Let’s face it, the NFL Draft this year was boring. I was stuck watching the ESPN broadcast and I have to say, I will never watch them again unless I have to. Even the 4th round coverage by the NFL Network was superior to ESPN’s first round coverage. It really has become a back slap fest of look at me on ESPN rather than “coverage” of the event. Alas, that is simply my impression and I know other will feel differently.
Still, this draft lacked the excitement of years past and you don’t really need to look any further than the league imposed lockout to find the answers. No players could be traded over the weekend which made it harder to move picks and with no future drafts guaranteed the amount of teams moving future selections wasn’t as common. The biggest trade of course was Atlanta doing what they needed to do to move from 27th in round 1 to 6th overall. That was exciting. And then it died.
At least we have free agency to look forward to. Someday.
While the Dolphins filled some holes on their roster they surely left room for free agency help. Consider they will still need to add another running back as both Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams as well as Patrick Cobbs should all be gone. They addressed one of those spots with Daniel Thomas in round 2. So they will likely take a long look at the available backs in free agency. Many think that De’Angelo Williams of Carolina is a target. He is tendered so he will cost picks in next years draft.
Then there is the offensive line where the addition of Pouncey fills a hole at either center or guard but not both. So free agency should allow the Dolphins to add another guard to the mix. LB? The Phins didn’t address the position in the draft and will need to look at the market to get one. And then there is the QB spot.
Miami could have drafted Colin Koepernick, Ryan Mallett, or Andy Dalton in round 1. They passed. This leaves Tom Brandstater and Chad Henne as the only two signed QB’s on the roster with Tyler Thigpen tendered but un-signed. They will need to shop the free agent market to find a veteran. Vince Young, Donovan McNabb, Kevin Kolb, Kyle Orton, Carson Palmer, and very few others may be available. On the surface, there is no future leader among them, but that’s an article for another day. The above are all pretty much stop-gap options unless you pony up for Kolb and he pans out. To put is simply, the Dolphins could add any of those QB’s and still need to look at drafting one next year.
On top of the names that will be added to the free agent ranks of veteran players will be a host of a hundred or so undrafted rookies who will also be looking to make it in the NFL. Guys like Davone Bess who not only found a spot on the roster but found a starting role as well. So when the NFL decides that free agency is open for business, it won’t be veterans alone stealing the spotlight but instead a run on the rookie guys who are sitting in limbo as well. In fact, it will be more likely to see those guys taken before many veterans step foot into a facility for a visit.
Unlike most years, the NFL is not heading into it’s dull off-season of rookie mini-camps and nothing else until July. Free agency is waiting in the wings for a new labor deal and it may be an interesting time to look at whether or not the league should consider moving free agency to after the draft where it will command more attention and make the draft more interesting for teams as well. It could benefit those free agent players as well. Who knows.
Until the lockout is lifted, which I hope will not happen until the NFLPA goes back to the bargaining table, it’s all nothing more than waiting. And hoping. And speculation.