Wednesday, March 31, 2010

2010 Pre-Season Schedule Announced

The Dolphins' 2010 Pre-Season schedule has been announced and it looks like this:

Week 1 : Tampa Bay at Miami

Week 2 : Miami at Jacksonville
Week 3 : Atlanta at Miami

Week 4 : Miami at Dallas

The dates have not been nailed down yet but it's going to be between the 12th of August and 3rd of September.
The first 3 weeks will not only be a good chance to see the new players and coaches, but a chance to see in small pieces if we've improved over last year since we played all 3 in the 2009 season.  The Dallas trip is really exciting because I'll bet you anything that the Trifecta will want to win that game and will not just play scrubs.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Workout Warriors?

Just to pass some time, here's a head to head comparison of two WRs working out today, OSU's Dez Bryant (considered a top 10 pick - nfldraftscout compares him to Roy Williams) and USF's Carlton Mitchell (graded as 3rd round - nfldraftscout compares him to Brandon Marshall):

               Height      Weight     40 time   Vertical   Broad    Shuttle   3-Cone   Bench

Bryant         6014       224 lbs       4.57          38"       11'01"     4.48        7.21        DNL 
Mitchell       6030       215 lbs       4.40          36"       10'02"     4.55        6.96       16 reps

And now, some recent quotes from their position coaches:

[Fast forward to 2010, and I call up Coach Brewer. Like always he says, "Timmy Martin, what's going on?" I said, "Coach Brewer, how good is this kid Dez Bryant?" I couldn't believe what I heard come out of Coach Brewer's mouth.

Coach Brewer said, "Timmy, he's better than Moss. I never thought I would see someone that could track the ball better than Randy when it's in the air, but this kid can. He's fearless on the football field and doesn't mind one bit to roam the middle of the field. Dez is a very smart football player and loves to watch film and learn about the game. He has a very high football IQ and picks up the game very easy."]
Gunter Brewer was Randy Moss' WR coach at Marshall and Dez Bryant's WR coach at OSU.

["Carlton can flat fly," USF wide receivers coach Phil McGeoghan stated recently. "He has all the tools, all the ability. He is very diligent in his route running and his assignments. He is getting better, I see him improving everyday. He comes out here, works early and stays late. Carlton Mitchell is just a very talented guy who is big, tall, athletic, and has all the gifts you want in a receiver."]

It should be noted that Dez Bryant was a good team-mate and an excellent football player at OSU but in the last 6 or 7 months has sown he clearly does not have the best common sense.  First he hangs out with Deion Sanders, lies to the NCAA, picks a notorious agent, skips the combine, and OSUs pro day, then a day before he runs at his private workout, he boasts about how he's going to run a 4.3, then he forgets to bring his cleats to his workout, and subsequently runs a 4.57.  I have to say, this guy is so lucky he's blessed physically, because if he wasn't, no one would be giving him all these second chances.

Carlton Mitchell on the other hand does not have the hands of Bryant, but he's a much better option when it comes to hard work, ethics, and all out speed.  In my mind, Bryant is what he is, he is maxed out (albeit at a high level) and Mitchell is someone who is only going to get better.  The two WRs couldn't have come from a more different scheme - Bryant in the spread at OSU where he was the featured receiver, and Mitchell in the run-first scheme at USF where receivers were asked to block more than anything and there were 6 WRs sharing reps.
An argument could be made for the Dolphins trying to draft both of them, just one, or none at all.  I'll bet they're both on the board come draft day.

Monday, March 29, 2010

2010 Draft Prospect - Kam Chancellor, FS

Some of you may recall I liked Kam Chancellor last year - I had him as a possible Miami target at FS behind Missouri's William Moore.

Chancellor is Taylor Mays size - and if Miami were to draft him he'd be a real wrecking ball in the backfield - he's known for hitting hard - but he's also known for his coverage skills.  For a 6'3", 228 lb fella, he can run well and doesn't get beat in man-to-man situations very often.  In fact, I'd go as far to say that he could cover any TE one-on-one and it would take an above-average WR to shake him.
Perhaps the best thing I could say about Chancellor is that he won several awards in his college career - but not the kind you get for on-field play - the kind you get for showing hard work, determination and leadership off-the-field and in the off-season program.

He started out as a cornerback, grew into a hard-hitting strong safety, then matured into a patient and intelligent free safety.  As a likely 4th or even 5th round pick, it would be hard to say no if he's on the board.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Projecting The Draft

Nothing makes a man more proud of himself than to be able to say, "I told you so!" no matter what the subject matter.  "I told you she had 3 nipples!"  "I told you Lady Gaga was going to win a Grammy!"  "I told you I was going to get fired for peeing in the office coffee pot!".  Of course, since we're all football fans who partake in an online community/discussion, we often hear the "I told you he would be a good player" or "I told you he'd be a bust" in relation to the NFL draft, and Free Agency.  

Well I'm no different, really, I don't tend to brag about it, but there is an inner sense of pride when I look back through the archives and see the success rate of players in the NFL that I projected to be successful out of college last year.  I definitely missed on some players - but sometimes you realize that despite the draft being a crapshoot - there are many indicators of success versus failure that can be picked up on that can minimize any chances of missing on a player.  Several of the players I profiled last year got injured in or before training camp and never got to compete - William Moore and Tyrone McKenzie come to mind - but several of them made big splashes - Sean Smith started as a rookie, as did Hakeem Nicks, Kenny Britt, BJ Raji, and Terrance Knighton (note how I project him to play nose and say Ron Brace and Sammie Lee Hill won't be able to handle it - eat your heart out Nostradamus!).

