Thursday, April 30, 2009

New Dolphin - Vontae Davis, CB


Better get used to seeing this guy, Vontae, you just got drafted by the same team!


One thing you notice right away from watching these high school videos of Vontae Davis playing football is that he's got his eye on the ball and on the receiver at the same time. He is known for closing on the receiver and closing on the ball. He is also known for smacking people in the mouth and for being a trash talker at the LOS.

Vontae chose Illinois over Maryland, Michigan State, and Virginia and was the top rated player coming out of Washington, D.C. in 2006. After his 3 year stint there, which included 206 tackles and 7 interceptions (he probably dropped another 7, you can see his inconsistent hands in the videos).

video

Here, Vontae knocks some poor fella into the middle ages. Makes me want to play again. Who's up for it?

Sean Smith will come in as a reserve, initially battling with Nate Jones, Scorpio Babers, Joey Thomas and Will Billingsley. Davis will come in as a potential starter from day one. I know you're thinking he's a first rounder, he's supposed to start. Well that isn't generally true with cornerbacks, as they now have to learn different schemes, improve their technique, match up against faster, taller, stronger receivers and can often times look bad when first starting out. At this point, I see Davis as part of an open competition with Jason Allen and Eric Green. He might well win out in the end, but don't give him the job before he's earned it.

In any event, I'd be much happier with the following secondary than we were before:

LCB Will Allen, Vontae Davis
SS Yeremiah Bell, Tyrone Culver
FS Gibril Wilson, Chris Clemons
RCB Jason Allen, Eric Green
NCB Nathan Jones, Sean Smith

What do you think?

New Dolphin - Pat White, QB

(shudder) (twitch) (eek!) ok, so we've drafted Pat White out of West Virginia. It happened, I'm ok with it (not really, but I'm going to have to get used to it).

I suppose it happens every year, a draft pick that makes you go "hmmm..." or more accurately, one that makes you start crying into your hands in front of your friends and family. Imagine what you would do if you were all alone....

Well, for the Tin-man, THIS was that pick. And not because of the reasons you may think. It's not because it take away from Henne's development, or because it implies the Wildcat will be focused on more than hard-nose football that we thought we were working towards. I fully understand the concept of a three-dimensional offense and allowing playmakers to make plays and getting the yards and TDs however you can get them. I understand that. Here's what I don't understand.

Pat White hysteria.

I have watched this guy for his entire career, and not once did I think 'NFL'. He h
as had some big games and some not so good games versus my USF Bulls in the last 4 years. We beat them twice, and they beat us twice. I have also seen him in Bowl games, as well as the odd random Big East match-up. And my impression has always been the same - "Damn, this kid is tiny and feeble, we /the defense should knock the bejeezus out of him!" He is small, skinny, not particularly 'speedy', has an average arm at best (accurate, but not strong/zippy), and has never looked for contact. He runs out of bounds more than Ted Ginn's entire family. And a lot if not most of his TDs were on blown defensive plays.

'But, Tinshaker, he holds all these records and dominated the Big East!'

True, he does hold a few records, but two of them will be surpassed easily by Matt Grothe this season (Passing TDs and overall yards) and Grothe is a better runner, in my opinion, and looks for contact. And White only passed for 300+ yards ONCE in four years, in his final Bowl game. He only threw for 200+ yards 5 times in the regular season in four years. Is he really an NFL QB?

Or was he a product of the system he played under at WVU. Defenses would have nightmares trying to contain the two headed monster of White and Steve Slaton. When Slaton left, White had to focus more on the passing game, but if you look at his stats over his career, they always dipped considerably against Big East opponents, and were often inflated against lesser opponents.

Anyway, this is not a competition, but an introduction to a player that most people know through the highlight reels. But I've seen alot more than highlight reels over the years.

One thing you get from watching Pat White over the years is that he's not necessarily a 'leader' and he never takes the ball from center (to me this another indicator that he won't be in the running as a proper QB), but he does have a quiet, modest, get-the-job-done demeanor that the Trifecta probably values above all else.


West Virginia fans love this guy like he's the second coming, and the Miami Dolphins just found themselves with a few thousand new hillbilly fans.



And here is why:

video

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

What Could've Been/What Could Be

Not one to dwell on the past, I will not be harping on what we missed out on, but before I get on to talking about our rookie class, I will list some of the fans (and my own) projected Miami draft targets. I think it's fair to say, other than Sean Smith, and for some people, Pat White, we didn't pick any of the fan favorites or even media favorites for that matter. Here is where they went:

Clay Matthews - went at #26 to the Packers.
Hakeem Nicks - Went to the Giants at #29.
Kenny Britt - Went to the Titans at #30.
Ziggy Hood - Went to the Steelers at #32.
Rey Maualuga - #38 to the Bengals.
Ron Brace - #40 to the Patriots.
Everette Brown - #43 to the Panthers (this one sickens me).
Clint Sintim - #45 to the Giants.
Connor Barwin - #46 to the Texans (oh woe is me).
William Moore - #55 to the Falcons.
Sherrod Martin - actually went higher than Sean Smith at #59 (Panthers).
Jason Williams - Dallas (their first pick of the draft, could be a real gem).
Terrance Knighton - he's gone to the Jaguars, who lassoed up about 40 new players.
Jasper Brinkley - went to Vikings in 5th round.
Mike Mickens - went in the 7th round to the Cowboys! This draft was crazy.
Chris Baker - went undrafted and signed with the Broncos.

So that's who we didn't get. But who did we get. I guess everyone knows Vontae Davis is possibly the best corner in the class, at least one of the top 3. And Sean Smith could be a huge playmaker. And everyone who's watched the Big East for the last 4 years knows what Pat White can do (run out of bounds - haha and you thought Ted Ginn was bad!).

