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     We have been here before. It is almost like déjà vu. The only thing standing between the Dolphins and the playoffs are the Jets and Bills. Just like before, both teams are pretty much out of it, though the Bills are mathematically alive. This time is different because both games are on the road. It is also different because Miami is about as banged up as I’ve ever seen the team. Their hope is in Matt Moore finding a glimpse of the old gunslinger inside who went 6-2 as a starter the last time he was a starter. Miami needs that Matt Moore to show up because they’re also banged up on defense.  Saying the defense is banged up is sort of like saying the space shuttle is an airplane. It doesn’t quite describe the carnage that has gone on. Suffice it to say, the Dolphins Playoff hopes rely on their never-say-die attitude that has launched this team on an improbable 7-1 record over the last 8 games..

     The Jets are 4-9 this year and it stems mostly from bad play at the QB position. They’ve benched Fitzpatrick in favor of rookie Bryce Petty. Petty is a mixed bag and a raw talent. He is quick, feels pressure well and won’t hesitate to run the ball. He also has good touch on his deep ball. He is mostly inaccurate on his underneath stuff and relies on WR’s making good catches. Watching the game last week he was very inconsistent but had enough good throws to bring home a W for the Jets.  You would want to think this is an easy game for Miami but they’ve struggled against QBs like this in the past. I expect Sunday will be no different. I’d almost play man defense against the Jets with a spy  on Petty.  The Jets are pretty effective running the ball so shutting that down by building an early lead would be the key to winning.

                On Defense the Jets rank 20th and were gouged by the run last weekend. Miami’s problem is they’ve been unable to get their running game on track even against teams like the 49’ers so I’m not going to hold my breath here. The Jets are 22nd against the pass and have only produced 22 sacks this year. If Miami doesn’t self destruct, they should find some room to run a balanced attack and win the game.

Go Matt Moore,


Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays everyone. Every year I enjoy the draft work done by Phinsfansc (Tony) and Swerve (Mark). I know Mark is pursuing other things now and every day we are reminded of how missed Tony is around here. I asked for Dave's blessing to try and pick up the torch and move forward with draft talk. I doubt I can fill their shoes since both did such exceptional work, but I'll give it my best effort. In honor of Tony I'm titling every thread with his last name. Please be kind with criticisms.

Let's start with what we know. Miami only has five picks to date (Rounds 1, 2, 5, 6, 7) and from what I've read they possibly will get comp picks in rounds 3 and 5. With the new cap numbers showing around $165 million for 2017 the team will be flush with cash even before dropping some bloated contracts. They can afford to keep a lot of their guys, re-sign some free agents and bring some new ones on board. Plenty of improvements will be done prior to the draft.

Rather than going all over the map I will focus on each position, its level of need and who is available for the Dolphins to target. Keep in mind college players still have a month to declare so things will be fluid. I encourage any of you who come across info to add it to the thread or PM me.

The quarterback position literally changed overnight. If Ryan Tannehill miraculously avoided an ACL tear and is ready to go in the offseason then the team dodged a bullet. Otherwise we're looking at probably a 9 month recovery period which eats up most of his offseason. Matt Moore's contract probably didn't have him going anywhere next year (cost too much to cut him) and the team values him. Brandon Doughty is the wild card and we'll see how he progresses when camp rolls around next summer. Despite the Tannehill injury I'm not sure the position is currently a huge need for the team.

As I'm typing this I just saw an article from CBS draft analyst Rob Rang saying this is not a QB draft. I've been reading similar reports for quite some time. The senior QB crop is backup quality at best and I don't think Miami will have that Seattle/Dallas level of team that can protect a mid round rookie starter like Russell Wilson or Dak Prescott. There is one guy in particular I will discuss (hint: if you've read my posts you already know the name) and I'll highlight some juniors who could still declare. Again, Miami only has five picks so they may opt to just roll with Doughty.

This crop really reminds me of the 2013 draft when you had overhyped guys leading the pack - Geno Smith, EJ Manuel, Matt Barkley, Ryan Nassib, Mike Glennon, etc. Mock drafts had all of them going Round 1 at some point but none have proven much to date. The consensus top QB this year is junior Mitch Trubisky, although Deshaun Watson has regained some steam in draft circles. Watson has already declared and I'd be shocked if Trubisky did not. Deshone Kizer is another big name but his disappointing season leaves many thinking he may return for another year to improve his stock. Kizer offers maybe the best tools to work with, but he needs more coaching. He's a red shirt sophomore.

