What a day it has been! I must admit I was taken aback today when Merling was cut, and it took me by even more surprise when I found out Ireland only tendered him in order to try and trade him for draft picks. I really did envisage him losing some pounds and being a backup pass rusher. But in hindsight it's not really a surprise, and all but confirms the approach I think this FO will make in this draft.
You see, Coach Philbin and Sherman do not want players who aren't willing to put in a decent shift. Just like they don't like players who will get into trouble (remember that guy Brandon Marshall anyone?). Their vision is to create a team. They want the atmosphere in the locker room to be electric. Everyone will be competing for places and starting afresh. There will be competition. And if players don't work hard for their position, they will be shipped out faster than they can drink iced cool-aid (yes, I just said that). Nothing will be given for free anymore. No one's position is guaranteed. I think this is fantastic. It's how you win football games. SImple, right?
Therefore, the approach to the draft will go something like this....
- The first three rounds will be dedicated to find starters, or potential starters. When I say potential, I am referring only to one person and one position. I have a feeling many of you know where I'm going with this.
- The fourth round will be used on somebody that can contribute extensively, and may even earn a starting position.
- Rounds five through seven will be full of guys who will put pressure on members of the current roster. They will be guys who will run through brick walls to make the team. These are the guys I love. They have heart, determination and are incredibly football smart.
This strategy has the potential to change the whole culture of this franchise. Work ethic, teamwork and competitiveness will be synonymous with every single player on this football team. Coach Philbin is trying to create a team, not a bunch of athletes.
With that being said, don't be surprised if some of the picks won't be physical freaks. In the NFL heart, determination, leadership, and technique is what wins games. Not to say that physique doesn't count, but you don't have to be a freak athlete. Look at the Raiders, they have plenty of them. And where has that gotten them? Not much. This is the recipe for success, and it should ensure we be more competitive than most think we will be.
With that being said, the number eight pick of the Miami Dolphins will be.......
Round 1: Ryan Tannehill
Not Coples! Too any character flaws. Won't be a tireless worker. Could be Ingram, although he is a bit undersized. That's not to say he won't be a beast at the next level, though. Might be Cox if we have no other choice, or we could trade down. What I'm trying to get at is I'm completely sold on Tannehill after watching Gruden's Quarterback Camp. Yes, he will sit out the year and, yes, he needs work. But I believe most of the work will go into just refining his technique slightly. His intangibles are off the charts. He's smart, tough and competitive. He's also extremely confident in his ability, something you need as a quarterback. He also has the physical attributes you look for in a franchise quarterback, we know about all those. This guy has to be the pick. If he's not there, believe me, there will be contingency plan after contingency plan, after contingency plan. Love him or hate him, Ireland is very meticulous.
Round 1b: Shea McClellin, OLB/DE.
What! We have another first rounder?!?! No we do not. But I'm predicting a trade up from our second round pick, packaging it with the one of your third's, and possibly a pick from next year. My thinking is this: we desperately need a top-notch pass rusher. If we stay in the second, Curry is an option. He has the pass rushing moves, he's strong and tough, plus he's very competitive. But I do have doubts over his football IQ. Meanwhile, Andre Branch isn't ready to start straight away, he's too raw for my liking at the position. We need a guy that can start straight away. If we trade up, Perry could be the guy. He's a physical freak. But is he durable? In my research I found out he wasn't completely. Is he as smart as someone else I have in mind? No Siree, he is not. Mercilius might be good too, but he's a one year wonder. Do we take that risk? The better solution is Shea McClellin. He reminds me exactly of Clay Matthews, who might I add the Packers traded up for him back into the first round. A little undersized, but he has the frame to add muscle. But where he truly scores points is his technique: strong hands, excellent tackler, quick first step and has a variety of pass rushing moves. Plus he's got the work ethic and he's definitely got the character. He's smart and aware, always sticking to his assignment. And perhaps best of all, he's extremely versatile. Can line up in the 4-3 or 3-4 as a pass rusher. We gotta get this kid in a Dolphins jersey before the Patriots or Packers do!