Patrick Turner and Brian Hartline have different stories. Turner matured in his senior year and has potential though he's slow as molasses. Hartline is very similar to Camarillo, IMO. He was a big part of the OSU offense until they got their new QB, and then Hartline lost out on the action. So he lost some development time. Both of these guys might not even make the roster, so they'll have some work to do. Turner has the size I wanted in a WR, sort of a smaller TE body. Check out the Turner video to see some of the worst defensive football EVER.

video video

John Nalbone - This is a terrible pick, IMO. This guy has actually said in interviews that he is not a good blocker, and that he prefers to be a pass-catching TE. What a tool. I don't think he'll make the team above Fasano/Martin/Haynos unless they want to carry a 4th TE. They drafted him just because his college team are the Wildcats. Maybe they envision him in the Wildcat formation somehow. Scout reports say he's a rare complete tight-end. Maybe he has the skills, but does he have the mind-set?

Chris Clemons - I watched a Clemson game last year, early in the season, and immediately loved this guy. Then Michael Hamlin's name kept rising in scouting reports and I actually mistook Hamlin for Clemons. I didn't realize it until the Dolphins actually drafted Clemons. I love this pick because of the value, and also because it means we can drop the scrubs from the secondary. He will make the team, but might be converted to corner. He has good cover skills and can TACKLE people. Our secondary suddenly got crowded with talent.
video

Andrew Gardner - not a big name but TERRIFIC value as he was projected to go no lower than mid 4th round. I don't know if he's any better than our backups, but we need as many bodies competing there as possible to find that third Tackle. At 6'7", 304lbs, he'll likely be given an extra helping at each meal in camp.

JD Folsom - on any other team would be a special teams 'specialist'. Since the Trifecta likes to have guys do more than one thing, it will be an uphill battle for Folsom. I saw some tape on him (very little) and he was invisible. I'd like to see whatever highlight reel the Trifecta saw. They say he's going to be an inside linebacker, but I honestly see him playing a rover/SS in redzone defense or short yardage situations.

Then things get interesting in the undrafted free agent pickups.

They are:

Jared Bronson, TE - could make the practice squad. If Nalbone's chances are slim, Bronsons are slim-jim-slim.

Orion Martin, DE - He will immediately compete to be the backup to Matt Roth. I actually think he has a better chance of making the roster than most of our second day draft picks. A guy this size, that made more special teams plays than anyone at VT, has tremendous upside.

video

Chris Williams, WR - He's tiny. I don't get this pick-up at all. Maybe just competition for Bess and bodies for QB reps.

Brennan Marion, WR - This pick-up I like. He is a bit under-sized but is an instant deep-threat. At the moment we only have Ginn as our deep threat, we need another one. At least PS material. He tore his ACL five months ago, though it seems he's healing very quickly.


Mark Lewis, G/C - He will compete with the crowd of reserves. The Dolphins like him because he has played every position on the line at Oregon, just like Max Unger. He needs to bulk up alot if he's going to play guard.

Ryan Baker, DE - WTF! Miami actually picked up a defensive lineman? Unlike Orion Martin, who will convert, Baker is actually 3-4 DE sized. Known as an over-achiever and the hardest-worker off the field at Purdue. He's not huge on talent, but considering the state of our DL reserve, he's got as much of a chance as anybody to make the roster.

SirVincent Rogers, T - more camp fodder. Big, slow, and from Houston.

Alex Derenthal, C - I was hoping for more bodies at Center. Know nothing about this guy but he played at Temple so he had to line-up against Terrance Knighton during practice.

Anthony Kimble, RB - Yes, we signed another running back. Kimble played at Stanford and was mildly productive. You may actually remember this guy for his Sportscenter moment whe he was running to the endzone on a sweep, got the ball stripped by Patrick Chung, only the ball bounced back up into his hands as he corssed over the pilon.


If you do the math, you'll see that Miami currently has 80 men on the roster, leaving no space for more.

Also, I have replaced the old roster with a new one that is arranged by projected depth. You'll notice there are still some needs, noticeably ones that weren't targeted in the draft. This is our new focus. The draft is over but we still have needs, and that's before we even start to weed people out.

What do you think of our defensive line? Seems like we have a lot of final chances coming up.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Contest # 1 - Was it too hard?

Let's be honest, it was only hard because it was about the draft. And the draft not only was hard to predict, but once it actually got going, it went all out of control. There were more trades on the first day than anyone could've expected, and there were at least two players who jumped a good 20 spots or more on the first day. There were several players who dropped like stones, some, including a few tight ends who dropped two or three rounds. A few tight ends who were projected 3rd to 5th round didn't even get drafted. Several mid-round players weren't drafted at all.


Well the next contest will likely happen during training camp/pre-season and will have at least one question meant to stump you but at least it will be focused on just the Dolphins, rather than hundreds of prospects.

Let's take a quick look at contest #1.

CAD, canamdolphin, who claims to be both in New York and in Canada at the same time and has cute nicknames given to him by burly construction workers, creamed the rest of the entrants, scoring a 38. He scored the 38 on the first day, and a big goose egg on the second day.

In fact, almost everyone scored a goose egg on the second day, though believe it or not, one contestant, Craig, actually picked the Dolphins to draft Chris Clemons.

Phinatic and The Knight found themselves in a four-way tie for secondwith 24 points bringing us to the tie-breaker where their moderate guesses beat out the more extreme 25 from herdfan and 312 by Johnathan.

There was a six-way tie behind this group with 22 points. The extra cocky C-Holmes managed a noble 19 points. And bringing up the rear was someone who possibly wishes to remain anonymous, with 16.

