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It's time...time for the Dolphins to get that number one receiver

If you've been following this site for a while, then you have probably seen me write that I don't necessarily believe that the Dolphins need to make a crazy move to bring an elite receiver - or spend a top pick on a receiver. But I've been thinking a lot about this topic and my mind has slowly been changing.

You probably first noticed this change in my thinking last week when I declared that I would draft Oklahoma State receiver Dez Bryant over Alabama linebacker Rolando McClain. That apparently wasn't a popular statement - as 57% of the 2,500 people who voted said they'd take McClain over Bryant.

Since then, though, I spent some more time - mainly during my "day job" - debating in my mind if the Dolphins need to finally go "all in" and find that true number one receiver that this offense has been lacking for years. And I've come to realize one thing: it's time to be bold. It's time for this franchise to get that huge piece of the offensive puzzle that's been missing for too long in Miami.

I'm not just talking about Dez Bryant here, either. Whether it be with the 12th pick in the draft or through free agency - or even via a trade - it's time for the Dolphins to finally take a chance and go all in on a receiver.

Why the sudden change of heart? There are a ton of reasons, really. And that's why this sudden shift in philosophy was so much easier than I thought it would be. Some of those reasons include:

  • The obvious shifting of how the NFL is played. This league is now a passing league, like it or not. I know we all would like to believe that a power running game and a stout defense can win a championship - and it still can. But it's more likely that a good passing team with an average defense wins championships. This year, for example, the Saints had the 25th ranked defense and the Colts had the 18th ranked defense. And 8 of the 12 playoff teams in 2009 were ranked in the top ten in passing. This is just how the sport is now. The rules favor quarterbacks and receivers and this league is a quarterback driven league. It's time to realize this shift and keep up with the league.
  • That brings me to my second point. The NFL is as quarterback driven as ever. It's time to take the steps necessary to ensure that our young (potential franchise) quarterback has the necessary tools around him to help him progress and become a top tier NFL signal caller. Chad Henne's development is the single most important factor to the long-term sustainable success of the Dolphins.
  • We heard Tony Sparano stress the importance of "chunk yardage" all season long last year. Unfortunately, this offense lacks a play-maker in the passing game who can pick up those chunks of yards. I'm tired of needing 12+ plays to put together a scoring drive. The one thing holding this offense back is its inability to gain chunks of yards through the air at a time.
  • How many more mid-round draft picks does this team have to waste before realizing that it's just not easy to find those hidden gems who can develop into elite receivers? I'm running out of patience. And even if the Dolphins do get lucky and find a second, third, or even fourth round pick who can develop into a legit number one receiver, the development of such players takes years. I simply don't want to wait any longer. Chad Henne will be 25 when next season rolls around. It's time to give him that real number one target and the Dolphins have no time to waste. We shouldn't let these next two or three years go to waste on "developing" a number one guy. But that's what these hidden gems usually need - at least two or three years to develop. Miles Austin didn't break out until year four. Vincent Jackson needed four seasons as well. Sidney Rice needed three (and a Hall of Fame quarterback). Carolina's Steve Smith also needed three. Even round one draft picks need time to develop. Guys like Roddy White and Santana Moss didn't break out until year three. Of course, we also can't forget how much of a risk it is to draft a receiver in round one. Remember those "can't miss" guys like Charles Rogers, David Terrell, Mike Williams, and Peter Warrick (just to name a few)? Well...they missed.
  • So what is my solution to this? I'm not opposed to the selection of Dez Bryant - as I've already stated. But that's not what I would do here. Instead, my solution is simple. Go get one of the top receivers who may be available - albeit at a high price tag. But hey - if the Dolphins are willing to spend the #12 pick on Bryant, why not just trade for a receiver who is already proven?

    Maybe give up 1st and 3rd round picks for Vincent Jackson (who is only 27) or Miles Austin (who will be 26 in June)? Or how about giving up a third round pick plus some throw-ins for a 30 year old Anquan Boldin (but note I wouldn't go higher than a three here because of Boldin's age and injury history)?

    There are some options out there. And truth be told, the only option I wouldn't touch with a ten foot pole is Brandon Marshall (he's got the nickname "Baby T.O." for more reasons than just his on-field ability).

    It's time to get aggressive, Mr. Parcells. It's time to do something you aren't usually fond of and get a real threat for Chad Henne - your young franchise quarterback - to throw to.

    Take a chance. And let's see what can happen.