And don't get me started on the Free Agency side of things.  I insinuated that Karlos Dansby would be a Dolphin last year and that the Dolphins should go after Miles Austin before he made a name for himself.

And of course, I turned this blog into a Connor Barwin media machine for several weeks only to have the Dolphins pick Pat White over Barwin, and thus a year later have needs at OLB and TE both of which could've been filled by Barwin.  The Texans chose Barwin to play 4-3 end behind Mario Williams despite the fact he was projected as a starting 3-4 OLB.  Despite that he had a pretty good rookie campaign as a nickel rusher.  I then wrote on more than one occasion that I would put the Barwin-slight behind me, but let's be honest, I never have to this day.  

And there will probably be moments like this in 2010 as well.  In a way, it's probably a good thing we only have 2 picks in the first 2 rounds.  Without that luxury pick, there will be less chance to have that 'what we could have had' moment.

One thing you'll notice in my 3 round Mock Draft (link at top of page), is that there's a ton of solid football players I didn't even get to in those first three rounds, and there would've been a lot after 4 rounds, and loads after 5 rounds as well.  Our three six round picks could easily end up being used on 3 players who make the 53-man roster, whereas in the past, these picks were generally thought to be 'project' players who'd either show enough to make it onto the practice squad, or end up was waiver-wire fodder.

So, now, with free agency sort of past the 1st and 2nd wave, and most of the auditions out of the way, I think now is as good a time as any to start putting together draft boards for the Dolphins.  I'm keeping mine basic with 3 potential players for each pick for a total of 30 players.  I will post it as a page link at the top of the page and will occasionally edit it in case any surprises come along.

I encourage you all to do your own, if not for every pick, at least the first 4 picks, and share them below.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

2010 Draft Prospect - Brandon Graham, OLB

Whenever you hear scouts talk about Michigan DE cum NFL OLB, Brandon Graham, they all use the words 'LaMarr Woodley'. Woodley is the only player in NFL history to record four consecutive multi-sack playoff games. He also has 25 sacks in the last two seasons.  If Graham is considered to be a carbon copy of Woodley, then why wouldn't we draft him into our 3-4 defense?

Really there are only two reasons against it:
  • Some say his size is an issue because he's barely 6'1" in cleats.  Well, Mike Nolan had success with a much smaller sized Elvis Dumervil last year, and Coach Sparano has shown that he's more in tune with people who make plays as opposed to strict size requirements.  If Parcells and Ireland ease up on their historic preferences in favor of getting a proven pass-rusher, then Graham could be on the radar (note: I think he is, because the Dolphins have not mentioned him once).
  • The second reason is that it would take the 12th overall pick to get Graham.  Pretty much every board I've seen has him graded in the 15th to 25th overall range so he wouldn't be likely to be on the board by the 43rd pick (our 2nd rounder).  Some people may think he'd be a reach at 12.  LaMarr Woodley was the 46th overall pick in 2007.  But his production has surely been that of a top 15 pick.  Larry English, another squatty College DE turned NFL OLB, was chosen 16th overall last year by the 3-4 running Chargers.
As a 3 year starter in Michigan blue, Graham won the team MVP award twice (junior & senior year) and was elected as team captain as a Senior.  He contributed 55.5 TFLs and 30 sacks.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Tin Bits - Monday, March 22nd, 2010

Oh my, what a way to start the week:
  • Justin Smiley is on the trade block.  While this is somewhat shocking news, he is the most realistic player to be traded in exchange for a much need mid-round pick - I would estimate a 4th rounder.  Still, it is a bit of somber news for right now as he was a fan favorite despite his injuries - he is a smart, nice fella who really bought into the system and took on Jake Long in a mentoring role and we see how that worked out in our favor.  The Dolphins obviously feel they need to get more quality draft picks or would like to move up in the draft and a package that included Smiley and a couple of draft picks could get us into a very good position - perhaps Top 5 (our main trade partner, Kansas City - 5th overall, needs more help on the O-line).   In my mock draft I have Eric Berry going 5th to the Chiefs.
  • More bad news as Ronnie Brown has reportedly been arrested in Atlanta for DUI.  He failed to use his indicator when making a lane change (dickhead cop).  First of all, I need to mention that while I don't want any drunk drivers on the road, this should be noted - in a period of 6 months - as a 20 year old, I was pulled over by Georgia Highway Patrol a dozen times, and once the officer held his gun on me.  My father worked in Atlanta for a total of two years and got 3 DUI charges against him.  He's not really a drinker and I am the most law-abiding citizen on the planet and used to be even more obedient when I was younger - so while I'm not saying that Brown didn't break the law, I'm just letting you know some of my own experience in that area.  Still, it's important to remember that Brown is a single black man driving a probably nice or pimped out vehicle late on a Friday night in Atlanta and this is his first ever run-in with the law.
  • Dolphins off-season conditioning officially kicks off today, but as I previously reported, several Dolphins were already 'getting their condition on' starting earlier this month.  Sophomores Sean Smith, Vontae Davis, and Kory Sheets have been taking advantage of the facilities for weeks now, and Ted Ginn Jr flew in from Cleveland last week.  The latest word from Cameron Wake sum it all up perfectly - "It begins today....... officially...all 3 phases are underway.... Nutrition, Strength and Conditioning...the transformation has begun!" 
  • The football season speculation just wouldn't be properly under way if I didn't dust off the EA Madden video game and see just how we stand - I traded for Karlos Dansby (let ting Ayodele go, keeping Torbor as backup) and I let Jason Ferguson go unsigned into free agency - I also traded away Gibril Wilson and stuck a rotation of Jason Allen and Chris Clemons at free safety.  Everything else I left the same, and then I started to play.  The difference in the middle was unbelievable - Dansby was ten times better at tackling and coverage than Ayodele, and he and Crowder always seemed to be in on the run plays together.  I played the first 5 games of the season and was 5-0 (though I had 4 cakewalks I almost lost one because I kept fumbling).  Then I simulated the rest of the season and quite shockingly ended with a 7-9 record and didn't make the playoffs.  So the moral of the story is to keep playing hard and never 'call it in'.

