For all of you that are upset that Miami didn't break the bank for anybody...didn't make Jason Brown the highest paid center in the NFL, paying him elite guard money...didn't give Albert Haynesworth ridiculous money that not even a franchise QB deserves if you ask me...didn't go out and make TJ Houshmandzadeh an extremely rich man...get over it. This team did Free Agency the right way, got MUCH better by keeping our own guys, and then adding a couple of solid starters for good, but not a ridiculous amount of money. The Miami Dolphins have improved tremendously this off season thus far, and we have left ourselves in great cap situation right now, and for the future.
Let's talk a little bit more about our needs though, shall we??
Positions that are in A ok shape:
QB, RB, TE, OT, OC, DE, FS, SS
Positions that look decent on paper, but could turn out to cause problems:
WR, OG, ILB, OLB
Positions that need to be addressed:
Currently, Miami has one starting corner in Will Allen. Allen, though, is not the type of cornerback who can go up against, and compete with that bigger, more physical receiver. Can Jason Allen? I think he certainly has the potential, unfortunately, for whatever reason, he has not been able to get on the field. Andre Goodman did a decent job this past season against those bigger guys, but he signed with Denver. Rumor has it that Antonio Cormartie is on the block, and could be cut. If there is any truth to this at all, I think Miami certainly has to look into it. Some other options are still out there in FA, such as Bryant McFadden; the hard hitting Steelers' CB; Phillip Buchanon, a pretty good cover-two corner from Tampa; and then there is Dre Bly, the former Bronco, and Leigh Bodden, the former Lion. Both have had better seasons than the ones they posted in 2008, however, they could prove to be good pickups. I do think that they will cost more than they're worth, and with that said, I'd like to see McFadden signed. The draft is a tough place to find a corner that can come in and start right away, but it can be done. One guy that I do like is Victor Macho Harris, however, he needs to improve his man to man skills, and I think is a nickel corner as a rookie.
Right now, Jason Ferguson is a fine NT. The man can still ball at 34 years old, but we need to find a replacement, and that guy I think is in the draft. One guy that I love, that I keep comparing to Casey Hampton, is my boy Ron Brace out of Boston College. Talk about a beast in the middle, who stuffs the run and takes up blockers...Brace will not give you the sacks that, say an Albert Haynesworth will give you, but, like Hampton, he is the perfect 34 NT; stuffs the run, takes up blockers, puts your LBs in position to make some plays. Part of the reason Boston College had so much production from it's LBs, without any big names, is because of the play of Raji and Brace in the middle. Ron can be had in the second round, and he would be a great selection.
Guard is a position that seems to all of a sudden have a lot of god young talent at, but does it have a starter to play the RG position, and can Smiley come back from such a serious injury and man the LG position? These are serious questions. Donald Thomas and Samson Satele look to be the 2 front runners for the RG slot, and according to every report, Smiley is on schedule. The offensive line does look promising though, overall.
WR...what can you say. There are a lot of mixed feelings when talking about this. It seems like half of Phin-nation is on one end, and the other half on the complete opposite end. I will not deny that Miami could use a big physical WR to take some pressure off of Ginn, but who doesn't?? One thing Miami does not need is to draft a receiver. Miami has so many very good young WRs, that I just see it pointless to draft one. Miami's improvement at this position needs to come now, and with that said, if BP really is looking hard for a number one WR, I think that the best option is a veteran; whether it be through Free Agency, or in a trade, I think any potential starter we add should be a veteran.
The LB position really got a huge boost with the resigning of Channing Crowder, and the addition of Cameron Wake, as I think that, while I don't expect Wake to come in and record 23 sacks, he will provide a very good situational pass rusher, and some young blood to give Joey some rest. We saw Peezy get really tired out in the final quarter of last season. The SOLB position is one that is interesting. Matt Roth did play with an injury, and it was his first season playing the position. That said, I don't have tons of problems giving him another crack at it, however, if somebody who we really like falls to us at 25, or in the 2nd round, I think that he should be taken. I don't see an ILB being taken in Day 1, but I can certainly see our 3rd or 4th rounder being devoted to a good athlete who plays the ILB position.
With all that said, as of right now, here's the way I see our draft going:
Middle rounds devoted to the Front 7, and offensive line.
Miami has had a great free agency so far, having improved at 2 major positions; Center, and FS. Two positions that we just got very inconsistent play at last season, should be solidified for 2009!
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