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 Dolphins wrong to draft, right to cut White, Turner 
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Post Dolphins wrong to draft, right to cut White, Turner
Dolphins wrong to draft, right to cut White, Turner

The failure of a player is an easy issue to frame. The last time I talked for any length with Pat White was while boarding a flight to Denver this summer. This was mid-July, a couple of weeks from training camp.

"Looking forward to the season?'' I said.

He hesitated before finally, awkwardly, very quietly, saying, "Yeah."

That extended moment of silence was the answer, though. The quarterback's throwing motion was changed during his first practices with the Dolphins. His game was missing some heft as a rookie.

Now, on the edge of his second year, something more seemed missing. Desire. Hope. Confidence. Something.
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And so White and Patrick Turner, second- and third-round picks in 2009, were cut Saturday, easily and emphatically. Not many people will argue either case. White was lacking as an NFL quarterback, even in the hybrid Wildcat. Turner didn't have a catch as a rookie or shine enough this preseason.

But the Dolphins were partners in these failures, and the more complicated matter is if they deserve blame for drafting these players so high or credit for jettisoning them so quickly. Or both.

Every team misses in the draft. That's never the point to stick on. If it was, New Orleans wouldn't be celebrating a Super Bowl because they missed on some 2009 picks, too.

The question in personnel moves is how many players a team hits on. And if these players are moving the franchise forward to something substantial.

The strange part of this Dolphins summer is there appears to be more questions now than before entering training camp. The offensive line, a sure thing in the summer, has interior issues. There's little depth at tight end. Chad Henne's up-and-down August.

The plan at outside linebacker if rookie Koa Misi can't contain his side this first season is a strategically big story, if just because that's the first place opponents will attack when he's out there.

But the issue of the day, the 2009 draft of White and Turner , is a non-starter for now. The Dolphins still have four starters from that draft. If they continue to start, it won't just be judged a good draft. It will be historically rare.

That's getting ahead of things for the class of Vontae Davis, Sean Smith, Brian Hartline and Chris Clemons. After all, the 2005 draft had four starters at one point in Ronnie Brown, Matt Roth, Channing Crowder and Travis Daniels.

The only thing that latter class moved forward from that was Nick Saban to Tuscaloosa.

Here's what White and Turner represent: Picks where the Dolphins got away from their blueprint. This front office is all about the grand plan. Bill Parcells has four rules for drafting quarterbacks (got to be a senior, graduate, start three years and have 23 wins) so you know there are guidelines to everything.

One overriding feature for this franchise is to get big and strong players. White never fit that mold.

Another feature was to get productive players, not projects. That was Turner.

So they got away from the Big Plan. Parcells seemed to remind everyone this when he told photographers to take a picture in the Dolphins' draft room this April.

"For the next three days we are going to draft prototypical players that play football well in their pads on the football field," the sign read.

They did that, too. No quarterback with an eye on the Wildcat. No underwhelming receiver with a big body.

The Dolphins missed on two places you can find big talents. But four starters in the 2009 draft say they did fine.

"Everything will work out, whatever happens,'' White said the last time I talked with him, in Jacksonville, after a preseason game he didn't play.

Just not good enough. Just didn't show enough. Again, it's easy to frame the failure of a player on a cut day.

The Dolphins look right to cut them. And wrong to draft them. And if they get four starters out of that draft when the dust settles none of it will matter at all.

Dave Hyde can be reached at dhyde@sunsentinel.com

http://www.sun-sentinel.com/sports/miam ... 594.column


Sun Sep 05, 2010 8:02 am
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Post Re: Dolphins wrong to draft, right to cut White, Turner
Just because someone becomes a starter on your team, it does not mean they necessarily have enough talent to move your team forward or are actually anything special. You have to put together a roster at the end of the day, so someone has to be a "starter." Hartline is a quality starter. Vontae Davis seems to be on his way to being something even better than that. Sean Smith and Clemons might be starters now, but let's see how that all shakes out. I was really impressed with Smith's early efforts as a rookie, but he is taking some steps back. Clemons is still a bit of a question mark for me...but there is hope.

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Sun Sep 05, 2010 1:22 pm
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