It’s difficult being a Miami Dolphins fan. I hate it when the national sports media mocks the Fins, but even as a long time fan, I must admit some moves left me scratching my head at first this offseason. However, when you separate yourself for the sports media meme, you can see a plan starting to form.
When the trade with the Eagles was first announced, I screamed. Philadelphia, Miami & National sports media kept referring to Mike Tannebaum getting fleeced. I, like many Fins fans, was pissed. Now, that I have had some time, I look at the trade a little differently. It’s a big swing for Tannebaum (which he seems to love to take, but with big swings comes big misses.) but to move back 5 spots & get 2 defensive starters Yes, I realize, by the outdated trade chart it’s a value of a 3rd round pick – but you weren’t going to get 2 additional starters with pick #8. The plan is by moving back 5 spots you get 3 starters instead of 1. Plus this draft seems to be lacking elite talent, but has depth. A move back can hurt, but I get what the front office was thinking and could turn into a really good move.
I am ok with letting Olivier Vernon go, the Giants way overpaid for him. I felt like he disappeared too much during games, plus he got boneheaded penalties. Losing Lamar Miller stung a little bit more, but I get it. Truthfully, he disappeared several times as well last season. Many claim Miller was misused by the coaching staff, I wonder. I think he is a good back, but not a great one. I think the fans & media would be more comfortable with Lamar Miller’s exit if Jay Ajayi had been drafted in the 2nd or 3rd round, like the “experts” originally expected. Rishard Mathews would have been a luxury to keep. How can losing our free agents be good? The Dolphins brass had a price they were willing to pay and they stuck by to it. They didn’t panic and didn’t overpay. Proud of that!
You can point out a lot of bad things with this off season. But you know what worries me that no one is talking about? “He quit on TEAM.” I hate hearing that. Who was that said about? Both Mario Williams & Byron Maxwell were accused of quitting on their respective team’s last year. Miami has had too much disharmony in the locker room the last couple of years. Whether it was Philbin not trusting Tannehill, or Miko being Miko, or the bullying scandal, having veteran players that may have a history of quitting on their teams can cause a cancer in the locker room. Especially for a young team, with a young, first time Head Coach. Adding players like that can turn bad quickly. I'm willing to believe that both players will bounce back when being used correctly, but it is something to keep an eye out for.
As a diehard fan I can justify the trade, hoping that Maxwell does better in a different defense & Alonso is hopefully healthy and plays closer to his rookie season then last season. I can even put a positive spin on letting our free agents walk. (We’ll all look forward to the comp picks next year). I cannot justify our guard position; it’s still downright UGLY! Jermon Bushrod is an aging, coming off injury, former offensive tackle, which has never played guard in a game. I understand Gase has faith in him, seeing him play all 5 positions in practice last season with the Bears, but again a really big swing. Kraig Urbik might be a little more dependable. Fins guard play was horrendous last year (last couple of seasons) if the front office does not want to get Tannehill killed, if they ever want to make a serious run at the playoffs, you need to fix the guard play and I don’t feel like they’ve done that.
When you take a step back and tune out the hype I get what the Miami Dolphins are doing and it’s not as bad as I originally thought. They are going through a quiet rebuild. They don’t want to say it, but they are. They have a first time Head Coach & General Manager, coming off a 6-10 season, they should be rebuilding - shouldn’t they? They filled some holes with veteran depth and team friendly contracts. They didn’t overpay for free agents. They’ve set themselves up with possibly 3 comp draft picks for 2017 season & come next year comp picks are tradable. As of right now that would be 10 draft picks for 2017. These are all signs of a team that realizes that they have several holes to fill, that one big off-season signing wasn’t going to change things and have a plan in place. I am willing to go along with the plan – for now.
Next Step The Draft. Here’s my first mock draft of the season. Just a quick one, no predicted trades.
Round 1 – William Jackson III, CB, Houston
Round 2 - Emmanuel Ogbah, DE, Oklahoma State
Round 3 - Joshua Garnett, G, Stanford
Round 4 - T.J. Green, FS, Clemson
Round 5 – Jonathan Williams, RB, Arkansas
Round 6 – Benquez Brown, ILB, Mississippi State
Round 7 – Keith Lumpkin, OT, Rutgers
Round 7 – Jake Rudock, QB, Michigan