Posts Tagged With: NFL draft

Miami Dolphins: Top Three Needs for 2015

This is a special time of year in the NFL. Some are fortunate enough to compete in the playoffs hoping all the hard work might pay off in a Super Bowl berth. Others find themselves at the other end of the spectrum searching for a new head coach to hopefully steer the ship away from the rocks. Every one else? Well now is a time for them to take stock. Take a look at what worked and what did not. It is time to make difficult decisions as they begin the journey through the 2015 offseason.

I started taking a look at what need the Miami Dolphins might need way back in November. While some things have changed since then the basic premise is the same.

I do not feel that the Dolphins are that far off the pace. Injuries and quality depth hurt Miami as much as anything on the field, just like any other team. To an extent the Dolphins could go BPA(Best Player Available) when the draft rolls around. I have however targeted three spots.

1. Linebacker:

The Dolphins have two good promising starting linebackers in Koa Misi and Jelanie Jenkins. The problem is they are also saddled with Philip Wheeler and Dannelle Ellerbee who have drastically underperformed. The good news is that Wheeler and Ellerbee will most likely not be here next season. The bad news…who takes their spot?

Second year players Jordan Tripp and Chris McCain could possibly fill that third linebacker spot still leaving us with the question of depth.

Two players I do like are Erik Kendricks (UCLA) in the early round and Mike Hull(Penn St) in the later rounds.

Kendricks is an active versatile player who could easily be penciled in at middle linebacker from day one. Hull is a gritty, lunch-pail kind of player. While his measurables may not be as shiny he will outwork everyone.

2. Offensive Line:

Last season the Dolphins addressed their offensive line problems signing free agent Branden Albert and drafting rookie Ja’Wuan James. That seemed to help dramatically. When Albert went down with an injury it was clear more work is needed.

With James and Albert manning the tackle positions and Mike Pouncey expected to resume his career at center now it is time to find depth and possibly a guard or two.

Brandon Scherff(Iowa) would be a tempting first round pick. He could possibly man one of the tackle spots but he may be even better inside at guard. Another option Erik Fisher(Oregon).

3. Secondary:

Notice I said secondary. Not safety, not cornerback. My feeling is either or both may be a need. Louis Delmas and Cortland Finnegan could both be back or neither leaving more questions than answers. The simple fact is we need someone solid across from Brent Grimes and we do not know if Jamar Taylor can do the job. On the other hand while Delmas was good before his injury he does have an injury history.

There are a number of talented young players on the roster to look at for help: Michael Thomas, Walt Aikens, Jamar Taylor, Will Davis. Even if everyone contributes we will still need some secondary help.

Two safeties I like are Cody Prewitt(Ole Miss) and Gerod Holliman(Louisville). Both have good size and ball skills. They could allow Reshad Jones greater freedom to freelance and be the playmaker we have seen in the past.

As far as corner Trae Waynes(Michigan St) is a no brainer. I also like Kevin Johnson(Wake Forest). Both have the size we are frankly missing at corner to go along with excellent coverage skills.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. Draft season is not quite upon us. As it gets closer players do begin to separate themselves. Just a little taste of what we could be in store for.

 

Categories: AFC East, Football, Miami Dolphins, NFL, NFL draft | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

Miami Dolphins 2014 Draft: Rounds 1-3

After month after month of scouting, debating and a multitude of other moves the 2014 NFL draft has come and gone. Watching the moves Dennis Hickey and the Miami Dolphins made this weekend I am decidedly underwhelmed. It is not that they made bad picks, overall they choose well, it is the hope for something more, something better. The simple fact is scouting is subjective, my board looks far different than Hickey’s did.

Here is my look at the first two days. Rounds One, Two and Three.

First Round (pick #19) Ja’Wuan James, OT, Tennessee 1

Clearly the offensive line was the biggest need of the draft. But was James the best choice. He will easily step in as the new starting right tackle. He will be solid. My issue: taking him at 19. It has been suggested that the Dolphins could have traded down for more picks. While they insist that James was their guy and they were concerned about him not being there if they did trade down, would that have been that bad? I would have preferred going with Xavier Su’a-filo from UCLA at guard or failing that taking Nevada’s Joel Bitonio. That being said, James should do a fine job.

