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Monday, May 01, 2006

Insider draft review

You know that every single coach in the NFL spent the last two days saying how happy he was with the players he got. You shouldn't believe half of them.

You should believe Nick Saban.

When Saban drafted DB Jason Allen in the first round, there was no one on the board he would have loved to have more. The Dolphins had a conviction on Allen and no one else at that point. Given Saban's history last year, I like the idea of him picking a guy he has a conviction about.

Would he have loved to have nose tackle Haloti Ngata? No doubt.

Kamerion Wimbley or the Cromartie kid as has been suggested in some other news outlets? No way.

I spent some one-on-one time with Allen on Sunday morning and he said the things I love to hear from a rookie pick. "I need to get to work to do a lot of improving to become the player I can be in the NFL," he said. "I have a lot to learn. But I come in thinking I'm going to be a good player for this team and eventually start."

I hate to hear it when guys you're paying $10 million to understate themselves or their goals. They better reach for the stars if they hope to soar at all. So that was cool.

The rest of the picks? I love that Miami got, not one, but two WRs. Derek Hagan seemed very sharp on his conference call, enough to recognize his shortcomings of not showing good hands at the Senior Bowl.

I believe you must recognize your errors and shortcomings before you can correct them. You have no idea how many players I've dealt with that didn't have the ability to see themselves objectively so they couldn't fix what was wrong or lacking in their game. Jaime Nails comes to mind.

Anyway, I like that both Hagan and Devin Aromashodu have played top-tier competition in college and both played in a pro-style offense. I believe one of the reasons many rookie receivers struggle so much their first year is they haven't faced top-caliber competition in lower division leagues or haven't played in the pro set.

The reason UF receivers struggled so much in the NFL after being so great in college is they no longer where playing in the Fun and Gun thing Steve Spurrier used. The pro-style is simply a big adjustment.

And while the top-tier conferences -- the Big 10, the SEC, the Big 10-12 -- offered great comp., they were running leagues for so many years. Their receivers had to get used to playing in a pro-set instead of the wishbone while guys like Mike Irvin or Brett Perriman or Brian Blades could play right away.

It was, I believe, because they came from a pro set offense that played top-flight comp.

Anyway, that's my unscientific theory why some receivers take a while to find their NFL footing.

The two D-tackles? The Dolphins took a shot with both and the most important thing you should remember is both are projects. Both have obvious drawbacks, but both also have one or two traits that give them a chance to produce.

Fred Evans can dunk a basketball at 305 pounds. He just has incredible explosion and that's big for a nose tackle. Yeah he went to a tiny school but he originally signed with Illinois to play in the Big 10 and he killed Texas A&M in a game last year.

Rodrique Wright is an insurance guy who may not play this year. He's got a reputation of not playing with urgency, but maybe part of that is the shoulder injury he had that the Dolphins discovered. I think he'll be stashed on injured reserve and we'll see him again in 2007.

As for fourth-round pick Joe Toledo ... sorry don't know enough yet to form an opinion. Just being honest.

OK, tell me what you think and whether you agree or not. I wonder why I just wrote that. You guys tell me what you think whether I ask or not.


Blogger CubanCulebra said...

Devin Aromashodu was a steal in the 7th. The kid is 6'2 with 4.35 speed. All the mock drafts I'd seen had him going 4-6. At worst, the guy is going to be a great kick returner/special teams player. I don't like any of the DT's. I just don't understand the picks. I'm sure they have great potential because Saban is no fool, but I also read an article where he mentioned value. Is there suppose to be value in the 7th round? Other than taking a long shot QB that pulls a Brady, I fail to see the value back there. Plus, we were in need of a NT for the 3/4. This was the hit on Manuel Wright and Kevin Vickerson, that they were nice prospects but could not anchor the 3/4. So in essence, we picked up two more of those? In this case, two Wrights make a big wrong (corny, but its the effort that counts). If either of the DT's puts on 30 pounds, I'll start hummin a different tune, till then, bring on the blues. And "Holy Toledo" it's Joey Toledo! Who? Exactly. But wait, I googled the guy and like what I found. Seems the kid played TE his four years at Washington and they moved him to the OT his last year. "Why would drafting an OT with nothing but TE experience excite me," you ask? Simple. Heres my line of reasoning: A)Feet are what make a tackle successful. You can preach technique and leverage all you want but those things can be coached. Agility, balance, gracefulness, those things can be practiced, but in the long run it's as simple as whether you were born an athlete or you weren't. B)You know Coach Houck had more than just a small opinion on the kid. He was surely the influence behind the pick. You think Saban pays him more mulah than any other OL coach in the league for his company? "So, who cares?" I do. If there is anyone I trust more than Saban in this organization it's Hudson Houck. Look what the guy did with same OL we had in 2004. He's beyond a genius. He may be a god, at the very least, a super hero. With a name like Hudson Houck? There's a criminal out there as I type who's about to get the whoopin of his life and the proper instruction on how to protect against a nickel blitz package. Chuck Norris beware, the Houck's on the loose.

