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Weekend Roundup: Lots of draft talk, and Jason Taylor update

Just think - there's only one more weekend in between now and the NFL Draft. And from all the draft talk going on, including rumors of players the Dolphins might be interested in and trades that might be in the works, it's safe to say that the draft itself can't get here soon enough.

So here's some news from the past weekend about - what else - the draft.

Is "Key" pushing Parcells to draft Dez?
Something that has been flying surprisingly under the radar comes to us from a post by the Sun-Sentinel's Dave Hyde. On Friday he highlighted some quotes from former NFL WR Keyshawn Johnson - who is close to Bill Parcells - about Dez Bryant. The first part of the discussion is Johnson defending Bryant - and making some very good points, too. But the key quote is this:

"This is a receiver who's at the head of his class at his position. He's a big (6-2, 225), physical receiver and it's pretty impressive that he returns punts at the same time. He fits the pro game very well and he should be a great player in the NFL. It's just irresponsible for people to try and peg him as a problem. I've talked to Bill [Parcells] on a number of occasions about Dez already, and I hope the Miami Dolphins draft him. I hope he's lucky like I was to work with someone (Parcells) who cared about me as more than a football player, but as a person.''

Like we've talked about on this site, we know Bill Parcells doesn't like "divas" or players with off-the-field issues. But I don't think it's fair to say Bryant has any off-the-field issues. He's never been arrested and has never done anything that would make you think he's a bad person. Instead, the red flags that have been raised all have to do with Dez's decision making, maturity, and work ethic. Those can all be fixed. And Parcells could potentially be the "father figure" to do just that.

While Bill doesn't like dealing with "headaches," he has been known to help mold players who might just need a little guidance in their lives. And that's exactly what Dez is.

But there are two ways to look at these words by Keyshawn and Hyde points them out. This is either an example of Johnson shedding a little light into what Parcells might be considering; or an example of an outstanding smokescreen by Parcells and the Dolphins. In a little over a week, we will find out.

JT Update: No decision yet
Despite clearly unfounded reports of Jason Taylor being "close" to signing with the Jets, it's looking like Taylor is going to need more time to decide. The latest comes from ESPN New York's Jane McManus, who writes:

Jason Taylor's agent says his client won't make a decision about whether or not to join the New York Jets until mid-week at the earliest.

"It's not even about a contract," Gary Wichard told "It's about Jason making the decision with his wife to move up to New York and play. When that's decided he'll have an opportunity to move forward in one direction or another."

The article goes on to say how despite their being a report that a deal was near, Wichard said that "has never been the case." He also shot down claims from that inaccurate report that the only thing holding up Taylor's signing was how many OTA days he had to attend. Wichard claims that talks haven't even gotten that specific yet.

This whole mess is just getting on my nerves, to be honest. While I do want Taylor to come back for another season or two for a number of reasons, I really think the Dolphins are serious in that they will not make a decision until after the draft. If JT can't wait until then, I guess he'll end up signing with the Jets. I don't blame him one bit. At the same time, I guess I can see why Parcells and Jeff Ireland are handling this situation the way they are. But I just think that there is room for both a rookie outside linebacker and Jason Taylor. It's not a "one or the other" situation here.

Regardless of my thoughts, though, this saga is likely going to play out for the next two weeks. Be prepared.

Some trade talk
Two interesting rumors making rounds. Neither is really a surprise.

The first comes from Michael Lombardi of the National Football Post. Lombardi wrote on Sunday that he is hearing "the Dolphins are looking to move down from the 12th pick in the draft to acquire more picks." Makes sense. And he says he heard this while talking to teams around the league.

The Dolphins are probably doing their due diligence and putting out feelers around the league to let teams know they aren't opposed to moving out of the 12th pick. That way, when they are on the clock they would be prepared to move down if they so choose. This is a deep draft and if the Dolphins can move down a little in round one to pick up another draft pick in the middle rounds, I'm all for it.

The other rumor involves Dolphins quarterback Tyler Thigpen. We all know it's unlikely the Dolphins enter the regular season with four quarterbacks. With Chad Henne and Chad Pennington locks to be on the roster, Thigpen and Pat White could be battling for one roster spot. Pro Football Weekly hears that Thigpen is the guy the Dolphins are shopping in hopes of obtaining another draft pick:

Sources don't expect the Dolphins to head into the regular season with four quarterbacks on the roster, and with Chad Henne firmly entrenched as the starter, Tyler Thigpen, Chad Pennington and Pat White are the candidates to be moved. It's been said that Thigpen is the signalcaller most likely to be traded, and we're told Miami would like to move him before the draft. However, teams in need of a backup could wait until closer to training camp to make a swap to fill that hole, and there's a good chance the Dolphins will have to wait a bit longer to find a suitor for Thigpen.

Something to keep an eye on as the draft nears.

How the Dolphins could land Eric Berry
Want to know how the Dolphins could land the #1 player on our Phinsider Draft Board? Well one of the very best "mock draft gurus" - Al Fronczak - currently has Eric Berry falling to the Dolphins with the 12th pick. Here's how.

The first four go as many expect, with Sam Bradford, Ndamukong Suh, Gerald McCoy, and Russell Okung going in the top four. At number five, the Chiefs could use a safety. But they could also use many other positions, including a tackle. Fronczak has KC taking OT Bryan Bulaga, followed by Trent Williams going sixth to Seattle. The Browns are probably the biggest hurdle to clear if we want Berry to fall to the Dolphins. And the only way I could see Berry getting past Cleveland is if Mike Holmgren decides he wants QB Jimmy Clausen. Following his strong Pro Day performance, that's just what Fronczak has Cleveland doing - selecting the Notre Dame quarterback.

The Raiders are another threat at eight and are always the most unpredictable team in the draft. Berry would meet Al Davis' crazy speed demands. But they desperately need to improve their offensive line. The Bills have no need for taking a safety in the top ten. The Jaguars could potentially take Berry - though their needs at linebacker and defensive end are greater. Denver could be a threat to take Berry, too. But they, too, need help at linebacker.

So if the draft breaks like one of the top "mockers" out there thinks right now, we very well could be lucky enough to land the best safety to come out since Ed Reed.

See - I still refuse to give up hope!