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Looking Beyond Round 1: A Decade of Ineptitude

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With all this talk about who the Dolphins might take with that #1 overall pick, I think that many people are overlooking something that is just as important as that #1 overall pick. And that is the importance of the other picks that the Dolphins. More specifically, I'm talking about those 2nd day picks (rounds 3-7).

Like many of you, I'm very excited about the Dolphins first 3 picks (rounds 1 & 2). However, a quick look at the Dolphins' draft history reveals something quite startling: the Dolphins can't seem to "hit" on their 2nd day picks. Now, except for the last 2 drafts (which, at this point, is too early to really judge), the Dolphins have squandered countless mid-round picks. If you go back to 1996, the Dolphins spent a 5th round pick on Zach Thomas. Then in '97, the Fins spend a 3rd rounder on Jason Taylor. Those 2 have worked quite well (to say the least). Since then, rounds 3 through 7 have been a total disaster. The only quality players to come out of those rounds between 1998 and 2005 are Yeremiah Bell, Rex Hadnot, Randy McMichael, and Channing Crowder. None of which are "great" players and even calling them "very good" might be a reach.

But since 2000, a number of teams have found "very good" to "great" to "superstar" players in those middle rounds. Below is a list of just some of the players and the rounds they were taken. This list is not complete by an means, but it does give you an idea of how inept Miami's drafts have been since 1997. Any one of the players listed below would have made great picks if the Dolphins had pulled the trigger on them:

3rd Round

Year Player Team
2005 Justin Tuck Giants
2004 Bernard Berrian Bears
2003 Lance Briggs Bears
2002 Brian Westbrook Eagles
2002 Will Witherspoon Panthers
2001 Steve Smith Panthers

4th Round

Year Player Team
2006 Brandon Marshall Broncos
2005 Kerry Rhodes Jets
2005 Marion Barber Cowboys
2004 Jared Allen Chiefs
2004 Nathan Vasher Bears
2004 Shaun Phillips Chargers
2004 Rudi Johnson Bengals
2003 Asante Samuel Patriots
2003 Bradie James Cowboys
2002 Brian Williams Vikings
2002 David Thornton Colts

5th Round

Year Player Team
2005 Trent Cole Eagles
2004 Jake Scott Colts
2004 Michael Turner Chargers
2004 Gibril Wilson Giants
2003 Robert Mathis Colts
2002 Aaron Kampman Packers

6th Round

Year Player Team
2004 Cory Williams Packers
2003 Cato June Colts
2000 Adalius Thomas Ravens
2000 Tom Brady Patriots

7th Round

Year Player Team
2007 Ahmad Bradshaw Giants
2006 Marques Colston Saints
2004 T.J. Houshmandzadeh Bengals

Now that's quite a list of names, isn't it? And I think what sticks out the most is how successful some of these teams listed have been. The Patriots, Ravens, Giants, and Colts have all won Super Bowls. The Eagles, Bears, and Panthers have all reached the Super Bowl. And teams like the Saints, Chargers, Packers, and Cowboys have come within a game of reaching the Super Bowl.

Meanwhile, notice the teams that aren't listed here. The Bills, Cardinals, and Lions, for example, who haven't even sniffed the playoffs since the turn of the century. Is that a coincidence? Probably. But it certainly doesn't help a team's case to continually "miss" on mid-round draft picks.

And that's why Sunday is just as important as Saturday is. Sure, the financial investment and cap number of the players taken on Sunday won't even come close to those of the first overall pick, which is why that #1 pick is so important. But in terms of building a winning football team, Sunday's picks are just as valuable.

You may not recognize the names on Sunday, but if Bill Parcells, Jeff Ireland, and company do their jobs, you will quickly learn just how valuable these "no-names" are towards building a winning franchise.