Friday, March 19, 2010

2010 Draft - Small School Sleeper - Terrell Hudgins, WR

Terrell Hudgins just may be the best WR you've never seen play. Graded as a 7th round/Undrafted Free Agent in many rankings throughout the internet, the 6'2", 230 lb Elon Phoenix from Rocky Mount, North Carolina has never let the lack of a spotlight prevent him from playing at an insanely high level. Hudgins broke just about every career receiving record in the FCS in 2009, some of which were originally recorded by Jerry Rice in 1984, twenty-five years earlier.

During his career, Hudgins was voted onto 20 All-America Teams, set 10 NCAA records, and was voted to the Southern Conference All-Decade Team. He finished second in voting for the Walter Payton Award in 2009 and finished with 395 receptions, 5,250 receiving yards, 51 touchdowns, 28 games with 100+ receiving yards and four 1,000-yard receiving seasons.

So why have you never seen him play? Because he went to Elon. Now, every year there are several FCS players who make it to the NFL, and several who get showcased in the all-star games - especially the East-West Shrine game. But none from Elon.

This year, a WR from The Citadel, Andre Roberts, was invited to the Senior Bowl and got rave reviews throughout the week before having a not-so-memorable game. He then posted 4 top-ten performances at the NFL Combine. He was invited, but Hudgins wasn't.

Andre Roberts - 5'11", 192lbs - 2009 numbers: 77 catches, 792 yards, 8 TDs
Terrell Hudgins - 6'2", 230lbs - 2009 numbers: 123 catches, 1633 yards, 16 TDs

Hudgins and Elon made the FCS playoffs and were robbed of a win (Hudgins scored a game-winning TD but the refs said he didn't come down inbounds) versus the defending champions Richmond in the 1st round. The Citadel didn't make the playoffs. Yet Roberts was invited to an all-star bowl, and Hudgins wasn't.

Now Hudgins does face an uphill battle due to lack of tape like the big schools provide NFL teams and a consistent level of talented opposition, but he has had some competition here and there including Wake Forest's Brandon Ghee (currently rated as 2nd round) and South Florida's Mike Jenkins (2008 - 1st round - 2009 Pro Bowler). Hudgins burned Ghee for 13 catches, 113 yards and a touchdown. He got 14 catches for 92 yards and a TD against the 2007 USF secondary - one of the best foursome ever to play college ball (Jenkins, Trae Williams, Nate Allen, Carlton Williams).

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

2010 Draft Prospect - TE, Dorin Dickerson

Before we get too far into this thing, I want to make one thing perfectly clear. I want the Dolphins to draft Dorin Dickerson as a wide receiver.

Dickerson is currently rated as a 3rd round pick, and if you were to find a receiver with his size (6'2", 226 lbs), his strength (
24 reps), his speed (4.40), his production (10 TDs in 2009), his route running, his leaping ability, his blocking ability, and his playing in a pro-style offense, and that WR would be a 1st round pick.

Instead, he's stuck in a Tight End box, and thus, you look at his size and think, well, he's not big enough to warrant a high pick. This is exactly why the Dolphins should draft him in the 2nd round (They can't wait until the 3rd - he may be gone by then) but he's a sure thing with their 2nd pick.

And what do the Dolphins need in a WR? Someone big, fast, good hands, red zone
threat, runs good routes, blocks well, and doesn't costs a 1st round pick. That is Dorin Dickerson.

The reason he's so good at running routes is because he used to be a wide receiver. The reason he's so strong and blocks people well is because he switched from WR to line-backer. The reason he's good in the red zone is because he played for Pittsburgh, a pro-style offense that featured some outstanding running backs and wide receivers, so he knew he'd have to stand-out in the red because the other guys would get most of the touches between the 20s.

David Martin was drafted as a WR and switched to TE, and the Dolphins tried the switch with Ernest Wilford as well. So why wouldn't they try a TE who can line up off the line, a la Dallas Clark, or even as a split end?

Check out this article on Dickerson's Pro Day - it talks about his 'position flexibility'. (Click on Quote)
According to one source, the Dolphins were not present at the Pitt pro-day. Based on experience, this generally means the Dolphins may be bringing in a Pitt player for a private workout - they generally don't attend the Pro Days of players they've already invited in (you may recall they waited to work-out receivers privately with Chad Henne last year, and will likely do the same this year).

