Miami Dolphins 2nd round pick Samson Satele has so far in his short pro-career of mini-camps and OTA’s is already making more of an impact that any other draft pick thus far, and for that matter last years draft class as well.
Satele is winning the battle to start at center.
In a competition between himself and veteran center Jonathan Ingram, who last played in 2005 with the Chiefs, Satele is making a claim for the position. His ability has already shown through enough for the coaches to move Rex Hadnot to guard.
Satele benefits, in my opinion, more than most rookie lineman. He has offensive line guru Hudson Houck telling him what to do. In fact, Houck was reportedly in love with this kid before the draft. If Mueller threw the coach a bone during the draft, he may have thrown him a big one.
Let us face the fact, our offensive line was scary ugly last year. Daunte Culpepper spent more time checking off the angles of the defenders and less time checking off his receivers routes. Harrington found more time, but had worse results. The line, like the year before was a work in progress.
Miami has had a rough time with the offensive line since Dave Wannstedt let a decent line age without any youth infusion, and then, prior to the start of the 2004 free agency period, went on a dumping purge. Since then, it has been a piece meal effort with a topping of injuries left and right.
Satele adds a dimension and excitement to the center position that I haven’t enjoyed since Tim Ruddy came to Miami.
Satele may belly up, all football players have that potential, but no more than Rookies. Satele was not a high draft pick. He was not a late draft pick. In terms of day 1, he was on the long side of the middle, but the middle nonetheless.
Satele comes to Miami where a fan base is screaming for open holes for the running game and time for the quarterback. He comes to a team who’s fans are screaming at each other over where to place the blame for the downfall of one of the proudest franchises in the history of pro sports.
If you consider the drafts of the last few years, Satele makes it that much easier to be optimistic. A 4th round pick to move up to take Vernon Carey in 04. Carey has been a pleasant surprise but he is not a dominating lineman and his switch this year to the LT position could hinder his yearly progression. Matt Roth in round 2, a 2nd rounder for Daunte Culpepper, Jason Allen at 16, Ted Ginn at number 9 and John Beck in early round 2. Questions, questions, questions.
Satele however brings only the question of “can he?”. We will find out, but for now, it’s nice to see a rookie finally showing his face on the depth chart at number 1. That is something that most of the rookies in the last 4 years couldn’t do at this stage of the game.
Satele will win the battle for the center starting position. After that, it’s up to him whether or not he keeps it. I think he will…for the next 12 years.