Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Pavement To The Draft

Don't worry, I'm not going to post a Pavement video.

I am however going to be posting LOTS of video this week so check back regularly for your viewing pleasure.

Below is video of former Rice Tight End, James Casey. By now you probably all know that the Dolphins have been showing lots of interest in the tight end position in the offseason. They have looked at Brandon Pettigrew, James Casey, Jared Cook, Cornelius Ingram, Branden Ledbetter, Bear Pascoe, and Shawn Nelson. And that's just the ones I know about. In the video, you'll hear Casey's responses to interview questions which have been edited out. At one point he specifically talks about being able to throw passes out of the Wildcat formation.

I don't think the Dolphins will go tight end with the first pick but I DO think they will in either the 2nd or 3rd round. It's increasingly entered my mind that they will forget altogether about going after a big WR like Nicks or Britt and instead go for a big tight end than can both catch and block (and even throw). It makes sense based on their history and philosophy that they would go after players with the ability to play multiple positions, and special teams. Also, in 2010, both Anthony Fasano and David Martin will be free agents. While I like both players as pass options, neither one is particularly good at running with the ball, blocking, or throwing (yes throwing ability is now my new criteria for ANY player that might be on the field in the wildcat).

Back, and Better Than Ezra.

Well here I am at work again, buried in 10 days worth of paperwork and engineering mumbo jumbo. I am experiencing the usual depression that comes with that first day back at work after a vacation. And I am way behind on reading football news, though it seems like I haven't missed that much. Mostly other bloggers confirming stuff we already knew like the Dolphins' interest in Tight Ends and Connor Barwin.

Despite my being gone from the face of the football planet, I do have several posts planned to go already this week, including two player profiles, and a jump back into the lead-up to the draft.

While I am extremely busy at work, I will try to get a new post up today so please check back.

BTW, I had a fantastic trip, full of both family fun and debauchery (not at the same time), and want to thank all the well-wishers and welcome all the new readers as well. The Friday that I left was my biggest day thanks primarily to Omar's shout-out to the Connor Barwin pro-day post. It was a bit bittersweet that I left that same day and was unable to capitalize on it but I will get there again. So thanks to everyone for your support and readership.

The following video is completely unrelated to football and the Dolphins, but IS Better Than Ezra.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Peeking In

Hey everyone, just a quick word from the road. I haven't seen my email or a computer screen for four days and then I turn on tonight and see that Satele was traded for a 6th round pick and a swap of 4th round picks.

While I think it was a good trade, I am a bit saddened to lose that kind of depth as well as the fact that my latest mock draft had the Raiders picking Alex Mack, so I have to start all over with that again.

I think it's fair to say that Donald Thomas is now the frontrunner for that RG spot.

Just so everyone knows, I am still alive and having a great time thus far. All the best from the road!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

New Dolphin - Tony McDaniel, DE - Updated

The Dolphins traded a 7th round pick for Jacksonville Defensive Tackle, Tony McDaniel. Besides a high salary, a horrible injury history, and basic limited production, McDaniel also has a criminal past. In 2005, while attending the University of Tennessee (are we on a Tennessee streak here or what?), McDaniel was charged with aggravated assault after sucker punching a co-student during a pickup basketball game. The action happens at the 20 second mark of the video right underneath the basket. The scary part is the non-action of all the other people. The victim had a broken jaw in four places. McDaniel got a $3000 fine and probation.

UPDATE: After the incident, McDaniel chose to enter the NFL draft early, which prompted a civil lawsuit being filed by the victim for $800k in 2006. The civil lawsuit was settled in January 2008. Terms were undisclosed.

Quickie - Donald Thomas

"03/19/09 - RG Donald Thomas, the surprising rookie sixth-round pick out of Connecticut, who sustained a season-ending foot injury in the season opener, told WQAM-560 that he is completely healed and ready to resume all football-related duties. "I'm all set and cleared to play. I've been working out pretty regularly now," Thomas said. "I'm ready to go and get back to business." ~ NFLDraftScout.com

What A Barwin!

At Cincinnati's second pro day today, do-it-all player Connor Barwin ran the 40 again. His times ranged between 4.48 and 4.57. That's significantly fast. Add that to his 23 reps in the bench press and the fact that he went through drills at defensive end, linebacker and tight end. What makes him do these workouts over and over again? Obviously a drive to be the best, and a drive to keep getting better. I'd have to guarantee him as a first round pick now.

There have been a lot of impressive workouts but none more so than Barwin. I cannot think of anyone who's stock has risen so much in such a short period of time.

Like I've said before, I think the Dolphins will go CB/WR at #25, but should they decide to go linebacker, I'd wet myself if they chose Barwin. And don't worry I won't post the video. With the speed and fluidity that Barwin has shown, he might even be able to immediately switch to inside linebacker. Wouldn't it be nice to have a 6'4", 257lb inside linebacker to stuff the run, blitz, and show off his 4.5 speed and long arms in coverage? One that could slide between the inside and the outside pass rush?