New Dolphin - Richie Incognito, G

I really can't be bothered to write about this, I think we've already said all there is to be said, so here is a brilliant cut and paste job instead:

"In a continued effort to strengthen its offensive line, the Miami Dolphins on Wednesday reached agreement on a one-year contract with temperamental guard Richie Incognito, a league source told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter.

The 26-year-old Incognito, a five-year veteran, spent his entire career with St. Louis after being drafted in the third round in 2005, but his tenure ended late last season following his second benching of the season by the Rams.

In a 40-point December loss to the Titans, Incognito drew two personal foul penalties for head-butting opponents, was benched by coach Steve Spagnuolo and watched the second half from the bench with a poncho over his head.

Incognito, who was named the dirtiest player in the NFL earlier in 2009 by The Sporting News, was later fined $50,000 by the NFL for the head butts.

Two days after the loss to Tennessee, Incognito was waived by the Rams, then claimed by the Bills the following day. He started the final three games for Buffalo.

In 2008, Incognito criticized the Rams' dwindling fan base in 2008, made an obscene gesture to a TV cameraman during practice and encouraged hecklers by cupping his hands to his ears while leaving the field after a loss.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report."

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Tin Bits - Tuesday, March 16th, 2010

  • I got a good laugh out of this article, a 2009 All AFC-East Team.  Forget the fact that it's the middle of March, 2010, which implies they've lost 'focus' a little bit, but they chose Anthony Fasano as the best tight-end in the division last season (Dustin Keller must be turning green...).  But at least they recognized Randy Starks, Jake Long, Lousaka Polite and Ted Ginn (kick returner). 
  • I've been struggling for about a week to finish my Mock Draft for two reasons.  First - I can't seem to fit all the talent onto the board.  There are going to be some high quality 3rd and 4th rounders this year.  Second, anytime I do manage to squeeze as many in as I can, an NFL team makes a big Free Agent signing and ruins it for me - for example, I had the Bengals taking a WR in the 1st round but then they signed Antonio Bryant.  Then I have to figure out if that rookie receiver falls to where the next WR on my mock was or if another team takes him as BPA somewhere else.  I swear this was much easier last year.  Anyway, I'm warning you all now that my end result might be missing a top quality player somewhere because it's hard to keep track of them all - it took me 3 weeks to realize I didn't have Brandon Spikes on there at all.
  • I watched a replay of the first Bills vs Dolphins game last year - you know, the one where Joey Porter was out and Cameron Wake lit up the place.  And I have to say, Channing Crowder was excellent in that game.  Sure he's not flashy and he doesn't get turnovers, but he does show consistency versus the run and often runs down missed tackles by the secondary.  Akin Ayodele had a big bone-crushing hit in the game on a screen pass and got all the 'oohs' from the crowd, but other than thumping people hard, he really didn't have any consistent skill-set. and couldn't outrun anybody.  I think the Dansby-Crowder project could be a huge change in the box for the Dolphins, but ultimately they need someone anchoring the middle in order for them to do their job.  I have the Dolphins taking Dan Williams in the draft (a little preview for you there), but lately I'm wondering about Mount Cody.  We all wrote him off after the Senior Bowl weigh-in, but he claims there was a clerical error there (you'd think the 100 or so journalists there would have gotten it right between them), and at his pro-day he weighed in at 349, twenty-one pounds lighter.  Ultimately I think it's a smoke-screen and he's on some kind of all-fiber diet, but it may work and he may be back to a 1st round choice.
  • Speaking of smoke-screens, I love how the media claimed that the Dolphins are ga-ga over Georgia Tech's Derrick Morgan.  Oh, please!  I'm ga-ga over vintage Gibson SG guitars, it doesn't mean I'm going to buy one next month, especially since I would then have to buy a custom case for it to fit into (like the Dolphins would have to switch to a 4-3 to utilize Morgan).
  • My Small-School Sleeper defensive back, Akwasa Owusu-Ansah, has been projected as both a cornerback and a free safety, and is a real threat in the return game. Well, wasting no chances, he skipped his IUP pro-day and worked out instead at the Ohio State open house, running a 4.31 in the 40 yard dash.  A super fast ball-hawking guy with cover skills and just so happens to be the Trifecta's preferred Free Safety size...

Friday, March 12, 2010

2010 Draft Prospect - WR Eric Decker

 Eric Decker making the catch that Ted Ginn Jr couldn't.

Eric Decker isn't Dez Bryant or Arrelious Benn, or Golden Tate.  But he is the best WR in the draft for the Dolphins.  That is my argument and here is my defense of that argument.

First of all, he played for Minnesota, a team not known for having a great QB or high-powered offense that tends to inflate a receiver's stats a la Bryant and Tate, or Crabtree the year before.  Does anyone here have any idea who the Minnesota QB is?  Yet in just under 3 1/2 years, Decker caught 227 passes for 3,119 yards and 24 TDs. 

Secondly, he played through every stinger and sprained ankle he had in his career.  Before missing the second half of the 2009 season with a Lisfranc injury, he had started every game, despite being banged up at times.

Thirdly, he is coming off a Lisfranc injury (something the Dolphins staff know all about), has not been able to do any all-star games or Combine workouts, and will likely be unable to workout before the Draft.   There is plenty of good tape on Decker, but sometimes out of sight means out of mind, and his current draft stock sees him as a steal in the 3rd or 4th round.  This allows the Dolphins to take NT and FS in the 1st two rounds.

