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Monday, April 17, 2006

The case for a DT

Good Morning Dolphins nation. I trust everyone had a wonderful holiday weekend and is eager and excited about this new work week ... OK, I'll settle for everyone having had a good weekend.

As promised, I will spend the next few days explaining why the Dolphins have needs at certain positions. Let's take care of the defensive tackle position today.

At first glance, the Dolphins seem loaded at DT. They have starter Keith Traylor, veteran backup Jeff Zgnonina, and youngsters Manny Wright and Kevin Vickerson on the roster. But it's clear the team knows it has a need at the position based on it bringing two DTs in for visits during free agency so far.

The reason is Traylor will be 37 years old by the season-opener and coming off a season in which he played very well, but had a knee injury that held him back. He missed one game when his right knee locked up just before the game and missed two more games recovering from surgery to that knee. To believe a 300-plus-pounder can continue to play indefinitely is ridiculous so the Dolphins need to find tomorrow's DT today.

That's where Wright and Vickerson come in, right?

I don't know about that. At the end of the day, Vickerson is a seventh-round pick who has not played a down in the NFL. Yeah, he could turn into a latter day Michael Carter (49ers in the 80s) but he could also be the most recent coming of Davern Williams (2004 draft) or Ernest Grant (2000 draft). We just don't know, and neither do the Dolphins.

Wright? Are you kidding me? He has done nothing to suggest to anyone he's the future. He gained only five pounds this offseason, which is encouraging because he had weight issues last year. But he seems better suited to being a DT in a 4-3 than a nose tackle in a 3-4. In the 3-4 the Dolphins need a guy who will cause a stalemate with the center and sometimes even require a double-team.

That's not Manny Wright at the point of attack. He's more a guy that relies on quickness than sheer strength. And I'm not sure he likes the idea of offensive linemen coming at him from every side as a NT.

Zgnonina, meanwhile, is a good complement at the position, but if he's your fulltime starter, you are not a great defensive line and not the strength of the team as Kevin Carter suggested earlier in this blog.

So that's the thinking. Who is likely to be available at No. 16?

Unfortunately, Oregon's Haloti Ngata will be gone in the top 10, while Michigan's Gabe Watson and Rodrigue Wright of Texas could go soon after that. That leaves LSU's Claude Wroten and FSU's Broderick Bunkley as the most likely candidates available where Miami picks.

I'm not saying the Dolphins will take either of those guys, but both Wroten and Bunkley are classic one-gap tackles and Nick Saban is extremely familiar with Wroten, having recruited and coached him at LSU.

Are both players a reach at No. 16? Probably. But neither will be available in the third round when the Dolphins pick next after making their pick in the first round.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dude, you make a lot of sense. If you speak as well as you write, you should be on ESPN or something.

12:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

While I agree that DT is a need, I don't agree that it has to be filled in the 1st round. There are some guys that will be available in rounds 3-4 that could fit the bill. Babatunde Oshinowo of Stanford, Montavious Stanley of Louisville, Johnny Jolly of Texas A&M, or Le Kevin Smith of Nebraska can all possibly play NT in the NFL.

2:23 PM  
Anonymous Boomer said...

Glad to see you no nothing about draft eligible defensive tackles. Bunkley a reach at 16? Oh dear. Bunkley could easily go at 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 and 12. Rodrique Wright as high as 16.....sheesh. Maybe in the 2005 draft had he declared.

3:27 PM  
Blogger John Dolfan said...

If that is Saban's plan (to draft a DT) then I would like to see him trade out of the 16 spot to a place where he could draft one of those guys, but also get an extra pick. I hate taking DT's that high (think Daryl Gardner), when there other impact positions in need of upgrade (WR, CB, or Safety).

Having said that, I have learned not to second guess the Nick-tator. Whatever pick he makes I am sure will be the right one.

4:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There are 5 positions not to be addressed in the first round of any draft , PK , Punter , DT ,Center and FB.These are all guys that a good drafting team finds in the later rounds.
1st round players are impact players or best athlete availible types.Wimbley from FSU or Ryans from Alabama would be a better fit.Both would allow Taylor to go to the End on rushing plays and allow Crowder to go into the Middle as well.On passing plays Hodge comes out and Ryans or Wimbley play opposite Taylor.

