The 2011 NFL Draft is Complete
By Shane Ford
I would say Ireland and the Miami Dolphins staff did pretty well this weekend. Was there a “sexy” pick, no not really, but did they match need vs. value? ABSOLUTELY
We can argue until we turn blue in the face on the type of offense Miami runs, but that’s not my point. Most felt Miami needed QB, RB, WR, OL, TE and DT. Well guess what, with the exception of QB that’s just what they drafted.
By the 12th pick four quarterbacks had already come off the board so when it came time for the Dolphins to pick many fans were hoping to hear the name Ryan Mallett (who by the way didn’t hear his name until round 3), Mark Ingram or a trade back. Instead Mike Pouncey was the pick. Not a sexy pick, but arguably the top interior lineman in the draft no matter if he plays center (which is what Sparano says he will play) or guard. Pouncey will step in day one and not only anchor the center position but call the line assignments. He will be the third first round pick on Miami’s offensive line. If the line stays healthy then it will be one of the better lines in the NFL.
The Dolphins went into Friday night without a pick in round two. Suddenly a trade was announced and Miami had traded their 5th and a 7th round pick to move into round two with the Bears. Surely this is where they were going to take the franchise QB that so many fans said should have been the pick at #15 right? Not so fast my friend, Ireland and Sparano threw a curve ball and drafted Kansas State running back Daniel Thomas. Like Pouncey he’s not a sexy pick, but in most experts rankings he was the second to fourth rated running back in the draft. Thomas is a big man and put up some monster numbers, but he did leave the ball on the field more than you would like. Thomas also ran the wildcat at K State, which scares many fans.
I have to admit I went to bed Friday night scratching my head. Not because I don’t like Pouncey and Thomas, but I didn’t like the idea of giving up two picks to move up 17 spots to draft a big bruising running back. We also have heard how they want chunk yards and have to add speed to the team. Dan Henning is gone and Brain Daboll is in with a statement of Miami will run a hybrid of the Patriots and Jets offense. Well, I woke up this morning and as I was scanning the forum and drinking my coffee I realized the Miami drafted two day one starters with the first two picks. Yes they gave up a 5th and a 7th, but what impact were those two picks really going to make? I warmed up to the pick and realized that while many of us fans may not like the style of play Miami will play, there is no denying they are sticking to their plan and drafting to the needs vs. value.
Finally noon is here and the draft resumes for the final day. Miami is up in round four and in the forum we are all trying to figure out who they will draft. Will it be the QB, will it be a TE? No Jeff Ireland and Tony Sparano brought speed into the equation. Small school receiver Edmond Gates was the pick. Gates is pure speed. He ran a 4.35 at the combine and plays as fast on the field as he runs on the track. Gates will stretch the field and at 6’0, 194 he is not a small guy. He is not afraid to go over the middle and is quick enough to get off press coverage. Gates will stretch the field and open up running lanes and intermediate passing lanes. Oh yeah, he will also return kicks and punts and WILL NOT shy away from contact. I have to say I love this pick, great value and need with this pick.
I expected them to somehow get back into round five, but that didn’t happen, so Miami didn’t pick again until the sixth round. They moved up a few slots to take a tight end/h-back/full back combo. Yes they drafted a mismatch. When Charles Clay’s name was announce many people were scratching their head wondering why Miami drafted a full back. Well they didn’t. Yes he played full back, but he also lined up in the slot, and as a tight end. Clay is a true h-back that runs a 4.63 and caught 69 passes for 1,029 yards and 7 touchdowns last year. The best way to attack a 3-4 defense is with a TE/h-back that can get a mismatch with a bigger slower OLB. The Patriots and Jets did this great with Hernandez and Keller last year and now Miami has a guy they will use to do the same thing. Once again, nice pick here guys, adding speed to a position that needed it.
In round 7 Miami had two picks. With the first pick they drafted a small school defensive tackle in Frank Kearse. Kearse played at Alabama A &M and is massive at 6’4”, 311lbs (although he claims he played at 324lbs). Kearse is a project guy that will learn the position and help plug the middle.
The second pick in round 7 was a CB from Montana named Jimmy Wilson. From what I have read on Wilson is he has first or second round talent but he sat out of school in prison for three years for murder. He was finally acquitted of murder and played football again. Now before you cast judgment on this young man I suggest you Google Jimmy Wilson and read the first link that pops up. He may never make anything more than a camp fodder, but I am pulling for him.
So they didn’t draft a QB, that’s they way things shake out, maybe they have a little more faith in Henne than the fan base or maybe they will address the QB position in free agency that is yet to be seen. It will take a few years to see how this draft class shakes out, but less than two hours after the draft has wrapped I would say they addressed the needs and got good value for them. They are going to come out of this draft with two day one starters and at least two others that are going to see a considerable amount of playing time. I have to say nice job guys for going into the draft with a plan and sticking to it. Now all we can do is hope they produce.