Fourthly, The Dolphins currently have a slew of young untested receivers that need reps and bringing in a player who wouldn't jump onto the practice field straight away affords them time to show something to the coaches.  Much like Brian Hartline last year had to miss mini-cap due to school, Decker's missing mini-camp due to injury shouldn't prevent his competing for a starting role when the time comes.  It didn't affect Hartline, and Decker is a bigger stronger player, so it shouldn't affect him either.

Fifthly, Decker was drafted twice by the MLB, and chose to stay in football.  He didn't come out and say this, but he did sort of imply that baseball wasn't tough enough.  He likes getting hit.  See the video below - I don't know how he held onto the ball on the big hit, but I watched that game live, and he came back in on the next drive as if nothing had happened.  He is the Anti-Ginn.

And finally, he's 6'3", 217 lbs and is a good route runner and excellent run-blocker.  He was averaging 8.6 catches for 128 yards and a touchdown a game before suffering the season-ending injury. For the ladies, he's GQ-good looking, and likes to take his shirt off and pole-dance (there is a photo available online).

Quotes about Decker:

"His tape is his resume. I'm sure people are going to want to get a feel for where he's at health-wise. And typically they like to get some of these measurables as well," said Minnesota Vikings head coach Brad Childress.

"A-plus character kid. Has all the tools to be a very productive player in this league," said ex-Gopher wide receiver and Minnesota Vikings VP of Player Personnel Rick Spielman.

"A guy that's going to work every day to be the best. A guy that's going to run good routes, a guy that's gonna get open, a guy that's gonna block, a guy that's gonna high-point the football on the field," said Decker. "That's going to be a leader in the locker room, help out his community off the field."

Decker is eager to get better. Last year he worked out with Arizona Cardinals star Larry Fitzgerald Jr., hoping to soak up pass-catching tips that he can to apply to his own game.~ Eric Nelson, WCCO Minneapolis.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

2010 Draft - Small School Sleepers - Mitch Ryan, TE

It is a common argument to debate what a 'sleeper' is, but I classify it as anyone who flies under the radar but is ultimately successful, or someone who was successful and still flies under the radar because he didn't go to the big schools, or have the biggest PR firm behind him.  Whatever your own understanding of a sleeper is, no one can argue that the following players all attended smaller schools in not so well known conferences/divisions of NCAA football.  But the players this series will follow have been chosen exclusively for the fact that they were successful, and could contribute to the success of the Miami Dolphins in 2010.

We start off with Mitch Ryan, a Tight-End from the University of San Diego. As you will see he's a bit of a hybrid, primarily a receiver (he lines up outside a bit), but his 6'5", 240 lb frame means he can hold up inside.

Ryan played in a conference no one outside that conference has ever heard of, and he missed all of 2009 with a torn ACL and torn meniscus injury (that's what the last part of the 3rd video is referring to) but before you say USD is not a legit training ground, the Colts have a USD grad at WR on their team, and their receivers aren't too shabby, and Ryan's former QB, Josh Johnson is the backup in Tampa Bay.   

Ryan's numbers are not huge because he only played in 22 games and played tight-end on a team that had a 1000+ yard rusher, a running QB who racked up 800 yds/season and also two 1000+ yard receivers.  Despite that, he collected 39 catches for 574 yards and 9 touchdowns and the video shows his hands are softer than Ted Ginn Jr at a beach party attended by Chris Johnson.  

Ryan is not even ranked on CBS/NFLdraftscout's list of the top 96 TEs available.  Forget sleeper, the scouts are in a coma when it comes to this guy.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

2010 Draft - Small School Sleeper - Akwasa Owusu-Ansah

As we continue our peek into some small school notables, I'll be honest and say despite this next guy being on my radar for about a year now, everytime I go to write his name I have to go double check that I got it right.  For the purpose of this discussion, I'm going to call him AOA.

AOA is on the scouts radar somewhat but he was unable to play in the East-West Shrine game due to shoulder surgery, which he managed to overcome at the combine.  Maybe it's just me but this guy looks and moves a lot like Malcolm Jenkins, the top cornerback of 2009's draft, and now Super Bowl ring holder.

At 6'0", 207lbs, he is big enough to play safety, and indeed has played both positions in college.   Look at the way he plays center field when lined up at FS. He posted a 4.47 in the Combine 40 yard dash, and looking at the video, he doesn't look super fast, but this guy's balance is out of this world.  His returns are reminiscent of Joshua Cribbs, but even more amazing.

He would provide the Dolphins the youth and depth they seek in the secondary as well as a legitimate return specialist.  I have seen him listed everywhere from late 2nd round to early 5th.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

New Dolphin - Jason Ferguson?

According to preliminary reports, the Dolphins have re-signed Nose Tackle, Jason Ferguson, to a new contract.  This comes in the same week he was suspended by the NFL for violating the illegal substances policy.  He will miss the first 8 games of the season which means he can rehab through training camp/pre-season and be placed on the PUP list, thereby technically only 'missing' 2 extra games.

The Dolphins will likely still draft a replacement in April.

New Dolphin, Again - Chad Pennington, QB

Since I started this blog after the 2008 season, I never got to welcome Pennington to the fold officially.  When he was signed in 2008, it took me at least 2 months to get over him being a NY Jet.  But his apparent desire to stay in Miami as a back-up has cemented his status as a loyal Dolphin in my mind, or at least a loyal Trifectanite, which is the same thing for now.  

