Monday, March 27, 2017

DolphinsTalk.com Mock Draft 2.0


Image result for jabiril peppers


Mock Draft 2.0, 5 weeks away.  The Dolphins focus has shifted strictly to the draft and off free agency.  In this mock, expect the unexpected.  The board falls a little funny but I address the focus of this team, defense, defense, defense.  Without further a-do:

Round 1 (22)- Jabril Peppers (S, Michigan)- Stephen Ross gets his dream scenario at 22, he gets his man from Michigan.  You're probably wondering, how did he fall to 22?  This scenario saw 3 QBs taken before (Watson, Trubisky and Mahomes II).  Peppers pro day went so well, that he is now projected to go in the top 15.  But back on track, Peppers is 5'10, 213lbs.  Extremely versatile as he can also gimmick as an offensive player as well as return man.  In Miami, he will start next to Reshad Jones which will give Miami an excellent tandem.  He has great range in run support as well as good cover skills.  He did not have an interception in his college career but has great instincts.  Miami now has flexibility in the backend.

Round 2 (22)- Quincy Wilson (CB, Florida)- Once again, the board falls in the Dolphins favor in this mock.  Landing the 6'1, 211lb corner bring another element to the secondary.  Wilson has great size and speed.  His coverage skills need some work but Burke will fall in love with his length and closing speed.  He locates the ball well and is big on the edge against the run.  The Dolphins continue to build up this secondary, and also gives the team options with Maxwell after the 2017 season.

Round 3 (33)- Kendell Beckwith (LB, LSU)- But Tom, you haven't addressed DE yet.  You're absolutely right, but whats wrong with finding that 3rd LB? Beckwith will give Miami a great tackling LB and has the power to stop the runner on the edge.  He needs to get better in coverage as he may slot as an SLB with the Dolphins, but the new secondary as you see above can help and have Beckwith focus on hitting ball carriers.

Round 5 (22)- Devonte Fields (LB/DE, Louisville)-  This guy has first round potential, however found himself in some trouble as well as some durability problems.  At 6'2, 236, he is a little too small to be an effective edge rusher but can slot in as depth at LB and compete with Beckwith for a spot.  Fields is good against the run but bounces off tackles at times.  The Dolphins continue to bolster their defense.

Round 5 (34)- Jermaine Eluemunor (OT, Texas A&M)- a tackle?  Its a depth move and a possible move to G for Eluemunor.  He has a big frame (330lbs and 6'4).  He needs work but is physical at the line and can sustain blocks.  He is no Laremy Tunsil, but Tunsil didn't play a lick of G in his life and turned in a great year.  I think the Dolphins can use the versatility here and he is a great pick in round 5.

Round 5 (40)- Keionta Davis (DE, Chattanooga)- He is a raw prospect at DE.  He collected 10.5 sacks his senior season.  He will bring ability to set the edge and get after ball carriers as well as shed blocks to get to the QB.  He needs a great camp to make it on the roster but can do the dirty work which is what the defense needs.

Round 7 (5)- Joshua Dobbs (QB, Tennessee)- Miami takes a flyer on the 6'3 QB from Tennessee.  Dobbs will bring competition and youth.  Matt Moore will be in his final year and they need options.  Dobbs had an up and down career (28 fumbles) but found success with 29 TDs and just under 3000 yards in his final season.  He will provide competition for last years 7th round pick (Doughty). 

Defensive problems solved, well at least with depth.  If the draft falls this way, particularly Peppers in round 1 will easily solve the back end issues on defense and provide another great run defender with a healthy Jones back in the lineup.  Follow us on twitter @Dolphinstalk and you can also follow me @ternisse13.  I will be back again with another mock draft next week.  Finsup!

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Dolphins News from Day 1 of the NFL Owners Meetings

- Per Jason Lieser of the Palm Beach Post the Miami Dolphins have asked the NFL to have their Week 1 game be at home and asked their Week 5 game (AFTER the London trip) not be a Bye week yet be a home game. The Dolphins are asking the league to get a Bye Week in the middle of the season and not have it be early and the week after the London game

-Stephen Ross was the only NFL owner to vote against the Raiders move to Las Vegas and Ross then went on about how the Raiders should have done more to try and stay in Oakland. Two things to remember here folks. 1) Ross paid over $500 million out of his own pocket to keep the Dolphins in Miami and do stadium renovations so he is probably feeling like if I can do it other owners should do the same. 2) Stephen Ross loves Super Bowls to be played in Miami and the city of Oakland was never going to host a Super Bowl so they weren't competition for Ross in that aspect. The city of Las Vegas is going to be every owners dream as a venue to host a Super Bowl every couple years. Meaning Ross now has more competition in getting Super Bowls in Miami and that is bad for Stephen Ross. So, Ross's "NO VOTE" isn't as cut and dry as some may think. I for one don't blame Stephen Ross one bit as this is a league where you have to look out for yourself and only yourself and his vote to me showed that today.

-One thing to keep an eye on, Ja'wuan James 5th year option is coming up in May where Miami must decide whether they pick that up or not. That decision doesn't have to be made until after the NFL Draft. So, keep in mind if you see Miami draft an offensive linemen in Round 1(let's say Forrest Lamp) that person may play year 1 at guard but if Miami let's James walk they could kick someone (let's say Lamp) out to Right Tackle and move on from James. Just something to keep in mind. Or if they take a tackle in Round 2 and play them at guard for a year with the long-term plan of moving them to right tackle after this season, like Miami did with Tunsil.

