As a matter of fact, Parcells was the head coach at the time and drafted Fasano in part because Anthony reminded him of former N.Y. Giant TE Mark Bavaro and that ain’t a bad thing. Bill and company were able to negotiate a deal with Dallas that made Fasano and LB Akin Ayodele Miami Dolphins for a 4th round pick (100th overall). In my opinion that was a steal and only possible because the Cowboys already had a pro bowl TE in Witten, thus making Fasano somewhat dispensable. Can you imagine a two set TE system with Fasano and Witten? Akin has since been released, but Anthony has become invaluable.
Before Parcell’s brought in Fasano, the Fins were pinning their hopes on Joey Haynos, who had tremendous size at 6’8” and tons of potential. Unfortunately, Haynos suffered a foot injury last year after making a first down catch during the third preseason game versus the Atlanta Falcons and was waived by the Dolphins the following Monday.
The other tight ends on the roster are all either 7th round picks or undrafted free agents. I was serious when I said the Fins have not been putting any emphasis on the position despite a well pronounced trend in the NFL to incorporate the TE more and more in the passing game. This lack of attention, ladies and gentlemen NEEDS TO CHANGE NOW! Just imagine where Dallas would be without Witten or how much Dallas Clarke or Tony Gonzalez have helped their perspective teams. Just last year, our division rival N.E. Patriots spent 2nd and 4th round picks on the tight end positions.
Given the current needs of the team, it is anyone’s guess when and how the TE position will be upgraded. Of course the best scenario would be developing and promoting someone already on the roster. Aside from Fasano, the Dolphins have Dedrick Epps, Mickey Shuler and of course Jeron Mastrud, of whom we are about to meet.
Jeron is a big boy, coming in at 6’6” and 253 pounds. He started 48 out of a possible 49 games at Kansas State and ranks 1st in school history with 106 career receptions as a TE. Jeron also played QB and DE at the high school level. Mastrud originally signed as an undrafted free agent with the Bucs in the spring 2010 but was released later in the year. He was then signed by the N.E. Patriots on September 6, 2010 and for some odd reason was released the very next day. My research has failed to find a reason for the sudden loss of interest, but if someone knows, I would love to hear it. Quite frankly it concerns me that Bill Bellichick would make such a quick decision to cut Mastrud.
So far Jeron is still waiting for playing time in Miami and looking forward to his first catch in the NFL. It is unknown from the analysis of his skill set if he will be used as a blocking type TE (historically typical of Miami) or as primarily a receiver like he was used in college. At this point it is virtually impossible to determine which direction the Fins will go. I suppose we will know more after the draft, which has been determined to be a weak class of TE’s by every analyst I have read. One thing going for Jeron is he is only 23, so there is time for him to develop. However, his 4.95 40 yd. dash time may prohibit him from being used on special teams and an opportunity to stay on the roster. I am at a loss why Jeron did not receive any playing time after the Fins were eliminated from the playoffs and is one of the areas of concerns I have with the coaching staff. Why not see what you have on the bench and develop for next year? My personal thought is the coaches were playing for as many wins as possible despite being out of playoff contention in order to try and keep their jobs, as opposed to planning for the future.
The only certainty is the Fins need another quality TE. At this point Fasano is the only guy getting significant playing time and if something were to happen to him…..I don’t even want to think about it. Stay tuned for more options at TE next week.
Joe Farley, aka Fins4ever1