And ultimately the news today that Pennington will be the 3rd string QB behind Tyler Thigpen has made my heart all a flutter.  Henne #1, Thigpen #2 - the way it should have been all along.  And as harsh as it may sound, goodbye to Pat White as a QB.  Originally I thought that Thigpen was going to be traded (and he still might), but for now it looks like White is the one on the chopping block, at least as a quarterback.

Many of us, myself included, thought that the Trifecta would never admit failure on the infamous 2009 2nd round draft pick, but in a move that clearly shows a lack of confidence in White's ability, and possibly indicates that Parcells won't allow his man-crush-itis too seep into the 2010 draft, the Dolphins management have righted the track again.  

After 2009's early going, and the subsequent injury and surgery, I'm not going to lie to you - I don't want Pennington to play in 2010.  But his locker room presence, his maturity, and his cheerleading/mentoring on the sidelines could be worth the couple of million dollars he's been awarded.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Things To Come

Ok, I spent all day on Friday monitoring the Dolphins' free agency situation, and nothing happened until I was in traffic on my way home when we signed 2010's top FA prize, Karlos Dansby.  I know someone (you know who you are) has been giving me shtick for stating there would be no way Dansby came to Miami about 3 weeks ago.  For the record, when I made that claim, Dansby was asking for $30 million guaranteed.  The Dolphins signed him for 27% less than his asking price.  There's no way I could have seen that happening.

In any event, I'm glad we signed him and for a much more reasonable amount - although still silly money for an inside LB in a 3-4 system.

Now the big news is that Free Safety, Ryan Clark, formerly of the Pittsburgh Steelers, is the next target.  I gotta be honest, I don't see why everyone's willing to give a big contract to a 31 year old.  I think this year's draft is as deep a free safety draft that you're going to find, and wouldn't mind waiting until then to get one (or even two).

Anyway, this article is basically meant to be an announcement that I will be posting my Mock Draft version 1 this week (it has been a massive struggle - there's just so many good players).

Friday, March 5, 2010

New Dolphin - Karlos Dansby, ILB

The Dolphins signed their first and possibly only  unrestricted free agent of 2010 today in former Arizona Cardinals inside linebacker, Karlos Dansby.

At 6'4", 250 lbs, Dansby's combination of size and play-making ability is a huge upgrade in the middle and should alleviate if not eliminate any pressing need to draft an ILB in the early rounds of next month's draft.

He comes in as the starter, immediately replacing Akin Ayodele who was released on Friday, March 5th.

The contract is a reported 5 year, $43 million deal with an estimated $22 million in guarantees.

Holy Free Agency, Batman! - Updated 5pm Eastern

Let's just dig in (updates throughout the day)
  • Joey Porter - RELEASED.  Since they released him three weeks ago, no one remembered to report the actual transaction which took place today.
  • Gibril Wilson - RELEASED.  Surprising move considering Jeff Ireland's 'don't blame Gibril' speech a week ago.
  • Nate Jones - RELEASED. Visiting Denver as the Broncos continue to use Miami rejects to build their secondary.
  • Akin Ayodele - RELEASED.  His age and price tag probably made a trade partner hard to find so they cut their losses and just let him go.
  • Chad Pennington - NEGOTIATIONS AT AN IMPASSE, PROBABLY GONE.  Wants a no-trade clause in his contract, the Dolphins said no.
  • Jason Taylor -  NO REPORTS OF A DEAL, DOLPHINS MAY WAIT UNTIL AFTER THE DRAFT. Taylor said he wants a 2 year deal, but unsure if he wants it with Miami.  As long as Cameron Wake is around, Taylor will be unhappy.
!THIS JUST IN!  Tin's Fins has discovered per a very reliable source that both Antrel Rolle and Karlos Dansby attended the Miami Heat game versus the Lakers and were part of a group that had a luxury suite at the game.  Other members of the group - Miami Dolphins' Ronnie Brown, and Vontae Davis.

Based on their asking prices, it's unlikely that Miami will get both players so they'll likely wait for a decision from Rolle before making an offer to Dansby.
  • Karlos Dansby - VISITING MIAMI TODAY.  He wants $30 million guaranteed and Arizona wants him back, so it's not a huge chance he ends up signing with Miami, but I'd say with the release of Wilson, they have a little extra cash.
  • Antrell Rolle - VISITING MIAMI TODAY.  With Wilson's departure, his chances of getting an offer from Miami increase, but I'm not sure he fits the Trifecta mold.  His agent has already said that the Cardinals will get preference in deciding on an offer, so he obviously wants to stay there.  UPDATE:  Miami has offered Rolle a 5 year contract, details unknown.  The Cardinals have offered him a 6 year contract worth $38.6 million and he has turned it down because he wants a 5yr/$40 million deal. UPDATE:  The Dolphins have apparently fallen behind in the bidding war and the Giants are reported to have offered more money.  Rolle and agent, Drew Rosenhaus have yet to announce anything.
Anquan Boldin has been traded along with a 2010 5th round draft pick to the Baltimore Ravens for a 2010 3rd round and a 2010 4th round Draft pick.  Makes me wonder what Dallas was thinking when they traded for Roy Williams (not that I didnt already have that moment at the time).