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Pro Day Ponderings

  • The Dolphins attended the University of Florida pro day and are reported to be interested in Percy Harvin, Louis Murphy and tight end Cornelius Ingram. This is the second or third time a TE has been reported under watch by the Dolphins. This is not an indication that they're targeting a TE, but since they only have 3 on the roster they will likely bring in one or maybe two more for the offseason competition. All reports said that all three receivers were very impressive and didn't drop a single pass all day. All 3 also have scheduled work-outs with the Dolphins.
  • Percy Harvin warmed up, lined up at the cones, then stood up and announced he was going to stick with his 40 yard dash time from the combine, 4.41. In my opinion this was a truly bad idea unless he knew he wasn't faster than that. The decision could have cost him a lot of money.
  • At the Penn State pro day, Aaron Maybin ran a 4.59 40 to boost his standings probably to where they were before the combine. Scouts were worried that the added weight (he gained 25 lbs since the season) had slowed him down as he ran in the 4.77 range at the combine. He also met with Miami representatives.
  • Derrick Williams ran a 4.37, which is in the top 5 receiver times in the draft pool.
  • I forgot to mention this the other day when Michigan had their pro day, but Wolverines defensive tackle, Will Johnson, put up 47 reps in the bench press. To put that into perspective, that's TEN more than Jake Long's best which was 37 at the combine last yea and 4 more than the combine record.
  • Dolphins' linebacker coach, Jim Reid, attended the Florida State pro-day personally to see the likes of Everette Brown.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

New Dolphin - GIBRIL WILSON, Safety

Gibril Wilson, the most recent addition to the Dolphins' secondary, speaks with an accent. He was born in Sierra Leone but grew up in Northern California before turning down USC, UF, and Oregon to play at Tennessee.

The poor guy probably actually wanted to be a Raider growing up in San Jose. He got to play there for one year after winning the Super Bowl with the New York Giants.

I have to be honest, if I were Wilson, I'd have wanted to stay in New York. He is a New York kind of guy. Metropolitan, to say the least. Brandon London is not the only model/football player on the Dolphins roster. While I've seen the likes of Jake Long posing for sports-related advertisements, I doubt you'd see Long or Chad Henne walking the catwalk anytime soon. Wilson is the face of NYC's Eredi Pisano, an Italian upscale men's clothing line and store. So while Brandon London likes to take his shirt off, Wilson likes to dress up in a three-piece suit.

But what about his football side?

The first thing you notice about Wilson is that he's a lot bigger than recently-turned-Bronco, Renaldo Hill. He's not huge by any means, but Hill was an undersized Safety. Wilson is known as a strong tackler and can play both safety positions. With the re-signing of Yeremiah Bell, Wilson will likely move back to Free Safety, the position he played for the Giants.

After searching through dozens of photos of Wilson playing football, I was a bit distressed as it seemed that in 95% of them he was dropping the ball, getting scored on, or missing a tackle. I don't remember how he played against us last year, but I know we won the game. I also know from reading the Raider's injury report from 2008 that he had a terrible year health-wise, injuring an elbow, a knee, his back, a toe and missing time due to illness. All that time off allowed a rookie to come in and steal his job.

The truth is, Wilson is not by any means someone we can immediately consider an 'upgrade' over Hill at this point. This is a definite wait and see position we have put ourselves in. I think at this point we will be looking for more competition at Safety, as we now have Kilmer, Culver, and Bryan as our reserves, with Bell and Wilson starting. That is not a particularly solid group.

In any event, Wilson is here now in Aqua and Orange and will hope to make a 'splash' as a Dolphin.

Run and Hyde

Ok, I've been accused of being not so nice when referring to the media, and I've toned it down a bit in an effort to eliminate the guess work over whether or not I'm kidding or just being vile.

But now I have to say something. And I'll start with the disclaimer that I'm not kidding here. The shit-reporting needs to stop. Why is it that I cannot find out what the Dolphins are doing in the off-season, but have to read ridiculous articles about trading all 3 of our QBs for Jay Cutler? That's Hyde's spin - here is Cote's.

At what point will the columnists of the Miami area sports reporters step up their game and produce some facts, interesting character profiles, and most importantly, rational thinking?

I feel I owe an apology to beat reporters like Omar Kelly of the Sun-Sentinel and Armando Salguero of the Herald.

Though I openly pray for the day the Herald gets shut down, especially after posting that cellphone video of the aftermath of the Stallworth incident, and Salguero's blog is typically full of confrontation and controversy, he does actually occasionally post sourced material about things that matter to the team.

And though there isn't a single reporter out there that I disagree with more than Kelly, and I think some of that is simply knee-jerk reaction to his grammar (that part is tongue-in-cheek), he does actually spend MOST of his blog talking about relevant issues.

And though the Palm Beach Post's crew of relative unknowns has completely dropped the ball on the no-nonsense state the facts style I had grown accustomed to from them, they still repeatedly beat the competition to the punch as far as breaking news goes. Maybe they have 3G smart phones as opposed to the competition's EDGE network!

So even if I don't agree with their ideas, or the way they present those ideas, I appreciate the fact that they would offer those ideas and the forum for fans to discuss those topics.

