The Miami Dolphins have left themselves quite a lot of work to do in the NFL Draft next month. Free agency is winding down and the Dolphins still have needs on the right side of the offensive line, at defensive end (pass rusher), at wide receiver (2?), at safety, and yes, at quarterback. The Dolphins can still fill a hole or two by signing a veteran (Jake Scott, Phillip Wheeler, others). They could also hold out hope that a veteran or two, an acorn if you will, could become available later this offseason as teams trim their rosters. We’ll know sooner or later.
For today, though, we want to focus on the draft. The Dolphins have a top 10 pick for the first time since they had # 1 overall in 2008, when they drafted Jake Long. Like most years, everyone has an opinion on what the Dolphins should do with the #8 selection. Should they take Ryan Tannehill, who some believe can be a franchise QB? Should they take a supposed ‘elite’ pass rusher, like Quinton Coples? Or should they invest another draft pick in the offensive line by drafting a Cordy Glenn or David DeCastro? That last question probably made you throw your phone or computer onto the floor.
Miami Dolphins fans have been waiting…um, impatiently, for the Dolphins to find a franchise quarterback. Will 2012 finally be the year? Will Ryan Tannehill be that franchise quarterback? After all, the Dolphins haven’t used a first round pick on a quarterback since the golden arm himself, Dan Marino (We miss you Dan!). The Dolphins currently have 2 viable starting QB options on their roster in David Garrard and Matt Moore. Tannehill, who possesses all of the tools to be an effective NFL QB, will need time to develop.
From everything I’ve read, Ryan Tannehill is graded by most ‘experts’ as a 2nd round draft pick. However, due to the emphasis on the quarterback position in the NFL, his stock seems to be skyrocketing into the first round….perhaps even the top 10. With Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin 3rd most likely coming off the board at 1-2 respectively, the next best quarterback will be pushed up to a team that needs a quarterback…..and that team could be the Miami Dolphins.
Yesterday, we told you that the Miami Dolphins brought in OG Jake Scott and LB Phillip Wheeler. Today, wanted to let you know that the Dolphins are in negotiations with both players. It appears, barring a snag, that the Dolphins could sign both players by today or tomorrow.
When asked by a fan if he would be back with the Colts in 2012, Wheeler tweeted: “I wish man. I Think I’m taking my talents to South Beach lol. Not sure yet though.” So one would have to assume that he’s interested in becoming a Miami Dolphin, if the money works out. Wheeler was impressive in his college days and fits the mold of a pass rushing specialist. His signing would probably more about depth, but given the amount the Dolphins rotate personnel on defense, he could be a solid contributor.
Over the weekend, the Miami Dolphins brought in 2 free agents for a visit. The Dolphins welcomed Jake Scott and Phillip Wheeler to Davie to kick the tires on these second-tier free agents. Maybe, just maybe, the Dolphins aren’t done adding pieces to the roster before the draft.
Jake Scott, formally of the Tennessee Titans, is a 6’5″ 295 lb. offensive guard. Scott started 121 of 124 games during his time in Tennessee. Scott is an athletic lineman, which makes sense considering the offense Joe Philbin wants to install. According to the Sun Sentinel, Scott was ranked as the 7th best offensive guard in 2011, allowing just 2 sacks and committing just 3 penalties. Scott, if signed, would likely replace Vernon Carey at the right guard position for the Dolphins. Carey was not resigned by the Dolphins and still remains a free agent.
When the Miami Dolphins sign David Garrard earlier this week, it was met with a lot of questions. Since the signing, we heard from Garrard and from Jeff Ireland. According to both men, the Dolphins will have an open QB competition in training camp between Garrard and Matt Moore. Honestly, I feel like someone is messing with me. Doesn’t it seem like the Dolphins are always entering camp with a QB competition for the starter’s job? Last year, the Dolphins sign Matt Moore who was signed to backup Chad Henne. Some suggest he didn’t have a legit shot in the competition with Henne, but we saw Moore’s value after he was forced to take over the starting role. Moore guided the Dolphins to a 6-3 record. Moore has dodged bullets this offseason, with the Dolphins missing on Peyton Manning and Matt Flynn. Either would have been named the Dolphins new starter upon signing with the team.
Since the Dolphins were unable to bring in a clear upgrade to Matt Moore, they turned their attention to a guy who didn’t play in 2011 and is returning from an injured back. Garrard’s contract will pay him just over $3 mil for 1 season. He’s a low-risk, medium reward type signing. I can’t say high reward, because Garrard does not have high reward potential. This is not meant to diminish the value Garrard can bring. He either beats out Matt Moore for the starting job, or he gives the Dolphins the best backup QB option in the division (except for maybe the Jets, I’M KIDDING!).
When the Miami Dolphins traded away their best offensive weapon, Brandon Marshall, many Dolphins fans thought the Dolphins had a plan on how to replace him. That was a week and a half ago, and the Dolphins haven’t added a receiver since the Marshall trade. This leads us to believe that the Dolphins will look to the NFL Draft to add talent to their receiving corps. Joe Philbin told a group of Dolphins alumni that the strategy on offense in Green Bay was to build through the draft. With the number of holes the Dolphins currently have, you have to believe he plans on doing the same thing in Miami.