4:36 PM  
Blogger Ottawafan said...

There is no way Bunkley will be available at the 16th pick. If he somehow slips that far, TAKE HIM. I have never seen a guy that big who is in that kind of shape. He is a monster. Other than Bunkley and Ngata, no other DT is worth a 1st round pick.

4:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

sorry, i like you, armando, but please do your reaserch.

bunkley will not make it passed the ravens (#13) or eagles (#14)at the very worst.

rodrique wright out of texas is a 3-4 DE, or a quick DT in a dungy-style defense. there is no way he can anchor a 3-4 defense, at least not without a few years of weight gain, strength training, and coaching. therefore, it's not worth it. not to mention, he is projected AT BEST a low second - high third round selection.

that leaves gabe watson as the only player that can play the 3-4 NT position that warrants consideration at #16. however, most draft pundits (myself included) believe that Watson can be had in the latter parts of the first round or the early second. so if saban identifies him as the player that they must have, a trade down would be almost necessary to avoid a reach. and we all know how saban feels about reaching for players.

i feel receiver, 3-4 OLB, and cornerback are the three highest priorities, in that order, if miami was to stay at the #16 slot.

do you want to go through a season if booker or chambers goes down with wes welker or kelly campbell starting? i don't. plus, saban evaluated the free agent market and felt that it would be wrong to overpay for david givens, and it would be better to address receiver in the draft.

manny lawson or kamerion wimbley will get a strong look, should they be there at #16. they are impact players, athletes who can rush the quarterback. we all know that pass rushers are a valueable commodity in the nfl.

also, if saban feels that a cornerback such as jimmy williams, antonio cromartie, or johnathan joseph can truly be a star in this league, they might get consideration. however, it appears that miami's approach to the secondary is to stock with young, talented players who will make each other better by creating a very healthy competition in training camp.

6:13 PM  
Anonymous JoeMama said...

"while Michigan's Gabe Watson and Rodrigue Wright of Texas could go soon after that"
come on, these guys are not even projected to go in the first round--and you think they will be gone by pick 16? and bunkley a "reach" at 16??
it's hard to take anything you say seriously after comments like that.
sorry, but I do like the blog otherwise?
ps I remember when you used to write the pro wrestling column for the herald with that cartoon character where the photo should have been next to your byline!!

11:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

the guy i want is chad jackson at 16 but denver is likely to grab him at 15 that leaves us ohio state wr santoino holmes who if i was nick saban i would pick.but im starting to think the dolphins may select de manny lawson from nc state to pair with jt.bunkley sims watson or allen are also an option at 16.bottom line who ever the nicktator selects will help the dolphins out bigtime in 2006.

3:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Boomer is SO correct, concerning Bunkley

10:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You say Manny Wright cant be a NT? Well neither can Rodrique Wright or Claude Wroten. They do not have the size. Plus, they are both 2nd round picks at best. As well, there is no way Bunkley is a reach at 16, he could go as early as 8 to Buffalo.

The best fit as a 3-4 NT would be Gabe Watson... but even he would be a reach at 16.

10:28 AM  
Anonymous Steve said...

Armando, after saying Wright and Gabe Watson will go soon after Ngati I kinda don't see the purpose of reading future post. Watson might be a 1st rounder towards the end of the round and it would surprise no one if he didn't get picked in the 1st round cause he's been an underachiever his whole time at Michigan. If this post was from before the season started I could understand that comment but at this point to say that is just ridiculous. I know the draft is a crap shoot, but come on.

11:47 AM  
Blogger TimAtlanta said...

DT is a definite need. Zgonina is too small and old. Traylor is too old to play beyond this season.

I am speculating that Saban is grooming Wright and Vickerson as DE's in the 3-4. They are both too tall and not heavy enought to play NT.

Bowens is too small to play as a 3-4 DE and Roth looks like either an OLB in the 3-4, maybe an ILB in the 4-3, or a total bust. Did anybody check this guy's arm length prior to using a #2 pick on him?

Has anyone heard any news on the comebacks of Larry Chester or Tim Bowens. That would change our draft strategy greatly.

12:09 AM  

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