The Miami Dolphins should draft Jake Long. Why? Well, for a few reasons.
The Dolphins have one of the worst offensive lines in the league and a running back in Ronnie Brown who still managed to finish with the team lead in yards for running backs despite being on IR. Jake Long fills perhaps the biggest true need on this team. A left or right tackle.
Jake is a big man who has played in a very tough college division, the Big 10. In his career he has faced the best of what OSU has thrown at him. He has played against the other top prospect Vernon Gholston and although many view Gholston as coming out on top of their most recent matchup, the truth is that the entire Michigan team was not the typical Ann Arbor Wolverines.
With a long reach and quick feet, Jake projects more of a RT but his run creating gaps is a huge plus for a team with a run first philosophy, something that is yet to be decided on in Miami.
The addition of Long to the Dolphins offense will also allow Vernon Carey to shift back to RT where he originally played. Jake would immediately be penciled in as the starter on the left side in his place.
The logical thinking of course is that Jake allows the Dolphins to address other areas in rounds two threw 7. With not having to draft a LT, the Phins can look at another QB or guard, or any other position as the LT spot will be vacated.
Long is by far the top talent at his position, whether he ultimately is the first overall pick will be known soon.
Why the Dolphins should NOT draft Jake Long.
It is hard to imagine a guy with so much potential and upside still leaving a doubt as to why he shouldn’t go at the top spot in the draft, but there are questions. Jake, for all his run blocking prowess is not a very good pass blocker, a problem in the NFL. The speed at the DE spot across from Long could hurt his ability to learn quick.
Jake is does fine with the ball on the ground, but a speed rusher will often get the quick step on Long and leave him out of positon and off balance and unable to move the rusher away from the pocket. The Dolphins did not do well against the pass rush last year. With John Beck entering his second season, it is imperative that he finds the time to develop and his backside needs to be protected.
The other issue is many do feel that Jake is better suited to a RT position, which could be a need as long as Carey stays on the left, but no team is going to spend number 1 overall money on a RT. If the Dolphins invest money in Jake, LT has to be the place for him to deliver, if he can’t then he will cast a shadow into the eyes of the fans who were seeking more with the pick.
For all the talk of his talent, Jake loves playing football. Questions have surrounded him in regards to his desire to play in south Florida. It has been surmised that those rumors could be anything from an agent ploy to get him to sign for more, or from a close friend who is speaking from a conversation held with Long. Either way, Jake continues to negotiate and as a deal gets closer, those rumors will die completely.
Jake Long would be a good pick for the Dolphins at number 1, but will he be a great pick? That is a question that for now we all have to answer ourselves, a question that only time will truly answer, and a question that Bill Parcells and Jeff Ireland have to answer in 5 days.