Cleveland, Chicago, New York (Jets), and San Francisco will be looking for QB help. Buffalo and Jacksonville are rumored to be considering changes. San Diego, New Orleans, and Arizone will also be looking for heir apparents. I think the biggest names end up in that labyrinth of chaos with Trubisky and Watson going top 10, and Kizer (if he declares) maybe being a target of Arizona because he fits the Bruce Arians mold.

The highest ranking seniors are Chad Kelly, Davis Webb, CJ Beathard, Cooper Rush, Nathan Peterman and Joshua Dobbs. Chad Kelly was previously hyped up but the draft gurus I trust say not to touch him with a 1,000 foot pole (think Ryan Mallett like attitude and entitlement issues). He has off the field problems and is as reckless as Jay Cutler on the field. Beathard and Rush, well let someone else overreach for the next Ryan Nassib. Dobbs and Peterman I need to research some more but as of now they aren't more than late round flyers (I prefer Doughty).

The guy I like is Davis Webb. YouTube his highlights and you'll see a guy with very good arm talent. His numbers at Cal are not too far off of the stats that propelled Jared Goff to being the first pick. He has the size (6'3" 230 lbs) teams look for and by all accounts is one of the best leaders in college football. What hurts him is he lacks mobility, had to transfer out of Texas Tech to win a starting job, comes from an offense where he doesn't call plays in the huddle and gets a lot of simple reads (Goff had a hard time adjusting to an NFL offense in camp this year). Make no mistake, he's a project who won't be ready for a couple of seasons. Kliff Kingsbury was his coach at Texas Tech, is friends with Adam Gase, and can provide an extensive report to Coach Gase on whether Webb has the potential. I liken him to a better version of Christian Hackenberg where he has the tools (although much more accurate) but needs to be rebuilt a bit. A mid round pick seems about right unless a team reaches in the 2nd Round, like the Jets did with Hackenberg.

Now to the juniors. Deshaun Watson and Mitch Trubisky were already mentioned. Most around here are familiar with Brad Kayaa and reports are that he's 50/50 to enter the draft. I've yet to read about a current 1st Round grade on him. He has the tools to succeed but might need another season of grooming. I'm not going to imply he has the attitude problem of Geno Smith, but for some reason I see a similar level of success in the NFL where he is a good backup who will flash starter like potential. I hope he stays in school to improve and shut me up. Another big name is Luke Falk who comes from a very QB friendly offense at Washington State. He has a lightning fast release and incredible accuracy that reminds you of Chad Pennington. But his simplified offense means he'll take time to learn an NFL play book. A good senior season could make him a 1st Round talent in 2018.

Two lesser known options are Patrick Mahomes and Mason Rudolph. Mahomes by the way is the QB who prevented Webb from starting at Texas Tech. I recall reading about him as a high school senior who could one day be the top overall pick in the draft. He is a dual threat with arm talent that rivals Matthew Stafford and Jay Cutler. A Kingsbury disciple, he more than likely is getting talked up to Gase if he opts to enter the draft. As with many other QBs, he comes from a simplified system that will require a big learning curve at the NFL level. Think of him as a more promising version of Colin Kaepernick who, if he can learn to operate in the pocket, might be the dangerous weapon we're talking about for a decade. Teams will need to think long and hard if he's available in the 2nd Round and they see a franchise guy in the making.

Mason Rudolph offers a big arm and some moxie. He's a fun QB to watch and currently has a 2nd Round grade by draft analysts. Good velocity, mobile and a winner at Oklahoma State. Foot work and accuracy will need some refining but he strikes me as a guy who can earn a starting job and be a solid NFL QB. Reports are saying he's likely to go back for his senior season and like Falk he could work his way into 1st Round discussion.

Well, there you have it. My long winded intro into what I hope will be a helpful draft study for you guys. With the QB position there is still too much unknown. How long is Tannehill hurt? How will Moore handle this December? How does the team feel about Doughty? Will there be surprise cuts or trade opportunities in March? Can Miami acquire more draft picks?

At this point I don't see the Dolphins addressing the QB position in the draft and would agree with that approach. There are too many holes on defense and depth needs in other areas. The 2018 draft has far better prospects for the position. If they still had their 3rd and 4th Round selections you could talk me into Davis Webb (3rd) or Patrick Mahomes (2nd) if he declares. We shall see what unfolds.

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