Archive for: April 2011

Dolphins Trade up again, select H-Back Charles Clay

The Miami Dolphins are literally on the offensive in the 2011 NFL Draft. They have selected 4 players thus far and all of them have been on the offensive side of the football. In the sixth round, they traded up (swapping position in the 6th and 7th rounds) with the Green Bay Packers to select Charles Clay, H-Back from Tulsa. With Virgil Green and a few other, more likely targets, on the board, this pick was a little surprising. However, after seeing some highlights of Clay, he could make a contribution to the Dolphins in 2011. Click here to see some highlights from NFL Network.

Clay will likely be used as more of an H-back than a true fullback or tight end.  Omar Kelly also noted that Clay was the quarterback for Tulsa’s Wildcat package…….so the Wildcat trend continues.  Clay ran a 4.7 40 yard dash at the combine and possesses good athletic ability.  He isn’t a great blocker, so we expect him to play a limited role in the usual tight end position on the line.  However, he could cause some serious mismatches with linebackers and defensive backs.  An interesting pick that we’re starting to warm up to.  Take a look for yourself:

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Meet Edmond Gates, Dolphins new speed threat

After selecting 2 players that should be major contributors to the Miami Dolphins, the team selected speedy wide receiver Edmond Gates from Abilene Christian.  Gates can fly and as Mike Mayock puts it “can blow the lid off a zone”.  He could be the speed threat opposite Brandon Marshall that the Dolphins have been looking for….down the road.  We don’t imagine the drafting of Gates will immediately impact Brian Hartline’s standing with the team.  However, if I were Marlon Moore, I’d begin polishing up the old resume.  I can see Gates being a solid NFL receiver after some development.  Remember, he didn’t play in Division 1 football, so adjusting to that jump in competition will take some time.

Gates could make an immediate impact on special teams as a punt and kickoff returner.  He could be fielding the opening kickoff for the Dolphins vs. the Patriots in week 1…..He’s THAT gifted as a speed demon.  He ran a 4.37 40-yard dash at the combine and says he ran a 4.27 on a track.  He’s 6’0″ and 192 lbs. and reports indicate that he has good hands.  Here’s a look at his highlight film…He’s that blur you see wearing #8:

Many Dolfans will be happy that the Dolphins finally added some much needed speed to the roster with this pick.  We are too.  Now they will have to continue to add speed with the remaining draft picks they have AND through free agency (whenever it starts).   Our guess would be the Dolphins select an OLB, maybe a speedy, pass catching TE, and a speedy RB with their remaining picks.

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Analyzing the Dolphins Trade-up for Daniel Thomas

Last night the Miami Dolphins either made one of their brighter moves in recent memory…..or one of the dumbest.  Only time will tell which one it was.  The Dolphins held the #79 pick (3rd round) and the draft was moving along.  It was rumored yesterday that the Dolphins were looking for a trade partner to get back into the 2nd round (having traded that pick last year for Brandon Marshall).  When the Washington Redskins went on the clock with pick #62 (2nd round), Jeff Ireland made a call.  He was worried that his player (Daniel Thomas RB Kansas State) wouldn’t be available much longer.  It turns out that he was right because the Bengals planned to take Thomas with the 2nd pick of the 3rd round.  So Ireland made the call and traded the Dolphins #79 pick (3rd round), #146 (5th round), and #217 (7th round) to the Redskins for the #62 overall.  Ireland didn’t trade ANY future draft picks.  The Dolphins moved up 17 spots by trading a 5th and 7th rounder.  So anyone that thinks he gave up too much may want to rethink that.

In fact, if you look at a commonly used draft trade chart, the Redskins pick was worth 284 and the picks the Dolphins gave up were worth a combined 232.6.  This means the Dolphins gave up less than they needed to in order to move up.  We don’t think many Dolfans will have a problem so much with the trade up as they do with the player that was selected with the pick acquired.