However, the tenured 'columnists' especially from the Herald (Greg Cote) and the Sentinel (David Hyde) have always irked me. Cote has been at the Herald for at least 90 years, and he used to be a sort of Dave Barry-esque humour writer that just presented the facts in a funny way. Now he's old, bitter, and useless. Hyde, on the other hand, can only get readers to his blog when he lets an outsider write it for him. Otherwise, he too, is useless.

And the latest 'let's trade for Cutler' campaign waged by both papers secures that stance. And I'm tired of it. And I'm sure I'm not the only one.

PS. Hyde - Chad Henne was drafted in the SECOND round, not the third. F*%$head.

Monday, March 16, 2009

The Final Week of Tin's Fins

Ha! Got your attention now? No, it's not the final week but I am going to be away on a long debaucherous week starting Friday night and though I may be able to update in a twitter-like fashion, I won't have time (or energy) to do anything in-depth until I get back on April 1st.

Fortunately the pro days will be all but wrapped up by then and there won't be anything going on until the draft so we'll have time to catch up. Ok let's get started!

Monday sees a couple of very interesting pro days occurring that are of interest to the Dolphins.

LSU has several 3rd/4th round ranked players that are probably considered to be not superstars but possibly contributors in the NFL, so I'd expect a big turn-out there. Tyson Jackson, Darry Beckwith, and Marlon Favorite could be possible Dolphin interests

Eastern Michigan has only one guy I’m aware of at all who’s a senior (they have an amazing DB but he’s only a sophomore so we’ll talk about him two years from now): Daniel Holtzclaw. We discussed him last week as someone the Dolphins have already been talking with. He reminded Mr Bungle of a taller version of Zach Thomas, and I concur with that assessment, at least on the college level but see below for a quote from an actual football-person. I suspect Chad Henne probably knows a thing or two about him as well as he played against him a few times at Michigan.

Test Football Academy Owner and Trainer, Brian Martin, compares Holtz-claw favorably to Dallas Cowboys' veteran linebacker Zach Thomas, who like Holtzclaw is considered a bit undersized (6-foot-1, 246 pounds) by NFL standards, but whose tenacity has made him a feared linebacker.

“If teams can get past his (Holtzclaw's) size, they will have found a solid performer,’’ Martin said.

The only other noticeable pro day is at Florida State, where everyone and their mother will be to see Everette Brown, and the Dolphins might like to see wide receiver Greg Carr while they’re there as well.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Friday's Update ( I know, very clever title)

Pro days continue today with the most notable being Ohio State, Michigan, Oregon State and South Florida.

Ohio State has James Laurinitis, Brian Robiskie, Donald Washington, Nader Abdallah, Marcus Freeman, Alex Boone, and even Malcolm Jenkins all of whom could be getting looks from the Dolphins. Surely they'll have someone in attendance!

Michigan is not as packed but maybe Terrance Taylor and Morgan Trent could garner some interest.

Oregon State has Keenan Lewis, previously noted as a potential future Dolphin. They also have Andy Levitre! Remember him? A couple of months ago he was heralded by Miami fans and media as a MUST HAVE. Amazing how quickly the buzz wears off.

Oh, and then there's my beloved USF Bulls. At the Combine, Sun Sentinel reporter, Omar Kelly, asked LB Tyrone McKenzie what he thought of perhaps being the highest picked Bull ever. While it was nice to get some video of Tyrone on the SS page, Omar didn't do his homework, as just last year (2008) USF's Mike Jenkins was chosen 25th overall. Kawika Mitchell went 47th overall in 2003. The next highest were Kenyatta Jones (96th), Anthony Henry (97th) and Bill Gramatica (98th - seriously? who drafts a kicker that high) which is probably where McKenzie projects at right now.

Pro Day could change all that of course, but I don't see Mckenzie being able to leapfrog Jenkins' status. Other USF notables working out today: Cedric Hill (FB/TE), Danny Verpaele (S), Carlton Williams (S), Taurus Johnson (WR), the entire offensive line for the past 3 years, and the absolutely incredible Benjamin Williams. Williams is 5'7", 200lbs, and can squat 660 lbs and bench 430. I can do that too (not!).

I will update this post throughout the day with available results and Dolphin spottings so check back for more info.


8:36 AM - Miami did not attend Troy's second pro day yesterday. This generally means they saw what they needed to see the first time around. As far as I know, they did invite Sherrod Martin for a private workout at the first one.

11:46 AM -
Well it happened. I finally made an oopsie. I gotta tell you, getting info about the pro days as just a simple fan is possibly harder than finding out what the President reads in the bathroom. And so it was that yesterday I reported/mentioned that Nebraska's pro day had much Dolphins activity and that they were watching fullbacks. It turns out that where I read "Nebraska FB [insert name of virtually unknown football player here]" I automatically assumed, as most people would, that the 'FB' was referring to the position of the player mentioned. It turns out the 'FB' stood simply for FOOTBALL. So it had nothing to do with the player mentioned other than the fact that he played football for Nebraska. Seriously people, whoever did the captioning for them should be fired. To make matters worse, I discovered that I could blow up the image of the photo several times and discovered it wasn't James Saxon in the photos. It actually looked to be Kacy Rodgers, the defensive line coach (the same guy who worked one-on-one with Michael Johnson the other day). I don't know who he was there to see since Nebraska's beast DT, Suh, decided to stay in school. Sometimes underclassmen work out a year before they come out just to get on the radar for the folowing year. Who knows at this point.