4:11 AM  
Blogger Mike said...

Happy to see Miami not trade down,so that they will have a full compliment of draft picks next year,FINALLY. Good job Nick. I absolutely love the direction he's taking this team,patience is the oppretive word. We're still another year away from Super Bowl.

11:20 AM  
Blogger The Dude said...

“You guys tell me what you think whether I ask or not.”

That’s true. AND the anonymous guy rips you while the Canadians all hate you. So is the life of our favorite Dolphin blogger …

Now, on to my thoughts:

I agree with Mike. Patience is key. And while I’m not too crazy about every single pick, we have to trust that Nick knows what he’s doing. I like that he drafts kids he either knows (Jason Allen), recruited (Rod Wright) or is familiar with (Devin Aromashodu). It’s all part of the master scheme.

I would have liked to see us draft an OLB somewhere. But, hey, In Nick We Trust. Like Mike said above, we’re headed in the right direction.

(p.s. on our site, we have scouting analysis and grades on this year’s draft class if you’re interested.)

12:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think Saban’s approach to the draft is right on. I also like the fact that he refused the temptation to give up any picks from this years or next years 2007 draft thereby banking valuable picks that the dolphins have been squandering in the last few drafts (I’m referring to the past regime). In essence, Saban took what came to him, remained discipline in not getting caught in the draft hype and ended up with high quality players who, with some work, will contribute. Keep in mind that with this year’s # 2 the dolphins got Culpepper and Harrington (probably) with next year's #6 solidifying the QB position for year to come. In total, a great “under the radar draft” when you throw everything in the mix.



12:45 PM  
Blogger The Dude said...

Well said Will,

"I also like the fact that he refused the temptation to give up any picks from this years or next years 2007 draft thereby banking valuable picks that the dolphins have been squandering in the last few drafts (I’m referring to the past regime)."

Do you realize that the last regime's aquisition of AJ Feeley cost us, in essence, both our 6th round pick (to get rid of him to the Chargers) and our 2nd round pick (because we needed a REAL quarterback).

We are definately in the right hands with Saban.

1:06 PM  
Blogger passionfish said...

we are SO sitting sweet for this year and the future on offense. you guys are gonna love these two wide outs we drafted-size and speed-and smart! look out for free agent reyes to be a sneaky little gem of a back up to ronnie. i can't believe where we were just a short time ago with the o-line and the confidence i have now-thanks hudson! we could struggle alittle this season but with nick in charge i think we are as strong as any in the afc. i love our draft but would have liked to have gotten a 3-4 nose tackle but what can you do with such a disasterous amount of picks-thanks again wanny! we do, however have some great athletes on d-line from 05 draft and this year-all projects for the future agreed but the future is always sooner than later it seems. with this draft and free agency, we have an incredibly deep secondary where we severly struggled last year-couldn't be more excited about it-always respect to surtain and madison era though! biggest vacancy i see is olb and need at least two more really athletic ones too. my view of the phins for last 10 years it seems is that even as we have had great defenses, we always struggle in the flats on pass coverage. can't really blame coaching either-just speed and instinct. that's it-nose tackle and olb and we could win a home game super bowl! thanks wayne for hiring nick! mueller rocks too! we have the best franchise and coaching in the league AGAIN! FINALLY!

2:16 PM  
Anonymous swine said...

There is no worse argument to make regarding the evaluation of our draft than to say "we have to trust what Nick Saban is doing", or "If Nick Saban likes him, then he MUST be a good player". The fact of the matter is, putting blind faith in our coach, or boss, or POTUS, or whoever, is naive, especially considering the fact that for all of his college credentials, Saban hasn't really proven himself in the NFL yet...

I'm not saying we had a bad draft, or that we shouldn't feel good the direction that our team is headed, or that Saban isn't a good coach, but I am saying that the whole whatever-saban-does-is-fine-by-me rhetoric is kind of annoying and totally illogical.

