Yesterday, we brought to you a look at the plans for the teams that will pick between 3 and 7 during the upcoming NFL draft.
With that in the books, let’s move forward with a slightly more comprehensive examination of each team’s plans, starting with the team that has quickly morphed into a borderline NFL laughingstock: the Miami Dolphins.
Miami trudged through 2011, finishing 6-10 and firing their coach along the way. What went wrong? Uneven quarterback play throughout the first half of the season coupled with offensive line woes prevented Miami from building momentum, and things quickly spiraled. Seven losses in seven tries to start the year proved too large of a hole for Tony Sparano to dig his team out of, and he’s now charged with the task of coordinating both Mark Sanchez and Tim Tebow in New York. Meanwhile, the Dolphins flipped regimes and Joe Philbin – the understated former coordinator of Aaron Rodgers – has taken the lead reins.
Holes? Miami has ‘em. The offensive line needs a facelift at three positions (both guards and right tackle), and I dare you to name three receivers on Miami’s offense.
Defensively, Miami is strong, with a pair of physical, hit you in the mouth corners, and an active linebacking core with versatility aplenty. The defense will take on a new look with former Bengals secondary coach Kevin Coyle leading the way, and that includes a switch to the 4-3. With that in mind, and considering the team lost Kendall Langford in free agency, picking up an extra pass rusher would serve Coyle and Philbin well.
GM Jeff Ireland has come under fire for virtually everything he’s done of late, so he must make this pick – and the rest of Miami’s selections – really count.
Here’s a look:
Who they will take: Ryan Tannehill, quarterback, Texas A&M. They say in sports that GM’s have patience on their side and coaches have winning now on their mind. Well, in the case of Miami, Ireland isn’ so lucky. He has to win now or risk losing his job. That equates to investing in a quarterback this year, and Tannehill is the clear number three prospect at the position.
Who they should take: Melvin Ingram, defensive end, South Carolina. Ingram tore up the South Carolina Pro Day, and although a workout in shorts and a t-shirt should mean very little in comparison to multiple seasons worth of film, his stock is already rising accordingly. With that in mind, he makes sense as the go-to edge rusher to play opposite Cameron Wake. Division foe Buffalo wisely invested in pass rushers this offseason to counter New England’s near-invincible passing attack, Miami ought to do the same.
Who they could take: Michael Floyd, wide receiver, Notre Dame. With Brandon Marshall gone, the Fins are without a big receiving target. For a team looking to stabilize its quarterback position, ushering out a wide receiving core led by Brian Hartline and DaVone Bess is asking for unsightly results. But adding Floyd to the mix would give Miami a physical (and fast) perimeter target who can get down the field. Philbin and offensive coordinator Mike Sherman may not look deep often in their West Coast system, but Floyd can play anywhere on the field.
Who they shouldn’t take: Tannehill. Dolphins fans will loathe the thought of another year of mediocrity, but patience is a virtue. Rushing into Tannehill is equivalent to seeking the quick fix. He’s a prospect, a raw one at that, and he has some quality traits, but if the Dolphins don’t see him as a viable long-term starter (I don’t), then they need to bide their time with Matt Moore. Truth be told, he was above average in the second half of 2011.