-According to the Miami Herald there is a 0% chance the Dolphins draft RB Joe Mixon out of Oklahoma. For those who don't know there was a video released last year of Mixon brutally punching and assaulting a female in public. Miami probably wouldn't use a high round draft pick on any running back so saying this about Mixon who is expected to go anywhere from late Round 1 to Round 3 at some point isn't really news. What we don't know is if Mixon played a position of need for Miami (let's say linebacker or safety) would Miami have the same stance? Obviously we don't know but just guessing I believe they would. I think Miami has been burned by many players who have had off the field problems (Brandon Marshall being the first to come to mind) that they wouldn't take a guy who coming into the league has a known issue. I know many of you are saying well they took Laremy Tunsil last year and they did, but what Tunsil was caught doing is very minor as society's perception of marijuana use in this country has changed dramatically in recent years. So, as we go to the draft it will be interesting to see if Miami touches any players who have off the field issues.

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Sunday, March 26, 2017

Jarvis Landry Contract Extension Update

Joe Schad of the Palm Beast Post did a Facebook Live chat tonight and one of the topics talked about was where is the contract extension for Jarvis Landry. Joe reported that sources close to him tell him that Jarvis wants in the ballpark of $14 mill a season and he and his agent are working off the Antonio Brown contract. Essentially Landry wants to get paid a bit more than TY Hilton got paid a while back back where TY averages around $13 mill a season.

In my opinion that is a very rich and big asking price for Jarvis. I am not saying Miami will not pay it, but I am saying Miami probably won't be in a rush to pay it. From the Dolphins standpoint they will most likely take a wait and see approach and not give Jarvis a contract extension now (that is me just guessing here folks, no sources and Joe didn't report that.) Since they have Jarvis on the cheap this season for just around $1 million and can then franchise tag him if they want to in order to keep him one more season after that, Miami can roll the dice here on Jarvis. Now, they could end up losing him as Jarvis might out-play the $14 mill per season he is asking and end up getting more if/when he hits the open market. But if Jarvis has a "down year" (which nobody wants of course) then Miami could get Jarvis to come down off his price tag. It's a gamble no doubt and Miami has lost gambles like this before; Olivier Vernon is a perfect example.

Landry may be the most loved and popular Dolphins player on the roster at this moment in time, but with his asking price his time in Miami may only be a couple more years. The Dolphins have to think long and hard before they make Landry one of the highest paid wide receivers in the NFL today.

Watch Joe's entire Facebook Live chat at the RED link above at the top of the article.

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Should Miami Improve The Secondary In Round 1?

As the NFL Draft is getting closer and closer almost all eyes of Dolphins Nation are looking towards and expecting the Miami Dolphins to draft a linebacker or defensive linemen with pick #22 in Round 1. While I also expect Miami will do such a thing as well I wouldn't be shocked if Miami did grab a cornerback or safety at #22 though as the Dolphins secondary still needs some help.

Last season the Dolphins secondary, even with all of the injuries, was ok most weeks. Which is why I think many fans are overlooking this unit and thinking things will be better this season once everyone is back from injury.

First let's look at the safety position and yes Reshad Jones is one of the better safety's in the NFL these days. No issue with him but after him what do we really have? The Dolphins did sign Nate Allen in free agency and Allen is a solid yet unspectacular player who is on the downside of his career. Can Allen give Miami one good season, yes that is possible but it isn't something you can bank on. And behind Nate Allen who else is there at the safety position? Walt Aikens is a solid special teams player but he is a poor defensive player. Michael Thomas, again a better special teams player than an actual defensive player. Bacari Rambo had a few nice moments but for the most part he was exposed in the passing game last season.

The point is the Dolphins are again one injury away at safety to Jones or Allen from having a horrible starting safety unit again this season. Miami will most likely draft a safety in the early rounds of the draft as it is needed to get some youth and speed on that side of the ball. Should Miami draft Jabrill Peppers at #22? I wouldn't be against it at all. While not a true free safety Peppers has speed and can cover tight ends and even wide receivers when needed. Should Miami look at another safety at pick #22 like Obi Melifonwu? While some would say that might be a bit of a reach, is it really when Miami does have a pressing need at safety? Obi is a physical beast who has the size and speed to do everything and he is expected to be a late first round/early second round pick. If he can come in and stabilize the Dolphins safety position and provide some legitimate depth there then it must be considered.

On to the cornerbacks where I think it is a bit of a mixed bag what Miami has. Let's start with Xavien Howard who far and away is the best cornerback on the Dolphins roster. Howard was hampered with injuries all of last season and in the limited time he did play he was very good. A healthy Howard for an entire season is a legit #1 corner on this roster.

After Howard though things are far from certain. Byron Maxwell is most likely playing his final season in Miami folks let's just start right there. There is an out in 2018 where Miami can let him go and have no dead cap space so being realistic Maxwell is probably gone after this year. Meaning Miami not only has to think about adding a cornerback now for depth but also a possible long-term solution to this position is needed. We all know Maxwell was benched early last season vs Cincinnati and then after that got his head on straight and played much better. With that said, which Maxwell will show up this season? The guy who ended last season playing well and acting like a professional or the guy from early last year who was a disaster? With Maxwell and Howard the Dolphins have a decent pair of starting cornerbacks but it's far from a strong duo of starters.

Tony Lippett....oh Tony Lippett. A total mystery in that you never know what you will get each week with Tony. To be fair, last preseason Lippett looked like he couldn't even have played in the CFL or AFL and was a man totally in the wrong profession. As the season progressed though Lippett improved mightily. Was he a great corner? NO! Was he serviceable most weeks? YES! Is he a consistent player you want to start in a pinch if one of your starters go down? Probably not.  I will say this in that Lippett has improved year after year and if he continues to improve he can be passable starting CB in this league possibly. But do you really want to roll the dice and bank on that? I don't.

After Lippett the only other cornerback worth talking about is Bobby McCain and last year McCain did not play well. I know some people watched him and saw something totally different and see big things for McCain but I have no clue what they were watching. McCain struggled as the slot cornerback most if not all of last season. Miami must upgrade the slot cornerback position.

The point of my article isn't to trash the Dolphins secondary because honestly I am not. Reshad Jones, Nate Allen, Xavien Howard, Bryon Maxwell will all be fine players this upcoming season. That is a solid enough unit right there. The issue is three of those players have significant injury history and Miami has little depth behind any of them. That's where the concern is and why Miami must look to upgrade at both cornerback and safety.

