The 2011 NFL Draft is Complete

I would say Ireland and the Miami Dolphins staff did pretty well this weekend. Was there a “sexy” pick, no not really, but did they match need vs. value? ABSOLUTELY 

We can argue until we turn blue in the face on the type of offense Miami runs, but that’s not my point. Most felt Miami needed QB, RB, WR, OL, TE and DT. Well guess what, with the exception of QB that’s just what they drafted. 

By the 12th pick four quarterbacks had already come off the board so when it came time for the Dolphins to pick many fans were hoping to hear the name Ryan Mallett (who by the way didn’t hear his name until round 3), Mark Ingram or a trade back. Instead Mike Pouncey was the pick. Not a sexy pick, but arguably the top interior lineman in the draft no matter if he plays center (which is what Sparano says he will play) or guard. Pouncey will step in day one and not only anchor the center position but call the line assignments. He will be the third first round pick on Miami’s offensive line. If the line stays healthy then it will be one of the better lines in the NFL. 

The Dolphins went into Friday night without a pick in round two. Suddenly a trade was announced and Miami had traded their 5th and a 7th round pick to move into round two with the Bears. Surely this is where they were going to take the franchise QB that so many fans said should have been the pick at #15 right? Not so fast my friend, Ireland and Sparano threw a curve ball and drafted Kansas State running back Daniel Thomas. Like Pouncey he’s not a sexy pick, but in most experts rankings he was the second to fourth rated running back in the draft. Thomas is a big man and put up some monster numbers, but he did leave the ball on the field more than you would like. Thomas also ran the wildcat at K State, which scares many fans. 

I have to admit I went to bed Friday night scratching my head. Not because I don’t like Pouncey and Thomas, but I didn’t like the idea of giving up two picks to move up 17 spots to draft a big bruising running back. We also have heard how they want chunk yards and have to add speed to the team. Dan Henning is gone and Brain Daboll is in with a statement of Miami will run a hybrid of the Patriots and Jets offense. Well, I woke up this morning and as I was scanning the forum and drinking my coffee I realized the Miami drafted two day one starters with the first two picks. Yes they gave up a 5th and a 7th, but what impact were those two picks really going to make? I warmed up to the pick and realized that while many of us fans may not like the style of play Miami will play, there is no denying they are sticking to their plan and drafting to the needs vs. value. 

Finally noon is here and the draft resumes for the final day. Miami is up in round four and in the forum we are all trying to figure out who they will draft. Will it be the QB, will it be a TE? No Jeff Ireland and Tony Sparano brought speed into the equation. Small school receiver Edmond Gates was the pick. Gates is pure speed. He ran a 4.35 at the combine and plays as fast on the field as he runs on the track. Gates will stretch the field and at 6’0, 194 he is not a small guy. He is not afraid to go over the middle and is quick enough to get off press coverage. Gates will stretch the field and open up running lanes and intermediate passing lanes. Oh yeah, he will also return kicks and punts and WILL NOT shy away from contact. I have to say I love this pick, great value and need with this pick. 

I expected them to somehow get back into round five, but that didn’t happen, so Miami didn’t pick again until the sixth round. They moved up a few slots to take a tight end/h-back/full back combo. Yes they drafted a mismatch. When Charles Clay’s name was announce many people were scratching their head wondering why Miami drafted a full back. Well they didn’t. Yes he played full back, but he also lined up in the slot, and as a tight end. Clay is a true h-back that runs a 4.63 and caught 69 passes for 1,029 yards and 7 touchdowns last year. The best way to attack a 3-4 defense is with a TE/h-back that can get a mismatch with a bigger slower OLB. The Patriots and Jets did this great with Hernandez and Keller last year and now Miami has a guy they will use to do the same thing. Once again, nice pick here guys, adding speed to a position that needed it. 

In round 7 Miami had two picks. With the first pick they drafted a small school defensive tackle in Frank Kearse. Kearse played at Alabama A &M and is massive at 6’4”, 311lbs (although he claims he played at 324lbs). Kearse is a project guy that will learn the position and help plug the middle. 

The second pick in round 7 was a CB from Montana named Jimmy Wilson. From what I have read on Wilson is he has first or second round talent but he sat out of school in prison for three years for murder. He was finally acquitted of murder and played football again. Now before you cast judgment on this young man I suggest you Google Jimmy Wilson and read the first link that pops up. He may never make anything more than a camp fodder, but I am pulling for him. 