With the 62nd pick of the 2011 NFL Draft, the Miami Dolphins selected Daniel Thomas, running back from Kansas State.  With Colin Kaepernick, Andy Dalton, and Ryan Williams no longer on the board, we thought for sure the Dolphins were moving up to get Ryan Mallett, QB Arkansas.  Turns out we were wrong.   In the 12 hours since the pick, we’ve heard outrage from Dolfans, upset that the Dolphins passed on Ryan Mallett.  The sting intensified later in the draft as the hated New England Patriots selected Mallett….salt meet wound.  Truth be told, we have no idea how good Ryan Mallett or Daniel Thomas will be in the NFL.  Mallett might be a backup to Tom Brady who is traded for a future draft pick.  OR, he could haunt the Dolphins for years to come. You never can tell with the Pats.

But lets look ahead and not worry, for a moment, about who the Dolphins could have picked.  They selected Daniel Thomas, a big, bruising running back from Kansas State.  He’s listed at 6’0″ tall, weighing 230 lbs.  Here’s the NFL.com report on the Thomas.  Thomas many not have elite running back speed, but Jeff Ireland said he has quick “game speed”.  He ran a 4.55 40-yard dash for the Dolphins, so he does have some speed.  He’s been called a slippery runner, who can run between the tackles and can find open space when there isn’t much available.

In his 2 years at Kansas State Thomas rushed 545 times for 2,850 yards and 30 tds.  Oh yeah, did we tell you he has only been a running back for 2 years?  Before that…..he was a quarterback.  This leads us to 2 conclusions.  #1 He should only get better as he learns the position and develops into an NFL running back.  #2 The Wildcat might not be going away anytime soon.  Last year the Wildcat suffered because teams caught on and realized there was no passing threat.  They also were able to penetrate through the Dolphins weak offensive line and blow up plays before they began.  Solidifying the Offensive Line and taking a player like Thomas could help take the Wildcat to the next level.  And before you say that you hate the wildcat, remember that it played a part in the Dolphins winning the AFC East in 2008.  You can’t deny that it did.

Overall we would have rather had Ryan Mallett.  BUT, we are okay with the Dolphins picking up a running back that could be elite, if he continues to develop.  The Dolphins have now addressed 2 major needs in this draft and should be better for it.  Remember that the Dolphins still have a 4th, 6th, and 2-7th round picks today.  We think they’ll take a TE, home run threwt RB/Kick Returner, and maybe even a pass rushing OLB.  The Dolphins also have free agency to continue to build the 2011 roster.  Maybe they’ll bring in a veteran to compete with Chad Henne.  It’s too soon to know.  Just try to keep things in perspective,  the world is not ending because the Dolphins didn’t pick Ryan Mallett.

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Could the Dolphins Trade-Up into 2nd round tonight?

So we’ve had almost 24 hours to digest the Dolphins first round selection of Mike Pouncey (G/C Florida).  It seems that fans were initially unhappy with the pick, but some are beginning to warm up to the idea of having a smash mouth offensive line…The Dolphins HAVE been trying to build one for some time now!  What’s done is done, so if you are unhappy, fine. But like it or not, Mike Pouncey will likely be the Dolphins opening day Center.

We now move onto day 2 of the Draft, which will unveil rounds 2 and 3.  The Miami Dolphins currently hold pick number #79, which means they’ll likely be on the clock around 10 o’clock tonight.  That is, unless the Dolphins see fit to move up into the 2nd round and draft a player they truly covet.  The fan base wants a play maker.  The front office knows they need playmakers.  The front office also knows that it HAS to produce a playoff caliber team in 2011 or they’ll be out of a job in January 2012 (or sooner).

Trade up target?

Connecting the dots with some inside information, leads us to believe that the Dolphins will try to trade-up into the 2nd round tonight.  Jason La Canfora reported just that earlier today on NFL Network.  Our guess is that the Dolphins would like to trade up into the second round to select a quarterback (Ryan Mallett, Andy Dalton, or Colin Kaepernick). The Dolphins could also be interested in moving up to select Ryan Wlliams (RB Virginia Tech).  Williams could probably come in and start from day 1 for the Dolphins, filling their currently empty backfield.  Either way, the Dolphins will likely have to give up their first round pick in 2012.  For a desperate regime, it might not be too illogical to trade a pick next year (when they might not be here) for a player that they can sign and develop for a full year.  Would you rather have Ryan Mallett or Colin Kaepernick in your system for a year, or draft a rookie next April in the 1st round and wait another year for him to develop?

