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Dolphins acquire LB Ayodele, TE Fasano from Cowboys

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I'm a little late to the party with this one.  While I was out tonight, I received a surprising text message that read "Dolphins acquire Akin Ayodele and Anthony Fasano."  And to my delight, the text wasn't a joke.

Various sources, including ESPN , the Palm Beach Post , and NFL.com are reporting that the Dolphins have indeed acquired LB Akin Ayodele and TE Anthony Fasano from the Cowboys in exchange for Miami's 4th round pick.

Ayodele, who will be 29 in September, spent his first 4 seasons in Jacksonville.  He won the starting job midway through his rookie season and really excelled from there on out while in Jacksonville, averaging 87 tackles, 2 sacks, and 2 forced fumbles in his 4 years there.  He then went on to Dallas, where he didn't make as much of an impact as I thought he would.  But at 6'2, 250, Ayodele has the speed that Bill Parcells is known to covet from his middle linebackers.  He's a player I've always liked, dating back to his Jacksonville days (I actually almost bought his Jaguar jersey a few years back).  Nothing he does will jump out at you when you see him play, but he's, more often than not, around the ball.  And he's a solid tackler.  He's likely to come in and compete with Channing Crowder and Reggie Torbor for one of those 2 inside linebacker starting spots in Miami's 3-4 defense.  And if I had to put money on it, I'd say Torbor is the odd man out.

Fasano, a fellow New Jersey guy, is only 24 and comes to Miami with boatloads of potential.  He was a highly touted tight end prospect coming out of Notre Dame in 2006 when the Cowboys spent a 2nd round pick on him.  However, Jason Witten has been a star in this league, forcing Fasano to have to be a #2 tight end in his 2 seasons in Dallas.  In those 2 seasons, Fasano has just 28 receptions for 269 yards and one touchdown.  However, I really don't doubt that he can come here to Miami and start at tight end come opening day.

Some are quick to call Fasano a bust, but I don't think that's fair only because he really never got a shot to be the starting tight end.  And there aren't many tight ends in this league who could beat out Jason Witten for the starting job.  But Fasano is a player who is not afraid to go over the middle and make tough catches and does have reliable hands.  Scout.com , in their draft preview from 2006, list Fasano strengths as "courage," "elusiveness with catch," and "hands and concentration."  They had his weakness listed as "blocking ability" and "strength."  They also add this:

Well rounded tight end who needs to develop more strength to improve his blocking skills. Courageous receiver not afraid to lay out to make the difficult catch.

Personally, I think this trade is a great one for the Dolphins.  It allows them to now focus on their attention on bigger needs instead of trying to find a capable starting inside linebacker and tight end.  And for only a 4th round pick, it's a very "low risk, high reward" kind of transaction.

Now I can't wait to see what draft weekend has in store for us.

Remember to check back with us tomorrow as discuss the NFL draft's first day.

And for a Cowboys' perspective on this deal, head over to Blogging The Boys .