Second Round (pick #63) Jarvis Landry, WR, LSU2

With their second pick they took Jarvis Landry from LSU. He is a strong, physical receiver, great route runner with wonderful hands. He has been compared to Anquan Boldin and Hines Ward. If they were dead set on getting a receiver I would have rather gone with someone with speed or size, Landry has neither. At 6’0″ and 205 lbs he does not have size and his 4.6 40-time will not scare anyone. My only real problem with Landry is that we already have him, two of him. Brandon Gibson and Rishard Matthews. While I believe Landry may be better than either Gibson or Matthews the fact remains we used a draft pick on a player we already had rather than addressing a need. I would have rather gone after a playmaking free safety like Terrance Brooks (FSU).

Third Round (pick #67) Billy Turner,OT, NDSU3

I actually thought of Turner as a possibility here. He is a big, strong, athletic tackle who plays a bit of a nasty streak. My only concern is whether he can make the transition to guard at the pro level. It is a big jump in level of competition from FCS to the NFL, add to that the position change and Turner has a daunting task ahead of him. Marcus Martin from USC may have been the wiser pick here. He already has experience at guard and could slide right into the starting lineup.

The first two days supplied players who will contribute and will be productive members of the team. It may be a little short on excitement but overall Dennis Hickey did his job. With his first three picks as General Manager he delivered three good players filling a few holes along the way.

 

Categories: Football, Miami Dolphins, NFL, NFL draft | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

Quarterback Quandry

qbs

Everyone loves the Quarterback.

While football is most definitely a team game, the quarterback position is very important for success. A great quarterback can cover a multitude of sins at other positions. So it is understandable that NFL teams and fans obsess about who they have behind center.

In this draft there are three quarterback that are universally at the top of teams draft boards: Blake Bortles (UCF), Johnny Manziel (Texas A&M) and Terry Bridgewater (Louisville). While some will insist that there are other quarterbacks that belong in the conversation (Derek Carr?) it really isn’t that close. So the question is: Who goes first?

Any team that takes one of these quarterbacks is going to get a very good player. This is not a case of one player is clearly better than another. I find myself liking each of these players in their own right. I simply like one more than the others.

Johnny Manziel

Johnny Manziel, Johnny Football. I wrote about him during his Heisman run. I insisted that he had to win the Heisman, there was simply no other choice. He is exciting, competitive, cocky. Those are good things. He has a rare ability to create plays from nothing that reminds me of Doug Flutie. He is the wildcard in this scenario. Manziel’s biggest asset is his biggest flaw. He is incredible when things break down, but that is not something you can coach up. There is no way to refine what makes him great, too much coaching may actually take away from his gifts. Then there is the bigger problem. His worst game last season was easily against LSU. The Tigers held him to 16 of 41 passing for 224 yards with two interceptions and only one touchdown in the Aggies 34-10 loss. The problem: simple LSU kept him in the pocket forcing him to win only with his arm not his legs. Until he shows he can play from the pocket there will be a huge question mark on Manziel.

Terry Bridgewater

Many analysts insist that Bridgewater is falling down draft boards, I find that hard to believe. He is mature, confindent, a leader. Bridgewater has a very good arm, he throws with touch and accuracy. Watching him play I see a smooth, polished passer. He makes me think of Joe Montana, Chad Pennington, and unfortunately Ken Dorsey. It is his frame that reminds me of Dorsey. Dorsey was a phenomenal college QB, leading the U to a national championship while racking up an impressive 38-2 record as a starter. The NFL was a different story. His slight frame and lack of arm strength worried teams, he was drafted in the 7th round by the San Francisco 49ers and had an unremarkable career. That is the concern with Bridgewater. Among the three quarterbacks he has the highest floor, meaning under the worst circumstances he will be better than the other two. The question remains what is his ceiling?