At pick #22 everyone thinks linebacker or defensive line is a sure thing, I'm here to say NOT SO FAST MY FRIENDS! If Jabrill Peppers is there I think Miami may jump on him to secure the safety position for many years to come. Could Miami take Gareon Conley or Jalen Tabor at pick #22 to give Miami a long-term answer at CB and more legitimate depth this season? ABSOLUTELY!

With this draft the Dolphins can throw a dart and improve their defense whether they draft linebacker, cornerback, defensive end, defensive tackle, or safety. Honestly Miami's defense was so bad last year that every unit on that side of the ball needs help. So while everyone is talking about linebacker or pass rusher, do not be shocked if in Round 1 of the draft the Dolphins look to improve their secondary and go corner or safety.

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Thursday, March 23, 2017

Linebackers Are Still a Work In Progress

The weakest unit on the Dolphins roster last season was by far the linebacker position. So heading into this offseason it was an area that needed to be addressed and wholesale changes were a must. The Dolphins have done a lot to address this position thus far but much more work needs to be done.

The first move of adding Lawrence Timmons was in my opinion a great move to make. A 10 year vet who has only missed 2 games in his life Timmons is someone who brings instant credibility to the unit. Is he the same player he was 7 or 8 years ago, no of course not. Timmons is still an above average linebacker who can stop the run and will not kill you in the passing game. It is expected Miami will put him at the center of their defense at middle linebacker and he will be the leader of the unit.

The Dolphins then went out and signed Kiko Alonso to a 3 year contract extension to make sure his future is stable in Miami. Kiko was great last year and showed he was past his knee injuries. Kiko most likely will slide to outside linebacker which in my opinion is a more natural position for him and with his speed. To have Kiko blitz more I think will make Miami's defense more dynamic in many ways.

Just this week Miami restructured the contract of Koa Misi. When healthy Misi is a good run stopper the problem with Misi over the years is he is never healthy. Now he is coming off major neck surgery and to be honest I am not sure I would have kept Misi around. I know his contract is very low but to me that is a sign that Miami has little faith in him. If Misi is cut in late August do not be surprised people.

For depth this unit currently has very little to none. Neville Hewitt is a nice 4th linebacker who I like a lot but keeping it honest people he is not a starter in the NFL. He isn't that caliber of player at this time. Good special teams player, solid linebacker off the bench who can fill in when needed, but as a full time starter he isn't. Mike Hull in my opinion is someone who wouldn't make most NFL rosters but Miami's linebacker depth is so bad he is someone the Dolphins count on far too often.

So the question is what is next because this unit is far from fixed. Zach Brown is the big name out there and he recently visited with Miami but the Dolphins and Brown are far off on price. From reports it does sound like though Brown won't get the money he is looking for so he will have to bite the bullet and take the best offer out there. Oakland and Miami appears the only two teams left with an offer out there to Brown. IF (big IF here people) Miami were to land Zach Brown their linebackers would be one of the better units in the league and the weakness of the defense just became the strength overnight. With Timmons, Brown, Alonso as starters that is a nice unit right there behind Suh who will get his double teams freeing up space for the linebackers to make plays.

Whether Miami gets Zach Brown or not the Dolphins must be thinking linebacker in rounds 1 or 2 of the draft. With Alonso's injury history and with Brown IF he signs it will most likely only be a 1 year deal the Fins need to have depth on this unit. At pick #22 if Zach Cunningham is there Miami should jump all over him and race that index card up to the commissioner. If  Cunningham is gone at #22 then Miami should next look at Jarrad Davis out of Florida who is a do it all linebacker as well. Oh and there is this Hasson Reddick guy out of Temple who is a physical beast with size, speed, and ability. Honestly any of those three players at pick #22 would bolster this Dolphins defense in a big way and improve the linebackers greatly.

The Dolphins defense was terrible against the run last season and the main reason was the linebackers. The Dolphins front office has done a nice job overhauling this unit but the work is far from done.



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Saturday, March 18, 2017

The New Miami? Reflecting on Free Agency so far

@TomLikeNFL

#TheNewMiami - a phrase that appears to be doing the rounds on social media, but might this catchy hashtag be more than just something to boost the amount of Retweets or likes on Instagram? From what the Miami Dolphins have done so far in Free Agency, it looks very much like the organisation and franchise is heading into new uncharted water. 
The sign that a franchise is in-decline or dysfunctional is an exodus of own talented in free agency. This is normally guys that have been drafted or traded for/ signed with a long-term view. In 2016, the Dolphins lost RB Lamar Miller, DE Olivier Vernon and WR Rishard Matthews - all starters and productive players for Miami. In 2015 it was TE Charles Clay and DE Jared Odrick. In 2013 it was OT Jake Long and CB Sean Smith. And so on.
A 3rd Round pick in 2012, Vernon stacked up 29.0 sacks in 46 starts. The Dolphins failed to snap Vernon up early before he eventually broke free-agency signing a 5-year deal with the New York Giants worth $85m with $52.5m guaranteed (Mike Dinovo/ USA TODAY Sports)
However, prior to the start of this offseason, the Dolphins front office made it clear that they were placing a priority on retaining their own guys and keeping talent inside the building, before looking to bring it in from elsewhere. So far Miami has been extremely successful in this regard and have also brought in quality pieces to help complement Miami's strengths and address their weaknesses.

