Miami Dolphins Need To Try Something New

Miami Dolphins Need To Try Something New

Let me take you on a trip down memory lane.  The year was 1989 and the Dolphins set the record for the fewest amount of sacks allowed, ensuring the Dan Marino was only sacked 9 times the entire season, unfortunately, that did not lead to success on the field.   It was evident that Shula was going to make some serious changes to his roster to remain competitive in the AFC East.  With the 9th overall pick the Dolphins selected what they thought would be the running back of the future Sammie Smith (that’s a story for another day), however in a surprise move Shula re-entered the 1st round by trading his 2nd and 3rd round pick to the Chicago Bears for the 25th overall pick.  The player they selected was Louis Oliver.   

I grew up watching Louis Oliver as our Dolphins Free Safety and still to this day, he is my favorite all time Miami Dolphin.  Watching Oliver roam our backfield and creating plays is what enticed me to love the Free Safety position.

Fast forward to 2014, and our Miami Dolphins have not selected a Free Safety in the first round since 1989. There is a growing sense in the league and in our fan base that the Free Safety position can be addressed in the later rounds and doesn’t really require a first round selection.  You can groom a player and develop him to be a starter.  Ed Reed set the precedent, being a 2nd round selection that turned into a pro ball player.  I am not sure if I agree with this rule as the draft game is not a science it’s more like a lottery.  No team knows how the potential prospect will develop in the NFL, they can just hope that they have done their homework correctly and their player will develop into an elite franchise player.

Jeff Ireland believed in this philosophy as he continued to pass on selecting Free Safety prospects in the first or second round.  Rather he would focus his attention on selecting players in the 5th to 7th rounds, which was evident last year with Chris Clemons (6th round pick) and Rashad Jones (5th round pick).  As the NFL continue to progress into a passing league, I believe we cannot continue to stick with this viewpoint.

Enter Denis Hickey.

Hickey is our new General Manger, and is going into his first draft next month with full control (or so we are led to believe) of selecting our potential prospects.  There are no Earl Thomas or Eric Berry in this draft class, however, there are two intriguing prospects that will gain first round attention; HaHa Clinton Dix from Alabama and Calvin Pryor from Louisville.

Don’t let the name make you laugh, HaHa is the top Free Safety in this draft class.  HaHa is coming from a strong collegiate program and has showed us his potential throughout his tenure at Alabama.  As a Free Safety you are the last line of defense and having HaHa in your backfield you have a sense of relief that he will make the play.  His shadowing and cover skills are excellent and he has a nose for the center fielder position.  He can also provide over the top support, and can provide a big hit when he needs to.  The only thing I don’t like about his game is his hip and feet movement. Although he has great versatility I still believe that he needs to work on his back peddling.  He drags his feet a little in man to man coverage, but excels in zone which provides evidence that he needs to correct his foot work.  The good news is that this is coachable and can easily be corrected.   HaHa would be a definite asset to our Miami Dolphins team and if he is still on the board at 19, we shouldn’t think twice on selecting him.

Watching tape on Calvin Pryor you would think you are watching an old school batman episode. ..BLAM, ZOOM, SMACK. The kid loves to hit.  There isn’t one game that I watched where I didn’t see him make a hit that made you say, “DAAAAAM.”

He is a fierce competitor and loves contact.  Ideal for run support and is really quick to the ball.  Where he needs to develop is the other aspect of the Free Safety position which is he passing game.  Although he plays the ball really well in the air, it’s getting to the ball to make the play where he needs to take the next steps.  Similar to HaHa, Pryor plays well in zone, where he doesn’t need to recover or make up ground, however, when he plays man coverage his weaknesses are exposed.  Pryor needs to increase his man coverage awareness, especially in the NFL where the game speed is faster than he has experienced before.  Pryor is an entertaining prospect, however, he needs to develop his game to become an instant starter.  That is on him, and if becomes a student of the game rather than focusing/relying on his god given ability he might become an elite safety.

The Dolphins would be wise to try something new and break the habits that were present during the Ireland era.  There is a lot of pressure on Hickey to see if he break the cycle of losing seasons, but at the same time provide us with a first round selection that can lure our fan base back to the stadium.   An impact player at Free Safety would be a wise choice…It’s something new…something we haven’t seen since 1989.