La Canfora previously said that he wouldn’t be surprised if the Dolphins selected Kaepernick with the #15 pick in the first round, so he would be our guess as to whom the Dolphins would trade up for.  Our initial thoughts last night were that the Dolphins would try to trade down in the 1st round and take Kaepernick with the late first round pick.  They couldn’t find a trade partner, so they took Mike Pouncey at #15.  The Dolphins also did extensive research on Ryan Mallett so he could be the quarterback they want in the second round.  It’s a tough call to make, but certainly one that’s worth investigating for Jeff Ireland.  What do you think?  If the Dolphins traded up into the 2nd round, which player would you select?

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Mike Pouncey was a good choice at #15, Let’s all calm down

Like the rest of Phin Nation, I sat in front of the television watching the NFL Draft unfold.  I saw the Titans grab Jake Locker at #8 and then the Vikings take Christian Ponder at #12.  I wondered if the run on quarterbacks (4 in the top 12 picks) could make the Dolphins anxious enough to take one in the first round.  They decided not to.  And as it turned out, no other QBs were taken in the first round anyway, so if there is a guy they want, he’s still on the board.  The Dolphins did try to trade down in the first round to acquire additional picks but as Jeff Ireland said “the phone wasn’t ringing”.

So the Dolphins were sitting with the #15 pick in the draft.  Mark Ingram (RB Alabama), Mike Pouncey (G/C Florida), Colin Kaepernick (QB Nevada), and Ryan Mallett (QB Arkansas) were still on the board.  At one point or another the Dolphins were rumored to have interest in each of them.  Andy Dalton was still on the board and when the NFL network showed a video of him right before the Dolphins pick, I feared the worst.  I told my friends that I was with “if they take Dalton, it will rival the Ted Ginn Jr. pick”.   Thankfully, the Dolphins did not take Dalton and decided to take Mike Pouncey to fill their need for an interior offensive lineman.  From what I could gather, the immediate reaction from Dolphins’ fans was one of disappointment (probably saying it mildly).  Dolphins fans, myself included, wanted a flashy play maker, ideally a quarterback.  Given the regression we saw from Chad Henne in 2010, Phin Nation wanted the Dolphins to finally select a quarterback in the first round…someone who could replace Chad Henne.  The Dolphins, instead, thought it was best to select an interior offensive lineman that can help pave the way for a self proclaimed ‘running team’ that finished 30th last year in rushing.  It’s a logical choice, especially considering the draft still has 2 more days (6 rounds) and free agency has yet to begin.

Meet Mike Pouncey

We all know (or should) that Mike Pouncey is the twin brother of Maurkice Pouncey of the Pittsburgh Steelers.  Last year, Maurkice made an immediate impact for the Steelers and went to the Pro Bowl.  Last year he was one of the top 2-3 centers in all of football…as a rookie.  Most scouts agree that Mike is not quite as good as his brother.  However, if he’s just a tick below Maurkice, the Dolphins made an excellent choice at #15.  Mike can play guard and center, which gives the Dolphins the versatility to use Pouncey at center/Incognito at guard or vice versa. His snapping problems last year can be overcome if he plays center for the Dolphins.  Most of the bad snaps happened early in the season, when he was moved to center.  He is quick on his feet and is rarely knocked off of them.

He is GREAT at pulling, which is something the Dolphins lacked from their interior lineman last year.  In fact, he sometimes was so anxious to pull and hit someone that he messed up the snap…again, that’s coachable.  Here’s the scouting report from NFL.com on Pouncey.  We know a lot of Dolphins fans are upset that the team didn’t take a quarterback or playmaker in the first round.  We get it…we were disappointed too.  But take some solace in knowing that the team did take a guy that could anchor the O-line for the next 10 years. At least we didn’t take a WR that doesn’t like contact and runs out of bounds as soon as he catches the ball!