Re-signings
The re-signing of Kenny Stills was important for the Miami Dolphins. Since bein taken 8th overall in 2012, QB Ryan Tannehill has struggled to build a connection and trust with his receivers.  Mike Wallace was brought in for big money to be a deep threat, however, he and Tannehill never hit off and the pair routinely struggled to connect on deep balls. This past season was arguably Tannehill's best in terms of down field passing. He often risked Safeties or Corners making a play on the ball, as he trusted his receivers to be in position and make plays. Stills thrived under Adam Gase's first season as Head Coach catching 42 passes for 726 yards and leading the team with 9 TDs. At 24 years old, the Dolphins will get Stills' best years and his skillset is a key component of any Offense - a speedster who forces Safeties to remain deep, thus opening up everything inside and outside the numbers. 4 years, $31.9m with $19.95m guaranteed makes him the 22nd highest paid WR in 2017 (per year). If Stills can develop in his second year under Gase, there is no reason why the Dolphins could not expect 50+ catches, 850+ yards and 7TDs+, while opening up the rest of the field for Miami's other receivers.
5th Round Draft pick by the Saints in 2013, Stills was traded to Miami before the 2015 season for LB Dannell Ellerbe and a 2015 3rd Round Pick (Jim Rogash/ Getty Images)
With Andre Branch, the Dolphins again paid a hefty price to keep their own players in the building. Branch signed a 3 year, $24m deal with $16.8m guaranteed. He had previously signed a 1 year prove it deal with Miami after spending 4 lack luster years in Jacksonville. Branch is the 17th highest paid DE - just behind Cam Wake and Everson Griffen; and ahead of Carlos Dunlap and Mario Addison. Branch struggled against the run in 2016 (which Miami addressed - see later), yet proved himself to be an able pass rusher. Branch was 30th in the NFL with 20 QB hurries (only 4 behind 15th placed Wake) and managed 5.5 sacks in just 11 starts. With better coverage in the back-end, it is easily foreseeable that Branch could put up double digit sack totals for each of the next 3 seasons. 
These first two re-signings are the Dolphins taking a gamble on young talented football players and hoping that they can develop into quality future starters. These next three re-signings represent the Dolphins locking up valuable veterans for the remainder of their careers and rewarding valuable members and leaders of the Miami Dolphins. John Denney is something of a cult hero in Miami, not missing a game in his 12 year career. Denney's brilliance is the fact that you don't notice his presence. Miami kicking late Field Goals with the time expiring late in the 2016 season to get into the Playoffs... All eyes on Kicker Andrew Franks... No-one even contemplated whether the snap would reach him or not... John Denney has been automatic for 12 years in Miami. 
Cameron Wake is one of the greatest Defensive Players in Miami Dolphins history. He defied age and science in 2016, bouncing back from an Achilles injury and forcing his way into the starting line up after initially being deployed as a situational pass rusher.  Wake clocked 11.5 sacks and his first career INT in 2016, and did not look a step slower despite turning 35 in January. Wake signed a 2 year, $16.125m contract with $10.875m guaranteed, keeping the veteran leader in South Beach.
Undrafted before excelling in Canada, Cam Wake's racked up 81.5 sacks in 96 career starts. He has the 2nd most sacks in franchise history - behind Jason Taylor's 131.0 (Tim Fuller/ USA TODAY Sports)
Reshad Jones is one of the best Safeties in football. He's been as productive as any at the position over the past three seasons. Jones was enjoying another Pro-Bowl worthy campaign before tearing his rotary cuff and being placed on IR. The Dolphins signed Jones to a 5 year, $60m contract extension with $35m guaranteed. Jones will be 34 by the time the deal runs out and like Wake and Denney - the Dolphins are rewarding faithful servants with contracts that should run late into their careers. Jones is the best Safety in football in the box and is one of the few existing Dolphins who excels in Run D.  
The Miami Dolphins have also looked to lock up value contributors and productive players through the tender process. Linebacker Kiko Alonso, Safety Michael Thomas and RB Damien Williams have all been tendered as restricted free agents.