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Tags: 2014 NFL Draft Calvin Pryor Chris Clemons Dennis Hickey HaHa Clinton Dix Jeff Ireland Miami Dolphins Rashad Jones

  • Richard Andrews

    I agree we need to do something different but disagree on the position. If Mosley is there at #19 I am running to the podium not walking. He helps in two areas wee struggled. Run defense and coverage of backs/TE out of the backfield. I doubt he will be there but if he is – SOLD! (btw – we have not had a 3 down ILB since Z Thomas – imo it is why our defense hasn’t performed to the talent we have especially with the addition of Grimes at CB.)

    • dj

      Great point Richard. I am not even sure the last time the Dolphins selected a LB in the first round. We had a chance a few years back with Patrick Willis….but we took the Ted Ginn Family…yikes

      I am not sold on Mosley…He does fit the part, but I have not watched enough game tape on him to form an accurate opinion. Based on what I have seen he does remind me a lot of Rolando McClain…which scares me off.

      • Richard Andrews

        Thanks… please watch his tape. The thing I like so much is he’s instinctive and fast to the ball (both run & pass). On the McClain – my take is he’s the complete opposite of what Mosley is. What’s written & the tape I’ve seen is…. This young man loves football, is written that he loves film work & loves to practice. McClain acted like an entitled ass when playing his last year at Bama and continued into his NFL career. When he came out he was the last player I wanted the Fins to select. Maybe too much cool aide for me but I’m betting (minus injury) this kid is going to be a regular for probowler. Just a hunch…

  • Ray Ray

    this is going to be a boring draft, Linemen in the first two rounds and a bunch of guys who’s names we will not know in the later rounds

  • DragonFly34

    Two reasons on why NOT draft a FS. #1, the NFL being a new more kinder, gentler NFL, will no longer permeant big hits, #2 if the kid can’t cover man to man, then why draft him? And, if Mosley is there at #19, Im leading an armed assault to the podium with his name on my 3×5 card, being careful not to mistakenly take Philbin’s 3×5 team notes. Im bored,,,,

    • dj

      Excellent point!!! And i agree with you. That is why it is important to have a finesse player. Ha Ha provides that…Pryor…he just wants to hurt someone

  • Johnny

    Not in this draft… Earl Thomas and Berry are BALL-HAWKS… I really wanted them in their drafts.. But we have priorities… OLINE, OLINE, and more OLINE… I don’t object to taking ILB Mosley who is the top ILB in this draft..And grab a RT in the 2nd round (Tackle is deep in this draft). And after him??? Garbage… So if T Lewan or T Martin is off the board.. It would have to be either LB Mosley or even TE Enron… But if Lewan (doubtful) or Martin is there, you can’t pass on them.. But as for a Safety??? I think it goes T, ILB, G, then maybe Saftey, TE, and maybe a RB.. Don’t have enough picks to really move around too much and grab that top prospect… It’s a bad draft to only have 1 pick in each round… Bad timing.. TRADE JORDAN FOR PHILLY’S 22nd PICK!!!!

    • dj

      Johnny this draft class is deep of OLmen. Yes the talent drops off after Lewan, but is he really a RT or RG? That’s the debate right now. I see him as a true guard…now would you select a RG at 19?

      Let’s relax on the trading DJ. Kid needs playing time before we decide to what we have. Don’t give up on him, I am expecting a great season!

  • Miami Jules (Julian)

    I love Pryor and as I expressed on a previous post by Eric, if there’s no Lewan at 19 as expected, and since I don’t really love Martin, I’d rather defer our obvious # 1 priority and take the best-available-player-AT-A-POSITION-OF-NEED. I believe these positions or at least general areas of need to be OL (duh), ILB, OL, secondary, OL, DT (for depth at least) and did I mention OL already? I’ve no problem in getting a Mosley or a Pryor at 19 either. I would almost prefer to trade down entirely out of the 1st round in order to secure 2 second rounders given this draft depth, but since that’s a little crazy for most, I would be OK with Mosley or Pryor. My pick however at CB/S is Jaylen Watkins. I would be OK with local hero Stanley Jean-Baptiste as a CB whom I raved about early on after Aaron Colvin suffered the Knee injury during the SR Bowl work outs. BTW I used to LOVE Louis Oliver… LOOOOOO!!!!