The Miami Dolphins select Jake Stoneburner, Tight End out of The Ohio State University
Stoneburner is absolutely athletic, but will need to add some bulk and run blocking ability in order to play. He is in the mold of Fauria, because he is a fast TE that can get open. Both Stoneburner and Fauria suck at run blocking, though. Stoneburner will most likely be stashed on the PS in hopes that one of our three project TEs turn into something.
With the 205th pick of the 2012 NFL Draft, The Miami Dolphins select Travis Howard, Cornerback out of The Ohio State University
Howard started the year off right with three interceptions and two pass deflections in two games. He has since been mediocre and has hurt his draft stock. Howard has the size and speed to play boundary corner, so it is worth a 7th round flier to see what he's got.
On the defensive side of the ball, we have shored up our secondary and added a pass rusher. Mike Taylor may or may not be a factor in his rookie year. It would be much harder to pass against us in 2013 and we will force more turnovers. We will have safeties worth their salt and that will help our corners.
On the offensive side of the ball, we have added another weapon to our wide receiving corps. The combination of Patton, Hartline, Bess and Matthews will give Tannehill plenty of weapons to choose from. This will allow Tannehill to grow with his two young wide receivers. The combination of Pouncey, Slauson, and Incognito will allow us to run it up the middle consistently. Mendenhall will give us a dependable back that will produce for us.
Our pass protection will suffer for a season or two while we wait for our young OTs to develop. We have not fixed our LBer coverage woes. If none of our developmental TEs show up next year as well, I foresee us using a high pick to get the best TE out there in the next draft. What we have done is fix our WR corps, secondary and pass rush. We will be able to contend with the better teams next year and will not see collapses. We will not be completely ready for a deep playoff run next season, but we will be a young team on the rise.