Projecting the Number 12 Pick

As the draft steadily approaches there’s no shortage of mock drafts and speculation as to who will end up where and what teams will make moves. We at PhinPhanatic are very fortunate to have a talented draft guru of our own. I personally have very little interest in projecting the other 31 teams during the first round, I’m interested in one pick. The 12th overall, belonging to our beloved (and oftentimes frustrating) Miami Dolphins.

So where does Miami go with its first pick in the draft? Offense or Defense? Trade up or trade down? There’s no shortage of possibilities, but I’ve taken the liberty of narrowing some of them down. So with the 12th pick in the 2010 NFL Draft, The Miami Dolphins select…

Eric Berry, Safety, Tennessee- Berry would make a very good addition to a talented young secondary. The odds of Berry being on the board at the 12th pick are probably minute, but if he is still on the board, Miami could fill a huge need by selecting him. Granted, the last time the Dolphins tried to pick a safety in the first round from Tennessee it didn’t go so well, but I have a good feeling Berry will end up being a tad more impactful than Jason Allen. I have to admit, going into this college football season I actually preferred Taylor Mays. But Berry has clearly differentiated himself from the rest of the safety prospects in this year’s draft and is deserving of his high draft slot. Frankly, I doubt he falls to Miami at 12 but if for some strange reason he does, the Dolphins would be crazy to pass on him. Imagine having Vontae Davis, Sean Smith and Berry for the foreseeable future with Yeremiah Bell playing the role of wily veteran and mentor. Ok, now stop. It’s just going to make it hurt that much more when he comes off the board in the first ten picks.

Dan Williams, NT, Tennessee- Before I get into Williams, how was Tennessee not a better team this year after having two of the potential top 15 picks lining up for its defense? Regardless of the answer to that question (quarterback play), Williams could be a solid Nose Tackle for years to come. I don’t think anyone thought there would be a higher drafted nose tackle than Alabama’s Terrence Cody coming into the season. But weight issues are hell on a guy’s draft stock. The two premiere tackles in the draft are OU’s Gerald McCoy and Nebraska’s Ndamakong Suh. Neither of them will be available though and neither are necessarily great 3-4 nose tackles. Williams at a stout 329 pounds, however, could be a mauler in a 3-4 and there’s a good chance he could end up in aqua and orange is he’s still on the board at 12.

Dez Bryant, WR, Oklahoma St- Dez Bryant is a freak. He’s 6’2, 215 with the quickness and speed of a premiere punt returner and the ball skills of an elite receiver. I never say a prospect is can’t miss, especially a wide receiver, but Dez Bryant gives you a good feeling. This would certainly address a need, it would help Miami’s offense and frankly I think if you put a talented receiver opposite Ted Ginn he may still surprise you. For me, if Bryant remains on the board at 12, he’s an absolute must. Unfortunately, neither the GM of the Dolphins nor the VP in charge of football operations is named Patrik Nohe, so my opinion doesn’t matter. Regardless though, I hope the Dolphins will consider drafting Bryant if he is available at 12. If they don’t, I may have a draft day blowout circa the Cam Cameron era (when we incidentally picked a wide receiver in the first round, go figure).

Sergio Kindle, OLB, Texas- Kindle is a talented player who has the additional pedigree of playing big-time college football for Texas. I like Kindle, he’s a big (6’4, 255) physical outside linebacker who had some success lining up as an end during his senior year. That being said, I don’t necessarily know that Kindle will be the best player available at 12. Kindle has ideal size though and few in the history of the NFL have been better at evaluating OLB’s than Bill Parcells. So if Kindle is the pick, I’ll feel good about it knowing he will probably fit the Parcells mold.

Rolando McClain (aka trade down)- One of the most interesting prospects in this draft may still be Rolando McClain. Despite signing Karlos Dansby, McClain may still factor heavily into the Dolphins draft plans. Being by and far the best available Inside Linebacker, McClain is going to be a commodity. If Miami doesn’t pick him (which they may surprise us and do anyways, though I doubt they’d want to pay Dansby the highest salary of any ILB, McClain first round money AND Channing Crowder a healthy salary after he resigned last season) then the Dolphins could deal the pick to another interested team and move down in the first round. Potentially the New York Giants may be interested in moving up a few spots if they fear someone else may take him before their pick at 15. This would probably net the Dolphins a 3rd rounder in addition to allowing them to drop down a few spots and look at picking an OLB (possibly Kindle) or a NT (Williams or maybe even Cody at that point). Another interesting trade partner may be the Arizona Cardinals who are going to need to replace the recently departed Dansby. Arizona would have to give up a lot more to move up, which works out better for the Dolphins, and in a very deep draft class Miami could potentially still draft an impact player (perhaps Taylor Mays if he’s still around) while adding a few more picks in the early to middle rounds.

Not as Likely, But We’ll Mention them Anyways

Brandon Graham, OLB, Michigan- Graham had ungodly production rushing the passer, playing in a primarily run-first conference. In the three seasons he saw significant playing time Graham totaled 8, 10 and 10 sacks. That’s solid, consistent production coming off the edge. The downside to Graham are his measurables, he’s far from a prototypical outside linebacker which could potentially hurt him, especially in the eyes of the Dolphins front office. Remember Parcells preaches size, size, size. With that in mind, I doubt Graham is the pick. Very telling in terms of talent evaluation was a Parcellsism heard at the NFL Owners Meetings this week, “If you make one exception, before you know it you have a team full of exceptions.” I doubt Graham is the exception.

Earl Thomas, S, Texas- Thomas is unlikely for me because he is a safety and outside of Eric Berry I don’t see Miami picking a safety 12th. And because Bill Parcells has a rigid set of criterion for evaluating players that Thomas in all likelihood doesn’t meet. I’m adjusting this from the comments he made about drafting quarterbacks, but Parcells has said he typically likes to see a guy who has earned his degree, played in at least three seasons worth of games, has won well over half of those games and doesn’t have off-the-field issues. While I don’t know about Thomas’ character. I do know that as a sophomore coming out early, he probably hasn’t gotten his degree nor has he played in an adequate number of college games. What I’m trying to say is Thomas doesn’t strike me as a Parcells-type of pick. But watch the Dolphins pick him 12th and I’ll be eating crow.

CJ Spiller, RB, Clemson- This would be a truly outside the box pick, and it would go against Parcells traditional MO of drafting backs later. But Spiller is undeniably a playmaker and one of the most versatile backs to come out in a while. Having had the “pleasure” of seeing CJ absolutely gut a very athletic (and extremely fast) Florida State defense four separate times I can tell you that he is the real deal. Spiller has an awesome combination of athleticism, durability and instincts that makes him a threat anytime he touches the ball. Ronnie Brown‘s recent DUI and injury concerns and Ricky Williams age might mean its time to start looking for a new back and Spiller would certainly fit the bill. I doubt it happens, but I would be thrilled if it did.

Brandon Marshall- Yeah, I’m not going to let this one die. Maybe the Broncos feel like picking twice in a row and if they do, I’d be fine with trading them the first pick for a proven commodity at wide receiver. I doubt it happens, but you never know.

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