The prizes are on their way to the lucky top three, and may be put towards the purchase of brand new Pat White jerseys. Could the Dolphins be the first team to have a 3rd string QB outsell the starter?

On a side note, two of my favorite players from USF did make it into the NFL. Linebacker Tyrone McKenzie was drafted in the 3rd round by the Patriots. He'll be tackling Ronnie Brown soon. And Wide Receiver, Taurus Johnson, signed as a free agent with the Chiefs. Offensive linemen, Matt Huners (49ers) and Ryan Schmidt (Titans) also signed as free agents. One thing I can say about the Bulls o-line, was that they were some tough SOBs. I've never seen such injured players go every game like that. Schmidt started 25 of 25 games played at USF, most of the time in his senior year looking like he had been attacked repeatedly by someone with a chainsaw. I also never saw a football player have his helmet off on the field, limping, rolling around in pain on the ground, or wincing quite so much. Yet he never came off the field. If anyone deserves to get a shot in the NFL, even if it doesn't pan out, it's guys like Schmidt. They definitely worked for it. Before injuries got the better of him, he was projected as a 2nd to 3rd round talent.

So for all the guys who actually deserve a shot, good luck.



Sunday, April 26, 2009

What Just Happened?

I'm in near-complete shock. Here's my initial reaction to the 2009 NFL draft: WTF! While I don't think it was a complete bust, as I like Vontae Davis and Sean Smith, I question spending 2 first day picks on CB. While I think Pat White was a very good player at West Virginia, I'm not Mike Mayock and don't believe he has what it takes to continue on that level in the NFL. And even if he does, why do we keep using second round draft picks on QBs (five years in a row)? Patrick Turner could turn into something, but I would've rather had Britt-Nicks in the first and then get a CB in the 3rd. Brian Hartline...give me a break. Then the four guys no one's ever heard of. And they got half of them with Lawrence Sidbury still on the board. They did not take a single pass-rusher, a single defensive lineman (um, Ziggy Hood anyone?) and they chose Chris Clemons right before Michael Hamlin got picked. I loved Clemons at Clemson, but didn't think he was big enough. Basically they didn't beef up ANY of the front seven, unless you count undersized linebacker/over-sized safety, JD Folsom (who?) from Weber State. Do you know what the Weber State mascot is? The Wildcat.

Please tell me we are not drafting Wildcats for the sake of it. Reports on Folsom show he has what it takes to be a good special teams player, if he can even make the roster.

We'll be going over the picks here with exclusively appropriated video as usual, throughout the week.

IN CONTEST NEWS: Only 4 contestants actually guessed any of the Miami draftees and they only got one a piece. I can tell you without further ado that a Canadian beat the rest of you. You should all be ashamed. Anyway, he did this three ways - first, he was the only person who thought Miami would pick a CB at #25. Second, he guessed the actual player, Vontae Davis, the only Miami draftee he got right. Third, he outscored everyone by one point each on questions #1 and #2. And he managed to do all this even by being the very first person to complete the questions and e-mail his form in. So congratulations to CANAMDOLPHIN or whatever he's calling himself these days. He got 38 points out of a possible 87. Good thing we're grading on a curve!

Then it gets tricky. We had a four-way tie for second place (24 points). That means I actually have to find out how many TDs Brian Hartline had. The tie-break should be easy since none of the four are even remotely close to each other, lol.


OK, drumroll please......the magic number is 145!

So second place goes to....PHINATIC.

And third place goes to...THE KNIGHT WHO SAYS NI!

Honorable mention to HERDFAN, who was one of the tied players, chose Pat White as a draftee, then second guessed herself and subtracted 56 TDs from her bonus question (for the record, herdfan, White actually scored over 100 TDs, you forgot the rushing TDs). You would've come in second, but now you're in fourth. You'll have to redeem yourself next time.

The biggest surprise to me was how many people got #4 completely right, including myself. Other than Stafford on Saturday morning, seems Jenkins to the Saints was the safest pick.

Prizes will be dispersed at some point today. Thanks for playing everybody!

Below are the answers.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Draft Day 2009

The day is finally here. In about an hour, I'll be unlocatable (yes that's actually a real word!) to the rest of the world as I join the rest of the NFL's truly obsessed fans by parking my butt in front of the TV and watching the NFL Draft happen live.

For those of you who are going to miss it, don't worry, maybe I'll post the entire 17 hour NFL Network coverage of it. Yeah Right! You'll have to DVR it or read about it in the paper. I made a deal I would take the old lady (she's not that old) out to a fine restaurant AFTER the draft. That's how I finagled several interruption free hours. Truth is, the dinner will actually be my birthday celebration night out anyway. My birthday is on Monday this year, so getting to watch the draft is sort of an early present for me.

Thanks to everyone who entered the draft weekend contest. I just went over the entries and we had 19 entries. This is lower than I hoped for, but I guess the difficulty factor scared some people off. An extra hand-clap to herdfan who was the final entrant, getting her entry in just in the nick of time!

17 out of 19 entrants got the VERY FIRST part of question number one right, as it was announced last night that Matthew Stafford had signed with the Detroit Lions. In a shocking move, it's been reported that the Jets are trying to trade up to the #2 position. That has to mean they want Either Mark Sanchez, Crabtree, or Aaron Curry. Probably Sanchez, whose stock has gone through the roof suddenly in the last day or two. Reportedly 4 or 5 teams want him now! This could throw the spanner in the works for all of the contestants. We'll see how it plays out, and remember, at the very least you've already scored 2 points. Well, except for the 2 entrants, who both chose Aaron Curry to be the Lions pick.