So they didn’t draft a QB, that’s they way things shake out, maybe they have a little more faith in Henne than the fan base or maybe they will address the QB position in free agency that is yet to be seen. It will take a few years to see how this draft class shakes out, but less than two hours after the draft has wrapped I would say they addressed the needs and got good value for them. They are going to come out of this draft with two day one starters and at least two others that are going to see a considerable amount of playing time. I have to say nice job guys for going into the draft with a plan and sticking to it. Now all we can do is hope they produce.

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  • Michael Rosenbloom

    Couldn’t agree more Nole. There is till FA to fill the QB need and maybe, just maybe, we aren’t giving up on Henne just yet. It is his first year without Henning and he finally has a deep threat, maybe I’m willing to give him one more year.

    I love that Jimmy Wilson pick. His back story really makes me want to root for him. I hope he does well and is able to make this team. He has some great talent and is a huge hitter.

    Not the sexiest draft, but a good first one for Ireland. Certainly filled some needs and I’m happy.

    • corners

      Good point. He did a little better when he had a deep threat, even if it was ginn. If only we can get him to pump fake now.

  • DB

    I don’t get why everybody assumes that the round 1 and 2 picks are going to be day 1 starters. When did the NFL adopt a rule saying only a quarterback could be a bust in the draft? I don’t understand why everyone is so excited about Pouncey, anybody watch tape on him? And Thomas was constantly caught from behind by college defenses. They actually think these two guys are going to do something in the NFL. Really?

    • onole1

      You are right I am assuming they will be day one starters, of course I’d be willing to bet that they will be. Yes I have seen Pouncey a lot and he was rated as the top interior lineman in the draft for a reason. I have not seen one person (other than angry Dolphans) not have him rated as a mid to late first round pick.

      As far as Thomas goes he ran a 4.55 at his proday and a 1.54 in the 10 yard split. His speed is right up there comparable to Ingram, Leshours and Williams. He has had 15 runs of 20 or more yards. No he’s not going to break many 75 yard runs, but not many do in the NFL either. He also has never missed a game so he is durable.

      Only time will tell, and yes really, I do think they will do something.

      • DB

        I’m not saying pouncey isn’t a good interior lineman, he would be a great guard, but center? and they say they’re going to use him as a center. Remember, he’s not his brother. And Thomas may have a quick 40 time but if you’re caught after 10 to 20 yards by players with average speed at best you’ll be caught by faster players after 3 yards.

        • onole1

          Ireland and Sparano both said he will play center. Last year was his first year playing center and he struggled the first three or four games of the season, but after that it wasn’t an issue and he did well. He may not be as good as his brother, but he’s pretty damn close and I would venture to say a little more versatile. He started out as a DT at Florida before moving to the O Line. The guy can get to the second level and make blocks. I think Pouncey will be very good at either guard or center, but obviously only time will tell.

          Thomas isn’t a gamebreaker, I admit that. They will address that in free agency. I think they are going hard after Deangelo Williams.

          Give it time to see how it pans out, but they addressed every need but QB, I stand by feeling they did well.

  • david

    please explain to me why we needlessly stayed at #15 to draft a player that is a good player he wasnt worth the 15th pick.
    the dolphins had bigger issues like a franchise QB.
    there wont be a QB in free agency worth that kind of title.
    as far as RB….that guy has fumbling problems, isnt very fast. and WTF did we need with a FB..???
    we have one of the best FB in the league.
    this draft will set us back 5yrs

    • onole1

      David, my guess is that they needed a second team to make a trade, which it didn’t appear that they did.

      Let me guess you wanted Mallett? Maybe just maybe they fely Henne gave them a better option than anything that was available in the draft.

      No Thomas is not a game breaker but he had the second fastest 10 yard split for running backs and ran a 4.55 at his proday which put him right inline with Ingram, Williams and Leshoure. He was ranked anywhere from #2 to #4 on most experts list, and gues what he was the 4th RB taken. Yes he put the ball on the ground, which is probably the reason he wasn’t the first or second running back off the board. Do you know he never missed a game, which due to injury? That’s not something the four RBs taken in front of him can say.

      The FB you mention is going to be an H-back. he will line up in the slot, along the line in the backfield and go in motion. He causes missmatches. He will do what Hernandez and Keller do. He led his team in receptions and he runs a 4.63 forty yard dash so he can get deep down the middle.

