Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Miami’s Draft Struggles Didn’t End with Quinn, by Adam Zwecker

The Dolphins’ draft choices this year were enough to make fans miss the Wannsteadt-Spielman Era. Granted, Ted Ginn could turn out to be valuable as someone who can return kicks while learning how to play football, a-la-Devin Hester. But what doesn’t make sense is, if the Dolphins were set on taking Ginn over Brady Quinn or some can't-miss prospect like Patrick Willis (a better, faster Zach Thomas) or Darrelle Revis/Leon Hall or even Joe Staley, why didn’t they trade down to select Ginn a few spots later, and accumulate some draft picks? Of course, with the way they draft and Miami’s tendency to give away draft picks for injured quarterbacks nearing retirement, I suppose it wouldn't have done much good to trade down anyway.

All in all, the Dolphins could have had (1) Brady Quin (possibly the best QB in the draft), (2A) Ryan Kalil (best center in the draft), (2B) Charles Johnson (one of the top three or four DEs in the draft), and (3) Tank Tyler (the third-best DT in the draft) or Ray McDonald (a DE/DT tweener perfect for a 3-4 front) – all on the first day.

Watching the draft unfold, I thought there was a strong possibility Miami would take a QB like John Beck or Trent Edwards (who went in Round 3) with their second round pick in Round 2 and then select center Samson Satele in the third where he was better value. I guess after the heartbreak of seeing Ryan Kalil go one pick before to Carolina, Miami freaked out and reached a little for Samson. Kalil, for his part, will be an All-Pro anchor of Carolina’s line and an above-average player as a rookie a-la-Nick Mangold. That is pretty hard to find these days in a center. Satele is more of a project. He is tough as nails and will at the very least be a good guard/center backup, but he has a strange frame with short arms and played in June Jones’s Tecmo Bowl-style fun-and-gun offense in Hawaii where he never had to run-block or make calls at the line. Hence, he will take some time adjusting to the NFL and might not be a starter this year were it not for the Dolphins’ pitiful O-line situation, as the team has just 3 starters on the roster.

As for the late rounds, I also liked the center from Central Michigan, Drew Mormino, they plucked in the sixth, but I couldn't believe they grabbed him and that no-name 270-lb fullback from Hawaii in the 6th when they could have taken Brandon Siler (the star MLB from the Gators’ defense) and Ben Patrick (the third best TE in the draft – Randy McMichael minus the attitude). They both ended up going in the 7th and I thought all of Miami’s last 5 picks in the 6th and 7th rounds were likely going to be undrafted free agents, particularly FB Reagan Mauia and the punter Brandon Fields.

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