What to expect tonight

I think we could be in for a surprise or 2 tonight from the Dolphins.  I think (and hope) that the Dolphins are planning to move into the second round of the draft tonight. I think (and hope) that they have a specific target in mind for this trade up…Colin Kaepernick.  He was not drafted in the first round, like many thought could happen.  But with Kaepernick, Dalton, Mallett, or Ryan Williams (RB Virginia Tech) on the board, there is a chance that at least one of them lasts until the mid to late second round.  I don’t like Dalton, but if Kaepernick or Mallett are there, the Phins should look to move up and take one of them. So, having said that, I’m sure we’ll have Andy Dalton under center next year.

We think the Dolphins will look to add a QB and/or RB with their pick(s) tonight. The Dolphins need a running back, but could look to resign Ronnie Brown and get a home run hitting speedster at RB in rounds 3-4.  It will be exciting and we’re looking forward to seeing what happens tonight.

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Dolphins Draft could go many different ways tonight

Happy Draft Day Phin Nation!  After months and months (and months) of speculation and smokescreens, we’re finally going to find out who the Dolphins will take in the 1st round of tonight’s NFL Draft.  Notice we didn’t say “who the Dolphins will take with the #15 pick”.  That’s because we are fairly sure that the Dolphins will do everything in their power (perhaps even take a lesser deal) to move back in the draft and acquire additional picks.  Yesterday we gave you a few potential trade down partners, but in reality, it could be anyone.

So what is going through Jeff Ireland’s head this morning as he prepares for his first Dolphins draft without the Tuna?  Our guess is that he’s probably got more than a few players/positions in mind.  The Dolphins have to keep a lot of options open, given their desire to trade down and acquire more picks.  Since they don’t know if they’ll be drafting at #15 or some point lower in the draft, they need to have their homework done on a number of players.

Here are a few different ways the Dolphins could go tonight:

Best Player Available - The Dolphins, whether at #15 or not, could look to take the best player available on their board.  It could be Mark Ingram, Mike Pouncey, Jake Locker…..or even a defensive player (i.e. Robert Quinn).  Yes, the Dolphins, who have glaring needs on offense, could acquire a pass rushing OLB if he’s the best player on the board at the time they pick.  It might not be popular in South Florida, but it might be the way they go.

Franchise Quarterback – The Dolphins could also have a quarterback that they absolutely love and think can develop to be the next Dan Marino.  If that’s the case, whether it’s Ryan Mallett, Blaine Gabbert, Colin Kaepernick, or someone else, the Dolphins could move up or down the draft board to get their guy.

Addressing RB Need – 2 months ago, every mock draft we saw had the Dolphins taking Mark Ingram RB – Alabama in the first round.  Things have changed since then, but the Dolphins still only have 2 running backs on the roster.  They could look to address the need at running back by taking Ingram, who many people think is the best RB in the draft.

Address OL Need - The trendy pick on draft day seems to be Mike Pouncey.  Mock drafts have been putting him with the Dolphins lately and we can’t disagree that there’s a need to improve the interior of the offensive line.  However, you have to wonder how many interior lineman this front office is going to draft before one finally pans out.

If we had to make a prediction we’d say that the Dolphins will trade back in the first round to acquire picks and select Colin Kaepernick with their first selection.  Whichever way the Dolphins decide to go, there’s no doubt tonight’s draft will be filled with drama.  We are sure they’ve done there homework and can only hope they know what their doing.  After all, please keep in mind that as much as the fans want the Dolphins to be good this year, Tony Sparano and Jeff Ireland want it more…….Their jobs depend on it.

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Possible Trade-Down Partners for Dolphins in Round 1

We have heard A LOT about the Miami Dolphins desire to trade down in round one and regain the second round pick they traded away for Brandon Marshall.  The question no one has an answer for is: Who will the Dolphins trade with?  It’s very hard to guess as to which team would pull off such a trade because we won’t know until tomorrow night, which players are left on the board.  If a player falls (i.e. Robert Quinn), a team with a later pick might make the move up the draft board to get him.  Or, if there is a run on defensive lineman or offensive tackles, a team could move up in desperation to grab one.  With the lack of free agency this offseason, teams across the league enter the draft with more holes to fill than ever.

