This seems as good a time as any to look at some of the options the Dolphins will be presented with in free agency and the #2 pick in the draft. My sources for information on prospective players will be http://tsn.ca/nfl/player_list.asp, http://www.footballsfuture.com and last years Lindy's football preview (the only magazine that I'm familiar with that has comments about every player on every team's projected roster). I'll try to focus in on the most likely possibilities..(CURRENT AGE) in parenthesis.
QUARTERBACK - It appears as though AJ Feely(27) is safe to make the team for at least one more season. As we all know, he struggled mightily but there were so many mitigating factors that could be the reason for his poor play. With top coaches like S.Linehan & Houck running the offense we could see a dramatic improvement. All reports indicate that Saban is interested in acquiring a veteran QB to help Feely along and possibly start if he falters. For that reason, I'm not going to list younger veteran QB's like M.McMahon(26) from Detroit.
Gus Frerotte(33) - Great arm...Well schooled in Linehan's offense...excelled in 2003 filling in for an injured Culpepper with 6 TD's and only 1 INT in 2 starts (both wins)...Makes costly mistakes, especially when he tries to make too much happen in the red zone.
Kelly Holcomb(31) - Has struggled since a solid 2002 season with 17 TD's and 17 INT's over the last 2 injury plagued seasons. Simply hasn't stood out when given the oppoortunity to be a starter. Lacks a top arm or athleticism.
Tony Banks(31) - Has only started 3 games in 3 years..Wore out his welcome on several teams because he didn't master the offense and took his job for granted.
Jeff Garcia(34) - Reads defenses very well and makes excellent decisions. Puts a nice touch on the ball and can get it deep if he has to...Career 2-to1 TD-to-INT ratio. Small, slow, and weak-armed. Fails every tape-measure test. Has a funky delivery. Has taken some hits in recent years and is getting brittle.
Aaron Rodgers(R) - Top prospect...If drafted would likely spend a year as Feely's backup to better learn the system...He has a strong, accurate throwing arm and is capable of making all the throws....Does a great job of taking what the defense gives him underneath...Shows good mobility.
Alex Smith(R) - Biggest strengths are his intelligence and the efficiency he plays with. He sees the field very well and makes smart decisions. He is a true junior, and he needs to bulk up to take the beating the NFL is going to give him.
Others..Charlie Batch, Jeff Blake, Vinny Testaverde.
RUNNINGBACK - Very well could be the key to offensive success in 2005. Linehan employed a myriad of backs in his time as OC of the Vikings. He seemed to use the pass the set up the run (very different than what we are used to around here). If Saban gives him autonomy as has been reported, Linehan could be allowed to mold the offense as he sees fit. Mewelde Moore, Onterrio Smith & Michael Bennett all fit the same mold, so I wouldn't be surprised to see the Dolphins use a smaller, speedy back. Lamar Gordon should be given a chance to start because he fits the mold..great pass catcher..speedy. More than likely Minor will be gone and S.Morris will move back to FB.
LaMont Jordan(26) - Career 4.8 yds per att in first 4 years...a short, wide runner with power who can cut on a dime. Has good vision and can find a hole. Breaks tackles and finishes runs....Can't get on the field on passing downs because he doesn't read the blitz or run tight routes.
Ronnie Brown(R) - One of the more complete backs in this draft...has great size and very good speed. He is a physical runner that is very tough to bring down...will move the pile an extra two yards once he is hit...has the cutting ability to make the first defender miss, and the speed to get to the perimeter and break the long run...a quality receiver out of the backfield, displaying soft hands when asked to catch the ball.
Cedric Benson(R) - Shaved off his dreads to further separate himself from comparisons to Ricky Williams...has been called a "better" version of Ricky..has very good tools across the board and looks like he is going to be a very good NFL running back...runs very hard between the tackles, and has the strength to fight for extra yards...has the ability to make people miss, and the speed to go the distance....has also displayed the ability to be a solid receiver out of the backfield. Benson is about as consistent as you can get, and he shows up to play every week.
Cadillac Williams(R) - Does a lot of things very well...has excellent acceleration to and through the hole, and has the ability to cut and make defenders miss...runs with authority, and battles for the extra yard....possesses great vision, and just seems to know where the hole is. He is a willing inside runner, and still has the speed to be a threat on the outside... He has a slim build, and he could really use some extra pounds. It would help him be a stronger interior runner, and help him be more of a workhorse.
Chester Taylor(25) - Excelled filling in for J.Lewis last year with 2-100 yd games in 4 starts...Runs low to the ground and makes smart, economical north-south moves...Has no breakaway speed and very average burst through the hole. Poor blocker. Wears down.
Dominic Rhodes(26) - Limited action behind James...Darting, low center-of-gravity runner who makes quick cuts. Has a great burst and hits the hole hard. Can make people miss...A liability when pass blocking. Not a very polished receiver.
Derrick Blaylock(25) - 8 TD's in 5 starts could be a product of the system...Ran for 186 yds & a TD vs the Saints...Decent quickness and some cutback ability. Can catch and has some open-field moves...isn't powerful or extremely fast. Doesn't always hit the hole with authority.
Correll Buckhalter(26) - Coming off knee injury that wiped out his entire 2004 season...Has some speed and burst to the hole and will break some tackles. Decent receiver...Not a great cutback runner. Will get bottled up if the hole isn't right in front of him. Has had character issues in the past.
Anthony ( A-Train) Thomas(27) - Lost his starting job to T. Jones last year..A classic workhorse who gets it done between the tackles. Finishes every run. Reads and sets up his blocks well...Isn't a great blocker. Doesn't have the elite vision to find holes on his own. Lacks breakaway speed.
Others...Ron Dayne, Amos Zereoue
I'll work on the O-line and WR's ASAP.