I wish you all luck throughout the draft and I'll be checking off my mock draft for accuracy. If I score higher than 50%, I'm getting my own dessert tonight!!



Thursday, April 23, 2009

CONTEST # 1

Welcome to the first-ever Tin's Fins NFL Draft Competition.

First Prize is a $75 gift certificate to NFLshop.com.

Second Prize is a $25 gift certificate to NFLshop.com.

Third Prize is a $15 gift certificate to NFLshop.com.

OK, here's how this will work.


All entries MUST be e-mailed to 'tinshaker@gmail.com' with the subject "CONTEST".

All entries must be in my inbox by midnight Eastern time on Friday night.

Ok, now the actual contest.

Every site has got a mock draft contest so I thought I'd do something a little different.

Below are ten questions/challenges. In parenthesis are the point values for each question. The fan with the most points wins, with the second most points comes in second and so on. In the case of a tie for first place, the tie breaker question #11 will be used to break the tie, and the loser of the tie-breaker then becomes the second place finisher. This would push the second placer down to third, etc. The same tie-break formula would be used for a 2nd or 3rd place tie-breaker. If there is a three-way tie (or more) and the first tie-break results in two or more people still being tied, then the order in which I received the e-mail entry will be used to number the entrants, and I will then use a random number generator to choose a winner. Only other rule is that Tinshaker can't play.

Here are the questions:


1.
Predict the first five picks in correct order. It doesn't matter if a team trades the pick, the number of the pick is what's important. (1 point for each name, 1 point for being the correct number/name combo, and bonus 3 points for getting all five picks perfect).note: you may get a couple of free points here.

2. Predict the teams that will draft a QB in the first round. (1 point for each correct team)

3. Predict how many WRs will be drafted in the first round w/ bonus if you can name them. (1 point for getting the number right, 1 point for each name you list, however, you will lose a point if you list someone who is not chosen in the first round, ie if you get 5 right and 1 wrong, you will end up with 4 (correct names minus wrong name) + 5 (being the number chosen).

4. Predict the first cornerback chosen. (1 point for name, 1 bonus point if you name the team)

5. Predict the first safety taken in the draft. (1 point for name, 1 bonus point for team).

6. Predict the longest clock time between picks 15-20. Which team in that range (including 15 and 20) will take the longest time to announce their choice? (4 points for naming the team. If there are trades in that range, then we will stick to the number rather than the team).

7. Predict all 9 Miami Dolphin draftees. (since there maybe trades, I have to grade this by each pick. 2 points for each player correctly identified in any order. No matter how many picks we end up with, a bonus of 10 points will be given to each entrant who correctly predicts at least 50% of the players).

8. Predict the top 8 offensive linemen drafted. (1 point for each name, 8 bonus points if you get them in the right order).

9. Will the Dolphins trade up, down, or stick with the #25 pick? (3 points)

10. Predict the position of the first Miami pick, ie DT, WR, CB, etc. All pass-rushers under 265lbs will be considered an OLB for this question. (10 points)


Tie-Breaker:

11. Guess how many combined-college-career touchdowns were scored by all of the 2009 Miami draftees. (The closest wins, and TD passes count, whether it be a QB or a halfback option, as do special team TDs, and defensive TDs). Yes I know this is hard but that's why I said 'GUESS'. The best way to do this would be to take your answers from question # 7 and add up the TDs for those players.

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As you can see, it's very unlikely there will be any ties, but #11 is the tie-breaker so think about it for 5 seconds and make a guess. If two entrants are tied, and one fails to answer #11, but the other does answer it, the latter would automatically win. Even if he/she put 3000.

Any questions should be addressed in the comments section so everyone can see the question/answer.

Once again, entrants must e-mail their entries to me by midnight Friday. Good luck!

Below is a printable version in pdf format:

Contest PDF


Taking a Defensive Stance - The 'True' Linemen

“I remember we used to put him on offense at tight end sometimes, and had two 97-yard touchdowns in a row in one game,” Steve Parr, Ziggy Hood’s coach at Palo Duro High School in Amarillo said. “He’d pull from the back side and he’d block two people each time.”

Parr also said the team would line Hood up in the backfield a la Refrigerator Perry and the then-220-pounder would bowl his way through opposing defenses and rack up a few touchdowns on his own.

For Parr, having coached a player like Hood comes in handy even if he isn’t there. “They always seem to use him as an example of someone who’s succeeded,” Young said. “It’s always good to have someone everyone knows to use as an example to younger kids and show them what he had to do to get there.” “He comes back and he’ll share with our kids what he’s learned,” Parr said. “It’s so neat because of his unselfishness. We have some coaches here who have gone on to other places, and he’ll go there, too. He’s got time for everyone in his past."

Missouri defensive line coach Craig Kuligowski said Hood is a dream to coach.

"Ziggy's motor on the field never stops," Kuligowski said. "He not only listens and is coachable, he learns quickly and nobody works harder. He is the first to arrive and the last to leave. The story I like to tell about Ziggy is when we run sprints, he runs with our receivers and running backs. None of our other lineman are athletic enough to dare do that."

Hood shrugs that off, saying: "I'm just trying to better myself. I've learned the harder you work the easier the game is.

"(Coach Kuligowski) is a cool man to be around. He taught me so many things when I got there. Hopefully, I will be able to share that with somebody else."



Peria Jerry's football career started out as a secret held apart from his father, who disapproved, and thought his children should be working at home, cleaning chicken coops, instead of playing a game. But his mother saw structure in the sport and would do the chores for him while his father was at work.