In preparation for the Draft, Jeff Ireland has probably made a phone call (or 12) to various NFL teams to gauge their interest in trading up for the #15 pick in the draft.  Before the Draft, many GMs will contact other teams and will set up the framework of a trade so that it can be finalized quickly on Draft night.  Here are a few trade scenarios that could come down tomorrow night:

Indianapolis Colts – Trade their first (#22) and second (#21) for Dolphins first (#15) and sixth (#14)

The Colts have a glaring need at tackle and could look to move up if one of the top 2 are still left when the Dolphins are on the clock.

Chicago Bears - Trade their first (#29), second (#30), and a later pick (5th-7th round) for Dolphins first (#15)

The Bears offensive line was atrocious last year.  If they have fallen in love with one of the tackles available or one of the interior players (Pouncey, Carimi), they could definitely look to move up.

Denver Broncos – Trade their 2 x second rounders (#4 and #14) and third rounder of 2012 for Dolphins first (#15)

The Broncos are rumored to be looking to draft a defensive player with the #2 pick.  If they select Patrick Peterson with the #2 pick, they could look for D-line help if a player they love falls to #15.

New York Giants – Trade their first (#19) and third (#19) for Dolphins first (#15)

The Giants are looking to improve their running game and may be looking at one of the interior lineman we mentioned above (Carimi/Pouncey).  Moving up to ensure that they get one of them could be their goal.  The Dolphins wouldn’t regain their 2nd round pick, but would only drop back 4 spots in the 1st and would pick up a 3rd round to increase their draft pool.

Philadelphia Eagles – Trade their first (#21) and second (#22) for Dolphins first (#15)

The Eagles are always active on draft day, so we wouldn’t be surprised at all if they decided to move up in the first round to get the player they covet.  They could target a linebacker or even an O-lineman.

These are our best guesses at who some viable trading partners will be for the Dolphins tomorrow night.  We’ll know soon as the Draft begins in just over 24 hours!

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Why won’t the Dolphins select a QB early in Draft?

The Miami Dolphins are in an unenviable position as they enter the 2011 NFL Draft.  Why?  For starters, they don’t have a 2nd round pick because they traded it last year to the Broncos for Brandon Marshall (which is STILL a good move).  Secondly, the Dolphins front office comes into 2011 wreaking of desperation.  We say that because another season without the playoffs will likely mean that Tony Sparano and Jeff Ireland will be looking for somewhere else to work next offseason.  Third, the Dolphins finished 7-9 last year netting them the #15 pick in the first round.  The #15 pick  isn’t terrible, but it’s not good either.  Fourth, the Dolphins drafted a QB a few years ago (Henne) and still aren’t sure if he can be ‘the guy’.  Complicating things more is the Lockout which might or might not be lifted this afternoon, allowing for player trades and free agent signings.

So what does all of this mean to the Dolphins pursuit of a QB to challenge Chad Henne?  Well, an extension to the Lockout means that the Dolphins will only be able to acquire a QB via the draft and that player won’t be able to speak with his coached until the Lockout is over (which could be June).  Given how rookie QB’s usually struggle anyway, it’s hard to imagine one coming in and succeeding in his first year, without a full offseason of work with his new coaches/team.  Strike 1 against drafting a QB.

It’s possible that the Dolphins have identified a quarterback that is on the trading block or is a free agent, that they believe can help the team win in 2011.  That player could be Vince Young, Carson Palmer, Kyle Orton, etc.  If the Dolphins brass wants to roll the dice and wait out the Lockout, they can do so, if they think a veteran gives them a better chance of saving their jobs.  Strike 2 against drafting a QB.

This year’s draft class of quarterbacks is considered by experts to be a sub-par class.  Most agree that Cam Newton and Blaine Gabbert are the best of the bunch, but both still have big question marks.  The chance of either Newton or Gabbert being available at #15 are slim anyway.   Most NFL people think the next level of QBs (Mallett, Locker, Ponder, Dalton) are rated as second round talents, so picking them at #15 would be a reach.  Strike 3 against drafting a QB. With the effect of the Lockout, the Dolphins draft position, and the need to win now, we don’t expect the Dolphins to select a quarterback on Thursday night.

