The NFL Combine will begin later next week and the draft is still a tortoise crawl away while free agency along with it’s uncapped season and impending Joey Porter release is still just over 2 weeks away. For the Dolphins however, the behind the scenes antics are likely already moving gears. See, the Dolphins only have 9 draft picks this year and while that is the same number they had last season, 5 of those picks come after the 4th round…in fact, all 5 are after the 5th round. That isn’t enough…not for Bill Parcells and Jeff Ireland. The Phins are short on picks.
If the draft were today, the Dolphins draft card would look like this, according to the Sun-Sentinel:
First round: No. 12 in round
Second round: No. 11 (43 overall)
Third round: No. 10 (74 overall)
Fourth round: No. 12
Fifth round: traded to Kansas City for QB Tyler Thigpen (No. 11 in round)
Sixth round: from Kansas City for Andy Alleman/Ike Ndukwe trade (No. 4 in round)
Sixth round: from Washington for the 2008 trade of Jason Taylor (No. 5 in round)
Sixth round: No. 10 in round
Seventh round: from Kansas City for the Dolphins’ 2009 7th (No. 5 in round)
Seventh round: No. 12 in round
Last season the Dolphins entered the draft with 9 selections and they will most assuredly try to add one or two more. The question is how will they go about getting a couple of mid-round selections? It’s not like they are loaded with tradable talent.
The above list of picks also should serve as a wakeup call to fans who are thinking the Dolphins will toss a 2nd or 3rd out to Denver or Arizona for one of their receivers. It won’t happen. At least not without recouping the selection somewhere else and while you can legitimately make an argument that an Anquan Boldin or Brandon Marshall is far better than what you would get with a 2nd round pick…know that Bill Parcells and company don’t look at it as simply that. They will factor in talent for sure, but also the contract price vs. the years of the deal vs. injury history vs. attitude vs. what they want with that pick. In other words, by the time they have done all their “VS” work, it’s a push.
With all that being said, here are some names that might garner enough interest from somewhere else to add a pick or two to the Dolphins coffer.
QB: The Dolphins are in a good position here. They can keep Tyler Thigpen for another year and let him battle with Chad Henne for the starting job. Or they could trade Thigpen and re-sign Chad Pennington to be the back-up. If Thigpen hits the trade market, the Buffalo Bills and Washington Redskins could be interested.
Pick Value: Maybe a 5th which is what the Dolphins paid to get him.
Chances: Slim. Chad Pennington is going to be a tough re-sign and the Dolphins need to have in place before they move or try to move Thigpen.
RB: Ronnie Brown is the most valued asset on the field for the Dolphins and would garner the most interest in a trade as well as the highest pick return. The problem is, he is injured. Teams don’t want to throw large sums of money out to anyone let alone a RB with a history of missing games. Brown is going to command a big contract when he hits FA in another year and no team will part with a 2nd rounder for him.
Pick Value: 2nd or 3rd because of injury concern.
Chances: Remote. Brown is under contract for another year with no new CBA. That means that the Phins will get a chance to evaluate him for another season before extending his contract. The Dolphins like what Ronnie Brown brings but they don’t care for his injury bug history.
Possible destinations: If he were to be moved, teams like San Diego and Arizona may have interest.
WR: Of all the positions the Phins have, this is the one slot that will more than likely yield a couple of draft picks from. Ironic isn’t it? The Dolphins WR’s are nothing special and in fact are far from it but they are one thing if nothing else…slot guys. And the New England Patriots know how to take a slot receiver and make him a star. Unfortunately, none of these guys are close to what Welker is.
Of the names that will be floated, Greg Camarillo is the most likely to be moved. His contract is for another 2 years and is something that won’t make teams balk. He is a possession type receiver who plays a lot like the aforementioned Welker. While teams won’t be beating down doors to get him, it’s likely that when the Phins start talking, his name more than any other will be brought up.
