First let me say this. We don't have a franchise QB. There are a good number of other huge needs that we also have, but I will make the case that QB is the biggest need. Can someone please name for me the Patriots #2 pass rusher? Can someone name me their #1 WR? How many of their O-lineman were drafted in the first round? How strong is their secondary? They have had 3 things that the Dolphins have not.
3.) The Patriots have had better coaching.
Why was Tom Brady so successful from day 1. It was not because he was elite to begin with.. he was good enough to manage the games the first few years. It was not that he learned anything from watching Drew Bledsoe... It was that they had a really good system there and a really solid defense. It also didn't hurt that for the first few years he knew what the other defenses were doing. It makes things so much easier when you know who is going to be open and when.. when your Offensive Coordinator can put you in the perfect play. It seemed like everything always went his way... Tom Terrific...
But all that aside, they have since become very very good at breaking down the weaknesses of other teams and making them pay. They have no mercy.. If they can put 50 points on you in the first half because you can't cover one of their guys.. they will throw it to him as many times as they have to.
I personally think we have this problem solved already with Philbin and Sherman. Maybe it is just because I am overly optimistic(see the avatar.. a unicorn pooping a rainbow), but I really believe that these are the guys we need to teach and develop the players that Ireland brings in. I personally also believe that Ireland has drafted head and shoulders better than Belicheat, even though those players have not developed the way they could have and have not been used correctly. As bad as we are at choosing players that stick with the team, the Patriots are 10 times worse.. and they usually have twice as many picks as we do every year...
2.) The Patriots have an elite NT
If you believe that Soliai is elite, I just don't have time to argue with you. If you really want to see I am sure I can hunt down lots of film where opposing teams either run right at him on 3rd and short, or run to the outside and either try to reach him with the opposite side Guard, or just plain don't waste a blocker on him. The reason is simple. Soliai is slow. He is not a threat to any team if they are running to the outside. There is nothing he can do about it... it is what it is.
He does not use his hands the way that he should either and usually gets driven back just enough to be in the way of our LBs. A NT that can either hold at the line of scrimmage or move the O-line back even a 1/2 yard succeeds in clogging the way for the entire offense. It makes it harder to pull with him in the way, and really just causes havoc. A NT that clogs up a yard in front of the line of scrimmage, takes his own LBs out of the play, or makes it harder for them to make the play because they have to guess correctly which side of Soliai the RB is going. If they are wrong, the RB is past them and to the SS. This is a big reason that Y Bell has led our team in tackles almost every year he started. For all the people that hated Gibril Wilson, he was 2nd in tackles the year he was here as well. It is hard to protect against the long ball when you also have to play LB.
and the number one reason the Patriots are elite.....
1.)The Patriots also have an elite QB.
Duh. We all know this. It is weird that I even need to mention it. Do we have other holes? Of course we do. Do the Patriots have holes? They have tons of holes. But they have a franchise QB. He hides an awful lot of their holes. Defense letting the other team score 50 points a game? No problem... Brady will put up 51... or most likely 65.... No # 1 WR? Its ok.. he will eat teams alive with a #2 WR and a couple of TEs.
We as Dolphins have done this for the past 13 seasons since #13 retired. Every year we go into the draft wanting an heir to the Marino throne... but what happens? We get scared. We are afraid to pick the guy at the top of the draft boards available in the first round where we pick. There are just too many holes in that guys game.... there are character concerns... He has only played in a spread offense... blah blah blah... stop me when you have heard this before... Tannehill is the 3rd best QB in the draft.
He is a better prospect than Weeden is. I know a lot of you are on board with taking Weeden in the 2nd. If he is the better QB though.. why aren't you willing to spend the #8 overall pick on him? You know why... there are even more questions about him then there are about Tannehill. Weeden is in the prime of his career. Like it or not, his age already helped him be the QB he was in college. His viewpoint having been a professional athlete even though it was a different sport, has affected his dedication in preparing for games. Its not just that we get less time with him in the NFL as much as it is, he is already a man playing against a bunch of boys. He really shined against a bunch of younger players who were more worried about their finals and partying then learning their playbook. You can't just say that because he did well on that level he will come straight to the NFL and light it up against men who play football professionally. All the dedication that made him a star in college, will be the new normal when he hits the NFL. What happens when everyone else treats the game with the same professionalism he does already? Will he still shine when he is not the only professional athlete on the field?