1:30 PM - I have to be honest, when I was looking for an update on Jason Williams' personal workout, the last thing I thought I'd do was paste a link to a Dolphins blog, but I got a good eye-roll going from reading this eloquent write-up and thought I'd share.

3:30 PM - Remember that talk we had about the NT Tree? Well, at USF's pro day today, former NOSE TACKLE Richard Clebert showed up. He was shown in photos working out, but was not listed in the actual results or in the program. Why do I make a deal of this? Because for one, he graduated LAST year, was not on the team in 2008, and I also always wondered whatever happened to him. For those of you who don't know who the hell I'm talking about, Clebert is 6'1", 320lbs, played in a hybrid 4-3/3-4 formation (which they ended up dropping because he graduated and they didn't have a nose to take over) and is most famous for this video:

Though I counted 41 reps on the video, his official best is 43, and according to the video he has done 50 (though it cannot be confirmed). 43 is the combine record, BTW. Clebert's 43 was not at the combine but at a testing day at USF.

Oh, the guy can play football too even if he has the body of a pumpkin. Number 76.:

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Nebraska Wins!! (and other pro day tidbits)

I remember when Nebraska as a college football powerhouse full of murderers, rapists and pretty good football players. Then they got rid of the murderers and rapists and ended up realizing that there was some overflow of categories and thus they had less good football players and spiraled into suck-dom.

Well they can hold their head up high today as not one but TWO Dolphins coaches attended their pro-day. And it's not what you might think. Offensive Line coach, Dave Googley-Eye-Elmo, and Running Backs coach James Saxon were both shown paying particular attention to the workouts of a couple of FULLBACKS!

If that wasn't crazy enough, there was a notable absence of both Miami and New England coaches at the Boston College pro day. Raji worked out for Detroit, NY Jets and Cleveland as did Ron Brace.

I already mentioned in my previous entry that they also look to have skipped the West Virginia event as well.

They DID attend the Oklahoma pro-day to look at Phil Loadholt and Duke Robinson. Seems like Googly is on a tour of tornado alley.

And word is that Miami has invited some guy named Rhyan Anderson for a private workout. Anderson was a virtual no show at the University of Miami, then transferred to New Mexico State, and barely posted any stats while there. It's a bit odd the Dolphins would use up one of their invites on him, but at 6'4" 262lbs and running in the 4.7 range they're willing to give him a shot.

Still waiting for the latest Jason Williams news...

All Quiet On The Front Office...er...Front! [UPDATED]

I have to say, things feel a little uneasy right now as far as Miami Dolphin-dom is concerned. Nothing serious like a critical illness or anything like that, but at a time when a lot of teams are making a lot of noise in free agency, staff changes, and pro-day visits, the Dolphins have quietly stepped out of the spotlight.

I cannot say this for sure, mind you, but it seems like the Dolphins took a couple of days off from the pro-days. I can always confirm when they WERE there, but it's a bit harder to confirm if they WEREN'T. Still, it seems like they've skipped out on the bulk of the most recent events. Of course this put a bit of a grinder in the works that was to be my ongoing updating of the Draft Board on the sidebar. That's right, if they're not actively watching the players in public at the pro-days, I cannot add any names to the list.

It seems that out of the 20+ pro days yesterday, the Dolphins could only be confirmed to be at 2 of them. That's not a huge deal considering most of them were small schools without any notable prospects, but the percentage from the day before was not much better. And one of the events they may have skipped was Maryland's pro-day, featuring Darrius Heyward-Bey.

Some of the events where I use the word 'skipped' may have been attended by a lower level scout, but I confirmed at least ten of them were not attended at all by the Dolphins.

They also haven't brought in any work-out free agents, or signed anyone in a week. Things are eerily quiet for this time of the year. Maybe they are having their annual Sexual Harassment training?

Still, today there are a few I'm sure will be well attended - West Virginia, Oregon, Boston College and Texas Tech are the big names, but expect more than one Miami official to be at the Troy pro day as well.

The Dolphins did NOT attend the WVU pro day. Very unlikely then that they're going to draft Pat White.

The Dolphins signed free agent CB, Eric Green, thus showing that they WERE up to something. The quiet must've been the lawyers and agents hard at work.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The NT Tree

If ever there was a deficiency in an NFL draft, it would be this year and it would be at the increasingly difficult to find Nose Tackle. To make things a little harder, several teams are switching to a 3-4 defensive scheme this season, thus depleting the already low chances of securing a decent prospect in the draft.

The following are some of the few potential targets for the Dolphins as they try to shore up the defensive line and prepare for the eventual retirement of Jason Ferguson.

Ron Brace - The popular choice. One of the more recognizable names in the draft, the Boston College DT played alongside THE name in the draft as far as DT's go, BJ Raji. While I consider Raji to be a rare breed of pure talent, my viewings of Brace last season left me cold. Maybe he looked bad because of Raji's prowess. Maybe he looked GOOD because of Raji's prowess. It's hard to say, but either way, it raises some red flags as to how good he would be lined up on his own at the nose. Still, he has the size (6'3", 330lbs) that you look for, and played a little bit of nose in passing downs.

