Ireland's Biggest 2012 Draft Mistake

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With the 20th pick in the 5th round of the 2012 NFL Draft, the Dolphins selected Josh Kaddu (OLB – Oregon).  Kaddu is 6’3″ and 239 pounds with 33.375″ arms and 9.625″ hands — and, thus likely only a 4-3 OLB.  He did a 34″ vertical leap and 20 reps in the 225 pound bench press at the NFL Combine.  He has run the 40 yards dash in 4.67 seconds (but, not at the Combine).  In 2011, Kaddu had 47 tackles, 6.5 sacks, zero forced fumbles, and zero interceptions.  He was a three year starter in college.  Here is how the National Football Post scouted Kaddu:

Oct 22, 2011; Boulder, CO, USA; Oregon Ducks linebacker Josh Kaddu (56) rushes the line in the first quarter against the Colorado Buffaloes at Folsom Field. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-US PRESSWIRE

“A well-put together athlete with a noticeably long set of arms. Displays an initial burst when asked to close from the backside, exhibiting good closing speed in pursuit and generates a pop as a tackler. Keeps his base down into contact, uses his length well to wrap and can be violent at the point. Doesn’t have a great feel for the game at this stage however, can be a bit slow to react at times and decipher information. Plays on the strong side and is used consistently to attack downhill. Extends his arms well into contact and maximizes his length at times, displaying the ability to create a jolt on contact when taking on blocks. However, doesn’t possess the anchor strength at this stage to routinely hold the point of attack at the next level. Doesn’t have a great feel of how to use his hands either.

Used in a variety of ways on 3rd down. Isn’t a natural pass rusher at this stage. Possesses a good initial burst off the line standing up, but struggles to flatten out on the corner. Gets upright and looks too tight to drop pad level around the edge. Most of his pressure comes off his motor/work rate. Doesn’t have much of a pass rushing arsenal, seems to slow his feet when trying to decipher information and isn’t a real impact guy when asked to reach the QB. Displays slightly above-average fluidity in the hips when asked to open up and run. However, gets upright, struggles to keep his feet under him and is leggy in and out of his breaks taking away from his initial burst. Showcases good closing speed once he gets his legs back under him, but doesn’t feel/anticipate routes well in zone coverage.

Impression: Displays a good athletic skill set, runs well and possesses some natural power to his game. But is a better athlete than football player at this stage. Looks like the kind of guy who will need to make his mark on special teams.”

A dozen picks later in the 5th round of the 2012 NFL Draft, the Cincinnati Bengals selected George Iloka (Safety – Boise State).  Iloka is 6’3.5″ and 225 pounds with 34.5″ arms.  He participated in the NFL Combine having 20 reps in the 225 pound bench press, 34.5″ vertical leap, 4.66 in the 40 yard dash, and 7.03 seconds in the 3-cone drill.  Iloka started 40 games for Boise State both at safety and corner — and, could play either strong or free safety in the NFL  In 2011, he had 58 tackles, one forced fumble, and zero interceptions — he was selected 3rd Team AP All-American and 1st Team All-Conference.  In 2010, he had 63 tackles, one forced fumble, and two interceptions.  Here is how the National Football Post scouted Iloka, who was the third highest ranked safety:

Nov 26,2011; Boise,ID, USA; Boise State Broncos safety George Iloka (8) during the first half of their game against the Wyoming Cowboys at Bronco Stadium. Boise State defeated Wyoming 36-14. Mandatory Credit: Brian Losness-US PRESSWIRE

“A tall, long limbed safety prospect who possesses good body control/balance for a defensive back his size. He keeps his feet under him in coverage, is patient in his drop and does a nice job keeping his pad level down when asked to turn and run. Obviously it takes him a bit to get back up to full speed, but he plays like a 4.5 guy when asked to turn, run and track the football. Iloka will waste a step when trying to re-direct and get out of his breaks in tight areas. He doesn’t need to chop his feet, but isn’t as clean as you would like from a free safety trying to get in and out of his breaks. He’ll line up in the slot and play some press man at times, using his length well to re-route receivers and stay low in his drop. To his credit, once he collects himself he does have a burst when closing on the football. Instincts and overall feel of reading routes and feeling receivers around him are only average, can be late to react to the throw at times. However, because of his coverage ability -has experience playing corner at the college level- looks like a guy who can be physical with a tight end off the snap and stay in his back pocket at the next level.

He showcases good thump as a tackler using his length well to wrap, but he doesn’t consistently finish on the play. He struggles with balance at times when asked to break down and doesn’t change directions well at full speed when attacking downhill. He will take some poor angles and get side stepped in space and at times. And his angles in the box can be suspect.

Impression: Iloka is a tall kid with solid balance for his size and has some natural athleticism and pop. Has experience playing corner and being a physical press coverage man. However, he isn’t a guy who can quickly re-direct and close on the football in the deep half. He needs to play with his hands on defenders, but is a more coordinated bigger safety than say Seahawks starter Kam Chancellor and he could start at the next level.”

The National Football Post gave Kaddu an overall grade of 5.9D — where “D” stands for developmental.  The Post states that a 5.9 grade means “has a deficient area of his playing or physical skills that he SHOULD overcome and contribute as a backup and spot player only“.  The Post’s overall impression is that Kaddu would make a mark on special teams in the NFL.

On the other hand, the Post gave Iloka an overall grade of 6.4.  The Post states that a 6.4 grade means “has one deficient area of his playing skills or his physical attributes that will be difficult to overcome, but will contribute in spite of it… has the potential to become a starter based on his abilities“.  The Post’s overall impression is that Iloka is a “more coordinated bigger safety” than a current NFL starter, and this Iloka could wind up starting in the NFL.

Safety was a position of need and it seems to me that Iloka would have filled the role nicely for the Dolphins with the combination of size and the ability to cover like a corner.  He may have had significant value to cover the new breed of tight ends in the NFL.  But, Jeff Ireland stated that he let his Big Board speak to him during the 2012 NFL Draft and decided Iloka was not the better option versus Kaddu.

If I had the opportunity to ask one question to Jeff Ireland about the 2012 NFL Draft, I would ask why he selected Kaddu over Iloka?  Was Kaddu rated higher than Iloka on his [Irleand's] big board?  I hope Ireland would say that he intends to resign Yeremiah Bell and an OLB in a 4-3 defensive scheme was actually a greater need.  But, then again, Ireland stated that he did not draft according to need.  Then, let’s hope he would not say that he knew he could pick up two safeties as undrafted free agent rookies — when, he could have selected a potential starter in the 5th round.


What do you think?  Did Ireland screw up on the Dolphins’ 5th round draft choice?


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Tags: B.J. Cunningham Cincin George Iloka Jeff Ireland Joe Philbin Jonathan Martin Josh Kaddu Lamar Miller Miami Dolphins NFL NFL Draft Oliver Vernon Rishard Matthews Ryan Tannehill Yeremiah Bell

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