Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Getting Down to the Nitty-Gritty

April 8th, 2009. In two and a half weeks, we will know who gets chosen with the 25th, 44th, and 56th picks in the NFL Draft. We will be absolutely sure of it. Because it will actually have happened. But back to April the 8th. That's today. And today, NO ONE knows.

R.M. Cox, the Dolphins 'Examiner', whatever the hell that is, can't seem to decide on a position, but at least is summarizing each position and which players out of those positions he would take. That is the drafting for a need method. Here he looks at pass rushers. Here he looks at cornerbacks. Tomorrow will likely be wide receivers.

The Sun-Sentinel's, Omar Kelly, is in firm belief the Dolphins will take Sean Smith. His logic is bent if not broken, however, as he explained during an interview on WQAM this week. He suggested that anytime Parcells shows a huge amount of interest in a player, it's a smoke screen and thus they have no REAL interest in that player. Five minutes later he suggested Smith, because the Dolphins have shown a ton of interest in him. Kelly also stated that the Dolphins will not draft a receiver because the Dolphins have repeatedly said they are happy with who they have and want to develop them. Isn't that repeated indifference to drafting a wide receiver just as much a smoke screen as the over-the-top visits/workouts with Hakeem Nicks and others, bringing along Chad Henne to throw to them? This one could go either way in my opinion, but Kelly seems to have made up his mind. Nothing wrong with that. I wish I could say that I'd made MY mind up.

The Herald's, Armando Salguero, is all set on a cornerback as well. He is Jason-Allen-Hater-Number-One, and thus believes the Dolphins will try to draft a starting RCB to supplant Allen/Green/everybody else. Last time I checked he also was falling for the Hakeem Nicks smoke screen.

The Palm Beach Post hasn't stated their opinions either way (just not their style), but they have only reported workouts by wide receivers and one linebacker in the past month, for some reason skipping over the cornerbacks and other player-visits that have happened in that span. Is that good enough to be assumed an endorsement, if they don't take the other visits seriously, does that mean they take the two they reported VERY seriously? For the record, they reported the visit, but not the workout of Rey Maualuga, and the workouts of Hakeem Nicks and Percy Harvin.

So, to summarize, the local media thinks the big pick will be a wide receiver or a cornerback. The extended media thinks it will be a linebacker (based on a quick look at 12 mock drafts by 'draft gurus', 9 of them thought the Dolphins would take one of the USC linebackers).

Perhaps this is why I feel so conflicted. At first I thought it would be a corner or a receiver. But after weeks of learning through osmosis, and discussing the draft with you guys, I started to turn to the idea that the Dolphins would actually go defensive line with the first pick. And not necessarily a nose tackle as is the general consensus NEED. I started to realize that the Dolphins may be best served, and have likely already thought of this (several times), by creating a line built of huge guys that could rotate in and out and slide around at every position. If anyone can remember back this far, they used to do this in Tampa when they were good. They also do this at several colleges including Missouri (Ziggy Hood). Working in a 3-4 this is much easier because you can find several guys around the same size (6'4", 300lbs) who can create havoc with stunts and shifts that also benefit inside blitzes by linebackers/safeties.

Now I've traipsed off into strategy, but isn't that the point of drafting for need? You know what you plan to do so you draft the players who would best suit your plan?

What is the plan for Percy Harvin? What is the plan for Vontae Davis? If it is simply to play the position of receiver or cornerback to the best of their ability, then surely these positions could wait until the second day. Couldn't they?

But how many players meet the criteria of size, strength, character, athleticism, and position flexibility that would fit into the Dolphins system and strategy?

In my mind, this narrows it down to Ziggy Hood and Connor Barwin. I would put Brandon Pettigrew up here but I don't know how many positions he could play. Similarly, in the second round, I could make arguments for Max Unger, Sean Smith, DJ Moore, James Casey, and William Moore.

So the question is, since the mind-set of other speculators turned my head around to develop my own theory, did my theory in turn do the same for you guys? Do you think there's safety in numbers and the general consensus of the media's obsession with receiver and cornerback is right? Am I to be destined to live on a draft island by myself? I already know that some of you agree at least in part with my theory, but am I off-base on others?

Coming Friday will be my (play scary music here) 2009 Mock Draft!

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