HOWEVER, that doesn’t mean that we don’t think they should draft a QB.  We believe that the Dolphins are trying desperately to trade back in the first round to pick up a 2nd or 3rd round pick. If they can, we expect them to select a QB (Mallett/Kaepernick) with their first rounder then address other needs as the draft continues (RB, G/C, TE).  If they are forced to pick at #15 we think they should draft the best player available.  There is a chance (a CHANCE) that Blaine Gabbert slips a bit.  If he falls to the #9-#12 range, we could see the Dolphins making a play to get him.  It’s doubtful, but it’s a possibility. Llyodd Christmas (Dumb and Dumber) – “So you’re saying there’s a chance”

The Bottom Line: The Dolphins have seen Chad Henne progress in 2009 and regress in 2010.  Ireland and Sparano’s jobs are on the line this year, so they’re probably in survival mode and won’t risk taking a player that can’t help them immediately.  We don’t think Henne gives the Dolphins the best chance to be a perennial contender in the NFL, so we think for the long term good of the franchise, they SHOULD draft a QB if given the opportunity.  Unfortunately, what we think they should do, and what they actually do, are two completely different things.

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What does Judge Nelson’s Ruling mean to the Dolphins?

We’re going to give you the most simple version of this story, so please stay with us.  Yesterday afternoon, a judge in Minnesota sent shockwaves throughout the NFL landscape.  Judge Nelson ruled that the Owner imposed NFL Lockout violated anti-trust laws because it caused irreparable harm to the players.  She issued an 89 page document which specified the nature and thoughts behind her ruling.  She made it as ‘appeal proof’ as possible.  In those 89 pages, it is very important to note that Judge Nelson did not specify that the Lockout could ‘stay’ in place until the Owners appeal could be heard by the 8th Circuit Court.  If a ‘stay’ is in place, the Lockout will continue until the appeal is ruled on and the black-hole of NFL free agency and trades will continue.

If the ‘stay’ is not in place, chaos is likely to ensue, unless rules/guidelines for the NFL season are put in place.  You see, there is no Collective Bargaining Agreement to govern the new NFL season right now.  There are no franchise tags, restricted free agents, salary caps, etc.  It’s lawless chaos if the ‘stay’ is not granted.  One beat reporter (Omar Kelly) referred to this possibility as the ‘Wild Wild West’.  This is truly uncharted territory which you will notice if you try to read anything from anyone covering the story.  Everyone has a different opinion on what’s going to happen next.  What we CAN do, is break down a few of the possibilities for you, to give you an idea of how things might shake out.  We’ll get to that in a second.

So, what does all of this mean to the Miami Dolphins?  It means they still don’t know which contingency plan to use yet!  As we’ve mentioned before, Jeff Ireland/Tony Sparano have come into this offseason with a few different offseason strategies that rely on how the Labor Mess is resolved.  They may use one or a combination of strategies to improve the Dolphins 2011 roster.  Here are our thoughts on how things could unfold in the coming week(s) and the possible effects on the Dolphins:

Possibility 1 – Stay is granted

If the ‘stay’ is granted by Judge Nelson tomorrow, the Lockout will continue until the 8th Circuit Court hears the appeal.  That decision could take 1-2 months.  That means the NFL Draft is the only bit of football Dolphins’ fans will have between now and then.  The Dolphins will likely sit back and continue to monitor the Dolphins player-only practices that have been ongoing.  They’ve probably already had vague discussions with potential free agents to gauge their interest in coming to Miami.  They’ll never admit it, but they probably have (i.e. mutual interest with DeAngelo Williams).  If the judges in the 8th Circuit Court uphold Nelson’s ruling, the Lockout is lifted and the players can return to their facilities.  A new CBA would be determined by the court system unless the Players/Owners can agree to one first.  This scenario will mean football is played in 2011.  If the 8th Circuit Court rejects Nelson’s ruling, the Lockout could go on for months, possibly resulting in missed games.

Possibility 2 – Stay not granted

If Judge Nelson decides that the Lockout is already causing harm to the players, she may deny the Owners request for the ‘stay’.  This is where it gets very tricky because Nelson did not outline the rules/regulations by which the NFL should operate.  Unless something changes, the NFL could change dramatically.  The Dolphins could, in theory, sign any available player they wanted to (Peyton Manning and DeAngelo Williams are free agents!).  This is unlikely because many owners would not be willing to open up their checkbooks for players that they are fighting against in court.  If owners refuse to sign players, however, they could face collusion charges.  This would be interesting because no one has any idea what would happen…it would be chaos.