Jerry's high school coach said that Peria (pronounced pa-RAY) was so dominant he had to be held out of practice so the offense could get some work in. But then, faced with new hardships, Peria became wild and undisciplined. His acts of rage and disobedience got him kicked off the team. He stayed out of trouble and got back on the following year, gaining 104 tackles, a state championship, and Class 5A Defensive Player of the Year recognition. But lousy grades from his troubled years were enough to hold him out of contention for a scholarship and he ended up at Military school where he focused in on football and let the rigid confines of the school take care of his grades. Enough so to get to Ole Miss.

"Peria Jerry is the toughest player who's ever come here," Prunty (Hargrave Prep Coach) says. "Peria Jerry is mean."

"Off the field, Peria is one of the most pleasant kids you can ever be around," Houston Nutt says. "Great smile. Happy. Having a good time. Great in the locker room. But I tell you what: Once that whistle blows, he has a different mentality. He can be violent. Violent."


Jarron Gilbert could sneak into the first round of the draft. While projected to go much lower (about 15 to 20 spaces down the board) the truth is, there are VERY few big fellas rated as first day picks. So if a team wants one, they're going to have to reach for one. I constantly get asked about why I don't see Robert Ayers going in the first round, as he is usually projected in mock drafts. It's because I don't see him getting any bigger than he is. He's already gained 50 to 60 lbs in 4 years. Could he really add any more? Gilbert, on the other hand, started out big, is big, and could get even bigger. I don't know much about his history, because any google search on this guy will give 20,000 links to stories about him jumping out of a pool. But it's my general rule of thumb that a first day draft prospect with no negative comments said about him, even by detractors, probably has nothing negative in his closet.


These 3 guys are the only first-day defensive linemen who aren't named Ron Brace that might be available to the Dolphins. BJ Raji and Tyson Jackson will be gone, and I honestly see Robert Ayers switching to 3-4 OLB if he's going to be successful. I know he's listed at 272lbs, but I watched tape on the guy and it didn't look like he was playing any heavier than 260 on a good day.

Would you guys be happy with any of these guys or do you prefer one over the others?

Remember to check back later for the Tins Fins inaugural reader competition.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Coaches, make your pick!

To add to the ever-growing migraine of speculation, here's an unscientific, but totally unbiased look at who some of the Miami Dolphin assistant coaches could be lobbying for in the draft. The picks are not round by round or based on need or BPA rating, but based on the following formula: Where the Coach coached/played in college + which position he coaches = The player from that school at that position available in the draft. I promised you I'd do something NO ONE else would be doing, so even if this sounds ridiculous, prepare yourself to be pleasantly surprised.

Jim Reid - Outside Linebackers Coach. Reid actually coached at Syracuse before entering the NFL, but Syracuse is barely a legitimate College program these days so let's rewind back one year to when he was the head coach at Richmond. There's only 1 player available from Richmond this year and he'll most likely be an outside linebacker in a 3-4 system. Coach Reid chooses Lawrence Sidbury, Jr.




John Bonamego - Special Team Coordinator. Long time readers of my comments may know I think this guy is an idiot. While the players call him 'Bono' I call him 'Bonehead'. Looking for fresh meat in the wedge-busting game, Bonamego heads back to Maine where he coached back in the day. Coach Bonamego chooses Jovan Belcher.



George DeLeone - Tight Ends Coach. This guy has been coaching since before I was born, and he's coached EVERY position on the field minus the kicking game. As the tight ends coach, he's also the assistant to the O-line coach so he chooses and offensive lineman (also a cheat for me since there are no tight ends coming out from any of his past schools). Coach DeLeone chooses William Beatty (UConn).


Todd Bowles - Asst. Head Coach/Secondary Coach.
He tried to bolt during the offseason to the Lions and the Chiefs, but now he's back with his head in the war room looking to improve the secondary. But as the assistant to Sparano, he gets a wildcard pick and will pick for need. We need a nose tackle. He attended/played at Temple university. Coach Bowles chooses Terrance Knighton (DT).


David Lee - Quarterbacks Coach. Remains to be seen if the Dolphins draft a QB, but they will likely add one via draft or as a free agent. Lee coached at Arkansas and about ten other schools, but coached AND played at Vanderbilt. In a coup, he goes for a guy who can play multiple positions, including QB in the Wildcat. Coach Lee chooses DJ Moore.



Paul Pasqualoni - Defensive Coordinator. This one's easy. Pasqualoni attended Penn State. The Dolphins prime-objective on defense in this off-season is to improve the pass rush. Coach Pasqualoni chooses Aaron Maybin.


I could go on and on but you get the picture. Each one of these coaches could have thrown in their 'homer' picks into the hat. But who will Coach Sparano end up choosing? One of his assistant's suggestions, or someone he has developed a man-crush on by his own film-watching? And while ultimately I believe Sparano will take whomever Ireland can get him, the coaches must have their eyes on some players and must be making their cases to Ireland and Parcells. On a side note, did you know that Bill Parcells was a coach at Vanderbilt while David Lee was still playing there? How OLD is Parcells?

Two Peas in a Pot

The only high-profile players to fail the drug test at the Combine were both wide receivers.

According to Foxsports.com, Percy Harvin and Brandon Tate both tested positive for marijuana. In total less than 12 players tested positive for recreational drugs - none for steroids.

Speculation: Harvin will take the biggest hit, which I already showed in my mock draft. Tate is interesting because I actually had him on my board at one point if he was available in the 4th. I thought it was a stretch then but now I think he will be available in the 4th, because it's one thing to have a defensive tackle test positive, but when a WR tests positive, it's much higher profile. This is a guy who could possibly come in as a starter or heavy-rotation reserve. WRs by nature are more prone to being problematic with the media and fans. They cannot hide from the spotlight. So while a team may not care that much about a pot test, the fact it was at the combine, combined with the fact he could be in the media spotlight, really could cause a GM to hesitate about choosing that player.