New additions
The Dolphins have taken a balanced approach to free agency so far. No big splash signings like we are used to from Miami and from Mike Tannenbaum. Rather, the Dolphins have looked to improve the areas they were successful in, in 2016 - while addressing the apparent needs and concerns that were evident towards the tail end of the season. Like-for-like, this Dolphins roster has improved based on the players coming in, compared to those going out.
38 days after being hired as Executive VP of Football Operations, Mike Tannenbaum signed Ndamukong Suh to a 6-year $114m contract with $60m guaranteed (Patrick Farrell/ Miami Herald)
Julius Thomas enjoyed the best years of his career in Denver under Adam Gase. In Denver he was a reliable check down target over the middle and a Red Zone mismatch who put his 6 foot 5, 256lbs frame to good use. Thomas has struggled with injuries the past two seasons in Jacksonville and noticeably looked a step slower. If Miami can keep him healthy and scheme for him alongside Parker, Stills, Ajayi and Landry - Tannehill might finally get that check down TE the Dolphins have long been looking for. Miami managed to get Thomas in a trade for Albert, an aging veteran who struggling with injuries. Laremy Tunsil will slide to LT and the Dolphins got a playmaker at TE who agreed to take a pay cut to play for Head Coach Adam Gase.
The Dolphins also added another TE, re-signing Anthony Fasano who previously spent 5 seasons with Miami. Fasano signed a 1 year, $2.75m contract. Anthony Fasano was PFF's No.1 run-blocking TE and No.3 pass blocking TE in 2016. This signing gives Adam Gase another gadget on Offense to use and removes the need to bring in an additional OT on obvious running situations. This pick up will help Jay Ajayi and significantly improve Miami's rushing attack. 
Fasano was with the Dolphins from 2008 to 2012. He is an excellent blocking Tight End (Ed Wolfstein/ Icon Sport Media via Getty Images)
The signing of Ted Larsen should be viewed as a short-term solution rather than a long-term fix for the problems Miami has at Guard. Larsen is a versatile Offensive Linemen who has experience playing Left Guard and Right Guard, while also taking snaps at Center during his career. He is competent in pass protection and run blocking, and brings a veteran presence on a Dolphins line that should look to get younger in the Draft with Larsen and Jermon Bushrod as stop gap solutions.
Miami's Achilles heel on Defense has repeatedly been its porous run Defense. In terms of rushing yards allowed, this is how the Dolphins have ranked the past four seasons (beginning with 2016): 30th, 19th, 24th, 24th. 2012 was the last time Miami was in the top half of the league in run Defense (13th). The last time Miami had a top-10 Run Defense was 2011 when they ranked 3rd, coincedently it was the last time Miami ran a 3-4...
The signing of ILB, Lawrence Timmons and the bargain pick up of DE, William Hayes should address this need. Timmons is a thumper and a great blitzer from the Inside Linebacker position. He is a force in the run game and should easily have over 100 tackles in 2017 playing behind Wake, Suh, Phillips, Branch and Hayes. Despite his age (will be 31 entering the season), Timmons is exactly what the Dolphins need in the short-term to fix their Defense and although he is a liability in coverage - at $12m over 2 years with $11m guaranteed, Timmons is exactly what this Dolphins Defense has needed the past few seafsons.
2007, 15th overall pick, Timmons has played 10 seasons - starting 126 games amassing 988 tackles and 35.5 sacks (Getty Images)
The trade for William Hayes was a steal by Mike Tannenbaum. In return for getting a proven veteran and run stuffing DE, the Miami Dolphins will move down 17 spots from the 6th to the 7th round in 2017. Hayes himself put on social media that he got traded for 'a stapler and a coffee machine'. The Dolphins inherited Hayes 2 year contract from the Rams, however, Tannenbaum and front office were not finished wheeling and dealing as they sliced the 2nd year off Hayes contract and brought his contract for 2017 down from $5.5m to $4.75m. Hayes was ranked 11th amongst Edge Rushers in Run Defense by PFF in 2016 and 17th overall. The acquisition of Hayes and Timmons beefs up Miami's run Defense.
Finally the Dolphins signed Safety Nate Allen. After the sad news that Miami was releasing Safety Isa Abdul-Quddus, the Dolphins wasted little time in signing former Raiders and Eagles Safety Nate Allen to pair next to Reshad Jones. Allen was available on a cheap 1 year, $3.4m deal as he missed all but 5 games in 2015 for the Raiders due to injury and backed up rookie Karl Joseph in 2016. In his limited appearance towards the end of 2016, filling in for the injured Joseph, Allen impressed with 2 interceptions and 3 passes defended in just 4 starts. The Dolphins are hoping they can find a diamond in the rough in Allen, much like they did with Abdul-Quddus who played well in 2016 for Miami.

Conclusion
The Dolphins needed to improve their run Defense - check
The Dolphins needed to improve their options at Tight End - check
The Dolphins needed to retain talent, unlike prior to the 2016 off season - check
Miami needed to address its Linebacking corps - half-check, still the Draft to come
Miami needed to address the Guard position - half check

The Dolphins have done a great job so far addressing clear needs on this roster while retaining quality, productive starters. What is different this year to most is that Dolphins players appear to have left money on the table to remain in Miami. Players appear to be buying into Head Coach Adam Gase's message - an important step for this franchise. The Dolphins have not paid the moon for any one player so far and have left themselves with plenty of room to still be active as they look to continue to improve this promising roster. #TheNewMiami? Not quite yet... but we are getting there. #FinsUp!
@TomLikeNFL



Thursday, March 16, 2017

DolphinsTalk.com Mock Draft 1.0

Image result for miami dolphins nfl draft

Now that free agency frenzy is winding down, it's time to look at the draft.  We are 6 weeks out but now is the time to get some idea of who the Dolphins will be looking at with their picks.  Here we go!

Round 1 (22)- Hasson Reddick- OLB Temple- In this scenario, Taco Charlton and Zach Cunningham are off the board.  The Nate Allen signing helps at safety, which is why I don't have Peppers here.  Reddick is a do it all OLB.  His stock has risen based on his Senior Bowl performance and his workouts.  He brings a great ability to cover sideline to sideline against the run (huge need for the worst run D in the league).  He squares up well on tackles and is explosive when he hits.  His biggest asset is on 3rd down, where he can disrupt the QB on blitz and is great in zone coverage.  I love this pick if it happens on draft night, and the Dolphins will have their LB corp taken care of in round 1.

Round 2 (22)- Ryan Anderson DE/OLB Alabama- At 6'2, 253lbs, the Dolphins take Ryan Anderson here.  He solves the age problem on the edge and is capable of putting his hand in the ground or standing up and covering someone.  He has good instincts and decent athleticism.  Plays with a never ending motor and comes from a great system.  While he struggles at times against the run, he does well with good leverage and uses his hands well.  His ability to line up in multiple positions gives the Dolphins flexibility and the defense continues to mold with their first 2 picks.

Round 3 (33 Comp)- Nico Siragusa- OG San Diego State-  Miami influxes some youth in front of Ryan Tannehill with this pick.  The 6'4 320lb guard is very good in both run and pass blocking.  He blocks well on trap and pull plays and gets to the second level nicely.  He had a good combine and should be in line to start if drafted here.  Bushrod will also provide to be a great mentor to the young man and should line up year 1 on the left side next to Tunsil.

Round 5 (22)- Montae Nicholson- S Michigan State-  With not going with Peppers in round 1, the Dolphins grab a potential future starting safety in round 5.  Nicholson is a physical presence at 6'3 212lbs.  He is physical at the line of scrimmage at running plays and doesn't shy from contact.  He does need some work with coverage skills but did have 4 INT and 4 PBU in 20 starts.  If he can improve as a deep safety and continue to develop as a solid run defender, the Dolphins may have found someone nice to pair with Reshad Jones

Round 5 (34 Comp)- Nazair Jones- DT North Carolina- With striking out on Dontari Poe and not looking to spend a ton, the Dolphins add depth with Jones.  6'5, 305lbs, he is a great run defender.  He is quick for his size and able to get inside the gap to make tackles.  While he lacks the ability to rush the passer, Suh can give him all the tools he needs to succeed.  He is willing to get dirty and mix it up at times after the whistle.  He also can knock down passes at the line (10 in career at UNC).  A solid pick here.

