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 versed 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)... Can sling the ball into tight spots. Will have hot streaks. Knows his role and has helped Culpepper developĂ˘â‚¬Â¦Seems to get worse the more he playsĂ˘â‚¬Â¦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 opportunity to be a starter. Lacks a top arm or athleticism.
Kurt Warner(33) - Excellent accuracy. Hits his receivers in stride so they can gain yards after the catch. Has a very good arm. An excellent decision maker who quickly diagnoses and exploits coveragesĂ˘â‚¬Â¦Since 2002, Warner has only 10 TDĂ˘â‚¬â„˘s to 16 INTĂ˘â‚¬â„˘s..Has developed happy feet in the pocket and will make poor throws when not set properly. Will force some passes and give up some interceptions. His fastball has lost a little zip.
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 throwsĂ˘â‚¬Â¦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, Tony Banks
RUNNING BACK - 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, Ontarrio 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
OFFENSIVE TACKLE Ă˘â‚¬â€ś Saban himself has indicated that LT is one of the top priorities for the offseason. This leaves D.McIntosh & W.Smith somewhat in limbo. Will the fact that O-line coach H.Houck already worked with McIntosh help him or hurt him? Is Wade Smith a lost cause? This is yet to be determined. All that is certain is that Saban stated that he will not Ă˘â‚¬Ĺ“overhaulĂ˘â‚¬Âť the line and will likely only make one significant addition. It would be logical to assume that St. Clair will at least be given an opportunity to continue to start at RT since he was fairly consistent. Another question is whether Houck & Saban will view Vernon Carey as more of a G than a T.
Jonas Jennings(27)LT - A widebody. Rock solid technique. A battler with a mean streak. Can be overpowering as a run blockerĂ˘â‚¬Â¦Has trouble with speed rushers, who get the edge on him at times. Doesn't have the footwork of an outstanding left tackleĂ˘â‚¬Â¦Would be a great fit with a veteran team dependant on the run looking for a young run-blocking tackle.
Jammal Brown(R) - As a pass blocker, he shows good agility, and has long arms to keep the defender away from his chest. Physically, Brown is a very good athlete, with very good lateral agility. His long arms allow him to keep the defender off his chestĂ˘â‚¬Â¦He can run block, but he doesnĂ˘â‚¬â„˘t play with a great deal of power and doesn't dominates at the point. Brown plays right tackle, but his athletic skills should allow him to move over to the left side in the NFL.
Alex Barron(R) - Tall, with very long arms, and is lanky, which shows room for growth potential. He is a very good athlete, displaying very good agility in pass protection. He slides well in either direction, and can adjust on the move. His long arms also allow him to lock on to the defender and keep them from getting under his padsĂ˘â‚¬Â¦He needs a complete overhaul in his run blocking game.
Kareem McKenzie(25)RT - Great size and wingspan. Quick feet. Moves well. Can explode out of his stance. Gets good push and can redirect his opponentĂ˘â‚¬Â¦Still improving his technique. Could be more physical and intense.
Oliver Ross(30)RT - Great wingspan. Lots of experience in the system. Latches on and can get some drive. Good footwork and some quicknessĂ˘â‚¬Â¦A turn-and-steer guy who doesn't blow people away. Not a polished technician. Doesn't always play with passion.
Stockar McDougle(28)RT Ă˘â‚¬â€ś Born and raised in Deerfield Bch, FL.. Massive, strong player. Can engulf and overwhelm opponents when run blockingĂ˘â‚¬Â¦Doesn't have great quickness or agility. Gets heavy. When he gains weight, he's too stiff and too slow to do the job. Makes mental errors.
Floyd Womack(26)RT - VersatileĂ˘â‚¬Â¦Has worked out at every line position but centerĂ˘â‚¬Â¦Not a full time starter in Seattle..A huge specimen who can be a road grader when blocking straight ahead. Has learned to pass block with better techniqueĂ˘â‚¬Â¦.Will lunge and lose balance. Gets too heavy and loses foot quickness. Not a great blocker in space.
Victor Riley(30)RT - Has shown the ability to be a dependable player whether moving the ball on the ground or through the air. He has the lower body strength to beat average defenders off the snap, and the reach to keep back pass rushersĂ˘â‚¬Â¦shows an inability to adjust to the moves of a quicker rusher, and often has to overcompensate, which can cost a quarterback time.
CENTER & GUARD Ă˘â‚¬â€ś Jeno James looks to be the only interior lineman that will remain a starter, the other positions are up for competition. As we all know, Seth McKinney was below average and he must improve greatly if he is to remain the starting C. If not, he will face a challenge from a free agent, a rookie or possibly Rex Hadnot & St.Clair who both played C in college. If Hadnot doesnĂ˘â‚¬â„˘t get in the mix at C, he should have a shot to win the RG position. If V.Carey is moved to guard, Hadnot will face stiff competition.