But that said, whoever does bite the bullet on Tate is probably going to get a good bargain talent-wise. Still, Harvin and Tate can't be very bright in the long-run, to test positive for pot at the Combine. If my old stoner room-mate who could barely get out of bed before 3pm could pass a drug test to get a minimum wage job, then what does it say about these guys with millions of dollars and an NFL membership card on the table, that they can't handle their business?

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Safety Is Just Around The Corner

Remember Irving Fryar? I remember him torching New England in a game back in the day and instantly thinking this is what the wide receiver position would be like in the future. Well not so much for the Dolphins. Truth is, we haven't had anyone with Fryar's skill-set since, though we have had a few exciting players at the position - McDuffie, Gadsden, etc.



That said, those other guys in the AFC East, they've got some electrifying receivers. They've got guys who have that swagger that Fryar had (some of them in excess). And to stop them, or at least slow them down, we need to improve our secondary. Now I have a lot more confidence than most fans in Jason Allen, and I believe he can, teamed with Will Allen, Gibril Wilson, and Yeremiah Bell can play up to a high level and compete with T.O., Moss, Welker, Evans, Cotchery, etc. But what happens if the Pats/Bills/Jets add a Britt-Nicks, or a Harvin, or a Robiskie to the fold. It's one thing to bring our secondary up to the level of our competition, but if the competition improves itself as well, then we'd need to dig deeper.

And digging deep, we'd see we have little to no quality depth in the secondary. How do we improve the depth? By drafting starting-quality corners and safeties to compete with our current starters. At the end of the day, one guy wins the starting spot, and the other guy plays special teams and nickel/dime. No matter who wins we end up with two potential starting quality players at the same position. We need to be able to defend a 5 WR set at some point so we're going to need quality talent on the bench.

Here are the currently ranked top 10 CBs and top 5 safeties per NFLDraftScout:

Cornerbacks:

  1. Malcolm Jenkins
  2. Darius Butler
  3. Vontae Davis
  4. Alphonso Smith
  5. Sean Smith
  6. DJ Moore
  7. Kevin Barnes
  8. Jairus Byrd
  9. Mike Mickens
  10. Sherwood Martin
Safeties

  1. Louis Delmas
  2. Patrick Chung
  3. William Moore
  4. Rashad Johnson
  5. Chip Vaughn
Looking at this list you might infer that good quality players will be available in the late 2nd thru the mid 3rd round of the draft. You might also infer that none of the players that could be considered 1st round picks are must-have players. Example: I really like Darius Butler, but in the end is he that much better than DJ Moore? Is Louis Delmas significantly better than Chip Vaughn?

Do you think Malcolm Jenkins would defend Randy Moss any better than Sean Smith? Could Patrick Chung run-blitz better than William Moore?

The truth is that any one of these players could be a bust, a diamond in the rough, or an absolute beast through and through. That's why the Dolphins would be best served not spending a high pick on a defensive back. They could wait until the third and get a similar player to one in the first round. I've already theorized that Miami will go big in the first. Well now I hypothesize that they will continue going big in the second. This range might be their best bet in THIS draft to get a quality tackle for the o-line. And it will likely be the best spot to get a tight-end.

While history shows certain trends, the undeniable truth about THIS draft, is that teams around the league are after a lot of the same thing and that is trench guys. The big fellas will go first. Then come the corners and safeties.


A whole lot of them, full of good value, and ready to compete.


Of the above listed players, who would you like to see defending Moss and TO?

The Final Countdown

At the moment I'm typing this, there are 101 hours left to go before the 2009 NFL Draft. Just over 4 days to go. And here's how I plan to spend those 4 days here on Tin's Fins.

Tuesday - There have been some free agent moves that will definitely affect the mock draft I swore I wouldn't alter. So I'll be altering it today. I'd expect more moves this week, but probably none that affect the draft as much as the Jason Peters and Torry Holt signings. This may be wishful thinking on my part, but I do have to address these changes heading into the draft. Also I will be taking a look at the defensive backfield one last time. - Updated - Mock Draft - Updated

Wednesday - By tomorrow I expect there to be some leakage on the drug test front. If there isn't, that probably means the positive tests were for off-the-radar players. Everyone's assuming Percy Harvin tested positive, but surely if he had it would've been leaked by now? If it isn't by Wednesday I'll assume it's a false report. We will discuss any last second surges/drops by first and second round graded players heading in. I also will post a fun little profile on our 2009 coaching staff.

Thursday - On Thursday we will have a fun little competition. Every reader who wants to participate can. I need a couple of days to prepare for it. Prizes (no, not a new car) will be handed out for 1st and 2nd place. 3rd place is a loser. Also on Thursday, I'll take a final look at the "true" defensive linemen in the first round - a strong possibility for the #25 pick.

Friday - Friday will be a casual day (shorts are acceptable). In honor of the warm (okay, super hot) California weather, I'll be firing a super-gigantic load of one-liners from around the league, around the draft, references to last years draft, last minute draft speculations, and catching up on some stories I never got to during this pre-draft process. There might even be a William Moore blurb (hey, I've behaved myself this long).

This will carry us into Saturday, where I will not be doing any updates or live blogs (I just can't have the laptop and my toddler in the same room). Also, my birthday is on Monday the 27th, and my wife and I will be getting sloppy drunk on Saturday night. This might mean no early updates on Sunday either. This is why I'm cramming the blog this week to provide lots of reading material to carry us into next week. But while I will be buried by other blogs on the actual days, I guarantee I will come back with a vengeance and full reports on the new members of the Dolphins. As usual I will do what I can to provide a different slant on the stories.