Round 3: Marvin McNutt, WR.
Because of the trade up, we may lose a third round pick this year, and a pick for next year. But I'm fine with that if it means we get a first round talent. There are some good prospects here that should be available at this spot. Jeff Allen may just be the best pass protector in the league. Mitchell Schwartz turned heads at the Senior Bowl. Chris Givens looks a bit like Chris Jennings, but his work ethic just isn't there. And Marvin Jones may just be the guy at wide receiver. But, I think Marvin McNutt stands out from the rest. No character issues. He's got some of the biggest hands you've seen. Great route runner, good speed for the deep throw and good leaping ability (this part of his game is severely underrated). This guy could be the steal of the draft.
Round 4: Brandon Mosley, RT.
For me, this has got to be used on a tackle to compete with Murtha. Zebrie Sanders is an option. But he needs a lot of work. Tom Compton is a nice white collar kind of guy and is a good pass protector, but he may have to move inside in the NFL. Without a doubt, Brandon Mosley is my guy here. Very tough and competitive. Ireland mentioned that he likes his offensive lineman to be big, strong and athletic. Mosley has all those attributes, and is a solid pass protector. He may just turn out to be our starter, too.
Round 5: Miles Burris, OLB.
Let me say this, I am very impressed with Rhett Ellison at TE. He can block, he can catch and he has good speed for the position (4.74 seconds in the 40 during his pro day). But he just doesn't have the acceleration that Coach Philbin likes in his tight ends. He just doesn't fit the system; and it's a shame. He will outperform most of the tight ends drafted above him in this class. Alternatively, Travis Lewis is a good linebacker. He's the emotional leader of his team. But some football executives didn't get a good impression during the interviews. Therefore, my pick here by a country mile has to be Miles Burris. He's smart, confident, very coachable, well-proportioned and pretty athletic. The guy squats over 600 pounds and benched 225 pounds 31 times! He also has a 36 1/2 inch vertical leap. Also has good versatility. This sends a message to Koa Misi....beware or this guy will kick your sorry butt out of this football team!!!
Round 6: Brett Roy, DE, DT, OLB, MLB, FB.
Could use an offensive guard here. Desmond Wynn is tall, strong and a good pass protector in a zone scheme. But he has durability issues. Audie Cole is an option at linebacker; he's very smart, but is just average athletically. Welcome Brett Roy. He's playd DE, DT, OLB, MLB, OLB and, yes, he's even played FB! Plus this guy just downright scares the hell out of me. I can imagine Tom Brady having nightmares before the games. If he gets to the quarterback, he flattens them. No messing about with him. He also has terrific intangibles; he will be an outstanding person to have in the locker room, he's a born leader. This guy is just desperate to make a football team. Mark my words, he will not get cut. He is quite possibly the guy I'm most excited about. Not because of his talent and his ability to be a starter, but because this guy is just awesome!
Round 7: William Vlachos, C.
So, you want a cornerback? Many on here will be screaming at me for not taking a corner. Go ahead, take Cliff Harris. Should be a second rounder, but has character issues...and lots of them! That won't ever change. Buyer beware! Chris Owusu could be good, but just isn't durable enough and is prone to dropping the ball. Andrew Luck made him look good, too. My guy is William Vlachos. He offers the best value in my opinion. He's undersized at 6"0, and that's why he's a centre and not a guard. Great backup guy. He's another born leader. Has superior technique, tough, competitive and incredibly smart. He's our long-term backup solution and a great character to have in the locker room.
Well, I hope you enjoyed my final mock. Over the past couple of weeks I've spent countless hours studying the moves this FO has made in free agency. I've been looking at what they have said about the type of attributes they look for in a player. This is not about what you or I want. This is about what the FO will be looking for. They have a plan and they will execute it with precision. I believe I've found guys that will fit with their philosophy. All we have to do now is relax, open a can of beer and then throw it at the television when the pick isn't what we wanted!