That's right, folks. We are just 3 weeks away from what some might consider the most important draft in this franchise's history. And when you think about it, that may very well be true. This team is coming off of the single worst season in Miami Dolphins history (and almost in NFL history). They basically fired the entire coaching staff and most front office personnel. And then they bring in the big shot, Mr. Bill Parcells, to hopefully turn this thing around.
Bill then gets right to business, bringing in a hand-picked general manager, Jeff Ireland, and a hand-picked head coach, Tony Sparano. The three of them, the "trifecta," then basically reassemble the coaching staff from scratch, bringing aboard coaches who they are familiar with, have history with, and, most importantly, who they trust.
Then you take into consideration the number of draft picks that the Dolphins have (which could very well increase). They are armed with 9 total draft picks and 4 of the first 64 overall selections. With numerous holes to fill and a solid foundation that needs building, the Dolphins simply can't afford to miss on any of those top 4 picks (at the very least). And that goes double for the number 1 overall pick alone. With the financial investment required and, more importantly, the percentage of the cap that the player selected will consume, missing on that first overall pick would be simply catastrophic. Yes, I know we've talked about that before, but I do not think this idea can be stressed enough. In fact, I'm willing to say that this #1 overall pick is indeed the single most important draft pick in this franchise's history.
Yes, indeed, it's going to be a very long three weeks.
And the days and weeks leading up to this draft in particular feel even longer than usual. Why? Probably because the person heading the Dolphins draft room, that Parcells guy we all hear so much about, is the king of the smokescreen. I remember back during the Scouting Combine, which feels like many moons ago, one team executive telling one of the Miami papers that the key to this year's draft is what the Dolphins will do, but not a single person has any idea what that might be. Now, we did recently hear that the Dolphins draft board is officially set. Of course, that means nothing to us because there's absolutely no way any team would even hint at what their board might look like. Not with the master of smokescreens in control here in Miami. In fact, Scott Linehan had this to say about Parcells:
You know, Scott could be right. For all we know, the Dolphins could have a deal done already. And that's what will make these next 3 weeks feel like 3 years. As the ideas and rumors swirl, our intrigue, anticipation, and anxiety will continue to grow.
Some, though, might think that we'll get a better idea on who the Dolphins will take at #1 when they open negotiations with the potential picks prior to the draft, as teams selecting first overall often do. But I wouldn't count on it. Even if the Dolphins do indeed open negotiations, I'd bet they will likely be in talks with all of the potential top picks (Matt Ryan, Chris Long, Jake Long, and Vernon Gholston) so as to not show their hand. I could also envision a situation where Parcells and the Dolphins demand that the agent nor the player say a word to anyone about any contract talks, even going so far as to threaten the agent/player with passing over that particular player with the top pick if word does get out. Because that's how Bill Parcells likes to run things. He likes to be in control and he doesn't like people who betray his trust.
So if anyone thinks that we'll be getting any clues as to who the Dolphins might pick first overall in the coming weeks, you probably shouldn't hold your breath.
For sure, this is going to be a very, very long three weeks...