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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  • Ken

    As far as Marshall is concerned, I think he is too close to becoming the next Ricky Williams. Give up a first round pick and sign for big bucks, and then, you guessed it, suspended! I don’t want to see the Dolphins throw away their future for a guy that may not be around. Remember Don Shula’s last year? They signed all the quick fixes you can ask for and yet, they pushed the best coach ever out of the game.

    No quick fixes with free agents, PLEASE!

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  • Jay in Raleigh

    Don’t sleep on Derrick Morgan. He’s the kind of big (6’3″ 266) SOLB the team looks for. If they think he’s fluid enough to play standing up full-time, he may be the guy if he’s on the board.

    He’s a two year starter at a BCS school, so he has the requisite experience. He was productive, averaging 53 tackles, 14 TFL and 9.75 sacks in two years as a starter. The size and athletic ability are there, he is, by all accounts a hard worker with a non-stop motor.

    Finding someone with the size to play the strong side is important, as it allows Wake (and JT if he’s resigned) to stay on the weak side.

    Graham’s too short (especially in the arms), Pierre-Paul is too raw (one year of D-I experience) with limited production (only 6.5 sacks), Kindle is solid, but probably has to play WOLB, which is redundant.

    If they stay away from OLB in the first, I don’t think the WOLB/SOLB distinction is as important in later rounds. But in the first, I think it puts a guy like Morgan ahead of the rest.

    • onole1

      Jay I agree with you. Many people feel Morgan can make the transition to OLB, and maybe he can, but I ahve not seen anything from him that makes me think he can do it. I think he will be a beast of a player in a 4-3, but just not sure he has the burst, hips or footwork to play OLB.

      I think Weatherspoon is the best pure LB in the draft, but not sure he is a 3-4 type of LB. I see him as a WOLB in a 4-3 cover two type of defense. If he played in a 3-4 I think he sould slide inside.

      I think Kindle is the top conversion 3-4 OLB in the draft. He pretty much played that already at Texas and looks smooth. I like Graham a lot too, but the more I watch him the more I see Dwight Freeney and not sure how he would do as a stand up 3-4 OLB.

      By the way, I am in the Raleigh area as well…Creedmoor to be exact.

      • Jay in Raleigh

        I agree people seem to be split on whether or not Morgan can make the 34 conversion. To me, the elite athleticism is there, and, given the work habits, he should be able to learn/improve the footwork. I don’t know, there’s something about Kindle that just makes me uncomfortable.

        If there’s any position I trust this staff to get the right guy, it’s OLB. If the pick’s not OLB, I think Berry and Bryant are the only other two options. #12 is too high for a nose, especially with Parcell’s track record in the later rounds. S, WR and RB are not positions they typically go for in the first, so they’d have to think the player is special, which I believe limits the field to Berry and Bryant (Spiller isn’t a workhorse).

        I’m in the North Hills area.

        • onole1

          I firmly believe they will do their damndest to trade out of the #12 pick and add an additional second round pick and probably an additional 2011 pick. There are a half dozen guys that would be great additions for Miami in the early to mid 20′s and I don’t feel they would lose any value moving from #12 to there.

          Normally I would agree with you about FS being a later pick, but if they don’t fill that void between now and then I think it becomes more of a priority. Honestly I’d love to see Jason Allen the light bulb come on for him and take over the spot he seems best suited to play.

  • spooneman

    Sean Witherspoon out of Missouri is another guy at line backer we could be looking at. That guy is a badass!
    All the talk about Dez Bryant and his character issue’s have me scratching my head. Did he get arrested? No, Did he punch a opposing player in the face after a game? No. Did he get a 1/2 million dollar home given to his family while he was in college? Not that I’ve heard.
    The whole lying about the Deon meeting was not a big deal to me. He’s a kid and kid’s don’t always make the right decisions, that’s how they learn. I think the majority of us have some things when we were 20-21 that we wish we hadn’t done. The only person Bryant hurt was himself. He paid a high price and now let’s move on.
    Bryant was considered by some to be a top 5 talent. So if he is there at 12. I agree Brian, take him!
    I keep having flash backs to the Randy Moss draft. Moss slipped and slipped in the draft b/c of character issue’s(his were a little more substantial than Bryant’s) and turned out to be a steal. Sure he has had a lot of knuckle head moments but you gotta admit, He is a Hall of Fame WR and when on a good team often the best WR in league in the last 10 years.

  • dashall

    Patrik, great break down. So many choices. Who is off the board by the time we pick at 12 will play some part in who we take. I can see us trading down as well to pick up a few more selections in later rounds.

    Spooneman has a good point about NCAA rules. Some of them just do not make sense. Dez made a knuckle head decision to lie about talking to Deion. He is not the second coming of L. Phillips. As much as we talk about needing a #1 WR I just don’t see Tuna taking one at 12.

  • Biggest Dolphin Fang

    There are so many ways the Dolphins can go this year. I can see any one of 8 or 10 guys being their pick. The one player I don’t believe they’ll pick is also the one that I believe will be the most impactful rookie, CJ Spiller. He just doesn’t fit the Parcells MO. Morgan would probably be the safest pick, JPP would be a courageous pick but I could see Tuna doing it if he has a conviction on the guy. Graham or Kindle could be the guy, as could Williams or Thomas. Dez Bryant? Maybe. This could be one of the most interesting picks in Phin history, and that’s if they stay at 12, I don’t discount the possibility of a trade down, perhaps with NE if Bryant’s on the board at 12. They would love to have him for Brady and I’m sure they’d be willing to swap one’s with us and throw in one of the 3 second rounders they have. In the deepest draft in 30 years it might make sense for us to gain an extra pick in the top 2 rounds. Just a thought.

    • phinagan

      No offense, but I wouldn’t trade with NE! No way, No how! For one thing I wouldn’t want to give Marsha a target like Bryant.

  • Sando

    Well honestly I really hope we take either Bryant or Berry if he is still around at 12. If not we can always take Nate Allen during the second round, the thing about out secondary is that G Wilson was that he wasn’t really a factor in the passing def, but with a young kid like Allen from South Florida should fit it nicely.
    At OLB? With out 55 or 99 in the line up we need someone to fill the slot surely. The kid from Utah Koa Misi 6’3 244? good size, will grow in time.
    And at the nose? Call it out of left field but Jared Odrick outta Penn St. He may be a bit under weight but he’ll surely grow both physically and in a football train of though under the veteran watch of Furgerson and Starks.
    In the end go Phins! Loyal through thick and thin.

  • finfan4life

    i think the dolphins will take spiller with the 12th pick they are very high on him they have been in clemson looking at him and jacoby since before the combine i think bill see’s him as a ” dave meggett” type player you guys remember him on parcells giants team I also think the dolphins could use a 3rd or 4th rd pick on ford he just has to work on not dropping the ball but with his speed he will get seperation force over the top help from safeties which will open up the field for other recievers could be dangerous but i still say we need a franchise big name reciever as well

  • 2madison9

    Umm..we already have that type of receiver(J. Ford) in Teddy Ginn. Great speed but cannot catch well. Do not think that would be a wise decision on the part of Miami’s FO.