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Some Ol’ Fashioned Draft Talk

With the end of the season quickly approaching, and bowl season down in the college ranks vastly coming at us to distract us during the holiday season, there is only one other thing on my mind right now other than the big playoff picture. The draft in April.

I realize that it is a little early for the draft, and that the playoffs are more important at this time of year, but in all reality, I thought this would be a nice change of pace for the time being, and would bring a little bit of refreshing perspective on one of the things that we all love to think, and talk about.

So, to start off the draft talk here, I decided to bring in one of the true draft experts around the U.S. in Tommy Lawlor, from Scouts Notebook.

Miami Draft Talk

by Tommy Lawlor , http://www.scoutsnotebook.com

The Dolphins had a breakthrough year in 2008, but things have been tougher in 2009.  There is a good base of talent in place, but Bill Parcells, Jeff Ireland, and Tony Sparano still have plenty of areas to address.

The most obvious position that comes to mind is nose tackle.  The 3-4 defense needs an anchor in the middle.  Jason Ferguson had that role this year before getting hurt, but he’s 35 years old.  Miami needs a young guy to build around.  The biggest target, literally and figuratively, is Terrence Cody from Alabama.  He plays nose tackle in the Crimson Tide’s 3-4 scheme so there would be little adjustment from that standpoint.  Cody is nicknamed “Mount Cody” because of his 6’4, 360 build.  He is enormous.  He’s not just a big fat guy, though.

Cody is nimble and agile for his size.  You won’t catch him on Dancing With the Stars anytime soon, but he’s got good feet for a big guy.  He blocked a pair of field goals against Tennessee this year.  That showed quickness and agility.  He has 6 tackles-for-loss.  He can penetrate and be disruptive when single-blocked.  He also gets used some on offense as either a fullback or tight end.  Alabama wouldn’t do that unless Cody had some athletic ability.

Cody can eat up blocks, which is the primary function of a nose tackle.  He’s able to hold his ground and create an immovable object against the run.  He plays with good leverage and that makes it very tough for blockers to move a guy with his mass.

I don’t think all 32 teams will value Cody as a 1st round player.  Teams that run the 4-3 won’t have as high a rating on him.  Cody is built for the 3-4 and fits a key role in that scheme.  I don’t think he’ll go inside the Top 15.

Other thoughts

* I know some people think that the Dolphins could go for a wide receiver early on.  I don’t see that as likely.  Parcells MO has not been to draft a receiver in the 1st round.  The famous incident that began his problems in New England was the drafting of Terry Glenn.  Parcells inherited Keyshawn Johnson with the Jets.  He inherited Joey Galloway in Dallas.  I do think the Dolphins could target a receiver as early as the 2nd round, but I think the most likely move is to add another guy in the middle of the draft.  This isn’t a great year for big wideouts.  Eric Decker from Minnesota could be of interest.  He had a terrific senior year before getting hurt.  Florida’s Riley Cooper is a mid-round guy.  A late round player to keep your eye on is Terrell Hudgins from Elon.  He’s 6’2, 230 and has broken some of Jerry Rice’s receiving records at the I-AA level.

* The 3-4 defense is built on linebackers.  I could see Alabama inside linebacker Rolando McClain as someone the Dolphins covet.  He plays in the 3-4 now and is a great fit for the scheme.  He’s big at almost 260 pounds.  Parcells loves big linebackers, especially ones that can run.  Those guys are hard to find.  Brandon Spikes from Florida could also be of interest.  He is a big, productive senior that can cover, stuff the run, or get after the quarterback.

* Outside linebacker is another spot Miami could look to address.  Jerry Hughes plays defensive end for TCU, but could easily shift to 3-4 linebacker.  He has a good burst off the ball and a great motor.  Will he remind Parcells and Ireland of DeMarcus Ware from their days in Dallas?  Hughes is incredibly productive.  He has 26.5 sacks over the last two seasons.  Greg Romeus of Pitt is a junior with great size at 6’5, 270.  3-4 teams will want to work him out carefully to decide if he can move from end to linebacker.  Guys with that size sometimes look lost when they have to play in space.  Von Miller is a junior from Texas A&M.  He had a great year as a pass rusher, but lacks the kind of size that I think the Dolphins would prefer.

* Tight end could be in play if the right guy is available.  Forget about undersized athletic guys.  The Dolphins want a big guy who can block and catch.  There is only one prospect that could be of interest here – Rob Gronkowski of Arizona.  He is big and athletic.  He can block and catch.  NFL teams love his potential.  Unfortunately Gronkowski missed the entire season with a back injury.  He’s only a junior and could return for his senior season.  Coming off an injury he may decide the smart thing is to play for pay.  With good workouts and a clean bill of health at the Scouting Combine, Gronkowski could be a pick in the bottom half of round one.  Garrett Graham of Wisconsin could be of interest a few rounds later.

* Running back is a position that I’m unsure of.  Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams form a good duo.  Lex Hilliard is a guy with potential.  Williams says that he’ll be retiring after the 2010 season.  I could see Miami adding a runner if the right guy is available.  C.J. Spiller of Clemson isn’t the classic Parcells back, but his explosion and return ability could make him someone to target.  Jonathan Dwyer is a workhorse power runner for Georgia Tech.  He’s more of a chain-mover than a big play guy, but will punish defenders and help to wear down a defense.  Andre Dixon of Connecticut is a late round target, but reminds me of a Parcells kind of back.  That’s more of a hunch than anything else.

Thanks for your time in doing this Tommy!

I hope this clears some things up on who the Dolphins may target during the draft process. We now have at least an idea on who the Dolphins could be interested in, instead of just throwing out names.



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