Well, draft day is upon is, and after much debate, each of us has decided upon whom to pick. Of course, chances are, that has next to no impact on what we end up actually doing in the draft. So instead of yelling at your TV telling Ireland he’s an idiot (or genius, depending on the pick), ask yourself these questions about what each pick means:
1. How much do the Dolphins trust Moore and Garrard?
While all of us have seemingly concluded that neither of these two QBs should be our starter next year, we seem to forget Moore’s performance last year and Garrard’s reasonably successful career. I highly doubt our GM and coaches have, however. While we don’t get to see what happens behind the scenes, our picks will tell us a lot about how much the staff trusts our two quarterbacks and their history of successes and failures. Is it comforting to know that our staff trusts Moore and Garrard so much that they wont succumb to popular demand and draft a QB? If we do draft a QB, is it a bad thing that our staff doesn’t trust our current players? That last question could very well be dancing around Moore’s mind if we pick a project QB like Cousins or Foles.
2. How big of a deal is Cameron Wake’s holdout?
Cameron Wake, our best defensive player, wants a bigger contract. Understandable, considering our unproven first round pick will make more than him, a pro-bowler. Unfortunately, this isn’t baseball, and we aren’t the Yankees. We don’t have unlimited money nor do we have unlimited cap space. Wake is likely to get his money, and we were likely to draft a pass rusher to rush beside him regardless, but I wouldn’t be comforted by his progress if we ended up drafting Coples or Ingram first. This could, of course, be much ado about nothing.
3. How much does the staff trust Fasano and the receiving crew?
Fasano, like Moore, seems like a passable starter at his position. Unfortunately, there are no elite TEs to pick in the top half of the first round. We also have many other needs, but if we end up picking a TE, especially in the middle rounds, over a receiver (which is extremely deep in this year’s draft) or other position of need, I wouldn’t think Fasano will last long.
The reason I mention receivers in particular is because we have a depth of them. Unfortunately, none are stars, but on the bright side, they are young and have potential. Some fans are clamoring for two receivers this year, and this year is as good as any year to pick them, if not better. Philbin, of course, likes to use his depth at receiver more than playing with one star thanks to his West Coast system. While one receiver seems understandable in this year’s draft, two would really make me scared about our true potential there. Guys like Gates and Hartline give me optimism that we could develop someone to be a true number one, but if the coaching staff doesn’t think so, its never a good sign.
4. How big of an influence do the coaches play in choosing a player?
We got some new coaches this year, most of which have coached at the college level at some point. All of these guys have contacts and guys they trust; especially considering several of our coaches just came out of college. Tannehill obviously knows Mike Sherman well. Ken O’ Keefe, our WR coach, was the Offensive coordinator at Iowa, and taught Riley Reiff and Marvin McNutt. Blue Adams was at Purdue, and coached Dennis Kelly. Ben Johnson at BC, Phil McGeoghan at USF, etc. Jeff Ireland claims he and the scouts do all of the recruiting, and these coaches can’t compare the players they coached against other college players. For example, Sherman can tell us how good Tannehill is, but he can’t adequately compare him to a guy like Brandon Weeden or Nick Foles. If you see a player coached by one of these guys drafted, you have to wonder how big of an influence the coach was and if it was the right choice.
5. How important is next year?
The Dolphins are not really in a position to compete next year. As you’ve seen in the NBA, teams like that (Bobcats) often tank, especially if there are great prospects in the draft next year. You have to ask yourself if the Dolphins plan on giving away a year to develop prospects and get a better player next year. You can probably tell what the Dolphins strategy is next year based on what they do in this draft. If we pick a lot of guys with high ceilings, you can bet we’re throwing the year away. If we pick guys with high floors, it means we are gunning next year as well. If you want a guy with both, you’ll have to pick in the first round (unless you pick Tannehill, of course…). Of course, there is an exception to this. Most QBs are projects (barring Weeden), and if we don’t pick any, you have to assume we either really like Moore, or figure you might as well try him, and if he does well enough to win games, so be it. If he doesn’t we get a high pick, and with that we can probably pick someone from a strong QB class. If Moore can’t replicate last year’s success, we probably end up with a pick somewhere between 2 and 8. With 2 already NFL ready QBs in college (Jones and Barkley), and a third sure to show up (like RGIII this year), we could pick one up then (sound logic if you ask me, but then again, no one has). I’d lean towards picking for next year considering the rope is already doused in gasoline for Ireland, but you never know.
So, as you can see, we learn a lot from this draft. Granted, most of this is unfounded speculation, but with new coaches, a new system, and a new attitude in Miami, most of us are looking for anything and everything to hang on to. We can, hopefully, see what to expect of new players and coaches based on this draft. If nothing else, it keeps us busy for the next 132 days, 2 hours, and 20 minutes until the regular season.