Sammie Lee Hill - a small school prospect that generated quite a bit of buzz during the Shrine Game and the Combine. I had never even heard of this guy until I was going through the shrine game measurements and saw his size (6'4", 329lbs). I have severe issues with him being projected by the media as a Nose Tackle, however, as I do not see it in him. He struggles with double teams, has problems separating from blocks, and was used primarily as a bull-rushing DE because of these issues. If he couldn't handle playing inside at a small college, then he shouldn't be projected to do so in the NFL.

If the Dolphins aren't extremely interested in Terrence Knighton, I'd be extremely surprised. That's a lot of extremes. Knighton is extremely big (6'3", 321lbs) and showed he could bulk up by adding 30 lbs to his frame from his Temple playing weight. If you take what he did at Temple, then add 30 lbs of mass to it, you have someone who can handle the push of the NFL Guards/Centers. As you can tell from the video, he has a very low center of gravity which will help him stand his ground on running plays.

There are a couple of other guys who I wouldn't exactly call 'tweeners' as I feel that label actually fits better on those above, with Knighton probably being the only 'ready to play' guy at the nose.

Fili Moala, Chris Baker, Dorrell Scott, Corey Irvin, Khalif Mitchell, and Marlon Favorite have all been mentioned as possible converts. Of those names I only like Baker, and think he would be good value as a Randy Starks-type player, able to play any position on the line, but I wouldn't rate him as a possible replacement for Ferguson.

In all eventuality, while I believe the Dolphins WILL draft at least one defensive lineman in April, I believe it will be a Starks-type player, one who can provide depth at multiple positions. Just like this year is the year of the wide receiver, cornerback and center, NEXT year will be the year of the Defensive Tackle, and it's very likely the Dolphins will use a top pick on one in 2010. Can you imagine Terrence Cody or Boo Robinson or Al Woods or Ndamukong Suh escaping the grasp of the Trifecta next year?

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

New Dolphin - JAKE GROVE, Center

Jake Grove recently became extremely higher paid than Samson Satele, thus making him the starting Center for the Miami Dolphins. As a Virginia Tech stand-out, he was called a "Great leader who really set the pace for the rest of the offensive line...A relentless warrior on the field, Jake has everything you want a center to have."

When he was drafted in 2004 he was ranked essentially the same as Alex Mack is in 2009. But there's no doubt he's much more physical than Mack. And he has 4 seasons (or partial seasons) under his belt. So there's no question as to his ability. It's all up to chemistry and good health at this point. Below is a look into where Grove comes from and a taste of his personality as it was in 2004. He definitely looks a bit more grizzled and hardened now, what with the scars and facial hair. But he's not a trouble-maker, despite his 'nasty' reputation, which he explains in the video.

Welcome to the team, Jake! (btw, this works out well for me since you know it's my ultimate goal to have as few first names as possible on the team, and now we have two jakes on the o-line)

Click here to read an interview with Grove in 2006, talking about his small town roots and his football career.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Monday Measures - Updated

Utah's pro-day was attended by Dolphins' Assistant Head Coach, Todd Bowles. He was there to check out heralded cornerback, Sean Smith, who measured in at 6'4", 209 lbs. He was timed at 4.43 in the 40. His Utah teammate, Brice McCain (who?) ran a 4.33 40, and was 1/100th of a second faster (1.47) than Missouri's William Moore in the 10 (1.48).

Video Courtesy of KSL.com

Speaking of Moore, he is getting major interest from the Eagles, as they look to replace Brian Dawkins.

So far it looks like the Dolphins have short-listed Sean Smith and Troy CB, Sherrod Martin. They're definitely going for a big CB. While David Carrao attended Troy's pro day, and he's no chopped liver, the fact that Bowles went personally to Utah speaks volumes. Both of these guys actually work on the field during practices and thus probably went for some one-on-one drills with the aformentioned corners.

Dolphins scout, Dwayne Joseph, was at the Georgia Tech pro-day on Monday along with 29 other scouts/coaches. Not all were from the NFL, however, as the CFL and now the UFL (I still don't know what that is) will be picking up the table scraps.

While Joseph was seen at the indoor activities (weighing in and lifting), it cannot be confirmed at this time that he watched the outdoor drills. Obviously the main attraction in Atlanta was Michael Johnson, the DE-cum-OLB.

And Miami is at the forefront. Dolphins defensive line coach, Kacy Rodgers, had dinner with Johnson on Sunday. The Jets coaches were on him like flies on Monday. Could this be an AFC East battle-a-brewing?

Johnson ran a 4.59, and was timed as fast as 4.49. He even went out as a receiver during the QB drills.

Here's my take on Johnson, he is VERY similar to Jason Taylor. Slightly bigger but very similar playing styles.