Blake Bortles

I am biased. I have watched every game Bortles played for the University of Central Florida. Every single snap. I watched when he came of the bench like a modern day Don Strock in relief of starter Jeff Godfrey. I was there when he took over the starting job in the 2012 season and I was there when he came from behind to beat Bridgewater’s Louisville team with a touchdown pass to that same Jeff Godfrey. He is big, strong, smart, he is a grinder. Bridgewater has the higher floor but Bortles has the higher ceiling. He just keeps getting better. He got better from his first start to when he beat Baylor in the Fiesta Bowl. He got better from there to the combine and UCF’s pro day. At that pro day he said he did good…just good. Many observers felt he looked great. All Blake Bortles had to say was that he still had work to do, things to improve. That’s the guy I want. Confident, a leader, humble. A grinder.

 

Categories: Blake Bortles, College Football, Football, Johnny Football, NFL, NFL combine, NFL draft, sports, Terry Bridgewater | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

The Last Mock Draft of 2014

2013 NFL Draft

This mock draft is coming to you very late. I planned on having it ready last week honestly, however the extra time kept making me second guess myself. These are my thoughts, what I would do. I know there are picks here that most everyone says are not going to happen. Well…I don’t care, this is my mock. I am sure they have written their own. That being said enjoy-

1. Houston Texans (2-14) Blake Bortles, QB, UCF  

Bortles has always been my pick for the Texans. Bill O’Brien knows him better than anyone else, O’Brien takes him. Suddenly the Texans have their quarterback for the next decade. He does everything you need your quarterback to do and he is …just getting warmed up.”

I know many people out there are convinced Clowney is the pick here (and he is the best talent in this draft) but he just does not fit the Texans defense. Never pick someone in the top ten to play a position they have not played before.

2. St. Louis Rams (from Washington) (7-9) Greg Robinson, OT, Auburn

Someone needs to protect Sam Bradford. Yes, they brought Roger Saffold back-he is better off as a guard. Jake Long is coming back from yet another injury. Robinson will learn from one of the best and the Rams biggest weakness may quickly become a strength.

3. Jacksonville Jaguars (4-12) Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina

Clowney is an incredible physical specimen and the best player in this draft by a large margin. Coach Gus Bradley will be licking his chops if he falls to the Jaguars. Even with the questions about his work ethic Clowney will instantly upgrade the pass rush.

4. Cleveland Browns (4-12) Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson

While they do have Josh Gordon, his past history has to be a concern. Why not take the best wide receiver in the draft to make the passing game that much more explosive for whoever ends up playing behind center. Watkins has the speed, hands and running ability that you need in a number one receiver.

5. Oakland Raiders (4-12) Terry Bridgewater, QB, Louisville

I know everyone has Bridgewater dropping but he fits Oakland so well. Smooth and polished he is the #2 QB on my board. Should easily slide into starting spot replacing Matt Schwab.

6. Atlanta Falcons (4-12) Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M

Matt Ryan simply has to stay upright for the Falcons to have any success. Matthews has the pedigree and the talent to be a top tackle for the next decade. Easiest pick of the draft.

7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-12) Khalil Mack, OLB, Buffalo

Lovie Smith needs to build the Buccaneers defense in his image. Mack is the second best defensive player in the draft. He will combine with Lavonte David to create a fierce linebacking corps.

8. Minnesota Vikings (5-10-1) Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M

New coach Mike Zimmer takes care of his new team’s biggest need right away. Just makes sense for the drafts most exciting player to play for the Vikings. After all it was Fran Tarkenton’s team and Manziel has often been compared to Tarkenton. With AP in the backfield it should give Manziel time to grow into his role without having to carry the offense.

9. Buffalo Bills (6-10) Eric Ebron, TE, North Carolina

There are a lot of ways the Bills could go here. Offensive line was a definite consideration. But I feel the Bills will get another weapon for their young quarterbacks.

