I am a known hater of drafting offensive line help in the first round, unless it's a Left Tackle. So let's start there. That is just a standard which I vehemently agree with after spending WAY too many hours analyzing what was wrong with Miami's O-line over the last few years. Well it turns out, aside from the Dallas Cowgirls, most teams can find competent offensive line help from just about anywhere and everywhere. A little pinch of UDFA's, a little pinch of high round picks, a lot of mid and late round picks. I read different variations of draft value charts, and overall positional value charts. Almost all of them devalue all o-line positions besides a left tackle. Pretty unanimous agreement there.
I even found an article that told me, no matter which round you pick an OL player it is the safest pick you can make as a GM. And this was published by an analytics company, so it holds some weight; good graphs and such. It's main purpose was finding where successful starting players were drafted from. As it turns out, you get the best value on O-line in the mid rounds when they have a much higher success rater per pick than other positions. When you're near the top of the draft other position groups have quality players you won't find later on. Obviously each draft will fluctuate a little, but this is an aggregate of multiple drafts.
Miami isn't even in DIRE need... it is possible we go into the season with any combination of Steen, Larsen, and Bushrod playing offensive guard. Steen played when Pouncey went down and he certainly isn't a natural Center. He could make the LG battle very interesting and prove you can find line talent from any given source. If any team deserves an UDFA gem come out on the line, it's Miami for how many wasted picks and big contracts we've spent there. Here's the other thing...Ireland couldn't hit on a mid round pick to save his life. An article in the Palm Beach Post the other day was listing all of Miaimi's 2nd and 3rd round picks for the last few years. It's appalling and extensive. Can we use an offensive guard? Sure. Should we be able to find one later than rounds one and two? YES! 3-5 all the way!
Now, my Miami Dolphins brethren, I understand the need is real on defense. Our second round pick from two years ago, who has played in as many schemes in as many years, is still a question mark in your eyes. I understand, brethren. We only have one old vet behind Phillips and Suh. I understand, brethren. But, I tell you this, there are a number of aged vets with gas in their tanks waiting for the draft to finish in order to get signed. It happens every year with one FA group or another. This year was the year of the DT. Names like Vince Wilfork, Paul Soliai, Tony McDaniels etc. a list of about 10 guys who all saw playing time last season. We have three DT's on the roster, we usually only ever keep four. They're likely to add a few UDFA's on top of anyone they draft and/or sign as well.
Now, if you clicked on the link for that analytics article above (which I highly recommend), you'll notice there is a bubble of DL help found in the mid-late rounds 4-6. Well, the truth is, unless you're a 0 tech Nose Tackle sensation for a 3-4 team (Poe, Wilfork)... or a pass rushing up-field monster, (Suh, Atkins), Then...you don't get drafted very high. All those run stuffing monsters who demand doubles and open up your pass rushers? Apparently all the guys that do that tend to drop to rounds 4-6. Well that so happens to be the type of player Miami should be looking for on our D-line. We have a Suh...we need a guy to help him.
Again, hopefully, Jordan Phillips is that guy this season. And it would be nice to have another option to rotate in...but it just isn't a big enough need to invest that high of a pick. Besides, any 4-3 DT you pick in the higher rounds would be a pass rushing DT. That would basically be a back-up to Suh...that doesn't seem like a good use of capital. Consider Suh plays akin to 85-95% of all defensive snaps in a given year. See, no need for for one of these run stuffing monsters up that high. Don't even worry about it.
It's interesting how the numbers in that article reinforce positional value charts, while also reflecting specific trends in the league, as well as an actual look at success rates throughout the draft. It all makes sense once you sift through the numbers.
So what do you think my Dolphins brethren? Are you ready to step back from the ledge now? Can you relax about the trenches a little bit better? Can we see that in order to maximize effective team capital we should work with trends and data and not against them? Or do you still think I am full of aqua colored bs?