Thursday, March 4, 2010

Tin Bits - 2010 NFL Combine Edition - Part 3 of 3

  • Every year, NFL Network hypes up the defensive back portion of the combine as the main event, due to the speed and athleticism usually shown there.  And as a former failed DB myself, I tend to look forward to these workouts the most as well.  But the last two years they've been rather drab, especially in the 40.  Well, I should say whomever is calibrating the official time clock is making it rather drab.  For the second year in a row, the official times were shockingly different and not in a good way from the unofficial hand times.  Now, it should be noted that the hand times will always be faster, because the timer wouldn't hit the button until the runner actually started moving forward, and would hit it again almost in anticipation of the finish line, whereas the electronic timer starts as soon as the player makes a motion out of his 3 point stance and ends exactly as he touches the line.  But still, the Taylor Mays times are so far off as was George Selvie's time the day before it makes you wonder.  Most NFL teams pay next to no attention to the official time anyway because they realize it's innacurate.  That's why you see them have half a dozen staff members all timing - some are only timing the first 10 yards, and the others time the whole thing, and then they average them out.  So Mays will likely be attributed closer to 4.3 than 4.4 when all is said and done.
  •  With that said, there were some standouts in this group, and I thought the following statements to be true:
  1. Eric Berry is the top safety in the draft.  He can play both free and strong but he's probably a better fit at Free Safety in the NFL.
  2. Earl Thomas is a cornerback.
  3. Taylor Mays is a safety, he's just not as good as everyone thinks he is.  Chad Jones and Nate Allen are better than him, but I have the Raiders drafting him in the 1st in my mock and I'm sticking to that.  But I see him as a strong safety in the NFL, not a Free Safety.
  4. Joe Haden was the biggest failure of the whole combine, IMO.  I still think Patrick Robinson is the top corner in this draft (hence why I ranked him #1 in my top 10 CB list) and I think Devin McCourty's stock has been rising steadily all off-season.
  5. Myron Rolle must have gotten used to the slower pace of life in the UK.
  • Overall I didn't think there were many risers and fallers in this group, because I think the cornerback class is relatively weak in this draft anyway.  However, the Free Safety group is relatively deep, at least a lot deeper than last year.  
  • The Herald is reporting that Miami is interested in Antrell Rolle of the Cardinals and may make an offer and stand a good chance because of the inability of 'The Drew' to not be able to come to terms with the Cards.  However, Rosenhaus himself reported that the Cards were going to release Rolle to avoid paying him a massive roster bonus, but that they were first in line to resign him afterwards.  He's quite expensive, but I'm sure they'll take him back with a little restructuring and a whole lot of savings.
  • The Dansby and Boldin to Miami rumors are still white hot, and I still believe it's pure hearsay or Miami spreading the rumors themselves, which would mean they're trying to drive up the price.  Ultimately I expect the rumors are started by Dansby's agent.  I don't see J-Lo wanting to pay this much for anything outside her wardrobe.
  • And finally, I noticed a little blurb on Patrick Cobbs the other day and how his rehab is going.  At this point in the year it's almost moot where he thinks he is in that process, what matters is how effective he'll be once he comes back from the injury in August/September.  Meanwhile, his main competition, Kory Sheets has been working hard in the gym since the end of the season, and has not taken time off like most of the other players.  Keep in mind this is the same work ethic shown by Chad Henne and Jake Long last year, and it turned out pretty well for them.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Tin Bits - 2010 NFL Combine Edition - Part 2 of 3