Round 5 (40 Comp)- Josh Malone- WR Tennessee- With Carroo not being liked by coaches currently due to immaturity, Dolphins bring in Malone to compete.  He is a big bodies flyer, who averaged close to 20 yards per catch in 2016.  He basically has the ability of Kenny Stills and could be a good options as a 4th/5th WR if he makes the roster.  Gase will fall in love with his speed inside against nickel CB and Safeties.

Round 7 (5)- Zane Gonzalez K Arizona State- I am a firm believer you take a kicker in round 7 if one is available.  Gonzalez will provide competition for incumbent Andrew Franks.  He was a perfect 5 for 5 on 30-39 yard field goals (extra points), 6 for 6 on kicks from 40-49 and a whopping 7 for 9 on kicks beyond 50.  If he can make a good impression, Franks will be out and Gase won't be afraid to put Gonzalez on the field for kicks beyond 45 yards.

This could be a decent draft if the later prospects pan out and add depth to the roster.  I may be crucified for taking a kicker but round 7 is a flier pick anyways. 

Don't be afraid to let me know how I did on this first mock of 2017 Dolphins mock draft.  Follow us +Dolphinstalk.com .  I will be back again next week with another mock. 

@ternisse13








Dolphins Re-Sign OG Jermon Bushrod

In a move that was expected the Dolphins today re-signed last years starting right guard Jermon Bushrod. It is expected to be a one year deal but terms of the deal were not disclosed at this time. Bushrod did a serviceable job last season starting at right guard and played well at times. Bushrod will compete to be a starter again this year against the likes of Ted Larsen, Anthony Steen, and Kraig Urbik.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

AUDIO: Mel Kiper and Todd McShay FIRST DRAFT Podcast Cover Miami

This week's ESPN Podcast with Mel Kiper and Todd McShay they cover the Miami Dolphins needs and who they might be looking at with pick #22 at this time.

CLICK HERE to listen. (skip to 37 min mark for Miami Dolphins talk)

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Dontari Poe Traveling to Miami to Visit with Dolphins

Free Agent Defensive Tackle Dontari Poe visited with the Atlanta Falcons today and will be traveling tonight to Miami to visit with the Dolphins front office per a report by Josiana Anderson of ESPN. Most likely the official visit will take place tomorrow. Poe has already visited with Indianapolis, Jacksonville, Atlanta and Miami is next. He also has the Raiders on his wish list of places he would like to visit. Poe is looking for a big money multi-year deal or a one year deal so he can then hit the open market again next year and hopefully cash in then.
In my opinion Miami can add all of the linebackers in the world to with help the Dolphins poor run defense but honestly the biggest fix in correcting the run defense is getting a legit defensive tackle to play next to Suh. Jordan Phillips can only go roughly 20-25 snaps a game for Miami so depth at defensive tackle is a must for the Dolphins. Poe is a pure 1st and 2nd down run stuffer who if playing next to Suh will most likely shine and would have an amazing season. There are some drawbacks with Poe besides a hefty price tag it may take to sign him. For one it is a bit of buyer beware as Poe does have a bad back. Second, if a team runs no-huddle against you with Poe on the field he will become gassed and getting him off the field in those situations are almost impossible. With that said Miami needs a player like Poe who can clog up the middle and prevent teams from running at will on the Dolphins defense. If the price is right Miami should look into giving Poe a solid 1 year deal in my opinion. He is the type of run stuffing defensive tackle that are very tough to find and even harder to find a quality one in the draft who can play right away.

The big thing working in Miami's favor is Poe's agent is Jimmy Sexton who represents Adam Gase, Andre Branch, Suh, Laremy Tunsil among others currently on the Dolphins roster. Also, Sexton is very close friends with Mike Tannenbaum as well so Miami does have a bit of an "in" here with Poe's agent. We should know in the coming days where Poe signs but the fact he is visiting Miami in the next 24 hours is a very good thing.

While we do not have exact numbers Miami is roughly $17-$19 million under the salary cap at this time. They would need $5 million for rookies and the team also wants to extend Jarvis Landry and Kiko Alonso. Oh, and don't forget they would like to carry over some of the cap savings into next year. So, what can they realistically offer Poe to make him sign?  That is the big question right now. One thing to remember, Miami can cut Koa Misi and Dion Jordan (which they are expected to do at some point this offseason) at any moment and create $7 million more in cap space. Cut those two, give Poe that $7 mill for one year and Miami stands pat at around $17-$19 million in cap space.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Is the Guard Problem Really a Problem?

Ted Larsen
As Dolphins fans we have been shell shocked into thinking if we do not have elite guards then we have no chance to win or have a capable offense. Speaking to Dolphins fans, reading message boards, twitter, and listening to South Florida sports talk radio I hear you fans and I am here to tell you that the "guard problem" isn't as big a problem as you seem to think it is. In fact I'm not sure its a problem at all honestly.

Let's take a step back and look at our recent history shall we. Yes, Miami's offensive line struggled in recent years because the general manager(s) and head coach refused to give up on two players at our guard position; Billy Turner and Dallas Thomas when they showed time after time they just couldn't play well. Those two  were not NFL caliber players let alone starting guards in this league. Proof of this is that when Adam Gase cut them last year neither really caught on with another team or played for another team.

After Miami cut Dallas Thomas last October no team picked him up and it wasn't until this past January Philadelphia signed him to a futures contract. Meaning his odds of making the roster this season are slim and none. Billy Turner after being cut last October was picked up by the Ravens only to be cut three, yes THREE days later! He was then picked up by the Denver Broncos but never saw the field in significant games.