      Come back from the ledge, just because they didn’t draft a QB doesn’t make it a bad draft. Heck, if they have a bad draft then they can address the QB next year where the top three QB’s aill be better than any QB that was drafted this year.

      • j

        you are dumb

    • idahomer

      David, what would you have suggested as opposed to “needlessly staying at #15″? Last time I checked you can’t trade with yourself and if no one wants to give you something for your pick then you make that pick? Did you see what teams were giving up to move up this year? Would you have pulled a ditka and given up our entire draft for Newton? As the boys on ESPN would say, “COME ON MAN!!!”

    • Michael Rosenbloom

      If you read some of the articles posted earlier, “the phones just weren’t ringing.”

      It wasn’t that we didn’t want to move, we just couldn’t. The Phins used the full 10 mins before making that selection, they obviously didn’t have a trade partner. Any QB in that spot would’ve been a reach, considering Locker and Ponder had already been taken. They did the best they could considering the situation.

  • Jimmy Jam

    If they add VY (I know, I know, not a very popular thing to say but he’ll cost the least in terms of trade/picks and I think the attitude is workable – his stats over the last two years have been excellent) and D Williams they’ll be a pretty complete team. That said, I am a Henne “hater,” but I am willing to give him this year to shine because he has a new OC, a more QB friendly offense, and they have given him the protection, the backs, the seam TE (watch the highlights, Clay is pretty darned good) and the speed guy to open up the passing game (most importantly to take the double off BM). If he can’t get it done with that supporting cast, he just can’t get it done.

    No more excuses, folks. No more excuses.

    • onole1

      Jimmy Jam, I am all for competition and I’d be fine with bring VY in to compete. I’m not a fan of VY, but he has won. Maybe this situation will make VY grow up. I wasn’t happy with Henne lat year, but I know it wasn’t all his fault.

      I agree with you, no more excuses, they are putting the pieces around him and I think Daboll will take the reigns off of him. This is his make or break year.

  • Edub21

    One thing I realized during this draft is that sparano and Ireland were pretty certain that Henne was not the lone problem on this offense. It’s obvious they feel Henne still has the tools to be a great QB ( remember ireland was part of the dallas staff that drafted Romo) so to say he missed on drafting franchise QB is premature.
    Another thing I realized that many experts were not high on any QB’s in this draft, if there was a QB to take in this draft IMO it was McElroy. Think he may become another Pennington.
    I have been a lifelong phin fan and I enjoyed this draft. Because I think the phins got better immediately and I am not impressed with NE or Jets draft at all. QB’s were the best picks for them and they won’t help em for years to come if ever.

    • onole1

      Edub12, I think you nailed it. There was no sure fire franchise QB in this draft and the ones that were close were off the board before Miami picked. Could Miami have traded up to #10 for Gabbert or Ponder, possibly but they must not have felt they were worth it, plus not having a second hurt that option.

      Miami did get better and they addressed all the needs but QB with this draft, now we just have to wait and see how it plays out.

  • thomas loy

    Overall, Miami filled a lot of needs. Miami got speed at WR, and Clay should prove a threat at TE, and is supposedly a bruising runner. Thomas is faster than most RBs drafted before him. And there are some good undrafted free agents out there. Pat Devlin was undrafted, as well as mario fannin, damien berry, Graig cooper and schuylar oordt.

  • hawkfinfan

    Sometimes, your first instinct is your best. Scracthing your head tells it all lol! Well, the storm (Draft) has past. Now all there is to do is to hope it all works out. I think I speak for many, if we could have a few 10 plus win seasons for a couple of years in a row. It would mean alot. When people see me with Fins gear on, they feel sorry for me. It used to be, hey they are going good etc……..

    • mikem

      I’m happy figure it this way we just upgraded alto of offensive pos we gave our QB (henne?)a lot of weapons we filled the gap in the ol giving QB more time or the ability to open gaps for RB,we added a decent back which we needed ,we added a FB/TE more outs for QB we stretched the field with WR to compliment Marshal and free up BESS now Henne has no more excuses pickup veteran QB in FA and draft a QB 1st pick next yr. lets be real we didn’t have the time to train a rookie QB and henne already knows the plays and is familiar with the players. At the worst we just gave a FA veteran QB alot of far as Wilson and kearse we took a longshot that might just pan out esp Wilson.