The most common situation we’ve heard is that the NFL would adopt the rules from last year.  This is NOT necessarily good news for the Dolphins….especially fans like us that would like to see DeAngelo Williams in Miami next year.  If the NFL adopts the 2010 rules, players will not be eligible for unrestricted free agency until they have 6 years of NFL experience.  This means Williams would be restricted and would likely return to the Carolina Panthers.  For the Dolphins it would also mean that Tyler Thigpen would be back in Miami.  It means there would be slim pickings on the NFL Free Agency list for the Dolphins to improve their roster.

So what about the Draft?  If Judge Nelson denies the ‘stay’, it will basically mean that she’s ordering the NFL to open for business. It could take a day…or a week for the new league year to start.  Why?  Because no one knows what the rules for 2011 will be!  Sorry for the redundancy.  If it happens quickly (by Thursday) there is the possibility that trades involving players will be allowed before/during the NFL Draft.  Needless to say, this could have a drastic effect on how the Draft plays out.

Unfortunately, in the most inactive NFL offseason, we’re forced to wait a little longer before knowing what the game we love will look like in 2011.  By the time September comes, will it have been worth the wait?  If Jeff Ireland and Tony Sparano do their job this offseason it should be for the Dolphins.

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Could Blaine Gabbert fall to Dolphins at #15?

It’s no secret that the Miami Dolphins have been scouting quarterbacks leading up to the 2011 NFL Draft.  They’ve met with Ryan Mallett a number of times….they’ve been rumored to be highly interested in Cam Newton and Colin Kaepernick.  They’ve been connected to almost every draft eligible quarterback in this draft because the Dolphins are looking to upgrade the QB position given Chad Henne’s struggles in 2010.

Well yesterday there was a new name added to the mix: Blaine Gabbert, QB – Missouri.  The Dolphins arranged a meeting with Gabbert in mid-March, however we didn’t pay much attention to it because at the time we thought Gabbert would be long gone by the time the #15 pick rolled around.  For a few months, it seemed that he would be the #1 overall pick by the Carolina Panthers.  According to John Clayton of ESPN, the Panthers have narrowed their choices at #1 to Cam Newton and a few defensive players.  So logic would tell us that Gabbert would just go to the next QB needy team out there right?  The Bills?  The Titans?  The 49ers?  Well, according to Pat Kirwan of NFL.com, he see’s Gabbert going to our favorite QB needy team – The Miami Dolphins.  Take a look at his latest mock draft here.  This is certainly the exception to the rule in regards to where Gabbert will likely go, but it appears his stock may not be as high as it once was.

If Gabbert fell to #15, it would be a dream scenario for the Dolphins…or at least that’s our opinion.  We remember a few years ago when the dream scenario unfolded and Brady Quinn was on the board when the Dolphins selected and instead the Commissioner read “Ted Ginn Jr., WR Ohio State University”.  So crazier things have happened.  However, if the #14 pick is made and Blaine Gabbert is still on the board, we don’t think it would take long for the Dolphins to call in their pick.

Gabbert is an athletic QB who will need some time to adjust to reading NFL defenses.  He is 6’4″, 235 lbs. and ran a 4.64 40-yard dash. He has an above average arm and is accurate.  He can make and extend plays using his feet.  If he is on the board, we’d be shocked if the Dolphins didn’t call his name.  More likely, he will not last until the #15 pick.  However, if he starts to fall, say to the 10-13 range, we wouldn’t be shocked if the Dolphins moved up to get him.  The popular belief is that Gabbert and Newton are a step above the other QBs in the draft.  So if it took swapping places in the 1st round this year and trading a 2nd/3rd round pick next year, would you do it?  The Dolphins just might, as there have been rumblings that the Dolphins have Newton/Gabbert at the top of their list.  It’s possible the Dolphins “QB of the future”  might not be the one that many Dolphins fans have been thinking it will be (Ryan Mallett).

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