10. Detroit Lions (7-9) Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M

The Lions have had the best wide receiver in football the last few years. Problem is they have had no one on the other side of field. Evans would be a nice compliment to Megatron.

11. Tennessee Titans (7-9) Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan State

The Titans lost Alteraun Verner in free agency the need is there. Dennard is a solid, physical cornerback who easily slides into the starting lineup.

12. NY Giants (7-9) Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan

While the Giants drafted Justin Pugh last year the offensive line still needs to be rebuilt. Taylor Lewan’s gritty play fits the Giants personality and someone needs to protect Eli Manning’s backside if they want to avoid another disappointing season…

13. St. Louis Rams (7-9) Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, FS, Alabama

Clinton-Dix is a ballhawking safety who starred in Alabama’s suffocating defense. After taking care of the offensive line earlier the Rams work on their defense.

14. Chicago Bears (8-8) Aaron Donald, DT, Pittsburgh

Donald got a lot of people’s attention at this year’s Senior Bowl. The only knock on him is his height. With an incredible motor he can be very disruptive against both the pass and the run. The Bears desperately need to upgrade their defense; this will be a good start.

15. Pittsburgh Steelers (8-8) Calvin Pryor, FS, Louisville

Troy Polamalu is not getting any younger. Pryor would instantly upgrade the aging Steelers defense. A hard hitter with great ball skills he should contribute quickly.

16. Dallas Cowboys (8-8) Zach Martin, OT, Notre Dame

The Cowboys go just as far as Tony Romo takes them so maybe they should get some protection for him. Martin may be better as a guard but he has the flexibility to play all across the offensive line at a high level.

17. Baltimore Ravens (8-8) C.J. Mosley, ILB, Alabama

The Ravens fell to earth after winning the Super Bowl. The best middle linebacker in the draft may help shore up a defense that has lost a lot since winning the big one.

18. NY Jets (8-8) Marquise Lee, WR, USC

The Jets need someone to throw the ball to; Erik Decker cannot do it all. Lee started the season as the best WR in college football. With the Jets he gets the chance to prove that he was not all hype.

19. Miami Dolphins (8-8) Xavier Su’a-Filo, OG, UCLA

Everyone expects Miami to take a tackle here, but I believe guard is a more pressing need. Putting Su’a-Filo next to Mike Pouncey would solidify the middle of the offensive line. You would have to go back to Bob Kuechenberg to find a guard of Su’a-Filo’s ability playing in Miami.

20. Arizona Cardinals (10-6) Derek Carr, QB, Fresno State

Carson Palmer is holding the quarterback position in Arizona for someone. I believe that someone is Carr. Solid arm and nice accuracy make him a nice fit, learning under a veteran like Palmer can only make things go smoother for Derek than they went for his brother David.

21. Green Bay Packers (8-7-1) Anthony Barr, OLB, UCLA

While still learning the position Barr is a force as a pass rusher. He still needs to develop against the run. Pairing him with Clay Matthews should keep offensive coordinators up at night.

22. Philadelphia Eagles (10-6) Brandin Cooks, WR, Oregon State

The 2013 Biletnikoff Award winner should instantly slide into the spot vacated by DeSean Jackson. Polished with world class speed and excellent hands. Cooks can work inside or on the edge giving the Eagles yet another game breaking threat.

23. Kansas City Chiefs (11-5) Odell Beckham Jr., WR, LSU

The Chiefs need a receiving threat opposite Dwayne Bowe; Beckham Jr. easily fits the bill. Dangerous with or without the ball he gives Alex Smith another solid target while also helping in the return game.

24. Cincinnati Bengals (11-5) Jason Verrett, CB, TCU

Undersized, but competitive. Verrett supplies much need youth to the Bengals secondary.

25. San Diego Chargers (9-7) Ryan Shazier, OLB, Ohio State

Shazier uses his explosive burst to disrupt the pocket. Smart with excellent instincts which put him in position to make plays.