Now that I got that out of the way, I wish the Dolphins had traded down and gotten extra picks, even if they were in next year's draft. I think the difference in grades/talent between Jason Allen and some of the other players chosen behind him (eg., Greenway, Lawson, Cromartie, Holmes, Carpenter) was small enough that we could have definitely traded down and still gotten a player at about the same talent level as Jason Allen (or have gotten Allen himself a bit lower). Trading down and acquiring extra picks in future drafts (a la Bill Bellichek) is absolutely the way to build and maintain a winning team for the foreseeable future

3:08 PM  
Anonymous Rollo said...

Swine, I'm sure Saban wanted to trade down but they had nothing to offer. No 2nd round, no 5th or 6th either and Saban is only going to part with a 6th or 7th next year, from what I've read.

And the whole "anything Saban does is fine with me" thing comes from the fact that we finally have a coach Dolphin fans are truly excited about. Given the past staff, we have a guy who has done no wrong up to this point. It's not Blind Faith -- it's enthusiasm.

That's where that comes from. From a fanbase that is looking at things on the positive side for once. It's been a long time since we've had that down here. I don't think it's illogical at all.

3:24 PM  
Anonymous Swine said...

I'm down with that Rollo. Regarding the trade down thing, usually when you trade back you're receiving extra picks for moving down, not giving them up, so it wouldn't have mattered (theoretically) that we didn't have a 2nd, 5th or 6th rounder.

To be honest, I remain a bit confused as to why we were unable to trade down, assuming there was interest from other teams.

3:52 PM  
Anonymous rollo said...

You're right, Swine. I didn't think about that.

I heard (or read, cant remember) that Saban tried to make a trade-down move. The Fins were in talks with the Broncos. But I think what happened was St. Louis offered the Broncos something better and so they traded with them (and Denver got Cutler).

4:00 PM  
Blogger The Greg said...

Rollo, well said, I completely agree. I don't think we are "blindly" believing in Saban, as we are all discussing this draft in this and other forums, but we just are happy to be in a situation where we can wait and see what happens with the draft results, and not just know that management screwed it up. That hasn't happened since JJ.

And swine, I also am confused why we couldn't trade down. In hindsight, only 3 other DBs were selected after the Fins picked in the 1st Rd (19, 24, 31), I think Allen may still have been there later. BUT we do NOT know what happened in that Draft Room OR what was offered to us in return. Saban has not let me down yet, so I will have faith he did the right thing.

Now, about this draft, I am very excited with the results. I was a little shocked at the 1st round pick (it's not what I would have done, but what hell do I know?), but after contemplating it a little and reading a lot more, I think Allen will become a leader and a stud for the Fins defense for many years to come. He big, fast, smart, versatile, hard-working, and seems like a geniunely good guy; what's not to like!

Past the first Rd, the fins did GREAT!!! Rod Wright is the steal of the draft. One, if not both, of the WRs should be (at least) contributors for many years to come. I don't know much (replace much with "anything" when reading) about the DT Evans, so I will "blindly" trust Saban on this one.

Then there's Joe Toledo (I even like his name). I posted a lot of this on another blog, so sorry for the cross-posting, but no one is talking about this guy and I'm exited about him. I (like most of you, I'm sure) had never heard of him. When he was picked, did not even have a Bio/Draft projection on him. But when I read some info on him, I was impressed. He's a BIG boy and he's obviously an athlete. He's raw, but I love the fact that he played TE/WR. Just think about it fellas. Goal-line/short-yardage situation, stack the line w/ Toledo as an eligible reciever... The possibilities are endless! At least teams won't know that we are going to run a draw EVERY time, like they could with previous regimes (cough, cough, Wanny, cough). Plus, Houck can make him a good OL in time. Since he was a TE/WR, I'm sure he has good hands and good feet, which are the 2 things you need to be a successful OL in the NFL. I think Toledo was a great pick!

I can't wait til Sept. 7th!!! Hell, I can't even wait until preseason starts Aug 12th to see this team on the field again.

4:15 PM  
Anonymous Steve said...

I like the picks for the most part. I probably could have done without Toledo just cause they re-signed McIntosh and signed Pearson and drafted Alabi last year. So the back ups looked like they were set and pretty decent. But if Toledo turns out good than that's already better than the decent guys they got as back ups who will never be good.
Jason Allen i like a lot cause he's just a football player #1. He's got good size and speed but even if he was slower and a lil smaller i think he'd still make plays just cause he's smart on the field and relentless.
The WR's i like cause both got size and speed and have had lots of production. And when i've seen them play they always played good so that's reassuring.
The DT's i don't know the one from Texas State, but Wright is a big time talent. He's an underachiever, but what he's achieved is still a lot better than most of the DT's in the draft. People just always expected dominance consistently instead of in spurts. But dominance was there, just not as much as there could have been. For a 7th round pick i think that's a home run. He can be special.