Cousins or Foles? If you believe in them so much.. FINE.. take them with the 8th overall pick.... You can't because you know it would be a huge reach... But if you really believe they can be the next Dan Marino... would that be a reach?
We as Dolphins fans were spoiled. We drafted a future hall of fame QB and didn't have to worry about that QB position for the next 16 seasons. We had that QB problem solved. We failed at that point to surround him with playmakers, but we were still always knocking on the door of the playoffs.. every year. Every single game was not lost until the last few seconds... We always had a feeling there was still a shot as long as Dan Marino had a few seconds on the clock.
We went from there to just wanting a guy to manage the game. Say what you want, but Jay Fiedler was the worst thing that could have possibly happened to the Dolphins. Because at the same time we lost our franchise QB, we also got a suffocating defense that would put us close to the playoffs every year with a bottom half of the league QB. Oh but he was a winner... NONSENSE... That defense won games, he just managed not to lose them. We have resorted since then to be ok with just replacing Fiedler, not Marino... If we can just put enough pieces around Fiedler we will be ok... We can pick up a QB from another team's trash can and take him to the Super Bowl if we just get enough good players around him.
How many more 2nd round picks are we going to waste because we don't have the guts to go back to the 1st round to pick up a QB? You can find fault in every single QB in every draft aside from a few guys. If you really don't believe in Tannehill though and you want to be super safe.. fine ... trade everything away and go after Andrew Luck or RG3. But don't tell me because a franchise QB isn't available at 8 this year, we are going to improve at other positions and next year we are going to get serious about replacing Marino... I have heard that before ... many times.. Don't trade 2nd round picks or sign another team's trash and hope that they will suddenly be contenders. That backup QB is not a franchise QB. Franchise QBs cost you. Accept it.
We need to face facts. Sure-fire franchise QBs NEVER fall to the 8th overall pick in the draft. Some seasons there might not even be a single franchise QB available ... even if you have the 1st overall pick in the draft. Occasionally you can find one with the 2nd pick in the draft. The guy we are going to take at #8 is going to have some major questions... that is how he drops past 7 other teams... and arguably teams below you in the draft order that would otherwise jump in front of you and take him at 7. There is a guy that will most likely be available at pick 8. He is very raw... but he already knows the offense we are going to run better than anyone on our team now. He didn't really light it up in college, but remember, his team lost their #1 WR the moment he moved from WR to QB. He did not have Blackmon to throw to like Weeden. His best WR will most likely be chosen in the 5th or 6th round. If he was coming out as a WR, he would be drafted higher as a WR than that...
We are faced with a rather rare opportunity with the #8 overall pick. We can take a guy with all the intangibles, all the arm strength, mobility, height.. and whatever else you could be looking for. He doesn't have a lot of starts as a QB. He struggled to beat out the other QB that played at Texas A&M. But that reminds me of another QB that also ... could not win the starting job at Michigan until he finally won the starting role. He only played 2 seasons at QB.. but he was not nearly athletic enough to be moved to WR... He at one point was 7th on the depth chart. That guy did pretty well though once he got to the NFL.
With all that said.... here is my mock... feel free to mock it all you want...
Ryan Tannehill QB(1st)
See above reasoning. I will add this as well. I really really like Melvin Ingram.. If he fell to the 2nd round, I would be all over the Dolphins selecting him.. the guy is a freak. But his arms are short. He disapeared at the Senior Bowl when he was playing against NFL caliber talent. If we picked him, we would have to move him around to get him away from big OTs because they will just swallow him up. Do you remember what happened to Cameron Wake last year against Sebastian Vollmer? I hated that he was held... but there was no way for him to get the call because he couldn't make it clear enough that he was being held. He disapeared in some games, much like any other DE/OLB with short arms and a quick burst to disapear when they face an elite OT. It is a bad idea to draft a guy with the 8th overall pick that will disapear in big games when you are facing elite teams, that have elite OTs.
If there was a guy like Julius Peppers available there, or Mario Williams, you take that guy. It doesn't matter who he faces, he is going to be a problem the whole game. If you want to take a DE/OLB in the first round the best choice at #8 would be to pick up Coples if he is available. I am just not sure about his work ethic. Even though I am hearing that a lot of that was due to him being double teamed and triple teamed a lot as a senior. it also helps his cause that he was virtually unblockable in the Senior Bowl... something you can't really say about Ingram. Ingram disapeared. I also liked what Vinny Curry did, but we can get him in the 2nd round.