26. Cleveland Browns (from Indianapolis) (4-12) Bradley Roby, CB, Ohio State

The Browns find an excellent corner to line up across from Joe Haden. Has the ability to mirror receivers across the field and the speed to close quickly.

27. New Orleans Saints (11-5) Kyle Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech

The Saints need some fresh blood in the secondary. Fuller is just the guy to finish the rebuilding job. Should learn quickly across from Champ Bailey.

28. Carolina Panthers (12-4) Kelvin Benjamin, WR, FSU

The Panthers wide receiver corps lost a lot this offseason. Benjamin gives Cam Newton a nice big target to throw to. His slow 40-time definitely hurt his stock.

29. New England Patriots (12-4) Ra’shede Hageman, DT, Minnesota

With a rare burst for a player his size and exceptional strength Hageman should develop well behind Vince Wilfork.

30. San Francisco 49ers (12-4) Cody Latimer, WR, Indiana

Good size/speed combination gives 49ers someone to develop behind Anquan Boldin. Very nice run after catch ability. Still a little raw.

31. Denver Broncos (13-3) Morgan Moses, OT, Virginia

The Super Bowl showed the Broncos need to protect Manning better. Moses has great size and agility. If he continues to develop his technique he could be a steal.

32. Seattle Seahawks (13-3) Dee Ford, DE, Auburn

The Seahawks could go a lot of places with this pick. Ford used the Senior Bowl to slide into the first round solidifying an already impressive defense.

Categories: College Football, Football, Johnny Football, NFL, NFL draft | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Miami Dolphins Offseason Primer

C.W. Griffin/ Miami Herald

C.W. Griffin/ Miami Herald

(I original posted this column on another site. I thought I would take a look back before we move forward to the NFL Draft in two weeks.)

The NFL offseason is upon us. It is a wonderful time of the football year, it is like Christmas. As fans and writers we cannot wait to open what presents await us in free agency and the upcoming draft. Every team is optimistic right now, every team believes they have a chance to win it all. There are months and months before reality will fall down and crush our dreams.

Looking forward to the NFL Combine, Free Agency and the Draft I wanted to take a look at where the Miami Dolphins are at heading into this offseason. Sometimes you need to take a look at what you have before you go after what you need.

Offense:

Quarterback: Ryan Tannehill has looked good, obviously there is room to improve but now is not the time to pull the cord. On the other hand I could see taking a quarterback with a late round pick. At some point Matt Moore will be replaced as the backup quarterback. Taking a flyer on Brock Jensen (NDSU) or Aaron Murray (Georgia) would be a good idea in my opinion.

Running Back: The Dolphins running game underperformed last year, how much was due to a bad offensive line and how much blame belongs with the running back is up for debate. I expect Daniel Thomas to be gone but Lamar Thomas and Mike Gillislee have talent. The bigger problem is the lack of a short yardage back. There are backs available in the draft as well as Ben Tate and LeGarrette Blount in free agency. Personally I think they should go after Toby Gerhart from Minnesota. He is a strong runner with good vision, has good hands out of the backfield and best of all actually knows how to pass block.

No Gerhart but Knowshon Moreno is a very nice fit. Solid pass blocker, good hands and very capable running the ball.

Fullback: A good start would be to actually have a fullback, not just a tight end manning the position part-time. Ryan Hewitt from Stanford looks good to me. Played the position on a running team, also worked as an H-Back and tight end which is important for how this offense would likely use a fullback.

Wide Receiver: After the spending spree last offseason I cannot see any reason to go after more wide receivers this year. Now that is not to say that I would not take Sammy Watkins if he fell to the Dolphins, but he is not going to fall all the way to 19.

Tight End: Charles Clay had a breakout year last season, that does not mean we are set at tight end. By no means is Clay an inline tight end, he works better when you move him around. While Dion Sims may develop into a quality tight end, I would still bring in more competition at the position. Arthur Lynch (Georgia) would be a nice addition.