I get it folks, many of us have been scarred for life by these two lackluster players but I am here to tell you in the NFL you can win without having to break the bank for elite guards on the offensive line. Miami has an elite left tackle in Laremy Tunsil and yes I said elite because he is elite. Juwaun James is a very good to above average right tackle. Yes James got off to a slow start last year but once he became accustomed to the Fins new offense he shined from the middle of October on.  Mike Pouncey while has been injury prone when he does play is an Pro Bowl caliber linemen. Miami has three anchors on this line and it is about just filling in the two guard spots next to them with capable players.

Ted Larsen was the starting guard in Arizona in 2014 when they had an amazing season and went 11-5 and had a very high powered offense. In 2015 he was their starting guard when the Cardinals went all the way to the NFC Championship game. So this notion that Larsen is some how a liability if Miami has to start him is laughable. Larsen didn't derail those two teams with his play and those two teams also ran the ball very very well in those seasons. You plug Larsen next to Tunsil and Pouncey and I don't think there is an issue in fact that that is a solid left side of your offensive line. Could Miami do better than Larsen? Of course, but if Larsen ends up being a starter at guard step off the ledge people it isn't that bad.

I'm not here telling you that Ted Larsen is the second coming of Larry Little but he is a solid pick-up and players along the line of Larsen who are solid NFL veterans who have seen it all, played in big games, and weren't a liability to their former teams when they played are exactly the type of players Miami should be bringing in.

Also, I am hearing and reading a lot of Jermon Bushrod hate. Why? What did he do last year that was so bad? I know Bushrod is a little older and he wasn't perfect last year but he wasn't so bad that if Miami went to him again for a second year at right guard the whole offensive line would collapse. I would have no problem if Miami gave Bushrod another contract and brought him back. At worse he is a capable back-up who if he had to be thrown into the line-up you know won't hurt your team. At best he starts at right guard again and just like last year does a capable job. He wasn't a superstar, he wasn't great, but he was good enough and didn't cause the entire offense to fall apart.

As the 2017 NFL season is all of 4 days old Dolphins fans need to relax regarding the offensive line and specifically the guard position. Ted Larsen was a solid (not flashy) signing and I am sure Miami will have another signing at guard in the coming days or weeks along the lines of a player who is similar to Ted Larsen. Maybe they bring back Jermond Bushrod as well and when you throw in Anthony Steen who is already on the roster and showed some promise last year and can play guard, the Dolphins go into the draft having a capable offensive line already under contract. If they use one of their early picks on a guard then all the better.

Just remember people, not every non-big name offensive linemen is the next Billy Turner or Dallas Thomas. Miami doesn't need to break the bank to bring in big-named guards, they just need capable NFL guards and they will be fine in 2017.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Dolphins Free Agency Frenzy DAY 2 Report

Day two of Free Agency was a very busy day in South Florida for the Dolphins. Lots of new players brought into the fold for the Fins so let's get into it and break it down.

-The Dolphins signed LB Lawrence Timmons to a 2 year deal worth $12 million with $11 million guaranteed. This is a no brainer move for the Dolphins as their linebackers were a dumpster fire last year. Timmons can play either MLB or OLB, he has only missed 2 games in 10 seasons, and he has a nasty streak to him and his game. He isn't the long-term answer for the Dolphins at this position but he is a nice addition and stop-gap player who upgrades this unit instantly. With Timmons and Kiko Alonso now as two of the three starting linebackers the Dolphins are well on their way to having a respectable linebacker unit. And I wouldn't be so sure the Fins are done in free agency with adding linebackers. Stay tuned...

-The Dolphins replaced Isa Abdul Quddus by signing Raiders safety Nate Allen as they signed Allen to a 1 year $3.4 million deal which is an absolute steal. Allen is a 7 year vet who has played for Philadelphia and Oakland. Allen is a solid player but not someone who is a game changer at this stage in his career. He can step in and start from Day 1 but if Miami uses an early round pick on a safety in the draft then Allen would probably be a better fit as the teams 3rd safety and coming off the bench. Miami may have found a starting safety at a very reasonable price and team friendly price.

-We reported last night that Ted Larsen signed with Miami, today they made it official and pen went to paper. Not much more to add than what I said last night; Larsen is a back-up center and someone who will compete to start at a guard position. A solid player at most likely a solid price. Terms of the deal weren't disclosed but it was announced it was a 3 year contract.

-Miami is one of four teams that wants to visit with DT Dontari Poe. Poe is scheduled to visit with the Colts on Sunday. It is a buyer be ware situation with Poe as he has some back issues that has scared off some teams. Any team that signs Poe will have to do an extensive medical check on Poe.

-Dolphins Tight End Jordan Cameron announced his retirement today. With numerous concussions and injuries this was expected and we wish Jordan well.

What to expect next as Free Agency continues you ask? I think things will slow down some for the Dolphins. Here are some things to keep an eye on....

-The Dolphins look to add another Guard via free agency.

-Jarvis Landry to get a contract extension

-Do the Dolphins look to double down and get another possible starting linebacker? Zach Brown maybe who has been linked to Miami in a few places.

-If a solid Defensive Tackle is available at the right price I think Miami will make a play for them.


Keep coming back to DolphinsTalk.com for all the latest as we will be updating the site with news and hot takes as more Dolphins news breaks all day and night!

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Free Agency Day 1 Grades:

Image result for miami dolphins
 
 
 
Day 1 has come and gone and while there was a ton of activity from around the league, here is my look at each move the Dolphins have made from day 1. 
 
Reshad Jones- Extension 5yr/60M (35M guaranteed)- A+
 
Signing Jones to a long term extension was imperative.  He is, in my opinion, the #1 Strong Safety in the NFL.  He was on pace to exceed his ridiculous 2015 numbers with a great start in 2016.  This was important to get done for many reasons but the biggest:  The new Miami power structure will take care of their own players versus just letting them walk.  This was a big step towards that.  Having Jones locked up for the rest of his career has us set at SS.  Now, just build someone young behind him.  Great job here.
 