UPDATE: I have photographic evidence that Kacy Rodgers worked out one-on-one with Michael Johnson. This is potentially HUGE because Johnson has been rated as high to mid first round for about 7 months now, and the more attention that a coach (and a confirmed scout) pay to him could mean something.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

May The Source Be With You

I tend to take the weekends off from the blog, as well as the newspaper blogs, but lately I've noticed that the stuff I bring up on a Wednesday ends up on the newspapers on a Saturday/Sunday. If it shows up at all.

Case in point, Miami Herald's one-liner extraordinaire, Barry Jackson, who never claims a source but often publishes the one-line stories that we've been waiting to hear, printed this story on Saturday.

Whereas I mentioned Darius Butler as the top Dolphin CB prospect on Wednesday.

I meant to publish this story about prospects I had confirmed were getting interest and meetings with the Dolphins on Wednesday afternoon as well but put it off until Thursday. In it I mentioned CB Sherrod Martin from Troy University. And I mentioned that the Dolphins had sent not lowly scouts but coaches and higher-up management to view and meet with these prospects.

In any event, since Barry Jackson doesn't like to reveal his sources, I'll tell you for him. It's ME! LOL.

My sources on the other hand were from scouring the web looking for prospect-local reports, and Rob Rang and Chad Reuter from NFLdraftscout.com who recently joined forces with CBSSports.com which I am not too happy about.

[Update: Now (Monday) Omar Kelly of the Sun-Sentinel has reported the same Brandon London story I posted on Friday. He said he was unaware of Brandon London's modeling career until he saw him on BET's Rip the Runway concert on TV yesterday. Really? Completely unaware? He also failed to mention that Gibril Wilson, also a member of the same Super-Bowl winning Giants team that London won a ring with, is also a model. Maybe he wasn't on the BET special...]

Friday, March 6, 2009

Catch the Ball, then Run, Run, Runway!

So many of you probably know that Brandon London is not only a Miami Dolphin, he's also a fancy New York City fashion model. You may have seen a magazine ad in the last six months and thought to yourself in passing how the model looked familiar. I forget which magazine it was, but I actually had this happen to me. I think he was modeling a watch or something while not wearing a shirt (I don't know about you guys but I generally remove watch before shirt in my undressing ritual).

Anyway, so the reality is that BET the network thinks that football player/models are interesting enough to have their own reality show. The show follows a group of these hybrid players (did you know Gibril Wilson is one of these hybrids?) through their dual careers, and probably through some inane, mundane, and staged moments as well. In addition to this show, London is apparently working on ANOTHER reality show, essentially promoting himself. This guy is apparently Jason Taylor with a 'use once open' label on it. At least we got a career out of JT before he went Hollywood. Seems like London is trying to get there before he makes a name for himself in the NFL.

But I digress. In love with the camera so much, Brandon also had the producer from the previously mentioned show follow him to his workout and film it for the purpose of sharing it with his fans. Someone needs to tell him he has no fans. I appreciate someone trying to market themselves, but someone needs to tell him he got the job and now needs to get on with it.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Here We Go!!

This post is dedicated to actual confirmed Miami draft targets. Some of them you know, some of them you don't, but all of them maybe getting a lot of attention in the next several weeks.

First up, Connor Barwin. This guy has the motor of Matt Roth but sleeker, faster, taller, leaner and with the ability to break the heart of your average USF fan by not only sacking your QB but then scoring an offensive touchdown as well. He was the star of the NFL Combine a couple of weeks ago, and Miami, along with pretty much every other team, is interested

Oh, man, you guys are going to hate me for this one but I have to do this: WILLIAM FREAKIN' MOORE, BIATCHES!!

That's right. It's been confirmed that Mr. Moore himself is a Dolphins prospect. You know what this guy did yesterday in front of a certain Miami coach? He ran a 4.39, had a 37 inch vertical, did the 3 cone drill in 6.92 seconds, and had an amazing 10'6" broad jump. If these numbers stand up, He would have to be at least a high 2nd round grade. According to several sources, "one player who performed really well was Safety William Moore. He looked really good in his positional drills and was impressive overall."

I hate to say I told you so, but I will as soon as he is being a stand-out player in the NFL. ;)

p.s. this is an actual photo of Moore running super fast ON GRASS today. That's right, he put up those times on grass, people.

Jason Williams is a name most people associate with basketball (I remember being confused because there were two of them at one point, both basketball players, both in the league at the same time). But there's another Jason Williams, and he plays football. Where you ask? Western Illinois University. Say what?

You ever notice during opening drives of NFL games they'll have the players introduce themselves by saying their names and colleges, and half the time
you think to yourself, "I've never even heard of that school!"

Well that's because it's a myth that only the big schools are pro factories. While it's true that schools like Miami and FSU and USC have had their runs, most NFL players come from all over the place. I don't know what town Western Illinois is in, but I do know that it is cold there during football season and that during their Senior game, there were about 40 die-hard fans in attendance. I know this because I was actually able to find recorded games! Here's what I can tell you about Jason Williams. He's a linebacker, listed as WLB, but he was used in a very special way. Instead of lining up on the outside when rushing the QB, he would line up on the inside and rush the Guard. In fact, he would line up inside on most plays, in a standing position on the line of scrimmage (think middle blitzer minus the DT in front of him, they play a 3-4). It was very unusual, but it allowed him to use his speed to get by the Guard and to the QB. It also allowed him to drop back in coverage from an underneath position. His numbers, 6'1", 241lbs, and he forced 14 fumbles. Very good in coverage, very good on the line. He will undoubtedly be an ILB in a 3-4. And the Dolphins are watching him.

