It’s one of the positions that the Miami Dolphins have tried to apply a bandaid to. Shortly after coming to Miami, Bill Parcells and his “trifecta” traded for Anthony Fasano on the eve of their first draft. Fasano was a solid blocking TE and adequate to above average in the passing game. The issue was Miami’s offense didn’t feature a tight end enough. Fast forward through the years and the Dolphins have spent plenty of draft picks on “prospective” seam threats.
From John Nalbone to Michael Egnew and last years Dion Sims, the Dolphins have tried to find a solution to their TE problem. The emergence of Charles Clay last season was good for the Dolphins but one season doesn’t make him a legit threat from the line’s edge. Clay is versatile and can line up in multiple positions but he isn’t a true seam threat TE in same cloth as any of the top TE’s in the NFL.
The NFL. This modern day game has evolved from the run heavy offense to balance and control to what it is today. A pass happy league that features the TE as a prominent member of the receiving corp who gains the most favorable match-ups. The Dolphins lack that and for years have been trying to find it. They thought they did last season with Dustin Keller but a knee injury ended his season before the season started. They have spoken with Jermichael Finley who has many red medical flags as Keller’s knee had tears. Bandaids.
Sep 14, 2013; Chicago, IL, USA; Washington Huskies tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins (88) makes a catch against Illinois Fighting Illini linebacker Mason Monheim (43) during the first half at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports
This years draft has maybe three top TE prospects who could step in day one and perform well. One of which, Eric Ebron is slated to be gone before the Dolphins pick at number 19. The other two, Austin Seferian-Jenkins and Jace Amaro are really not projected as mid-round one selections which means Miami will have to decide if any TE outside of Ebron would be worth the risk at 19 without trading down later in the 1st.
To me Ebron is a no brainer pick at 19 should he fall. I don’t believe he will but stranger things have happened on draft day. Seferian-Jenkins recently visited the Dolphins and word is he had a good visit but make no mistake the Dolphins can’t afford to reach at 19. With Jeff Ireland gone, Dennis Hickey can’t afford to take prospects in round one. Not that Seferian-Jenkins is a “prospect” but he isn’t a blue-chip TE. Late first in a trade down or 2nd is a good spot for him.
On my radio show on Finsradio over on Blogtalk.com, my co-host Brian “Cat” Catanazaro has brought up the good point on TE’s. The Dolphins really shouldn’t draft a TE outside rounds one or two unless say a Seferian-Jenkins falls to their pick in round three. He says, and is right, that the Dolphins have plenty of “potential” solutions at the position. The Dolphins keep adding depth to the position in mid rounds of the draft but none are becoming the answer. We have spent mid picks on Nalbone who is gone, Charles Clay who is getting better but is in a contract year, Dion Sims, and Michael Egnew. Another TE means one or two of these guys are gone and that’s a trend that needs to stop.
The best move for the Dolphins here is to take only Ebron at 19 if he falls. Trade down in round one and maybe, a big “maybe” take Seferian-Jenkins late day one or early day two. If not, pass on TE’s all together and then look at the free agent market and perhaps revisit the Jermichael Finley/Dustin Keller options.
While TE is an important need for this team and frankly while they have a few TE prospects, they lack as I said a true seam threat, the truth is they have far more pressing needs both on the offensive line and the defensive side of the ball. Rumors circulate daily about what the Dolphins might be looking for. Offensive lineman, corner-backs, wide-receivers, linebackers, and tight ends. They only have three picks in the first three rounds so not all of their needs will get filled early.