Build through the draft! Build through the draft!......Win Now!! Win Now!!
O.K. How do you do that?? Sign the right veterans at the right price for the right amount of time, right? Easier said than done.
Identify strengths and weaknesses and eliminate your personnel weaknesses.
First a couple general thoughts: The Dolphin defense is too predictable and easily exploited. The answer....Morph into a hybrid beast. Sign and draft smart players who can mentally grasp alternating defensive sets. The Dolphins have the basic personnel to seamlessly shift into different sets and schemes without even substituting players.
Second: The offense needs to be rebuilt from the ground up. Philbin has to have the right personnel for his run blocking schemes and the Dolphins need guys who can score.
Long,Jerry and Martin don't fit. Maybe if Long signed for 7 mil and played RT, but that ain't happnin. Jerry can be traded to a passing team like the Falcons(a 4th ?), and Martin is a total bust IMO, but it only takes interest from 1 team to dump him.
Obviously, Dmitri Patterson gets cut, Brian McCann played better than he did. Actually McCann looked great for a guy we signed off his couch. I bring him and Amaya back. McCann is an extraordinary athlete and it looks like the lights might be coming on for him.
Cut Dan Carpenter. Saves another 2.7 mil in cap space. Should be just enough to re-sign Clemons.
Cut Richard Marshall and create a new CB corps. Several veterans are going to be cut at this position and the Dolphins could pick whoever they like. Guys like Asamugha,DeAngelo Hall,Chris Gamble,Quentin Jammer. All these guys are going to be taking huge pay cuts or get released. Their open market price should be extremely low as well. There is going to be a plethora of CB's on the FA market this year. The prices will be nice and low. This will also affect the draft. CB's may slide this year.
With Marshall,Jerry,Long,Carpenter, and Dmitri Patterson off the books the cap space is even higher.
A lot of fans believe in starting rookies, I don't. Sure, if you have a great player, but as a rule no. I sign stop gap veterans to 1-3 year contracts.
Let's say....... CB Chris Gamble 2 yr 8 mil....LT Bryant McKinnie 2 yrs 6 mil........RG Brandon Moore 3 years 15 mil.
Gamble is a top cover corner but will be 30 next year and is coming off shoulder surgery. Considering the competitive market he should come cheap.
McKinnie is of course a risk due to his weight history, but he was in top shape at the end of last year and played really good through the playoffs.
Brandon Moore may still be top tier even though he is 32. He is PFF's top ranked FA OG, ya, higher than Levitre. At least 5mil a year cap #
Sign Sebastian Vollmer RT to an incentive laden bigass contract. He is worth the money when healthy. Considering his role he may be the best RT in the NFL. I think top RT money is about 7 mil a year. A contract that protects us in case his back goes out.
Sign Desmond Bryant DT. The absolute perfect fit for a hybrid defense. This is the rising star every team seeks. 6'6" 310 athletically gifted and a genius. He went to Harvard on an academic scholarship. PFF's top ranked FA DT. He should be available for under top DT money due to little playing time. He played behind Seymour in Oakland. Can you sign a guy to an 8 year contract? Just kidding, maybe 6 years 40 mil?
Sign Keenan Lewis CB. Another rising star. He has shut down written all over him. He was targetted relentlessly last year as teams threw away from Ike Taylor. The result: 23 passes defensed on the #1 defense in the NFL; but like D. Bryant, limited time as a starter could see him go for mid-tier money. 6 years 33 mil?
Sign Antwaan Barnes DE/OLB/ST's....Pretty much a one trick pony. Situational pass rusher only with plus plus ST's coverage as a bonus. Had a bad year last year playing limited snaps in an injury riddled season. In 2011 he had 11 sacks as a situational pass rusher. When healthy he is a dynamic speed rusher. Elvis Dumeriville esque. 3yr 7 mil
Sign Marcus Truphant for a mil a year. That's what he got last year at Seattle and he played pretty good in spot duty.
If Santana Moss is released by the Redskins(which is highly likely), sign him and trade Bess to Oakland for a 5th and draft a kid to develop as a slot receiver. Moss is old but played good in limited snaps in the slot. He should be a bargain for a year or two. Wow, just think of it, a WR in Oakland who can actually catch the football! Bess grew up in Oakland, he would probably love the move. Considering Moss would be considerably cheaper than Bess(2.7 mil) Moss should sign for 1.5 or less, Dolphins get a little more cap space to carry over into next year. They can carry over up to 3 mil right??
I would hope the Dolphins could bring back Hartline and Fasano for contracts that keep their cap numbers low this year and go up next year because I believe Dansby should be released or traded next year. Perhaps Burnett as well.
Fasano won't be as cheap to keep as some think. He is far better in the passing game than he is credited for. There is a reason PFF has him so highly rated every year. Last year...40 catches, 0 drops.
Draft: Yes, The San Francisco 49ers have 14 picks in this year's draft; it's not a matter of if they trade up, it's a matter of how many times they trade and with who. The 49ers with 14 picks and as full of a roster as you will see in the NFL are prime candidates as a trade down partner. Our comp for trading #12 for #31...both of their 3rd's, our 6th back and their 5th. Yes that is way below the chart value for us but I'm just being conservative.
I'm basing this draft scenario on the premise that Philbin covets Zach Ertz. Draft projections based on Mayock's stuff and NFL draft scout.
1st.........Desmnd Truphant.........CB........Marcus and Desmond on the same secondary. I like the dynamic. What better tutor for a rookie than one's older brother of the same trade. Dolphins are going to need an excellent secondary to beat Tom Brady.