On a side note, Western illinois had the top rusher in the country last year, Herb Donaldson. They needed him - their QB was awful in the game I watched.

Another linebacker on Miami's radar is Daniel Holtzclaw. I'm still trying to find tape o
n this kid but here's what I do know about him: He played for Eastern Michigan (they actually have one of the top Guards in the draft in TJ Lang), was a four year starter, 6'1", 246lbs, finished with 437 career tackles, 8 INTs, 4 FF, and had 12 games with at least 12 tackles.

In the photo to the right, Chad Henne winds up for a pass whilst #44, Holtzclaw reads him every step of the way.

Sherrod Martin is a Troy cornerback, 6'1", 198lbs, and he ran a respectable 4.48 at the Combine and despite converting from Safety to CB, he is praised for his low backpedal and movement.

So what do you guys think? The starting up of the pro days are bittersweet because on the one hand they are not televised or even covered in detail by the press, but the one good thing that we can take from it is we find out who attended (example: if a position coach is there, they're very interested in that player) and sometimes info slips out about private workouts or dinners. So these guys are being followed by the Dolphins. Most of them are likely to be 5th to 7th round, with the exception of Moore and Barwin.

It's Thursday, and I'm All In Bits Over It!

I'm off to a late start today because I had EHS training first thing this morning. I think I have watched the company training videos enough to have the info ingrained into my skull.

Anyway, there's a lot of free agency stuff going on that doesn't concern the Dolphins, so I won't even get inT.O. it.

  • I will be posting an update this afternoon looking at some lesser known draft prospects. With pro-days getting under way, and vast rumormongering that the official clock at the combine was a Casio, there is still opportunity for the draft boards to get shifted around a bit. I think you'll be surprised when you see some of the players that the Dolphins have reportedly been watching.
  • Next week I will post something that I guarantee no other Dolphins' site will have done at this point in the year, if they do at all. It's a surprise only a football geek could love.
  • Free agent cornerback, Eric Green, may have visited with the Dolphins, but he's visiting the Texans today and the 49ers tomorrow. Based on this trajectory he'll be in Tokyo by Sunday.
  • Buffalo's tank, Marshawn Lynch pled guilty to unlawful firearm possession charges and will likely be suspended for several games in 2009 as this is his second infraction in one year.
  • Former Miami Dolphin, Travis Daniels, is getting looks from both Kansas City and New England. Proof once more that New England is intentionally trying to sabotage themselves. Kansas City's excuse is that they still suck and don't know any better.
  • And finally (for now), the results of the John Beck trade value poll. Amazingly 24% thought he was worth a 2nd round pick (watch the news lately?) which tied for first place with a 4th rounder. The results: 2nd (24%), 4th (24%), 5th & 6th (20%), 3rd (16%), 4th & 7th (12%), and Roy Williams (4%) [it should be noted that I posted this as a joke but since then Roy Williams has actually been shopped for a trade with no biters].

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Time To Corner The Market

Running backs are a dime a dozen. Linebackers can be molded. Quarterbacks get better with experience. Guys in the trenches have to be big, strong, and have an endless motor. But what about the secondary? What makes a good cornerback, for example? Well, it used to be whoever made the most interceptions was given the crown. These days the crown is worn by who has the lowest percentage of successful 'throws against' vs 'catches given up'. Now, no defensive back can prevent all the throws from connecting with the receiver, so the best chance of keeping a low percentage is to come on strong and aggressive at the beginning of the game and then be consistent throughout.

It takes a special kind of 'smaller' guy to be aggressive from the start against bigger opponents and to have the physical attributes to stand in on every play on an island and be consistently tough to throw against.

The Dolphins will either draft a cornerback, a wide receiver, or Connor Barwin with that first pick, and will likely draft two of each from those categories (yes, I'm considering Connor Barwin a category. You guys know what I mean). Yesterday we looked at a couple of 'tough guys' on the offensive side, and a while back we looked at Hakeem Nicks as well. Today we flip the field and look at potential draft prospects for the Dolphins at cornerback in order of draft ranking.

  • Darius Butler, UConn. 5'11" 183lbs. There's a good chance that this playmaker will be gone by the time we draft at #25, but I guarantee the Dolphins will have him on the board going into the Draft.

  • Sean Smith, Utah. 6'4" 214lbs. Possible hybrid guy, can play safety but the fact is the guy played corner in college and did pretty well at that position. We already profiled him here.
  • Keenan Lewis, Oregon State. 6'1" 208lbs. This guy was completely off my radar since I completely refuse to watch a team called the Beavers. Note: I lived in Portland for 5 years + and never rooted for either Oregon team. But then the Senior Bowl happened, and Lewis' name was mentioned in every scouting report as being the most impressive DB at the practices. The word is his stats were average because opponents were scared to throw to his side of the field.
  • Domonique Johnson, Jackson State. 6'2" 198lbs. I'm a firm believer in getting value for your picks, and that means not throwing away your later rounders on average players just to fill the offseason roster. This guy has been compared to that Rodgers-Cromartie guy. His 40-time at the combine was a disappointment, causing him to drop a round in the rankings.
  • Don Carey, Norfolk State. 5'11", 192lbs. The stand-out at the East-West Shrine Game, he showed that he could run down anyone and could be physical at the LOS.