The Dolphins currently have Davone Bess, Brian Hartline, Clyde Gates, Roberto Wallace, and Jullius Pruitt on their roster. Bess is a great slot receiver, but none of the other names particularly screams Donald Driver or Greg Jennings….not yet at least. The Dolphins will most likely look to add at least 1 receiver in the draft. My guess would be that they use their ‘double down’ draft strategy and will select 2 receivers. They did this a few years ago when they selected Brian Hartline and Patrick Turner….then with Vontae Davis and Sean Smith. The Dolphins hold the #8 pick, which many expect to be used on a quarterback (Tannehill) or a pass rusher (Coples). However, they could look to trade back and acquire more picks. As it stands now, the Dolphins have 4 picks within the top 75. One would think that they plan to use 1 pick on a QB (Weeden or Tannehill), 1 pick on a pass rushing DE (Coples, Ingram, etc.) and at least one pick on a wide receiver (possibly 2). Wide receiver is the position we’ll focus on today. We’ll look at what traits Joe Philbin likes in his receivers and give you a few players that fit that mold.
The Miami Dolphins are running out of options at the quarterback position this offseason. However, Brandon Weeden could be the new object of the Dolphins affections. Early in the offseason, Dolphins fans were promised an upgrade at the QB position (comments Jeff Ireland probably regrets right now). They missed out on Peyton Manning and didn’t want to overspend for Matt Flynn. They’ve since sign David Garrard, who has been told he would compete with Matt Moore for the Dolphins starting quarterback job.
Jeff Ireland said on Tuesday that the Dolphins will not be signing another veteran QB. The Dolphins currently have Matt Moore, David Garrard, and Pat Devlin on their roster. Moore and Devlin are both veteran options, but not franchise quarterbacks. Devlin does not possess an NFL arm or, quite frankly, the potential to become an NFL QB. This would lead Dolphins fans, like myself, to believe that the Dolphins are going to draft a QB in the upcoming draft. With 2 veterans set to compete for the starting job, it’s likely that the Dolphins would pick a QB that needs some time to develop. That rookie QB could be Ryan Tannehill, Nick Foles, Brock Osweiler, or any other QB available in the draft. Tannehill is the most likely because of Mike Sherman’s familiarity with him from Texas A&M. Tannehill, most would agree, is not NFL ready and needs time to develop. He’s a distinct possibility.
The Miami Dolphins finally freed up some cap space on Monday. Unfortunately, it came at the cost of one of the most beloved, longest tenured Dolphins. Dolphins safety, Yeramiah Bell was released by the team just hours before the Dolphins agreed to sign new quarterback, David Garrard. Bell’s departure came as a shock, especially due to the timing.
According to Dave Hyde, the Dolphins told Bell’s representatives 3-4 weeks ago that the veteran safety was safe and wouldn’t be cut. Then, a week into free agency, after many safety positions have been filled, the Dolphins cut one of their team captains. Yes, Bell’s coverage has slipped over the last few years. However, Bell is still a sure tackler and a defensive leader on the field. Even if he is no longer playing up to his contract, he could have been released in a more classy fashion. I know, I know, it’s a business. After all, the Dolphins saved about $4.3 mil against this year’s cap by cutting Bell. All I’m saying is that his release could have been done earlier in the offseason.
Earlier today, we wrote a letter to the Miami Dolphins General Manager. That letter focused on the past and what has been a disappointing offseason for the Dolphins. We’ve since stopped and caught our breathe. It’s time to look forward. It’s time to assess what the Dolphins have already done this offseason and look to the future of what they can still do to improve the team in 2012.
What the Dolphins have done
1. Re-signed Paul Soliai – Bringing back big Paul was a good move. He signed a team-friendly deal because he wanted to come back to Miami. Soliai’s return solidifies the defensive line and gives the Dolphins one less need to fill this offseason. Soliai will continue to anchor the Dolphins D-line in the 3-4, but he will probably be used as a DT in the 4-3 sets on early downs.
2. Signing Richard Marshall – Marshall got a little more money than many expected a nickel corner to get. However, we’re unsure (so is Marshall) exactly where the Dolphins will play him. He can play free safety and cornerback. We mentioned previously that he could be a starting corner, if the Dolphins are actually shopping Sean Smith. He’s pulled down 17 ints in his 6 NFL seasons, so at least we know he can catch them when they come his way. No matter where he plays, this move improves the Dolphins secondary that ranked 25th in the NFL in 2011.
3. Signing Artis Hicks – Bringing Hicks in is an offensive line depth signing. He could potentially compete for the starting RG or RT spot, but he’s probably more of a utility guy (ala Nate Garner).
The Miami Dolphins are still looking for their QB upgrade over Matt Moore. According to ESPN, the Dolphins are expanding their search on Sunday by bringing in 49ers free-agent QB, Alex Smith. Smith’s visit with the Dolphins comes just a day after the team had Matt Flynn in for a visit.
With all of the hoopla surrounding Peyton Manning’s decision, it appears Alex Smith is open to looking at other options. The 49ers have flirted with Manning and now risk losing their starting QB. Earlier this offseason, the 49ers offered Smith a 3 year contract worth about $24 mil. Then, they jumped into the Manning race and are now one of the 3 finalists.
Bringing Smith in for a visit could simply be a leverage play by the Dolphins. It’s been reported that the Dolphins are looking to sign Flynn to a team friendly deal. Maybe those negotiations yesterday didn’t go very far, so the Dolphins are leveraging Flynn by bringing in Smith? Or, maybe the Dolphins actually have an interest in Smith?
Alex Smith was the number one overall pick in the 2005 draft. He struggled early in his career and has a 58% career completion percentage. However, last year, Smith blossomed. Smith threw for 17 TDs and just 5 INTs, leading the 49ers to the NFC Championship game. Maybe Joe Philbin sees something in Smith that makes him think he can be a better starter for the Dolphins than Flynn? Or maybe this is just a meeting that will cause Flynn to accept a lower offer from the Dolphins. We should know more later today…..
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