Joe Andruzzi(29)LG Ă˘â‚¬â€ś Started every game for the last 2 world champion Patriot teamsĂ˘â‚¬Â¦Smart, hard working tough guyĂ˘â‚¬Â¦a great fit for a young team looking for leadership and consistent playĂ˘â‚¬Â¦He gets great angles on his blocks, and opens up wide lanes for slashing runnersĂ˘â‚¬Â¦He is susceptible to superior bull rushers who can beat him on brute strength.
Marco Rivera(32)RG - A very good blocker in spaceĂ˘â‚¬Â¦He attacks defenders off the snap, and will push the pile for an inside runner. He lacks the mobility to get out to trap or pull, so his ideal suitor will feature a power back or inside slasher. In the pass game, he locks on to his opponent effectively, and has the intelligence and recognition to anticipate the moves of his opponent and neutralize them.
Dominic Raiola(26)C - Very quick and athletic, with adequate size. Plays hard. Has become a better technician who gets good position when pass blocking. Blocks well in space and against a moving target. Can long snap...Isn't exceptionally powerful. Still developing as a pass blocker.
Robbie Tobeck(34)C - Strong and tenacious. A high-effort type. Makes good calls. Won't make many mistakes. A clubhouse leader...Doesn't move well. Won't be much good on a sweep or screen. Quicker tackles can slice past him.
Bennie Anderson(28)RG - Powerful run blocker. Very good upper-body strength. Has great size and can engulf his opponentĂ˘â‚¬Â¦.Limited quickness and range. Not effective as a pulling guard. Quick rushers can get past him. At 335 lbs, will get fat and lose stamina.
Casey Rabach(27)C Ă˘â‚¬â€ś Started 16 games for the first time in 2004.. Smart and hard working. Has decent footwork and technique. Moves well enough to pull and trapĂ˘â‚¬Â¦.Isn't overpowering and doesn't always get leverage.
Rick DeMulling(27)LG Ă˘â‚¬â€ś Has been a full time starter the last 3 years for the high flying Colts offenseĂ˘â‚¬Â¦Good size, power and technique. Gets good position. Blocks well on the move. Can play anywhere on the interior line. Tough and dedicatedĂ˘â‚¬Â¦.Not a great straight-ahead blocker.
David Dixon(36)RG Ă˘â‚¬â€ś Despite his age, has not missed a start the last 2 years..has played in Scott LinehanĂ˘â‚¬â„˘s offense for the last 3 years.. Massive individual. A road grader as a run blockerĂ˘â‚¬Â¦.Struggles as a pass blocker. Quicker tackles can get around him and he has trouble picking up blitzing linebackers.
Cosey Coleman(26)RG Ă˘â‚¬â€ś Dolphins chose not to pursue him last offseasonĂ˘â‚¬Â¦More of a finesse player than a brute, Coleman possess the rare combination of good footwork, lower body strength, and the arm extension needed to keep defenders at bay. While he may lack the mean streak most teams look for in a lineman, Coleman would be a great fit in a precision attack that calls for many different qualities.
Jermane Mayberry(31)LG - Gets by on brute force. He pushes the pile and gets great leverage at the point of attack simply by exerting his force. Ask him to move around in a specialized offense and he will be lost immediately. He doesnt have the athleticism required to pull and trap, and would quickly become a liability.
Ben Hamilton(27)LG - Smart, dedicated player. Has good technique and fundamentals. A converted center who can play anywhere on the interior line. An old-school Broncos lineman who is great when pulling and trappingĂ˘â‚¬Â¦Struggles to keep his weight up. Doesn't generate a lot of push when blocking in line.
Elton Brown(R)G Ă˘â‚¬â€ś HeĂ˘â‚¬â„˘s got great size, and plays with a lot of strength on the field. If he gets his hands on you, youĂ˘â‚¬â„˘re all but done in the running game. He moves very well laterally, and is a very good overall athlete for an interior offensive lineman. He may even have the ability to slide out to RT, which will only increase his value. Brown has a ton of experience, and should be ready to play early in his NFL career.
Ben Wilkerson(R)C - Has awesome quickness, great hands and just knows how to play the position. Is very athletic, he should become a fine pulling offensive center in the future, he has the speed and quickness to do soĂ˘â‚¬Â¦He is not a giant that just dominates physically and that could be a problem in the NFL.
OthersĂ˘â‚¬Â¦Roberto Garza G, Rich Tylski G, Chris Gray G, Rich Braham C
FULLBACK Ă˘â‚¬â€ś All indications are that Rob Konrad(28) has seen his last days as a Miami Dolphin. With a cap number of 1.25 million, he hasnĂ˘â‚¬â„˘t made the impact that was expected when he was drafted in the 2nd round in 1999. This leaves J.Martin & likely S.Morris at FB. Martin (24) seemed more than capable of filling the role when playing last year. He doesnĂ˘â‚¬â„˘t do anything in the passing game but Morris is adept at pass catching. IMO there doesnĂ˘â‚¬â„˘t seem to be a need to add a FB in FA or the draft with these two capable players.
