Monday, March 8, 2010

Draft Implications of Dansby's Acquisition

March 8, 2010

Karlos Dansby's midnight flight to Miami on the eve of the NFL free agency period could have changed the landscape of the Dolphins' 2010 draft strategy. With many speculators suggesting that Rolando McClain was the likely choice in the first round, Dansby's acquisition could shift Miami's plans. Do they bolster the linebacking position with a potential stud like McClain or do they address another position with the 12th pick overall?

Either way, it's a nice position to be in.

After releasing two of its linebackers in Joey Porter and Akin Ayodele, the Dolphins still need another player to fill up the depth chart at LB. That player does not have to come in the first round, nor does he have to come in the draft at all. Trades and free agent pick-ups are still a possibility. But Miami has an opportunity to build a first class linebacking group, which it has not had for quite some time.

That leaves us with another question: What is a bigger priority in the eyes of The Trifecta?

The recent developments regarding DT Jason Ferguson, having been suspended for eight games, will likely result in Miami not re-signing him and leaving the Dolphins with another void to fill. To break things down, the Dolphins must choose between drafting a linebacker, defensive tackle, wide receiver or safety. And it will all depend on who's available at number twelve.

With the apparent philosophy that the Dolphins front office carries, the pick will likely address the defensive side of the ball. That throws out a potential first round wide receiver pick, especially since Dez Bryant is projected as a top 10 draft choice. That leaves us with LB, DT and S.

Signing Dansby could be what the Dolphins considered a fortification of the LB position, thus drafting another one in the first round would be off the board. Miami could very well salvage a pick later in the draft, possibly someone like Brandon Spikes (Florida) or Eric Norwood (South Carolina) slips into the second round. Hence we are left with DT and S.

With the latest visit from former Pittsburgh Steelers safety Ryan Clark to Miami, the Dolphins could secure a deal with a veteran DB in the coming days. Clark would replace Gibril Wilson and address Miami's need in the secondary. And so we find the DT position as the main candidate to be chosen in the first round.

Here are the top DT prospects projected beyond the top 10:
  • Brian Price (UCLA) - 6'2, 300 lbs - ESPN Insider Grade: 94
  • Dan Williams (Tennessee) - 6'3, 327 lbs - ESPN Insider Grade: 93
  • Jared Odrick (Penn State) - 6'5, 301 lbs - ESPN Insider Grade: 91
  • Cam Thomas (North Carolina) - 6'3, 331 lbs - ESPN Insider Grade: 85
  • Lamarr Houston (Texas) - 6'2, 302 lbs - ESPN Insider Grade: 84
  • Terrence Cody (Alabama) 6'3, 373 lbs - ESPN Insider Grade: 82
While none of these picks seem to pop out as the clear selection for the Dolphins, there is a crop of very good DTs that could fit well into Miami's 3-4 system and contribute immediately. Worse case scenario the Dolphins trade down for a later first round pick and an additional second round pick to get more value from the draft. 

2 comments:

The Rocker said...

With porter Gone and taylor as of yet unsigned Wake still being weak in run defense and dropping into coverage the Dolphins do not have a starting OLB on the roster NT is a definate need but can a rookie NT get the job done Rookie LBs have been able to step in and make an impact

David J. Verjano said...

@ The Rocker - I understand your point that it's not easy being a rookie NT, but neither is being a rookie LB. Some success stories are always present for rookies at certain positions. Last season Houston Texans' LB Brian Cushing was that success story at LB, but the season before the New Orleans Saints drafted DT Sedrick Ellis and he has fared well for them. It's really about the player's readiness to enter the league and not the rookie success trends by position.

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