Yesterday I posted the first part of my chat with the Sun-Sentinel's Dave Hyde.
Below is the second part of that interview. This time, Dave shares his opinions on free agency, the draft, and Jason Taylor's future in Miami.
Dave: Again, I like what they've done with the understanding that free agency won't make this team a success. This regime saw an older roster where there were no players from the 1998-2005 drafts. Basically, they went out and stocked the roster with guys from those drafts. Average players. But that's OK. You need average players. Especially in free agency, where you always overpay, overpaying for second-tier players seems smarter than WAY overpaying, for a headline player a la Joey Porter or what the Jets have done this off-season. They have plugged in some offensive and defensive players, but the most obvious work they've done in free agency is a complete overhaul of the special teams. Good thinking, too. They've got a good return guy in Ted Ginn Jr., and two good kickers (giving punting the benefit of mild doubt after one year). A problem last year is there were no special-team specialists. Again, it was a premeditated problem, as the last regime wanted to get younger -- needed to get younger -- and they hoped to find some special team players to do so. Cam Worrell and Edmond Miles came through, but it turned out to be a bad special teams. This regime decided to get younger by buying free agents for special teams. That's really the one philosophical difference in the two regimes -- last year, they bought Joey Porter; this year, the sprinkled about that same money over a half-dozen players.
That said, the most important free agent is guard Justin Smiley: 1) He got the biggest contract, $25 million of which $9 million is guaranteed and 2) He fills one of the three open starting holes on the offensive line.
Matty: So what's the deal with the "Jason Taylor soap opera" that seems to be playing out in Miami? Right now, it's clear that all parties involved are saying the right things to the media. But when all is said and done, do you think Taylor will be a Miami Dolphin in 2008?
Dave: He wants out. The Dolphins would like to trade him. But it comes down to them getting the right price for him. I think he will be traded, though whether it's in the off-season or before the mid-season trading date is the unknown. Remember, in the past two years, Chris Chambers and Booger McFarland got second-round picks in mid-season. You'd think Taylor, even at 34, would be worth at least that to a team making a run for a title considering his position is a premium one.
Matty: I know this front office is being very tight lipped when it comes to their draft plans. But based on what you know, who do you think the Dolphins will take with the #1 pick (assuming they can't trade down)?
Dave: I don't know. I'd be surprised if it's Matt Ryan. I wouldn't be anymore if it's Glenn Dorsey. I'd be more surprised if it's Chris Long than Jake Long. I wouldn't be surprised if it's Vernon Gholston. The real problem is, once again, the Dolphins have a high draft pick in a year there's no value in having it. Remember: Ronnie Brown.
Matty: What positions and/or players do you think the Dolphins will target with their 2 2nd round picks?
Dave: Obviously, that depends on what they do with the first pick. If they don't use their first pick for Jake Long, they'll get an OT with the second pick. In fact, they need two tackles and a guard just to get through the season right now. So I wouldn't be surprised if they use two of the first three picks for offensive linemen.
Matty: Lastly, what late-round draft prospects do you think Dolphin fans should really get to know prior to April's draft?
Dave: That's beyond my knowledge. I've heard a couple names they've worked out that would be in the second-day, but I'm not even throwing them out there because I have no idea what they think after the workouts.
Again, we thank Dave for taking some time out to share his thoughts with us.
Also, tomorrow, I'll be posting one follow-up question that I asked Dave following the spirited debate that the first part of this little chat inspired about John Beck. So check back for that.
And as always, thoughts below...