Offensive Line: Even without the drama of the Incognito/Martin saga the line was a problem. Giving up a team record 58 sacks is a big problem, not to mention the lack of running room for any of the backs. Pro Bowl center Mike Pouncey is the only starter from last season expected to be back. A big portion of the offseason will be spent rebuilding the line. I feel chemistry is more important than big names. Geoff Schwartz (KC), Jared Veldheer (OAK) and Anthony Collins (CIN) are some free agent names to remember. I expect at least two players from free agency and another two or three in the draft. This is the important part of the offseason for this team, everything for the offense starts here.

Brandon Albert, Shelly Smith and Jason Fox are a good start to rebuilding the offensive line. A few more pieces should arrive during the draft. Xavier Su’a-filo, Joel Bitonio and Michael Schofield would be some good names to watch for.

Defense:

Defensive End: Do nothing. Absolutely nothing. Cameron Wake, Olivier Vernon and Dion Jordon do I need to say more, did not think so.

Defensive Tackle: Randy Starks and Paul Soliai are both free agents, only one will be back. That is the big question. Jared Odrick will excel at one tackle spot, just need to worry about the other one. A.J. Francis and Isaako Aaitui are both promising young players but they are still raw.

Soliai is gone replaced by Earl Mitchell.

Linebacker: Disappointing at the least, horrible may be a better description of the linebacker play this season. Dannell Ellerbee and Philip Wheeler were expected to improve the speed and overall play of the linebacking corps, that did not happen. They were the problem more than the cure. Bad angles and lack of effort were evident all season long. Taking Chris Borland (Wis) in the later rounds might be a good idea. He may not look great but he makes plays, that is all that matters.

I would consider C.J. Mosley (Alabama) or Jordan Zumwalt (UCLA) in the draft to upgrade this unit.

Defensive Backs: Resign Brent Grimes. That is essential; he is the cornerstone of the defensive backfield. That is the least of the moves necessary. Chris Clemons is also a free agent. While I would resign him many want a more active playmaker at safety. The choice is one of security versus upside. We know Clemons will be a solid safety for us. His replacement does not only need to make plays, he needs to prevent the big ones as well. The grass is not always greener on the other side.

Louis Delmas and Cortland Finnegan joined the Dolphins secondary during free agency. While Delmas may do a good job replacing Clemons, I am not as fond of Finnegan. I have never been a fan.

So that is where we are at, now we must take a look at where we are going. This is the fun stuff.

Categories: Football, Free Agency, Miami Dolphins, NFL, NFL draft | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Miami Dolphins: 7 Round Mock

7 round mock draft

Draft Day is coming soon. No, not the movie but the actual NFL Draft. The 2014 draft begins Thursday May 8th. Less than a month remains for teams to finish their draft boards and debate among the hundreds of players they may have to choose from when they get on the clock.

It is so difficult to determine what any team will do when the draft arrives, nevermind a team with a new general manager. Dennis Hickey is preparing for his first draft as a member of the Miami Dolphins. No one truly knows what he will do when the time comes. That’s ok. I am more than willing to give him my seven round mock draft to work from.

Miami has several holes they need to fill through this draft. Offensive line is the most glaring need. Safety, Linebacker and Tight End could all use upgrades as well. With a pick in every round the Dolphins should be able to make some solid moves with a good draft.

xsfRound 1 (pick 19)

Xavier Su’a-Filo, OG  (UCLA)

Not the sexy pick some fans would want but Su’a-Filo is exactly what is  needed to firm up the offensive line. At 6-3 and 305 lbs. he has the athleticism to work as a pulling guard while also being able to hold up in pass protection. He should start from day one, could easily see him as a long time pro bowler.

Round 2 (50)FSU13_t607

Terrence Brooks, FS (Florida State)

Louis Delmas was signed to be the Dolphins new free safety this offseason. His contract suggests that he will not be there for long. Brooks has been moving up draft boards steadily this offseason, with good reason. 4.4 speed and great instincts do not come around everyday. Until he is ready to assume the starting job Brooks may contribute as a nickel defender, he is a former corner.

