So this week you have been treated to something that we have never done here on this site. Mainly because we have never had the number of phenomenal writers who have been dedicated to stick around all this time to contribute. So each writer took a crack at their own view of this years draft. Now, I will take a crack at it with my final analysis. Tomorrow will wrap up the entire week with Onole’s 2011 mock draft. Consider it a final wrap to the draft season.
I first want to start out by disagreeing with Patrik Nohe. I think you can grade a draft only days after the draft is over. You may not be able to grade it as final, but you can sure as hell grade it for what it is. How did it affect the team? How has it improved the team on paper? Did this draft effectively fill needs and vacancies? Did the draft provide possible players to immediately impact the starting positions of the team?
So with all that being said, I have a grade in my head, on paper, that will play out later as the years go by. And it has nowhere to go but down.
I give this draft a resounding “A”. Period. And here is why. I love these picks.
The Dolphins drafted meat. A lot of it. They drafted players that are all leaders and not followers. Team captains instead of sideline watchers. They drafted pure football players who love the game as much as they do their mothers. When it comes down to it, they drafted a team, not showboating show me the money types..at least not yet.
I won’t bore you with stats and measurements, it’s already been done. Here is what the Dolphins got and why this is an “A” draft.
1st: Jared Odrick: The Dolphins already knew that Randy Starks would move to the NT position and that would leave a hole at DE. Odrick can play every Dline position from end to end and is a mammoth brute who attacks the opposing team. With Starks in the middle and Odrick and Langford on the outside, the Dolphins defensive front just got 100 percent better…on paper.
2nd: Kao Misi: The Dolphins took all of 30 seconds to get this pick in. Think they wanted the Utah product? Misi has everything that this group wants except the prototypical size as he is a bit smaller. But he makes up for that in a big way. He can cover well and rush better. He is smart and is a sure tackler. Something the Phins have lacked over the last few years. He will replace Joey Porter and the Dolphins should see improved production at the position this year considering Porter’s struggles last season.
2b: Brandon Marshall: O.k. I just threw this in here for effect but in reality this is exactly what the Dolphins drafted in round 2 with their own 2nd rounder. And next year, I will bring it up again when the Phins don’t have their own 2nd rounder. Marshall has already done more for the Miami offense than any other player on this team and that includes the defensive side of the ball. He has brought excitement. Not just from fans but his own teammates who have yet to take a single practice snap with him. Excitement is the lead in to success.
3rd: John Jerry: A lot of people flaked out after this pick was made and I will be honest, I didn’t care a bit. The reason was simple. While I think the team needed a safety more than a guard the fact remained that the Dolphins had a serious need at LG with the imminent departure of Justin Smiley. Donald Thomas struggled last season and while Nate Garner filled in well, the fact is that he was a fill in.
The Dolphins have good bench players but they lack a full compliment of starters across the line and that leaves players without competition. Richie Incognito who was signed to a one year deal is a RG not a left. So that left a hole. John Jerry is a man eater on the line and immediately improves a line that was already pretty stout from the beginning. So why my excitement over a lineman? Well, I would have been pleased with Mike Iupati in round 1. The Dolphins will not longer face 8 in the box with the addition of Marshall and now, with Jerry, the Dolphins should be that much stronger. Our running lanes will no longer come with the “Wild Cat” after each run.
4th: AJ Edds: This is a guy who some love and some hate. Edds is already penciled in to make an impact in the passing game on defense. Why? Because he can cover TE’s, something that Miami hasn’t been able to do as of late. Edds will likely line up inside at times and play special teams. A former TE himself, he plays offensively more than defensively and had more interceptions that most of the CB’s and safeties in the draft class. The Dolphins think he will make an impact from day 1 and if that happens, Edds could be a huge steal in round 4.
On a side-not, Edds has already been issued jersey number 54.
5th: Nolan Carroll: The Maryland CB spent his last collegiate season injured with a broken leg. However, he was rated as a 2nd round talent before the injury. The Dolphins see potential with him on special teams and the nickel package. A ball hawking corner, Carroll could be a solid depth fit who sees contributing time. The Dolphins got who they considered the highest rated on their boards at that point without reaching for someone else. Carroll would not have been on the board in round 6 according to one NFL personnel man.
5b: The Dolphins traded back into round 5 to take a player who could be the steal of this draft. Safety Reshad Jones of Georgia. For whatever reason Jones fell from his prospected 2nd round grade. A big hard hitting safety who has the skills to take balls out of the air, his only real knock is his man-to-man coverage skills. Something that could hurt him on the NFL level. Either way, Jones could easily compete for the starting free safety spot this training camp.
6th: O.k. so the Dolphins traded away all 3 of their 6th rounders at some point and didn’t make a real podium selection here. However, they did trade one of those 6th rounders to San Diego as part of the first round trade down. That trade also brought in middle linebacker Tim Dobbins from San Diego…so punch his name here. Dobbins was not the starting ILB on San Diego but has starting experience. He is also an absolute beast on special teams. Still, what needs to be noted is this. In his role as a non-starting ILB for San Diego, Dobbins amassed more tackles than Dolphins incumbent starting ILB Channing Crowder. Look for Dobbins to be starting by game 5 if Crowder doesn’t get it together.
7a and 7b: It’s hard enough to make a roster when your drafted in the 4th round on, but making a roster in the 7th is almost impossible. There are rare exceptions but most of the time, players drafted in the 7th are drafted for tryouts. This year the Dolphins took two LB’s. OLB Chris McCoy of M. Tenn. St. and Austin Spitler of Ohio State for the ILB spot.
McCoy, like the rest of the upper half of this draft has a non-stop motor and some scouts believe he should have been drafted a lot earlier. McCoy spends little time on his side of the ball. An upfield pass rushing monster, McCoy had 20 some tackles for losses in 2009. Most draft guru’s have predicted that McCoy will make the Dolphins roster.
Rounding out the draft is ILB Austin Spitler of OSU who will likely contribute on Special Teams. However, it’s more likely that the 7th rounder will need time to cure. Look for him to be a candidate for the practice squad.
Final Word: Overall the Dolphins filled their NT position by moving Randy Starks down and then drafted his starting replacement. They addressed the weakness of their LB core with not one, but three potential future stars in Misi, Edds, and McCoy. They filled the hole on the offensive line by drafting one of the top guard prospects…in round 3.
The Phins also found a potential steal in Reshad Jones at safety who may project better than Earl Thomas who would have cost a lot more at 12, and a replacement for Nate Jones in the secondary with Nolan Carroll.
Add to that a potential starter in Dobbins for what amounts to a 6th round pick and a legit number 1 WR in Brandon Marshall and it’s easy to see why the initial grade on this draft is an “A”.
Now, it’s up to the players to keep it that way!