The NFL Draft is a little over a week away and speculation runs rampant from what the Lions will do with pick 1 to what the Miami Dolphins will do with pick 25. Even while I sit here formulating my own “Mock Draft” for next week, I have to deal with the issue that 1: I don’t think the draft order is quite set yet and 2: the Dolphins are not going to draft a WR in round 1.
As this is a “Phins” site I will start with WR. First and foremost, in my opinion, the Bill Parcells travel plans to NC to watch Hakeem Nicks were legit as I think there is genuine interest from Jeff Ireland and Bill Parcells in the WR. However, I don’t think it is enough to sway the duo from pulling the trigger at 25 on a guy that may or may not make an immediate impact on the roster.
Yes, I am aware that comments have been made that the team needs and is searching for an offensive playmaker but that doesn’t necessarily mean a WR on day 1. In fact, I believe that the WR position will only be addressed on day 1 if the Phins somehow get another draft pick in round 2. Which leads me to the draft order as it currently stands.
Several teams have reportedly been trying to move out of the top 5…as in all 5. These teams believe that the value of the pick vs. the salary that the slot will command is not worth the pickings but the problem is that no single player at the top is valued high enough to warrant any team jumping up in the top 5 to make a trade. So you won’t see one.
What you may see however is a change in philosophy at the top. Consider the rumors, and they seem to have some legitimate legs, that the Cleveland Browns have a deal on the table for QB Brady Quinn and Braylon Edwards. The Lions are the first team that comes to mind. The Lions have 2 picks in round 1 and by using the second, number 20, on Quinn would be a wiser investment and less costly than drafting Matt Stafford number 1 overall. The Lions will have to have a deal cut before the start of the draft in order to make it work or they may have to take Stafford although they really want Jason Smith the big OT.
If the Lions trade for Quinn we will likely see Matt Stafford fall as far as Jacksonville or San Francisco. Which means that Matt Sanchez will drop. If Stafford falls past those two…Denver at 12 becomes the logical landing spot. All because the Lions and Browns make a deal or the Lions simply say Smith is our guy.
The Denver Broncos also have two picks in this years first round and despite their posturing over Kyle Orton, they too need a QB. With selections currently at 12 and 18 the Broncos have a higher pick to give the Browns with either selection and while it’s unlikely that the Broncos would want to part with the 12 pick, the 18 would most assuredly be worth Brady Quinn compared to Josh Freeman who could be on the board.
The problem is that Cleveland knows that outside of Josh Freeman, there is little left and the Jets are a possible landing spot one pick in front of the Broncos at 18 which may be why the Browns are posturing. They could want that higher pick. Although the number 12 pick puts the Browns in a financial mess with two of the top 12 selections and one of those a top 5. Dont’ bet on it.
The Browns are also rumored to be talking with the NY Giants about a trade involving WR Braylon Edwards. The Giants pick way down at 29 and while they need an explosive WR they could be content to sit and see if WR’s Hakeem Nicks drops or if the stock on Percy Harvin after his confirmed failed Mary Jane test at the Combine drops him to 29. The price of the 29 pick will be less than the contract that Edwards is likely to want after a trade.
Still, the Browns could be in a position to have 3 number 1 picks this year which of course would mean they would try and trade at least one of them to lessen the financial burden. Perhaps they play the gambling game and accept a future draft pick instead…perhaps a 1 next year and 3 this year. Something along one of those lines with Edwards or Quinn.
Which brings us back to the Dolphins. The need for the Phins is clearly CB but at 25 only two guys may be standing when the pick goes on the clock. Illinois CB Vontae Davis and Darrius Butler. Butler is listed as one of the better CB’s in this years draft but still has been unable to move ahead on most boards of Davis and Malcom Jenkins who in some circles is viewed more as an NFL Safety than a corner.
At 25 the Dolphins by now have a clear picture of who they want on top of their draft board. They will watch closely to see who falls. There will likely be two lists. One, the names that they expect to be there and two, the names of players they hope will fall.
In my opinion, unless a player on list two happens to be there at 25 the Dolphins will try and trade down and get an extra 2nd round pick and possibly trade down again. The 25 slot does not have a large gap in talent from round 1 to round 2 and if the team is looking to add more picks, this is their best option which tells me that WR is not a priority in round 1. Not given the talent that could be there in round 2 or even day 2 for that matter.
As round 2 rolls around the Phins will try and address the OLB/DE position with names like Connor Barwin, Larry English, and Cody Brown gaining mention. Corners like Sean Smith and Alphonso Smith will hear their names mentioned. The real drama will unfold later in round 2 when the Dolphins go on the clock for pick 56.
The Phins mentioned they needed a “playmaker” on offense and there may be one sitting there in the form of QB Pat White. Now, I realize that White is a media darling when it comes to rumors and the Dolphins, but there is some logic to the thinking and as the draft draws closer it seems like White may be a logical choice.
Consider that the Phins have made it clear that the “WildCat” formation will continue to be a viable part of the offense. Pat White is a RB, WR, and QB and immediately takes the formation to a new level with more options than what Ronnie Brown gives.
The Dolphins also are not fond of players that do not play. Enter John Beck. As a 3rd string QB Beck takes a roster spot although he stays inactive as the E3 he still does not go on the field. White would give the Phins a legitimate number 3 QB who will learn behind the two “Chads” and develop while also playing in games and learning the speed. In other words…he will contribute to the team.
If the Phins do indeed wish to add White to their roster they will have to do so at pick 56 and they may find that White could be gone by then with Dallas looking as a landing spot as well. The Cowboys have stated they will introduce the “WC” into their offense and some speculate that they will target White with their 2nd round pick. However, the Cowboys only have one pick on day 1 and spending it on a QB/WR/RB is unlikely considering they have players set at all 3 positions.
What this draft comes down to is the Phins continued search for starters and contributors. With 3 picks on day 1 they have an opportunity to find exactly that. When the clock begins to tick off the time in round 1 you can bet that the full 15 minutes will be used as the team tries to find a way to move back far enough that they can still get that playmaker they want and add another pick in round 2. Maybe with that “3rd” pick in round 2 they will find a WR. Otherwise, I wouldn’t bet on it.