Nick Perry, Andre Branch, Chandler Jones, Vinny Curry, or Jared Crick DE/OLB(2nd)
These are all guys that fit the mold of what you are looking for from a pass rusher. I personally like Koa Misi and while I don't ever think he is going to be an elite pass rusher, I think he could put up 10-12 sacks a season and give a good compliment to Wake.. if we needed. But there is no reason not to go all out and get guy that could become an elite pass rusher. There are guys that could become elite available in the 2nd round.
Ladarius Green or Michael Egnew TE(3a)
6'6" 238 lbs, 4.53 40 time. Or 6'5", 252 lbs, 4.62 40 time. In the 3rd round you are not going to find a polished talent, but you are looking for a freak athlete that you can develop in your system. Both of these guys fit the bill. I LOVE Fleener, but part of what made him good was Luck. He is a rare athlete though... 4.45 TEs with a pedigree like that do not come along every day... But how would a guy like Ladarius Green or Michael Egnew have done if Andrew Luck had been throwing them the ball? I think we have too many holes to fill to be able to draft a TE that high in the 2nd round. And I really don't see the need to trade down when what we really need is ELITE talent and not more talent. We can only fit 53 on our roster. We need more elite guys, not more OK guys. Stick with the high pick and take the best player available.
Tommy Streeter WR(3b)
Lots of raw talent. A local UM guy. he really only had one good year.. last year.. But I think if he had a better coach he would have had more than 1 good year. I think we let way too many talented players get out of Miami. We need to take a flier on this kid. He is too raw with too much upside not to take.
Brandon Washington, or Josh LeRibeus RG(4th)
Brandon Washington... another UM guy. Lots of raw talent, but poorly used until last season. We are looking for raw talent at this point and trusting that our coaches can develop them into impact players.
Marvin McNutt WR(5th)Another WR. A lot of people really like this kid.
Andrew Datko or Donald Stephenson RT(6th)
More raw talent. Datko is an FSU kid. We need more players from Florida in general. We have the best players, we need to stop letting so many of these kids get away and become impact players for other teams.
Quinton Richardson, or Neiko Thorpe FS(7th)
Not that I believe we need anything here, just not really sure what else to pick. I think you have plenty of talented guys in the secondary and to be honest I had us taking him before we even picked up Tyrell Johnson last week. I am starting to finally understand what the plan was when we released Y Bell, when I heard the interview with this guy. They told him they planned on running lots of man and quarters coverages. It makes sense that we would need our FS and SS to be able to cover. They picked this guy up because of his ability to cover TEs and WRs. Bell was a hazard in coverage much the same way that Gibril Wilson was. But the only difference was most of the time it was covered because he was a SS and played a slightly different position in Nolan's defense. That is not the case with Coyle's defense.
The last thing I will throw in is this...
The coaching staff has made it clear that we will be moving to a zone blocking scheme this year. How does our current O-line match up with that? Jake Long is fine, Pouncey is fine, I think John Jerry and Lydon Murtha would be fine at RT or RG however that shakes out. I do expect us to take at least one G at some point in the draft, and it might be as early as the 2nd round if one is available. I don't think Decastro would fit in a zone blocking scheme as he is a little bit slow, but if a guy like Cordy Glenn or Brandon Brooks were to fall to us in the 2nd or 3rd rounds respectively that is another place we could go. If we did, hopefully Tommy Streeter would fall to us in the 4th round then. I don't think that would even be as big of a priority though as improving our offensive line play in the middle would be. And if you think about it, even if we came out of the draft with only 1 elite pass rusher that would be 1 more elite pass rusher than the Patriots have.
I also would not be upset if we took Dontari Poe in the 1st. If he fell into the 2nd round, we would be insane not to take the guy though... as discussed above, and elite NT changes the way the whole defense plays. If you can shove a Center into the lane cutting off guards from pulling you completely change the way our whole defense runs. We are then playing the game in the other teams' backfield instead of spotting them 2-3 yards once the ball is snapped and hoping the other team self-destructs on one of their 3 downs.