The case for a QB (updated)
"That would not preclude us from taking a guy in the draft," Saban said.
So be warned Dolphins nation. If a quarterback is the highest player on Miami's board in any round, the team will take that guy regardless of the glut at the position.
That's significant because, by draft day, the Dolphins may have four quarterbacks in the fold -- starter Daunte Culpepper, backup Joey Harrington, third-stringer Cleo Lemon and NFL Europe player Brock Berlin.
That, in some eyes, would erase the need to draft a quarterback. Obviously not in Saban's eyes.
Saban is on this "value" kick which means he's going to use this draft to add the most value to the team as possible. Notice I didn't say add the most players at a need position or the most best-athletes available.
Just most value.
And that's where a QB draft pick comes in. I know it is all conjecture, but say, for the sake of this exercize one of the three first-round QBs is available when Miami picks. The Dolphins don't NEED a rookie QB who won't play at all in 2006.
But the reasons Saban would want one is that he provides great insurance for the future.
And that player also is valuable even if he's not an instant contributor. How?
Even if the Dolphins have a roster filled with talented QBs, the league-wide need at the position is so high that someone eventually will give high compensation for Miami's young QB.
Remember we're talking about an NFL in which the Packers are begging 58-year-old Brett Favre not to retire and guys like Jamie Martin, Aaron Brooks and Vinny Testaverde continue to get recycled.
The Green Bay Packers sort of pioneered the idea of stockpiling QBs and eventually got value picks for Brooks and Mark Brunell and, sadly for the Dolphins, it is how the Philadelphia Eagles got a second-round pick for A.J. Feeley.
This offseason, several teams approached the Atlanta Falcons about backup Matt Schaub. You know what the initial asking price for this former third-round selection was? Multiple first-round picks.
Saban would love the chance to get that kind of return on an investment. He conceded to me at the annual meetings last month that the dividend is lower when the initial expense for a player is a first-round pick. But remember how Jimmy Johnson turned picking Steve Walsh in the first round turned into two first round picks?
It's the value of QBs, my friends.
So if the impossible happens and Matt Leinart or Vince Young or Jay Cutler fall to the Dolphins, the team would take them. Failing that, I believe the team will try to take a QB in one of the later rounds.
Local stud Omar Jacobs will likely be gone in the second round, but Alabama's Brodie Croyle, Clemson's Charlie Whitehurst, UCLA's Drew Olson, Montana State's Travis Lulay and Barrick Nealy of Texas State could be available from from the third round forward.
I think Whitehurst has all the tools to be a fine NFL quarterback and don't really understand why he's not considered a low first-round guy. Maybe one of you draftniks can explain it to me.
Finally, for all the naysayers who believe the Dolphins would never draft another QB because it would mean them keeping four on the active roster, I remind you what the New England Patriots did six years ago.
They took this kid from Michigan almost as an afterthought and actually kept him on the roster as the fourth QB when everyone else was keeping only three QBs.
Less than two years later, the kid named Tom Brady took the team to the first of three Super Bowl victories. Do you think Nick Saban took notice that's how his good friend Bill Belichick hit the Super Bowl ring jackpot?
I think he did.