  • Jason Pierre Paul ran a 4.67 in the 40, which is fast enough to play OLB.  He had a pretty good combine, but I thought he would do even better than Connor Barwin did last year.  Ultimately I think the main plus for JPP was that he showed flexibility and good movement for someone of his size (6'5", 270lbs).  Word is he showed well in interviews also.  He's not the most eloquent guy, but he gets his point across, and he said he wants to be better than anyone who's come before him, so he's indicated he's going to be a hard-worker in the NFL.  I know I said I would move on after last year's draft, but I'm still reeling from Houston drafting Barwin to play as a backup DE behind Mario Williams.  This guy should be competing to start at OLB in a 3-4.  Anyway, he had 4.5 sacks as Williams' rookie backup.
  • I almost shat myself when they posted George Selvie's 40 time.  I knew he wouldn't run fast because he's a long-stride guy with giant feet and has never been a good runner, but 4.91?  After the official times came out it turned out he actually ran a 4.77 which is much more respectable.  Sources say Selvie did very well in the interview portion.
  • I'll admit I don't "get it" when it comes to the McCoy/Suh debate.  All the talking heads went from crowning Ndamukong Suh as the top prospect in the draft to suddenly switching their minds to Gerald McCoy.  Part of the argument is that McCoy is a better pass-rusher than Suh.  Suh didn't seem to have any issues with applying pressure when he was asked to in the games I watched.  I see it happening before my eyes, and I think the pundits are getting this one wrong, and that Suh is the better overall football player, not to mention the better 'face of the franchise'.  In any event, if the Rams pick a QB, and the Lions go with McCoy, would you trade up to the 3rd spot to get Suh?
  • Taylor Mays was said to run an unofficial 4.24, but his official time was a 4.43.  Between the Selvie time and this one, it's obvious that someone is having an off day (or week) with the stop-watch.
  • Mike Mayock stated that Rolando McClain, the talented ILB from Alabama, had been undergoing hamstring treatment since the Senior Bowl.  I didn't really understand the statement since McClain was not attending the Senior Bowl since he wasn't a Senior.  The question then becomes was he injured in the National Championship and if so, it probably isn't a simple hamstring tweak.  I love the player, but I'm not drafting anyone who can't pass the physical, so we'll have to keep a close eye on this - I assume he went through medical exams at the Combine and that info will come out soon enough.
  • At this point, I think it's clear to say that 2009's Andre Smith and 2010's Terrence Cody are, in fact, the same person.  Cody had a shocking Senior Bowl week and need to prove something this week and decided not to bother.  He must be of the mindset that he is a top of the board draft pick, when logically he's got to be considered lower than a lot of DTs at this point behind Suh, McCoy, Williams, Price, and a few others.
  • It's official!  Mike Berardino has an agenda.  Last week he posted a story about how sweet and cuddly Rex Ryan is, and this week he's touting the Jets again.  If I was a betting man, I'd think he was a Jets fan.  I know they say reporters shouldn't cover the teams they follow, so I'm  not expecting him to be a Dolphins fan, but a Jets fan covering the Dolphins?  
  • I'm quite shocked that certain WRs have been all but forgotten.  If you had asked me a few months ago what round we could draft Minnesota's Eric Decker in, I would've told you late 1st, early 2nd.  These days I'm all but convinced he could be had in the 4th round unless he starts making some noise in the next few weeks.  And despite several media-scouts grading Elon's Terrell Hudgins as a 7th round or undrafted free agent, in my gut I felt he wouldn't last past the late 5th/early 6th.  But out-of-sight is out-of-mind when it comes to football, and these two guys need to start the PR campaign.  I'm especially surprised by Decker's (seen in the photo scoring after beating our own Vontae Davis) absence, since he had recently committed to football and eschewed a shot at Major League baseball.
  • Latest 'tweet' from Omar Kelly: "I'm disappointed to admit I was invited to watch USF DE Jason Pierre-Paul workout before the combine & didn't follow up. I'm slipping."
  • And finally, a guy I really like coming out of the past week is UCLA's Brian Price.  No one is projecting him as a NT because of the way he gets into the backfield, but he reminds me so much of Jason Ferguson at times, more in personality than playing style.  I think he's got good character.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Tin Bits - 2010 NFL Combine Edition - Part 1 of 3

  • I didn't manage to watch every player go through drills over the weekend, due in part to NFL Network's terrible TiVo descriptions (you couldn't tell which groups were drilling when, or what was a re-run or a new show), but I did eventually manage to see most of the coverage and I felt a bit of an uneasy feeling at parts because it sounded like Mike Mayock was reading out my top ten list descriptions at times.  Still, I found myself disagreeing with him more than not, and I thought Jamie Dukes made himself out to be a complete idiot this week.  And who is that woman with the caked on make-up that is now hosting Total Access?  And no, I'm not talking about Rich Eisen...
  • The WR gauntlet drills were hilarious - I think there were more dropped balls than actual catches overall and only two or three WRs even attempted to stay inbounds.  It really made me wish that Eric Decker and Terrell Hudgins were there.  Still, I thought Brandon LaFell looked good despite his small hands, and I was quite shocked at how poorly Jordan Shipley did overall.  He didn't run fast enough, and he couldn't keep his feet in any of the route running drills, which goes to show that WRs who play in spread offenses and take those dink and dunk passes don't make the best NFL WRs.  That's why I consider someone like LaFell to be more NFL ready because they played in a pro-style offense. 
  • Dorin Dickerson pretty much solidified himself in my mind as someone who the Dolphins should have on their board.  I still see him as a potential beast at WR, and I have to believe that he continues to work as a TE in a wily move to blow away the competition in drills.  Still, I like this guy no matter which position he's drafted for, and I'm sorry that Mayock couldn't acknowledge the fact that a month ago he said he should switch to full-back.  
  • Bruce Campbell looked oddly out of place in the OL drills.  If I didn't see him in that group running blocking drills I would've thought he was a Defensive End.  You don't see a lot of OL with bodies like that.  I thought it was hilarious that he lifted his shirt to bare his belly during the 40.  Oddly enough non of the other OL did that.  Before the Combine he was sort of slipping off the radar, but I think his performance has gotten him back into 1st round consideration.
  • Trindon Holliday remains on my board with his blistering 40.  Dexter McCluster looks like Davone Bess 3.0.  He is just so fluid and attacks the ball better than most receivers.  His slower 40 time is not much of a concern because he looked pretty damn fast with the ball in his hands.  Golden Tate looked pretty good at times, but I couldn't figure out why he would catch the ball then make-out with his biceps.  He looked a bit stiff in the route-running drills, but his 40 and gauntlet were top-grade.  
  • Of all the RBs, two RBs stood out to me.  One was # 8 on my Top 10 - Joique Bell from Wayne State has had a very good off-season and has sky-rocketed his draft status in the last couple of months. He hasn't blown away the competition, but he's been very consistent and has been making teams take notice.  The 2nd was a bit of a surprise in Tennessee's Montario Hardesty.  He came through for me during NCAA fantasy season in 2009 at times but was riddled with injury and inconsistency.  Still, he looked pretty strong and could be a good bruising back in the later rounds of the draft.
  • Jason Pierre Paul ran a 4.64 (unofficially) in the 40.  Rumor is he also did a reverse somersault off the rafters of Lucas Oil Stadium and stuck the landing!