Round 3 (81)

Jordan Zumwalt, LB (UCLA)

Zumwalt’s instincts and high motor contributed to him being voted co-MVP in this years Sun Bowl, where he contributed 10 tackles and an interception. Experienced at all three linebacker positions, he could compete for a starting spot immediately. I see him as the middle linebacker of the future.

Round 4 (116)

Jaylen Watkins, CB (Florida)

Watkins has played both corner and safety at Florida. With great instincts and closing speed he should contribute immediately in the zone scheme Miami currently runs.alynch

Round 5 (155)

Arthur Lynch, TE (Georgia)

An In-Line TE which is exactly what Miami needs to complement Charles Clay. He is a solid blocker, with good hands. Clay is the seam threat, Lynch can eat underneath.

Round 6 (190)

Michael Schofield, OT (Michigan)

Schofield moves well for his size. Not good enough to start on the left side, but he could become a solid right tackle. Failing that he also has experience working inside as well.

Round 7 (234)

Brett Smith, QB (Wyoming)

I am a big believer in always taking a quarterback to develop for the future. I think it is time to move on from Pat Delvin as a back-up. Smith is a natural passer with a good enough arm for the next level. He has the athleticism to get outside of the pocket and throw from the run. While I would prefer Aaron Murray from Georgia, Smith could develop into a quality starter and a solid backup in the near future.

Writing a seven round mock is like throwing darts at a board. Who knows what will happen come May? If half of these players end up in South Beach I will be happy.

Categories: Football, Miami Dolphins, NFL, NFL draft | Tags: , | 1 Comment

Yet Another Mock Draft.

The 2013 NFL Draft is fast approaching. Free agency has taken a backseat for teams as they begin designing their draft boards. There does not seem to be a clear cut number one pick this year. The strength of this draft is depth not superstars. No one can truly predict what 32 general managers and head coaches will do; I simply chose who I would go with. I do not claim to be a draft expert, while I do watch them on TV. So here is my 2013 NFL Mock Draft:

1. Kansas City Chiefs: Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah
The popular pick here is Luke Joeckel or Erik Fisher. However, after franchising left tackle Brandon Albert I just do not believe the Chiefs will use the number one overall pick on another tackle. Take Star and make a good defense even better.
2. Jacksonville Jaguars: Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida
Floyd fits. The versatile defensive lineman will help new coach Gus Bradley build his defense and will only get better.
3. Oakland Raiders: Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M
After acquiring Matt Flynn recently Oakland should take a top tackle to keep his jersey clean. Joeckel fits the bill.
4. Philadelphia Eagles: Dion Jordan, DE, Oregon
As bad as the Philadelphia offense was last season, the defense was worse. Jordan gives the Eagles length, talent, and familiarity.
5. Detroit Lions: Erik Fisher, OT, Central Michigan
With Jeff Backus retiring, Detroit solidifies the oline with some local talent.
6. Cleveland Browns: Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama
Pairing Milliner with Hayden may give Cleveland one of the best cornerback tandems in the league.
7. Arizona Cardinals: Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia
Someone will take Geno Smith in the first round. Still think it is a reach, but he seems to fit in Arizona. Carson Palmer is simply a  stop-gap option at QB.
8. Buffalo Bills: Chance Warmack, OG, Alabama
Warmack would be an upgrade over the departing Andy Levitre. New coach Doug Marrone can get his quarterback in the second round.
9. New York Jets: Ezekiel Ansah, DE, Brigham Young
Ansah may be raw but Rex Ryan will love his athleticism and potential.
10. Tennessee Titans: Jonathan Cooper. OG, North Carolina
Cooper will help build a solid line for Chris Johnson to run behind.
11. San Diego Chargers: Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia
The Chargers have been missing this kind of dynamic player on offense. Austin can help coming out of the backfield or at receiver.
12. Miami Dolphins: Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma
Miami filled most of their needs in free agency. Johnson would fill one they missed. Still learning the position may turn out to be the best tackle in this draft.
13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida State
Will step in to start from the day he gets to camp.
14. Carolina Panthers: Sheldon, Richardson, DT, Missouri
Richardson would revitalize the Panthers defensive front.
15. New Orleans Saints: Barkevious Mingo, OLB, LSU
Would instantly improve the pass rush, while bringing youth to the linebacking corps.
16. St. Louis Rams: Keenan Allen, WR, California
Sam Bradford finally has a downfield target.
17. Pittsburgh Steelers: Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia
Medical concerns made Jones drop this far. The Steelers get yet another very productive linebacker.
18. Dallas Cowboys: Sylvester Williams, DT, North Carolina
Williams would anchor Monte Kiffin’s defense in Texas.
19. New York Giants: Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State
With a great motor, German-born Werner takes Osi Umenyiora’s spot in the defensive line rotation.
20. Chicago Bears: Arthur Brown, ILB, Kansas State
The undersized Brown will try to make up for the mishandling of Brian Urlacher this offseason.
21. Cincinnati Bengals: D.J. Fluker, OT, Alabama
Fluker is easily an upgrade over former RT Andre Smith.
22. St. Louis Rams (from Washington): Tyler Eifert, TE, Notre Dame
The best tight end in the draft gives Bradford another weapon.
23. Minnesota Vikings: Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee
Minnesota may be hoping for another Randy Moss. A boom or bust pick, has the talent but only one year of major college experience.
24. Indianapolis Colts: Kenny Vaccaro, S, Texas
The best safety in the draft.
25. Minnesota Vikings (from Seattle): Alec Olgetree, OLB, Georgia
Instantly upgrades the linebackers.
26. Green Bay Packers: Eddie Lacy, RB, Alabama
Finally, Green Bay gets a running back to take pressure off of Rodgers.
27. Houston Texans: DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Clemson
Should pair nicely with Andre Johnson, catches everything.
28. Denver Broncos: Datone Jones, DE, UCLA
Elvis has left the building. Jones should fit in nicely.
29. New England Patriots: Matt Elam, S, Florida
Belichick loves players from the University of Florida. Elam helps a weak secondary.
30. Atlanta Falcons: Kevin Minter, ILB, LSU
Sideline-to-sideline instinctive middle linebacker. 1st day starter.
31. San Francisco 49ers: Margus Hunt, DE, SMU
Raw player with incredible athleticism. The “eastern block” should make a scary defense even better.
32. Baltimore Ravens: Jonathan Cyprien, S, FIU
Another south Florida safety to take Ed Reed’s place, great instincts and range.

Categories: Football, NFL, NFL draft | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Hands Like Feet

‘Hands like feet.’

Just roles off the tongue doesn’t it.

‘Hands like feet.’ After four days and countless hours of NFL Network coverage, that is what I took away from the NFL scouting combine.

Not Tavon Austin and Ryan Swope running 4.34 in the forty yard dash. Not even Manti Te’o crawling to a 4.82 forty time. Those were impressive and not so impressive feats, but I just like “Hands like feet”

It has quickly become my favorite scouting phrase. Why say a player cannot catch a cold when you can simply blurt out “hands like feet”, it is wonderful.

What else did I get from watching way too much of the combine over the last week?

This isn’t a bad draft class. There are many very good players coming to the NFL in April, just not many ‘shiny ones.’ That one, outstanding, no doubt about it number one overall pick: he isn’t here, keep looking. The quarterbacks leave a lot to desire; the wide receivers have more questions than answers. This particular combine seems to be more about who isn’t here than who is.

Quarterbacks Aaron Murray and A.J. McCarron would have been first round picks this draft. Jadeveon Clowney from South Caroline would have been a clear no. 1 pick. But they are not available; you can only work with what you have got.

Someone from this group of players will be picked no. 1 overall, until then I leave you with this:

‘Hands like Feet’

Categories: Football, NFL, NFL combine, NFL draft, sports | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

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