TIGHT END Ă˘â‚¬â€ś R.McMichael(25) is clearly one of the top TEĂ˘â‚¬â„˘s in the AFC though he may not be as great as he thinks he is because he has yet to step up at critical moments in big games. He has a bright future ahead of him, but it is uncertain if it will be with Miami considering that this is the final year of his contract. Under Saban, McMike will need to show that he is more of a team oriented player and he needs to stop worrying about stats. Donald Lee(24) has all the physical tools but he hasnĂ˘â‚¬â„˘t made the most of his abilities. Lee constantly makes critical mistakes. This is a big year for him because Saban will not tolerate his lack of focus. Because of McMikeĂ˘â‚¬â„˘s contract situation and the uncertain status of D.Lee, TE is a viable consideration in FA & the draft.
Anthony Becht(27) Ă˘â‚¬â€ś Not a threat in the passing game.. is an excellent blocker with the size to punish people and good technique, would fit a team looking for some assistance in lieu of replacing otherwise mediocre blockers.
Jermaine Wigging(33) Ă˘â‚¬â€ś Had a career year (71 rec) in LinehanĂ˘â‚¬â„˘s offenseĂ˘â‚¬Â¦a decent blocker, with above average hands. What separates him from other tight ends is speed, which is excellent for the position. He can elude most linebackers, and has the body control to seal off the rest. He is most effective running out routes to the sideline, consistently producing first down catches when defenses load up on deep coverage.
Chad Lewis(33) - Knows how to get open. Reads coverages and finds seams. Runs fairly well and can beat most linebackers. Has sure hands. An effective interference blockerĂ˘â‚¬Â¦.Doesn't push people around when blocking. Is getting older.
Freddie Jones(30) - He is big and fast, and can sneak behind the defense for the deep ball on occassion. He has good hands, but can get lost underneath and give up while attemption to elude a defender. He is not a superb blocker, but gets the job done effectively enough, but is prone to releasing too early.
Heath Miller(R) - Has good athletic ability, showing the ability to get open and make plays once he does catch the ball. He has awesome hands, and will be a red zone threat for the team that drafts him. He is also a willing blocker, and is above average in this category.
OtherĂ˘â‚¬Â¦Stephen Alexander, Ken Dilger, Patrick Hape, Cam Cleeland, Itula Mili, David Martin
WIDE RECEIVERS Ă˘â‚¬â€ś This would appear to be one the Dolphins strengths. C.Chambers(26) is in the prime of his career. Questions still arise as to whether he is an elite WR or the lack of talent around him has held him back. With an experienced OC in Linehan, we should begin to find out. Marty Booker(28) Is another WR who could greatly benefit from LinehanĂ˘â‚¬â„˘s presence. He is still a solid playmaker. D.Thompson(27) & B.Gilmore(26) both showed flashes of ability in 2004Ă˘â‚¬Â¦enough to warrant playing time in 3 & 4 WR sets next year. With reports circulating that David Boston(26) will be released by Saban for cap reasons, the need for another WR is there. ItĂ˘â‚¬â„˘s likely that Miami will look for a lesser known free agent or a rookie to fill his absence. For that reason I will not detail the big money free agent WRĂ˘â‚¬â„˘s like Burress, Houshmandzadeh or Givens.
Braylon Edwards(R) Ă˘â‚¬â€ś Emerging as the #1 rookie in this years classĂ˘â‚¬Â¦He can go across the middle to make the tough catch, and he can go up and get the ball in the red zone to make the play. He specializes in making the spectacular grab. Has solid speed, and can get deep and outrun defenders to make the big play. Physically, he's got it all - Tall, strong, and has good speed. While Edwards can make the big catch, he often drops the easy one.
Mike Williams (R) - Gets off the line easy, as he has excellent use of his hands, and the strength allows him to toss aside the corner before he can be neutralized. Great hands. Is going to be a major force in the red zone from his first snap in an NFL game. A very good blocker in the run game, and runs very precise routesĂ˘â‚¬Â¦does not possess great speed, but it is not something that will hold him back in the NFL.
Troy Edwards(27) - He is a great slot guy, with excellent hands and superb body controlĂ˘â‚¬Â¦has the foot quickness to be productive out of the slot but is too short and stocky to have success outside.
-RFA- Kelly Campbell(24) Ă˘â‚¬â€ś Has played all 3 years of his NFL career in S.LinehanĂ˘â‚¬â„˘s offenseĂ˘â‚¬Â¦Has averaged close to 20 yds a catch on 44 receptions over the last 2 years..Very quick and elusive. Has long speed and can get separation. Snatches the ball and will make the tough catchĂ˘â‚¬Â¦at 171 lbs, heĂ˘â‚¬â„˘s small and slightly built. Loses focus and will drop passes. Is too small to start and cannot take a hit.
(I only list Campbell because of his connection to Linehan- He was an undrafted free agent, so if the Vikings donĂ˘â‚¬â„˘t tender him with the highest option, he may be available for little compensation.)
OthersĂ˘â‚¬Â¦Charles Lee, Tai Streets, Troy Walters, Dane Looker
Up next...DL, LB ASAP