Julius Thomas traded for 2017 7th round draft choice (restructure 2yr/12M)- B
 
The first unofficial move for the Dolphins this offseason has come to fruition.  Julius Thomas has arrived in Miami with a new outlook after signing a lucrative deal with the Jaguars 2 years ago.  He was marred with injuries during his tenure and hopes to regain that magic that saw him collect 20+ TDs in his 2 years with Adam Gase.  This deal seems to be high risk, high reward, as the injury bug truly caught up to him recently, so I am cautiously optimistic that this deal will work out, which is why this grade is a B.  Solid move overall.
 
Kenny Stills- resigned 4yrs/32M (20M guaranteed)- A+
 
This deal got me out of my seat when finalized.  On twitter, I was saying his deal needed to be less than 10M per year.  Not only did Miami get him for 8M, Stills turned down money elsewhere to stay with the Dolphins.  This is eye opening in many areas, but this is all Adam Gase.  He establishes relationships with his players and Stills said that when interviewed.  This is a destination again folks, this is where players want to come play, for a coach like Gase.  Regarding the deal itself, the offense stays in tact and secures Stills for 2  years, with the unknown future of Devante Parker.
 
Andre Branch- resigned 3yrs/24M (12M guaranteed) - B-
 
Branch was vital to the turnaround once he was inserted into the line up.  There are mixed reports of what he signed for (24M from Salguero is what I bank on since he is always around team).  It is a lot of money but he proved his worth.  He is a good pass rusher and is very good at setting the edge against the run.  Another player that took less money to stay with the team.  That isn't factual as it hasn't been said officially yet, but rumors are he took less. 
 
Anthony Fasano- signed 1yr/3M- B+
 
The Dolphins pounced on Fasano once they found that Dion Sims was going to the Bears on a pretty lucrative deal.  Fasano returns for the first time since 2012 when he was a member of the team.  He is rated the #1 TE for blocking and #3 TE for pass blocking.  I don't see him much as a pass catcher in this system but he is essentially an extra tackle on most downs.  If he is primarily a blocker, this is a steal for this team.
 
Kiko Alonso tendered 1st round tender, Michael Thomas original round- C+
 
I have this grade a C+ based on the fact Miami may have been able to put a 2nd round tender on Kiko and save a little bit more money.  Not signing Michael Thomas to a longer term contract is frustrating, as he is the most versatile player on defense and special teams.  The tender helps but he needs to be locked down for longer than 1 year.  He becomes a UFA next season.
 
Overall I rate day 1 as an A-.  None of these moves were flashy, but the front office understood what last year meant as a franchise.  No need to start over, pay the guys who made a difference and add in behind those players to build depth.  I feel great about this off season thus far.  Stay tuned to Dolphinstalk.com for all the latest!
 
@ternisse13
 


Dolphins Trade for DE William Hayes

Late Thursday night Miami and the LA Rams made a trade. The Dolphins gave up a 6th round pick for DE William Hayes and a 7th round pick. Hayes is a 31 year old DE who is a solid run stuffer. I have seen two stats, one had him ranked as the 11th best defensive end vs the run last season and another ranking had him the 17th best defensive end vs the run. Whichever stat you believe, Hayes is good against the run. He also has some pass rush ability as since 2012 he has never had a season with less than 4 sacks. Hayes can also slide inside and play defensive tackle in nickel package situations as well.

With Andre Branch returning (who is also solid at setting the edge and playing the run) and now Hayes Miami is building up their defensive end position with guys who can play the run as Miami's run defense last year was very poor. No word if the acquisition of Hayes means Miami is no longer interested in Jabaal Sherad who is the DE from New England who lives a few minutes away from Dolphins headquarters and drove himself to meet with the team on Thursday but left without a deal. I still expect Miami to sign a defensive tackle at some point this free agency period but I think the defensive line for the most part is set and I expect Miami to turn its attention to linebacker and safety in the coming days. Hayes made headlines last year when he said he didn't believe in Dinosaurs. Here is Hayes with Comedian Jimmy Kimmel

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Dolphins Free Agency Frenzy

Free Agency has begun and the news is coming fast and furious so let's break everything down as of 7pm

Ted Larsen
-The Dolphins have signed Free Agent Guard Ted Larsen to a 3 year deal. Financials haven't been disclosed yet. Larsen can play both guard and center and is expected to come in and fight for a chance to start at guard for Miami this season. He was a starter in Arizona for 2 years and spent last year in Chicago where he started 8 games and played in 15. Larsen has 65 starts in 7 years in the league on various teams.  The Dolphins aren't even close to being done at the guard position but this is a vet who can start right away and someone who can fill in for Pouncey should he go down.  I would think with this signing the chance of Nick Mangold signing with the Fins won't be happening, but you never know.

-Tight End Dion Sims signed with the Bears and Miami wasted no time in bringing back Anthony Fasano. Fasano was in Miami not that far back and was a quality player for the Fins. Fasano is a solid #2 TE and will be great in the run blocking game essentially filling the role Sims had. Fasano signed a 1 year deal worth $3 million with incentives if he hits benchmarks.

-Reshad Jones got his contract extension he has been begging for. A five year deal with $35 mill guaranteed. Jones is the highest paid safety in the NFL now and it is a good deal for Miami as Jones is their best player in the secondary.

-Lawrence Timmons will be visiting the Dolphins facility on Friday. Reports were it would happen today. The fact it's not until Friday makes me think Timmons is using Miami to get more money out of Pittsburgh. If Timmons signs with Pitt tonight or tomorrow morning before stepping foot in Miami don't be shocked people.

-The safety market dried up real fast via free agency. All of the "legit starters" are gone and nobody is left on the market but back-up's and guys with little to no experience. Miami is going to have to address their safety problem in the draft. Probably will have to double down and take 2 in this draft.

-Jabaal Sherad is at the Dolphins facility right now! He lives a few minutes away and drove there on his own to meet with the team. Miami may have him locked up tonight so don't be surprised if that news breaks.

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