Miami Dolphins 2010 Needs
Positions: FS, OLB, NT, TE, WR, OL
Last year when I wrote about the Dolphins team needs I listed LB, NT, FS, CB, and WR. At least this year CB is off the list and LB has been specified to OLB. Miami tried to address the FS position last year in free agency with Gerbil Wilson. Well that obviously didn’t go so well and Wilson along with Porter and Ayodele has been released. The good news is Miami signed arguably the number two free agent out there and has seemingly addressed the deficiencies at inside linebacker. However, Miami lost out on Antrel Rolle and Ryan Clark in their bid to replace Wilson in free agency.
Miami’s biggest acquisition might be that of Defensive Coordinator Mike Nolan. Nolan and McDaniel had a falling out in Denver and Miami reaped the reward of Denver’s loss. Nolan will bring his attacking style of defense that won him notoriety in Baltimore. Expect Cameron Wake to play a similar role in Miami’s defense as Elvis Dummerville did last year in Denver’s and lets all hope we see similar results.
At the time of this writing Miami has only signed Karlos Dansby, Chad Pennington and Jason Ferguson (suspended for the first 8 games) in free agency. As mentioned earlier Miami lost out on both Antrel Rolle and Ryan Clark to other teams in their attempt to replace Wilson. It is also being rumored that Miami is one of four teams in negotiations with Jason Taylor. JT was arguably Miami’s best linebacker last year and I believe he will be back in South Florida.
In my opinion Miami’s most pressing need coming into the draft is a starting caliber free safety. It would be nice if the light bulb could kick on for Jason Allen and he could take the job, but the sixteenth pick in the 2006 draft still hasn’t shown he is a viable starting option at corner or safety. Tyrone Culver is a nice back up player, but he doesn’t seem to have what it takes to be the starter. Chris Clemmons is unproven and in my opinion he is more of a strong safety than a free safety. There are still a couple of options out there for Miami in free agency including Daren Sharper, restricted free agent OJ Atogwe, and rumored to be released Ken Hamlin could all be viable options for Miami.
In the draft there are several options for free safety starting with my number one rated safety in the draft Eric Berry from Tennessee. Berry is arguably one of the top three players in the draft, but although unlikely depending how things fall he could be around when Miami is on the board at #12. Berry has been compared to Ed Reed and if Mike Nolan feels the comparison is valid Miami very well could make Berry their selection at #12, afterall he better than anyone knows what a Ed Reed type of player can do for your defense. If Berry is gone another choice at #12 could be Texas’s Earl Thomas, who Mike Mayok has rated slightly above Berry due to man coverage skills. While it’s unlikely Taylor Mays out of USC could be another option in round one. If Miami does not take a safety in round one they could look in round two and beyond at Nate Allen, Reshed Jones (who they are rumored to be taking to dinner Saturday night before his proday on Sunday), Morgan Burnett, Major Wright, and a dark horse Chris Cook. The Fins coaches really liked Cook during Senior Bowl week and he played both corner and safety during his days in Virginia, but because of his physicality most project him as a safety in the NFL.
Outside linebacker is also a need for Miami. With the release of Joey Porter and Jason Taylor still unsigned Miami’s outside linebackers consist Cameron Wake, Charlie Anderson, Quentin Moses and Erik Walden. It’s safe to say this must be addressed and the Trifecta may very well address the position in multiple rounds as they have shown in past drafts how they like to address a need. Some names in round one that Miami could be interested in are Brandon Graham, Sergio Kindle, Derrick Morgan, Sean Weatherspoon, Jason Pierre-Paul, and Everson Griffen. Round two they could look at players like Ricky Sapp, Koa Misi, Jerry Hughes and Jermaine Cunningham. In the later rounds names like Brandon Lang, George Selvie, Jason Worilds, AJ Edds, Cameron Sheffield and a host of other names.
Many feel that nose tackle is the biggest need for Miami and it may very well be. There are only so many 320+ pound men that can take a beating by two and three men play after play and this draft is deep with several. Miami has Paul Soliai returning and while he looked better last year is he ready to start? That is the question. Jason Ferguson was resigned, but he will be suspended for the first half of the season so Miami will need to address this, but it’s not Tuna’s MO to draft a NT that early. Suh and McCoy are the top two defensive tackles in the draft, but neither are 3-4 NTs and neither will be there at the #12 pick. Mel Kiper and Todd McShay both have Dan Williams penciled in for Miami in each of their latest mock drafts and #12. Terrence Cody would be a steal in round two if he was there, but with his recent rededication and shaving 26 pounds from the 375 pounds he weighed at the Senior Bowl it appears Cody may have worked himself back into round one. After round one options like Cam Thomas, Terrell Troup, Linval Joseph, Jay Ross, and Travis Ivey could be developmental players but have enough bulk to split time with Soliai until Fergy comes back in week nine.
The Trifecta also could be looking at a pass catching tight end to help spread the field and pull safeties out of the box. Anthony Fasono had a very good 2008, but slumped in 2009 and Joey Haynos shows promise, but not sure he will ever be fleet of foot. Kory Sperry was a mid season addition and showed flashes, but he looks more to be a short yardage and blocking tight end rather than one that can split the seems. Names like Dennis Pitta, Ed Dickson, Aaron Hernandez, Jimmy Graham, and Andrew Quarles could give this kind of threat if the Trifecta wants to go this route.
Although Miami drafted wide receivers in rounds three and four and while Brian Hartline has shown to be a player Patrick Turner seems to be missing in action. Unless Miami somehow makes a play for Brandon Marshall there isn’t too much out there right now to give Miami a true #1 receiver. The draft has some good receivers, but other than Dez Bryant I am not sure there is a receiver that can be an elite receiver in the NFL. More than likely Miami will not address the #1 receiver in this off-season, but that doesn’t mean they won’t draft a receiver. Anquan Boldin wasn’t expected to be as good as he is when he was drafted in round two but you never know what can happen. I feel Demaryius Thomas is the second best receiver in the draft, but unless they take him with the 43rd pick (assuming he’s there) they won’t get him in round three. Others that could be nice additions would be Brandon LaFell, Damian Williams, Arrelious Benn, Taylor Price, Carlton Mitchell, Dezmon Briscoe, Marcus Easley and converted quarterback Joe Webb.
Miami will also more than likely look to add an interior lineman or two in rounds six and seven where they have five picks. I won’t go into the names because at this point they are all projects and I don’t see Miami taking and offensive lineman before round six.
The Trifecta is in year three of a team rebuild one thing Jeff Ireland has made mention of several times is the lack of a playmaker and someone who can get chunk yards on offense. There are a couple of guys in the draft that have been rumored to have peeked the Trifecta’s interest. CJ Spiller and Dexter McCluster are players that anytime they touch the ball they are a threat to go the distance. The both could be big in the return game, line up in the backfield and slide out to the slot. Not sure if either are on the Trifecta’s board, but might be interesting to watch.
The next 43 days or so are going to be very interesting in Miami and the rumors are going to be flying. So let’s have some fun and keep the discussions going.