Thursday, January 28, 2010

Fins Picks: Decade in Review (Part II)

January 28, 2010

As we continue our series of Fins Picks we look back at the 2003 through 2005 offseasons in order to define the successes and failures that the Dolphins have experienced in previous drafts. In our original article, we evaluated the years 2000 to 2002 and found a mixture of not so good and solid draft choices. In all, there was not much to be proud of in the first three millennial offseasons for the Dolphins outside of the Ricky Williams draft-trade and Chris Chambers second round selection.

Now we may have been a bit lenient on the grades last time (spotting a grade of C+ for a 2000 draft that bolstered Todd Wade and Arturo Freeman), but we will be more critical this time around. In our defense, the Dolphins did not have higher than a 23rd pick in the first round and posted solid seasons despite their lack of draft talent. Late draft picks may not be an excuse for poor choices throughout, but it was clear that the Wannstedt era enjoyed raking in talent via trades and free agent signings rather than draft picks.

Moving along, we begin with 2003 and the beginning of the end of the Wanndstedt era.

Year: 2003

  • 1st Round - Traded to New Orleans Saints for Ricky Williams in '02
  • 2nd Round - Eddie Moore, LB, Tennessee
  • 3rd Round (a) - Wade Smith, T, Memphis
  • 3rd Round (b) - Taylor Whitley, G, Texas A&M
  • 4th Round - Traded to Carolina Panthers for DE Jay Williams
  • 5th Round (a) - Donald Lee, TE, Mississippi State
  • 5th Round (b) - J.R. Tolver, WR, San Diego State
  • 6th Round (a) - Corey Jenkins, LB, South Carolina
  • 6th Round (b) - Traded to Chicago Bears for QB Cade McNown in '02
  • 6th Round (c) - Tim Provost, T, San Jose State
  • 6th Round (d) - Yeremiah Bell, S, Eastern Kentucky
  • 7th Round (a) - Traded to Carolina Panthers in draft trade-up
  • 7th Round (b) - Traded to Washington Redskins for QB Sage Rosenfels
  • 7th Round (c) - Traded to Carolina Panthers in draft trade-up
  • 7th Round (d) - Davern Williams, DT, Troy State


    At the top of Miami's choices, the Fins fell flat. Eddie Moore was on injured reserve in his first season and the following three picks all were phased out of the Dolphins lineup (or roster) by 2005. But Miami saved face with the 213th pick in the draft as they selected Yeremiah Bell, who stands as the longest tenured Dolphin in the current roster. Besides that there is very little to cheer about out of this draft pool; just more poor selections in an era of fading leadership.


    Although it seemed like a potentially deep draft with the Dolphins cycling through 15 draft choices, either through selections or trades, there was not much substance in this draft at all. In fact, had it not been for the diamond in the rough selection of Bell this would be considered a complete failure. Grade: D- 

    Year: 2004

    • 1st Round (a) - Vernon Carey, G/T, Miami (Fla.)
    • 1st Round (b) - Traded to Minnesota Vikings in '04 draft trade-up
    • 2nd Round - Traded to New England Patriots for 3rd round pick in '04
    • 3rd Round - Traded to Green Bay Packers in '04 trade-down
    • 4th Round (a) - Will Poole, CB, USC
    • 4th Round (b) - Traded to Minnesota Vikings in '04 draft trade-up
    • 5th Round (a) - Traded to Baltimore Ravens  in '04 draft trade-down
    • 5th Round (b) - Traded to San Diego Chargers for LB Junior Seau
    • 5th Round (c) - Tony Bua, LB, Arkansas
    • 6th Round (a) - Rex Hadnot, C, Houston
    • 6th Round (b) - Traded to Atlanta Falcons in '04 draft trade-up
    • 7th Round (a) - Traded to Atlanta Falcons in '04 draft trade-up
    • 7th Round (b) - Tony Pape, T, Michigan
    • 7th Round (c) - Derrick Pope, LB, Alabama


    Selecting Vernon Carey in the first round was a decent choice in an effort to build a foundation in the trenches. Carey had a solid career at "The U" and was highly touted by scouts as a future pro bowler in the NFL. We all know he has not lived up to that projection, and may never do so, but he is a part of Miami's revamped and improved offensive line today. Following Carey was a host of one-and-done picks that did not last long in the Dolphins organization. Will Poole started one game in three season with Miami and Tony Bua is currently playing in the AAFL. On the bright side, Rex Hadnot became a viable option and was Miami's starting center for three and a half seasons.


    Miami took a step in the right direction with Carey as they realized that fortifying the offensive line is of utmost importance in the league. But then they took a few steps back with all the trade ups, trade downs and mediocre picks in between. At least they found themselves two lineman with longevity. Grade: D+  
    Year: 2005

    • 1st Round - Ronnie Brown, RB, Auburn
    • 2nd Round (a) - Traded to Philadelphia Eagles for QB A.J. Feeley
    • 2nd Round (b) - Matt Roth, DE, Iowa
    • 3rd Round (a) - Traded to St. Louis Rams for RB Lamar Gordon
    • 3rd Round (b) - Channing Crowder, LB, Florida
    • 4th Round - Travis Daniels, CB, LSU
    • 5th Round (a) - Traded to Kansas City in CB Patrick Surtain deal
    • 5th Round (b) - Anthony Alabi, T, TCU
    • 6th Round - Traded to San Diego Chargers in WR David Boston deal 
    • 7th Round - Kevin Vickerson, DT, Michigan State


    With Nick Saban stepping in as head coach after leaving college football, one would expect a greater sense of collegiate talent evaluation to be brought to the table. Well the Ronnie Brown selection was a no-brainer at the number two pick overall, but that's about where the "greater sense" came into question. Trading the second round pick for A.J. Feeley, a 3rd string Eagles QB, was probably not worth it at the time and clearly was not worth it in retrospect. The Matt Roth selection in the 3rd round played out well for the most part, until the recent mysterious sequence of events that led to his release. And beyond the Channing Crowder pick there was not much to boast about.


    Brown has been an integral part of Miami's recent success and is the key element in the Dolphins offense. But when you are given a top two pick in the NFL, it's not as likely that you'll leave with a flop. Brown, Roth and Crowder were three solid choices and gave Nick Saban some credibility as an NFL head coach. That is of course until he abandoned Miami the following season for Alabama, placing him atop of Miami's enemies of the state list. Grade: C

    * * *
    To be continued...the next edition of Fins Picks will cover 2006 through 2009. Stay tuned as we explore the transition into the Bill Parcells, Jeff Ireland and Tony Sparano era. We'll see a clear philosophical and disciplinary shift when the Trifecta steps into power.

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