4:23 PM  
Blogger John Dolfan said...

Well arent we supposed to tell you what we think? :)

I like Saban's picks and I give him the benefit of the doubt until he proves he doesnt deserve it (e.g. Channing Crowder).

The one thing I noticed about this blog Armando is that you set the stage on a topic and then (for the most part) go passive. My hope is for more of an interactive give and take. It is not that I expect you to respond to all of the posts, but rather give a little more than you do! Just a suggestion.

5:18 PM  
Blogger Michael Mut said...

I thought the draft overall addressed need quite nicely - the team was obviously limited. That thanks to Wanny & Schpielman's past, ill-advised wheeling and dealing of draft choices. The Dolphins picked few and far between - never had such a dearth of picks been as obvious to me. Still, I give Saban the benefit of the doubt, especially as good as the class of '05 is looking and that there will be no hitting until July.

6:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

On the surface, this draft looks average. For the immediate future, it looks like only Allen has the potential to crack the starting line-up. He sounds like he has a good work ethic and the right attitude so it's a good '1start. I like his size at 6'1" as does Coach Saban. Hwill battle Wes Welker and

1:44 AM  
Blogger CubanCulebra said...

Swine, my man, how could you call any enthusiasm towards Nick Saban "blind faith?" I can see just fine and I adore the scenery. Look, I get where you're coming from with the "always question authority" and "have your own ideas" thing. I agree with the philosophy 1000%, but not when directed at Nick Saban. We got a guy here who salvaged us from the bowels of hell (4-12), heaved us upon his "media won't probe my organization nor tell me which facet of my coaching is more important" shoulders, and hauled us back through the threshold of triumph (9-7). AND AT ONE POINT IN THE SEASON WE WERE 3-7! Can you believe that? That's insane. This General did more than just rally the troops, he stirred their hearts, he stimulated their souls. He inspired them. He inspired me. I realized I have a leader I can trust again, a man I can bleed with on Sundays again. And like Marino, or Shula before him, when my friends gloat about their teams I tell them "SO WHAT? I've got Nick Saban," and that rosy facade get's knocked down a peg or two because even they tremble at the supremacy of that name. They know, swine, they can smell it. Can't you smell it brother? It's just beyond the horizon, just one dream away. So lay your reticence down my friend. Retire that emotional armor shielding sour wounds inflicted by ancient regimes. And join me, JOIN US! The power of the heart and mind brother, it's a remarkable thing. Put yours in this team, this faith, this coach and I promise you, you'll never have to apologize for it. Ever.

2:31 AM  
Blogger Chuck said...

I thought it was a great draft, getting Wright and Aromashodu were absolute steals in the 7th round. My only problem was passing on Max-Jean Gillis who is a massive and athlitic guard. The guy starts four years at Georgia, he is projected to be the 1st guard off the board being a late 1st or early second round pick. Fins have enough projects at tackle lets add the sure thing at guard instead of reaching for Hagens at the 3rd round. Allen will be a stud if healthy.

9:37 AM  
Anonymous Swine said...

wow, culebra, that was quite inspirational. You should be a writer for the WWE.

9:46 AM  
Anonymous Steve said...

i wanted Jean-Gilles for the RG spot, but don't feel it was a reach for Hagan who after the season was thought to be the 2nd best reciever behind Holmes.

I think Jean-Gilles would have been able to start from day 1 on the line and told my brother during the first round i was hoping he somehow fell to the fish in round 3, but didn't think that would actually happen. Was surprised they passed on him. Especially him dominating LSU guys while Saban was there.

10:37 AM  
Blogger CubanCulebra said...

"You should be a writer for the WWE." LMAO But I couldn't work that "brother" angle with no one but the Hulkster and I'm pretty sure he's retired.

12:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why doesn't your mentor, Drew Rosenhose, post here? Is he the guy that posts as SWINE? You owe your career to Drew, so you should put him on the mast-head of your blog.

1:26 PM  
Anonymous Tampa John said...

I thought the draft went well. James Allen was not a sexy pick, but Saban knows him better then I. I can't believe people think that Haggans was a reach in the third round, the man was only the thrid leading reciever in Pac-10 History!! I like production over potential. I'm also a fan of the Toledo pick, I think his background as Tight End shows he's a good athlete, I expect him to be a back-up this year as he learns the ropes, but an interesting project indeed. Finally the 7th Round picks seem to be good picks considering how low they were picked, Evans is 305 pounds and can dunk a basketball, Rodrique Wright has shown flashes of dominance and Aro"mouthful" is a speedy reciever who may contribute immediately on special teams.

5:06 PM  

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