Ted Ginn is another WR that in most cases will be mentioned by fans and not legitimate rumor circles in the NFL. Ginn has the all the speed in the world but has no clue how to use it and his hands are like rocks. Add to that the fact he is useless on punt returns and aside from the NY Jets plays poorly on KR as well. His real stock for a trade though is a high end number 1 that will take rolling coverage and force teams to play him 1-1. While he won’t likely find success he will still allow offenses to do a few thing more with safeties and CB’s pulled down-field. Still, it’s unlikely that he will go anywhere.
Brian Hartline and Davone Bess are not going anywhere. The two of them provide a solid competition for the number 2 spot while the other is relegated to the slot roll. Both have impressed the Dolphins and the team needs reliable hands. It’s too early to tell about Patrick Turner and while the fans bite their nails off waiting to see what he will bring to the table, the Dolphins would be hard pressed to find a team interested in trading for a WR who was only active for one game last year…or was it two?
Chances: Very good. At least one of the WR’s, likely Camarillo will be traded before the NFL draft.
Value: low 4th or 5th round for Camarillo, 4th for Ted Ginn…maybe a 3rd (Ginn would likely be more involved in a trade for a player).
TE: Oddly enough if you would have said the Phins would trade a TE I would have laughed. But with Anthony Fasano entering his final year and yet to play up to his 2008 level, the Phins may find him expendable if they could find a willing partner.
Chances: Slim. Fasano has one year left and didn’t play that well last season and he was injured to boot.
Value: Minimal. Fasano may garner a 6th round pick or a low 5 at best.
Offensive Line: There really isn’t much here to talk about. The Dolphins could trade Vernon Carey but that is a very remote prospect that doesn’t warrant anything more than that blurb. Of the remaining lineman that the Phins might consider trading…there isn’t value unless they make a deal like the one last year with KC before the start of the season.
The Dolphins don’t posses much on the defensive side of the ball so rather than go position by position we will look at names only.
Joey Porter – Any trade value he had went out the window when he was released and then was placed back on the roster. Porter will be cut on March 1st or 2nd. However, a team that does want Porter may find themselves inclined to guarantee him by trading a late draft pick now that they know Miami will release him.
Channing Crowder – Crowder is heading into year 2 of a 3 year deal and has yet to move his name up to the lips of the casual fan. He is hard working but it’s not translating onto the field. His injury history makes him a gamble and his play makes his value low. If Crowder were to be traded it would likely be as part of a package or for draft pick in 2011.
Will Allen - Allen missed most of last season and his injury gave way to rookie Vontae’ Davis. While Allen maintains he will win back his starting job, the Phins may want to look at trading him instead given the fact that Davis should improve in his 2nd year. Still, the Dolphins also know the value of depth at the corner position so a trade is unlikely.
The LB’s on the Phins are nothing special as the team is expected to try and replace most of them this year so there won’t be any trade fodder there unless it’s for a 7th rounder for a prospect or part of a package deal.
Kendall Langford and Phillip Merling: Interestingly enough, I wouldn’t rule out one of these guys leaving the team VIA trade. It’s more personal conjecture than anything else. Neither have really stepped up on the Dolphins defensive line and perhaps they may be better suited to a 4-3 rather than a 3-4. Both are young and in manageable contracts and for the Dolphins replaceable in both free agency and the draft.
While it’s unlikely that the Dolphins would give up on them this early, a 4th or 5th round pick may be enough to sway the Phins from cutting their losses and moving on. Besides, with the emergency of Randy Starks last season and the expected improvement of Cameron Wake from the OLB spot, the Phins could play a little here.
Gibril Wilson – Yeah right. If teams had forgotten about his poor play last season, they only needed to watch the Super Bowl commercial featuring NO Saints RB Reggie Bush jumping over him for a TD to remind themselves. Wilson is a strong candidate for free agency again this year.
Of course if the names above, or names not above fail to garner enough interest to other teams, the Dolphins can always trade down in round 1 or couple multiple 6th and 7th selections to move up to the mid-rounds.