No, I’m not talking about the New England Patriots loss to the Miami Dolphins two Sunday’s ago. I’m not talking about the Patriots epic loss to the New York Giants in the Super Bowl. The loss I am talking about goes all the way back to the start of last season when the NFL handed down a punishment for taping signals. You remember “Spygate“. Don’t you?
Is it possible that the particulars of that punishment helped the Miami Dolphins? It may be more interesting than just a simple surface look at the Dolphins picking 32 overall instead of 33 but instead the name of who could have been chosen at 31..had New England kept the pick. His name is Phillip Merling.
The Miami Dolphins DE is showing early signs that he is everything that the Dolphins wanted with their 32nd pick…and more. Already nominated for one “rookie of the week” award, Merling has been catching the eyes of players and coaches alike and after two of his first games came against Alan Faneca and Logan Mankins, the DE is making it known that teams need to account for him.
While Merling is making his name known and his ability and athleticism, it goes all the way back to last season to possibly set up the Merling to Miami draft pick. While no one can know for sure, the New England Patriots may have had their eyes set on him. A comment was made on an article in the Palm Beach Post that got me thinking, would the Patriots have drafted Merling with their number 31?
So, I made a phone call to a friend who tends to know some of these things. The answer is no. The reason is simple. The Patriots already knew they no longer had that pick at 31 and wouldn’t see him in round 2. Speculation is fun however and my call did reveal that Bill Belichick did like the guy a lot and he surmised that had the Patriots not been relieved of that pick, they very well could have drafted him at that spot. I was also told that had Merling not suffered from the hernia, that Bill may have taken him with the 11th pick over Jarod Mayo. Although he still thinks that given the choice between the two, the need at LB was more for the Patriots.
So while it is entirely possible that the Patriots could have taken Merling with pick 31, we can all take some comfort in knowing that they didn’t and Phillip Merling is a Miami Dolphin, regardless of why and how.