I've selected these guys because they've either been on my radar for a long time (several months or longer) or they've got something I believe the Trifecta will be looking for - a combination if size and speed. These guys are all sub-4.5 runners and they're all for the most part, bigger than your average CB*. This instantly makes the media scream out 'convert him to a safety!' but they don't realize the difference between a cover corner and a safety is not about how tall or heavy he is.

*Though Darius Butler measured in at 5'11", his 43" vertical jump showed he could cover any fade route in the end zone to your bigger receivers. Don Carey is a bit of an enigma, because he measured in at 5'11", 192lbs and ran a 4.49, but he was previously listed as 6'1" and has been timed running a 4.37.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Raging Bull Meets A Knight Out For Blood

While it hasn't been confirmed that the Dolphins have talked to Rutgers' stand-out WR, Kenny Britt (shown here jumping out of the stands to score a touchdown), they would be hard pressed to find a better option in the draft. Using the simplest math I can, if he's available at #44, we should take him. All this talk about his ego is overblown in my opinion. The guy's numbers speak for themselves. His biggest asset is his size. 6'3, 218lbs. Rumours have been flying for months that the Dolphins are interested in Brian Robiskie, who has similar height but a thinner frame. I think the Dolphins would be making a huge mistake picking Robiskie over Britt. Sometimes you have to go with the biggest, fastest, toughest mofo you can find, and one that believes in his own abilities. And that sums up Kenny Britt.

The only question is will he be available?

Meanwhile, it has been confirmed by some bloke in London (how does he know this stuff and the American sportswriters don't?) that the Dolphins HAVE met with USF's playmaker, Taurus Johnson (seen here scoring the touchdown of 2008 that almost wasn't). Johnson could show incredible value in the draft as he may not be picked until the 7th round. He ran a sub-4.5 40 at the combine and has the intangibles you look for in a WR. He catches with his hands, watching the ball come into his hands before turning upfield, he's not afraid to go over the middle and get smacked by a safety or two, and he does something that rookies and to be honest, most veterans rarely do. He stretches for first downs. In 16 games last year, I think I only witnessed Davone Bess and Anthony Fasano do this for the Dolphins. Anyway, Johnson did some amazing things with Matt Grothe throwing to him. It would be fun to see what he could do with an NFL QB that can put the ball on target.

Despite the chatter about Hakeem Nicks and Percy Harvin, my money is on one (if not both) of these guys being Dolphins next year. It has been widely reported that the Patriots are extremely ga-ga over Britt. They've tagged him as the possible replacement for Randy Moss. I don't know about you, but I'd rather have the 'next' Randy Moss than the next Devin Hester (Harvin) or the next Michael Irvin (Nicks).

Caption Me # 2

Monday, March 2, 2009

When I played a little High School football, I was surrounded by three different types of people. The first were guys who had football in their blood. Their dads probably played and pushed them into it hoping they'd make it to the next level. Then there were the guys who were from dysfunctional homes/families who were kind of lost in the world and were trying to belong to something. It was usually the only thing preventing them from falling by the wayside and getting into trouble. Then there was the third kind. These guys were just plain old thugs. They had physical attributes that got them onto the team, and occasionally into the spotlight, but they practically enjoyed anytime there was a fight, and they REALLY enjoyed challenging the coaches.

I don't know which of these, if any, that Vonnie Holliday was when he was that age. I know I didn't fit into any of those generalizations, so maybe he didn't either.

But I do know that as a Miami Dolphin he showed something we rarely see these days from a professional athlete: CLASS.

And if he really does spend 2009 with another club, they will be lucky to have him. They get a guy who's devoted his time, name and money to several charities, children's hospitals, and community programs. And they get a pretty good football player as well.

We're going to miss you Vonnie. Here's hoping you had enough time to make an impact on your young replacements.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

The Future...coming soon!

Well, so far it looks like my predictions are 50/50 with the Ray Lewis one being the decider.

Andre Goodman signed with Denver. Renaldo Hill signed with Denver. We should've re-signed both of them and traded them to denver if Denver wanted Miami's secondary so badly.

Bart Scott did eventually sign with the Jets but he called an audible that could've put me under from the get-go.

And it looks like TJ Houshmandzadeh might be either staying a Bengal or becoming a Viking.

I expect Miami will wait a few days if not longer to see if anyone signs Laveranues Coles in an attempt to low-ball him. They might get a few players that way. Or they might be done shopping.

Oh, and one more thing, I'm thinking it's the end of an era for the Patriots. It started with Brady going down. It continued when they got blown at home and their fans ran scared from the wildcat. Then they failed to make the playoffs. Then Brady got married. And a couple of days later, they traded Vrabel and Cassel to the Chiefs for a second round draft pick. I'm sorry, Pats, but you just got trade-raped!