Sunday, April 26, 2009

Dolphins Draft Recap - Analyze This.

This was one of NFL’s most anticipated weekends of the year. It’s built up from the end of the season. There are disappointments, there are surprises, and then there are those picks that make you scratch your head.

Here at Miami Sports Generation, we stuck to our position that Corner Back was the Dolphins top need this off season, followed by Wide Receiver.

The 2009 NFL Draft is over and the Miami Dolphins have made their choices. With a total of nine draft picks, the Fins went with 3 Corner Backs, 3 Wide Receivers, 1 Tight End, 1 Offensive Tackle, and 1 Line Backer. Here's the complete draft breakdown:
  • 1st Round - Vontae Davis (CB) Illinois
  • 2nd Round - Pat White (QB/WR) West Virginia
  • 2nd Round - Sean Smith (CB) Utah
  • 3rd Round - Patrick Turner (WR) USC
  • 4th Round - Brian Hartline (WR) Ohio State
  • 5th Round - John Nalbone (TE) Monmouth
  • 5th Round - Chris Clemons (S) Clemson
  • 6th Round - Andrew Gardner (OT) Georgia Tech
  • 7th Round - J.D. Folsom (LB) Weber St.
Beyond all the hard facts, every Dolfan is asking themselves the simple question: "What does it all mean?" In other words, how much better are we now than we were before the draft. Analysis can be different from everyone's perspective, but we will try to make as much sense of this as possible.

Vontae Davis was a safe pick at # 25 and addressed the secondary a bit more beyond the off-season acquisitions of Gibril Wilson and Eric Green. It's pretty evident that Bill Parcells, Jeff Ireland, and Tony Sparano are trying to work on the "outside," now that they've worked on the "inside" (i.e. Jake Long, Jack Grove, and Joe Berger). Davis was the best secondary option Miami had in the late-1st round. Just as any rookie, he has to work on his NCAA to NFL transition and study the new defensive packages that the Fins practice. He'll be fine in Miami and will sure up the secondary unit in the long run.

Our Grade: A

Pat White is a great pick for the Dolphins. This choice tells you one thing - the wildcat is here to stay. This opens up the playbook for Miami. He had a strong showing at the combine. He surprised a lot of scouts with his decision to not tryout as a wide receiver and with his arm. To those who are questioning the Dolphins loyalty to Chad Henne, don't. Pat White gives us flexibility. It saves us from having to line up Pennington as a wide receiver in the wildcat formation. Don't forget Bill Parcell's philosophy - No one is guarenteed a job, you have to earn it. So if he beats out Henne in the future he will be the starter, but his main purpose is utility.

Our Grade: B (Only because he is not a full time player)

Sean Smith was a highly touted Corner Back in the draft and was spoken highly of by various NFL scouts. Smith is definitely a large, physical CB that has the height to match up with Randy Moss and the toughness to compete with Hines Ward. Cockiness may be an issue, but Parcells will put him in his place when it's all said and done. The best part of it all, is that Davis and Smith were arguably two of the top three CBs in the entire draft. Miami got the cream of the crop in the secondary department.

Our Grade: B+

Patrick Turner is no Michael Crabtree or Jeremy Maclin, but I'll tell what he is - instinct, awareness, and athletic potential. Don't expect him to become a #1 WR, but a definite contender for the #2 & 3 spots. His height is a huge advantage (6'5) and is what the Fins were lacking. This separated from the WR pack. It's a known fact that the Dolphins are not a deep threat, so his quick feet and great lateral movement is a big plus. We hope Turner builds off his bust-out Senior year at USC.

Our Grade: C+

Brian Hartline brings experience as a special teams player, an area where the Dolphins suffered greatly in last year. His production suffered last year when Ohio switched QB's. He was still a big play threat averaging 22.4 yards a reception. Just like Turner, he lacks deep threat capabilities, but is a solid route runner. He is great when he has the ball in his hand. He was another wildcat minded pick, because of his downfield blocking and safety like hitting capability. He will be used in multiple levels on the field.

Our Grade B-

John Nalbone was a head-scratcher prick. We have two solid Tight Ends in Anthony Fasano and David Martin. Nalbone excels as a receiving TE, the same thing Fasano and Martin do well. My guess is that Tony Sparano is going to implement a 3 TE set or a full house formation. Nalbone earned All-Northeast Honors three years in a row. He holds records in Career catches and receiving yards for Monmouth University.

Our Grade D+

Chris Clemons was the fastest safety at the combine running a 4.41 40 yard dash. He is consistent in his coverage and a good open field tackler, another area where the Fins struggled last year. He lacks the NFL body for someone in his position. He will have time to develop behind Yeremiah Bell and Gibril Wilson.

Our Grade: C

Andrew Gardner is a risky pick. He is coming off a right shoulder injury that definately dropped his stock. Here is something that shouldn't suprise you. Gardner played for Georgia Tech's high powered option offense. Something that I said the Dolphins are looking to do with Pat White. He adds depth to our Offensive Line, but should be getting the playing time during wildcat formations. His 6'7 frame allows him to cover rushing or downfield linebackers.

Our Grade C-

J.D Folsom is another Wildcat pick, oh wait, he played for the Weber State Wildcats. Sorry for the dry humor. Little is known about Folsom. He only played one year of NCAA football. He transfered out of Snow Junior College his junior year. He lacks experience and and play against top-tier talent. He has good upperbody and shoulder strength.

Our Grade: D

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