Finally, I want to thank all the readers, commenters, lurkers, and writers who visit, contribute and support this blog. When I started doing this, I had no idea it would actually turn into anything, and it would probably surprise most of you how many actual hits this blog gets. Let's just put it this way, only about 1% of the visitors actually leave comments. You do the math. In any event, it's provided me not only with an outlet to stroke my own ego and polish my 'Elite Blogger' badge, but also provided a venue for some more community-like interaction with other fans from all over the world (I have regular visitors from Argentina and Japan, believe it or not).

So thank-you's to all of you out there. And now...the FINAL COUNTDOWN begins in one hour...(10am Pacific)

Monday, April 20, 2009

It's 4/20!

So, I find it extremely ironic that today is 4/20, and today is also the day the NFL releases the Combine drug test report. The report allegedly only has nine players on the list, in strong contradiction to the leaked 26-player report. I think it's most likely that those that tested positive are likely performance enhancers and/or smaller school players who may not have even anticipated invites to the combine and had highly-paid agents heading in. But I digress.

BJ Raji was not on this report. That means he did not even sleep in the same room as a bag o' weed leading up to the combine.



Also reportedly, Vontae Davis, Brian Cushing, and Clay Matthews were not on the list.

Meanwhile, trade rumours surfaced about Ronnie Brown. It is my opinion that these rumours only come out if they are true. And while I suspect that the Trifecta has probably been open-minded about trading ANYONE on the roster, the Brown rumours could be a device leaked by the team in order to attempt to re-work Ronnie's contract which, while not huge, will be a burden, especially teamed up with Ricky Williams'. The real factor in this 'trade' would be whether or not the team plans to draft a player to center the wildcat around. At the moment, Ronnie is probably the only player on the team that can carry the formation.


At the same time, the writer who brought up the whole trade thing, Michael Lombardi of the National Football Post, seems to have an agenda, and perhaps a personal vendetta against Brown, saying that Ronnie's pro-bowl selection was 'un-deserved' and that he 's a 'poor fit' for Dan Henning's offense. Poor Lombardi doesn't seem to understand how the pro-bowl works, or be aware that Henning may not even be here come opening day.


I don't think anyone here would want to trade Ronnie, so I'll ask this, is there someone else on the roster you could see having trade value this week before the draft begins? For Ronnie we could probably get two draft picks, but maybe there's someone else we could get some value for (think a reverse from last years Ayodele/Fasano trade). Any thoughts?

Thursday, April 16, 2009

If I were a betting man...

  • Newly-signed Punter Jy Bond will be around as competition for Brandon Fields, but would need a lot of things to fall into place to actually make the 53-man team. Bond is an Australian soccer guy who was basically a minor-leaguer/practice squad guy. He has spent a couple of years trying to become an NFL punter.



  • John Madden, newly-retired, will still be around on Thanksgiving with one of his freakish five-legged turkeys.
  • I've finally caught up on my work here at....work...and thus can turn to more BS speculating. It seems to me the frequent interest by the Dolphins in drafting a tight-end is a potential HUGE smoke-screen, meaning they like the kid, Haynos, and he will be featured more in 2009, eventually replacing either Fasano or Martin.
  • There are a few writers who feel like they've figured out who THE first pick of the Dolphins will be, or at least the guy they're targeting for that pick. They do this by working it out like a math problem. I do the same below. All this is more BS, and I'd expect the Dolphins haven't completed their draft board yet (I would expect it to be closing down on Sunday night). But one guru is CONVINCED that Rey Maualuga is THE guy. Another guy, a Miami sportswriter is CONVINCED that Michael Johnson is THE guy. I found that surprising since, well first of all, I thought the same thing a while back (check the archives) but also because I now project Johnson below that 25th pick. If I were a betting man, I'd bet these two camps are both wrong and that Miami will do some convulated trade involving 5 teams to get out of the #25 position and pick up more picks and/or improve their position in other rounds. Or we could just stick at #25.
  • Also, short of a top-talent guy falling ten spots to us, I still think the Dolphins will take either a defensive line-man or a 'tweener linebacker. Maualuga is really only going to play one position and that position pretty much already has a locked-in starter in Crowder. Johnson, equally would play the Will, which means he definitely wouldn't start. Would the Dolphins really use their 1st round pick on a reserve-player? I don't think so. That's why the pick is likely either a 'tweener linebacker that can beat out Ayodele or Roth, a wide receiver that can beat out Bess/Camarillo/London, or a cornerback that can beat out one of the Allen's or at the very least beat out everyone else for the nickel spot. The only concession to this theory would be a defensive lineman. That's because while there's no guarantee Merling and Langford would hold on to their starting jobs, they would naturally rotate alot of snaps with any other DEs on the team, so while technically not a guaranteed starter, the new guy would be guaranteed to get a lot of snaps, especially with Vonnie Holliday out fo the picture.
So if I were a betting man, I'd narrow down the guessing to a linebacker that could play BOTH inside and outside (Cushing, Matthews, Barwin), a wide receiver that is an UPGRADE and would most likely start (Crabtree, Britt-Nicks), a cornerback that would at the very least be the 3rd best corner on the team (Butler, Moore, Davis, Jenkins), or a DE who would be a lock to be in the rotation (Jackson, Jerry, Hood).

Out of Cushing, Matthews, Barwin, Crabtree, Britt, Nicks, Butler, Moore, Davis, Jenkins, Jackson, Jerry, and Hood:

Davis is out due to authority issues.
Jenkins is out because he's over-rated but will still be drafted too early.
Crabtree is out because he's going to Cleveland if Seattle passes.
Moore is out because he's graded lower than the rest.
Cushing will be gone.
Jackson will be gone.
Jerry will be gone.

