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Thursday, April 20, 2006

The case for a QB (updated)

Nick Saban just addressed the media about the Dolphins draft and he answered this question from me: If you get Joey Harrington, would you still be willing to draft a quarterback even in the first round to add vaule to the team?

"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.


Blogger Grasshopper said...

I think I would be sick if the Dolphins went with a QB in the 1st round. It's simply not a need at the moment. Taking a flyer in later rounds, even in the 3rd, would make more sense to me. If Brodie Croyle or Whitehurst are there in the 3rd, maybe Saban pulls the trigger. I'm convinced both those guys are legit and could increase in value.

QB is the ultimate boom or bust position, and taking one in the 1st this year, when there are other significant needs and our draft picks are already depleted would be a mistake. As your compatriot JC says, the 'Fins already spent their 2nd and 6th picks this year on QBs (and likely a 6th next year); it is doubtful they'll pick another one. I think the 'Fins will go with a CB or WR. Personally, I'd be happy with Chad Jackson, Santonio Holmes, or Antonio Cromartie.

5:08 AM  
Blogger Law Dawg said...

The reason Charlie Whitehurst isn't a low first round pick is because although he possesses the physical gifts to play QB at the next level, he lacks a lot of the mental components. He makes bad decisions, he has poor judgment, and he's careless with the ball. He reminds me of AJ "Touchy" Feeley (a lot of physical talent, but not much between the ears). Any team that drafts Whitehurst must be willing to spend a few years developing in his development.

10:25 AM  
Blogger CubanCulebra said...

Spending any pick this year on a QB passed the first round, barring a trade down, would be irresponsible. If we aquire Harrington, which all signs point towards we will, then we have our young QB of tomorrow with experience, and if he doesn't come out and throw 18 interceptions in 3 games, he will also have trade value next year equal to or higher than a sixth-rounder. If a miracle should occur, and believe me, it would have to be a miracle seeing as teams like Cleveland at 12 are also composing "What if's" scenarios when concerning Young or Cutler (see, then Saban should draft them for the very reason you mentioned in your blog- value. But I think Saban really wants value for Young/Cutler, if the miracle where to occur, this year rather than next. Saban is making it clear to all other teams that if any of those 2 players fall to 16, the buck stops there. By doing that, Saban will automatically draw phone calls from teams like Minnesota at 17, or Kansas City at 20, maybe even Cincinnati at 24. Those teams are all in dire need of a young QB. Minnesota has two second round and two third round choices and the ultimate revenge for the Carey debacle of `04 would be to finagle a 2 and 3 away from the Vikings for them to move up one spot. Most of you might think that two first day picks to move up one spot in the draft is absurd, but it'll be much cheaper then the next year where it may be as high as a two first rounders (see Matt Schaub). Heck, a 2 or 3 alone would be beauty. If we must draft Young/Cutler because no team offers a trade, well then, a GM has to do what a GM has to do. But it would be a critical maneuver, seeing as with 2 or 3 propper additions and a healthy Culpepper, Miami could be a Championship caliber team.

11:08 AM  
Blogger Diggs said...

the dolphins should trade down and pick up more picks. Saban is very in tune with getting value especially with the amount of depth in this draft...a qb should be avoided especially with trying to get harrington.

11:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Saban will never say "we won't draft a QB (or any other position) in the first round". Never. He's not the type of coach to be forthcoming about his plans because he knows that this might devalue the pick in the eyes of the other GM's. Remember that last year he led many people to believe that they were interested in Braylon Edwards (apparently he even told Edwards they were going to take him), so that teams that were interested in him might be inclined to give up a lot of value in exchange for the number 2 pick. It's a smart move by Saban, but one that leaves us fans completely unable to trust what he says when it comes to draft plans. So while he might have said that acquiring Harrington would not preclude him from drafting a QB, you can bet your nuts that that means nothing. He will Not be taking a QB in the first round because he has one that he can win with. CB, WR, or OL is the pick at 16.

1:16 PM  
Blogger Ottawafan said...

I think that if one of the "big 3" Qb's somehow falls into our pick (and I don't think that will happen) that we should deffinitely take him for the reasons my fellow blogger stated earlier. I think we could definitely pick up at least another 3rd rounder from one of the teams previously mentioned, maybe even a 2nd. Although I prefer taking C.Greenway and he won't likely be availible later in the first round, the chance to pick up more picks can't be ignored. After the first 10 picks their is not much drop-off in talent from picks 11-50. We could get an extra impact player by making this deal. This is a fairly deep draft we good depth at LB, DB (I love Cromartie's potential) and OL. These are the positions of greatest need for the Dolphins and we could come away with another starter. By the way your info on the Qb's is incorrect. I don't think much of Whitehurst, he seems too slow in his decision making, and I don't think O.Jacobs will be taken in the 2nd round either. For some reason (maybe level of competition?) some scouts are not that high on him. I, however, love the guy and thought he threw better than anyone at the combine, including Jay Cutler. If we can get this guy in the 3rd grab him. I don't know much about Cleo Clemens, but B.Berlin stinks and I don't like Harrington. And if Marcus Vick is around in the 7th somehow, take him. He has way more potential than another Kevin Vickerson and if he doesn't pan out and has off the field problems so-what!! We get rid of him and all we lost is a 7th rounder for a guy who runs a 4.5 40 and throws the ball better than his brother. We took a chance on Ricky last year and he deffinitely helped us.

6:17 PM  

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