2nd........Send Jonathan Martin to AZ and move up to draft Zach Ertz TE. He should slide this far IMO. With it looking like Gonzalez will play 1 more yr in Atlanta there really aren't any teams in front of AZ in the 2nd that need a #1 TE. Somebody mocked Ertz to the Giants at 19. That is just absurd. Dolphins start drafting play makers right away.
2nd..Indy.....Stedman Bailey.....WR.........Absolutely love this kid. We all say we need more TD's. Well here is last year's leader in TD's. Was it 23?
3rd.......Phillip Thomas ...S.......Playmaker, 8 int's and 4 FF's last year. Just what the doctor ordered.
3rd..SF....Brian Winters....OG....Incognitos 2014 replacement? The next Logan Mankins? Winters is so good IMO Incognito could be traded before next year's deadline, especially considering the potential of Chandler Burden and Josh Samuda.
3rd...Ch....Marquiess Goodwin.....WR....Should develop nicely behind Moss in the slot. Here is true break away speed, something Bess never had. Another playmaker.
3rd..SF.....Reid Fragel.........OT.....A reach?? I expect him to blow up the combine and move up a round or two. Definite LT potential here, but extremely raw.
4th........Brandon Kaufman.....WR......This is why I have little respect for scouts and draft guru's. They project this kid as a 7th rounder. For his red zone potential alone he is a 4th rounder. He absolutely dominated in the FCS breaking the all time receiving record and making opposing defenses look like a joke. He is over 6'4" 215. He wins every contested pass and is flawless in all the fundamentals. The only thing he lacks is quickness and burst, otherwise, he would be megatron. Believe me, this is not a reach.
4th...ATL.....Cooper Taylor.......LB/S.....Another huge reach! Don't think so, not everyone is blind. The next Brian Urlacher. Yes, I really do think so, call it a hunch. Cooper was the alpha male at shrine practices. Not only did he immediately grasp what the coaches wanted for him, but he was telling the other players where to line up and what their assignments were as well. The kid is brilliant, an academic all american. He is over 6'4" 230 and looked fluid playing safety. He is already a tackling machine, natural leader and a big hitter. All he needs to do convert to LB is bulk up a little and learn how to shed blocks at the line, but I'm dreaming right. We'll see, but I see him replacing Dansby in the future.
5th...Oak.....Miguel Maysonet......RB.......I like Jonas Gray's potential, but Daniel Thomas may be a bust.
5th.........Travis Long......OLB/DE/LS.......They lined him up all over the place last year. Had 10 sacks while droping into coverage at times as well. I have no idea why he is projected so low(7th FA) and why he didn't get a combine invite. A four year starter who never missed a game. Even if he runs a 4.8 his body of work is very impressive.
5th....SF....Matt Scott......QB.......There is talk of the Dolphins running the read option. Well, this kid might be the best read option QB in this draft.
6th....SF.....Mike Catapano......DE......Wow the pundits are all over the place on this kid. Russ Lande has him ranked high enough to be taken in the 3rd round whereas draftscout has him not even being signed as a FA. I guess it is the Ivy League predjudice. He went to Princeton. He is a play maker. 12 sacks 17 TFL's FF's he dominated at the Shrine Bowl as well.
7th.....Dustin Hopkins.............K..........With Kaeding and Carpenter out on the m
7th...Dallas......Caleb Schreibeiss........DE/OLB.....I would draft this kid on looks alone. Even when he is in a full smile he looks like he wants to hurt you. One mean looking _. If he runs a 4.5 on his pro day he will be long gone, but if he runs a 4.7 he may get passed by because of the small school thing. There are several articles writen about this kid on the net. Too much to try to synopsize.
QB............................Tannehill,Pat Devlin,Matt Scott
RB.............................Miller,Miguel Maysonet,Jonas Gray,Daniel Thomas,Thigpen
WR.............................Stedman Bailey,Hartline,Santana Moss,Brandon Kaufman,Rishard Matthews,Marquiess Goodwin
TE..............................Fasano,Zach Ertz,Charles Clay
OT.............................McKinnie,Vollmer,Reid Fragel,Jeff Adams
OC/OG......................Pouncey,Incognito,Brandon Moore,Brian Winters,Josh Samuda,Chandler Burden
DT...........................Soliai,Desmond Bryant,Kheeston Randall,Chas Alecxih
DE..........................Odrick,Mike Catapano,Olivier Vernon
DE/OLB....................Wake,Antwaan Barnes,Travis Long,Caleb Schreibeis
S............................Jones,Clemons,Phillip Thomas,Jonathan Amaya
CB..........................Chris Gamble,Keenan Lewis,Desmond Truphant,Marcus Truphant,Brian McCann
K....Hopkins ...Punter Feilds.....LS...Denney
Depending on how Pat Devlin and Jeff Adams/Will Yeatman/Reid Fragel develop, the weaknesses I see are QB depth and LT depth; otherwise, I see improvement everywhere, especially the OL and secondary, vast,huge, enormous improvement. Desmond Bryant and Odrick being used more inside should dramatically improve the interior rush, and the competition opposite Wake should produce a couple difference makers on the outside pass rush. If Barnes returns to 2011 form the pass rush could be vicious.
I like this team to beat the Patriots twice next year and go to the playoffs.
Please point out some things you like or don't like. I realize Ireland would never be this aggressive but I think there are some good ideas here anyway. Thanks