So we're down to Matthews, Barwin, Britt, Nicks, Butler, and Hood. Six players. Want to stop here? Ok we'll press on....

Matthews - if drug tests are negative, his stock will rise thanks to a phenomenal pro-day and individual workouts. He will be gone by #25.

Barwin - I feel it in my bones that New England will pick a running back at #23. They would be the first team that Barwin could be taken by at that position.

Britt - I see him quietly moving up teams' boards. Has been very low-key during the lead-up to the draft, but has two extremely impressive years of game film and good solid combine/pro-day numbers. In my mind, he's at least an equal grade with Nicks.

Nicks - we know he's graded in that area. Solid guy but I still think Britt is better. To be honest, I'm not sure Nicks was even the best or even SECOND-best receiver for UNC. He has the numbers though.

Butler - the only CB left. The Dolphins have worked him out twice and interviewed him at least twice.

Hood - I have not seen reports of him working out for the Dolphins. That must mean that he HAS in private, right? Might be overgraded due to demand for big D-linemen. Might be a reach at #25.

I think both receivers might be a reach as well, though probably a justifiable one. But let's knock them out too.

That leaves: Connor Barwin and Darius Butler.

This is where it actually gets easier. Out of those two, only one has the measurables that the Trifecta likes.

With the #25 pick in the 2009 NFL Draft, The Miami Dolphins choose....



Wednesday, April 15, 2009

I'd Gladly Pay You Tuesday For A Good Nose Tackle Today!

J. Wellington Wimpy was famous for his lust for hamburgers, and he was so famous for him, they opened a chain of Wimpy Burger joints in the UK. While they still have (or had while I lived there) a corporate office in London, there were no actual Wimpy's left, save for a few in the North Country. Maybe ukfinfan has one in his hometown.

Anyway, the point is, that it's hard to find a big, pylon of a man with a hunger to get to the hamburger, er, I mean football, no matter where you are in the world.

Here, Chris Baker attends Hampton University Bill Cosby Fan Club Meeting.

And the more it looks like NFL teams will be clamoring over the big men in this draft, driving up their stock, and pushing the 'wimpy' glamour-picks down the board, the more likely it becomes that Miami might not get one in this draft. While I still have a preference for Terrence Knighton and Chris Baker, these late rounder might have a large group of courters, making them jump as much as a full round.

Terrence Knighton returns a fumble 66 yards for a touchdown.

Basically what I'm saying is that, even if Miami plans to trade up in the 6th or 7th round for one of these guys, they could get stunned by another team taking them in the 4th or 5th round. So basically, a gameplan can only get you so far. And the only sure option of getting one of these guys would be to stun everyone else by taking the player well above his rated stock.

So, to prepare everyone for the upcoming draft which is now a week and a half away, I offer this advice. Do not be shocked. Do not get angry. Do not FREAK OUT if and when Miami drafts a projected 6th or 7th round player in the 4th or 5th round. They just might be doing it for safety reasons.

If Miami can't score a nose tackle through the draft, they'd still have the option of trading for one, hoping one becomes available through free agency/waivers, or training up one of the current D-linemen. Personally, I'd like to see what Shawn Murphy could do lined up there.

What do you think?

Saturday, April 11, 2009

A Special Saturday Night Live Tins Bits - Updated

  • Former Dolphin linebacker that I just can't let go, Zach Thomas, has signed with the Kansas City Chiefs. One report says it was a one year deal for the veteran minimum. I find that hard to believe if he was signed to be a starter in the Chiefs new 3-4. Confirmed reports was one year $2 million. I have a feeling Zach will regret this move once the weather turns in Kansas City. Also, it will be weird seeing him line up next to Mike Vrabel. This move is as close as going to play for the Patriots as you can get without actually going to play for the Patriots.
  • Current Dolphin receiver, Ted Ginn Jr, celebrated his 24th birthday (actually on Sunday) on Friday night at a club in Cleveland. Invited guests included Buffalo Bills safety, Donte Whitner, who attended both high school and college with Ginn. At 3a.m. the dispersing crowd got heated and a melee ensued. Whitner, worried about his cousin, who was in the midst of the violence, got tasered by Cleveland police after being warned to stay out of the cordoned off area, and disregarding the warning. No word on if Ginn was outside when all this occurred. But now you know why the bars close at 2am and promptly kick you out. One more hour and this stuff happens!
  • It has been brought to my attention that I put down Max Unger twice on my mock draft. I told you he had position flexibility, but obviously I didn't intend him to be THAT flexible. I will not be able to fix it until Monday, since the files/programs used are at work. I also missed Jeremy Maclin, despite paying particular attention to where he would go. Big oopsie there!
  • Brian Orakpo has been invited to the NFL Draft on April 25th. Usually they only invite 6 top prospects, but this year they have invited 9. This implies the NFL has done its homework and considers Orakpo will go in the top nine. I chose him to go at #9 to Green Bay. The other invitees (with my mock numbers in parentheses) are Matthew Stafford (1), Jason Smith (2), Eugene Monroe (3), Aaron Curry (4), Michael Crabtree (5), Michael Oher (6), Brian Cushing (10), and Josh Freeman (17). Feel bad for Freeman - he could be this year's Aaron Rodgers. It's been pointed out that the NFL's invitation to Cushing suggests he did not fail his drug test, and perhaps Raji's omission suggests BJ failed his. In any event. it's strange they invited Freeman and not 6 or 7 other guys ahead of him.
  • Jason Taylor rumours have died down. It's too quiet. Something's going to happen very soon.
  • There's a new video interview with Gibril Wilson thanks to Kim Bokamper at MiamiDolphins.com