Did Dolphins draft history just repeat itself ?

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This off-season started off so strong, good moves by the Fins new GM Dennis Hickey, nice OC coaching hire, the release of Johnathan Martin and Richie Incognito allowing the franchise to move forward from ‘cafeteria-gate’.  All things that left the Fin’s fan hopeful for the 2014 draft, for seemingly the first time since Marino was throwing the rock.  Sitting here the day after, there is a similar eerie feeling that isn’t so unusual in these parts, it harkens you back to that “lost” decade of failure.  It is just one pick, and what makes champions are those picks between rounds 2-7.  Round 1 we’ve all heard those players, it’s those guys the scouts find and GMs and coaches draft, who make the winners and losers in the NFL.  Plus the 19th pick in the 1st round has not stepped on the field for the Dolphins just yet, so you should reserve judgment until he has a chance to play, very true.  However, with the over saturation of draft chatter, by the time the draft rolls around every name that goes off the board is one your so familiar with, you feel they are a family member.  Except, for that one name read by Commissioner Roger Goodell at pick number 19, Juwuan James for the Miami Dolphins, a name no person in anyway attached to the draft had connected to the 1st round anywhere.

 

The Miami Dolphins are in desperate need of offensive line help after giving up 58 sacks last season.  GM Dennis Hickey attacked that position this off-season, bringing in top flight left tackle, Branden Albert.  Also they went on to sign two other linemen in the process. If one of the top flight draft prospects it made sense for the Dolphins to pluck that player and fill both a need and draft that, “best player available”.

 

The draft worked itself out and at 19 the Dolphins had their clock start, and what happened next seemed what too familiar.  On the board was a strange list of names, a list that was filled with players who were thought to be top 15 prospects, long gone by pick number 19. Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Darqueze Dennard, Brandin Cooks, Marqise Lee all talents that were top 20 caliber players.  Meaning at 19 they were either a fit or tremendous value, and most importantly would fit the term “best player available”.  This seems like a random cliché you hear around draft time that draftniks say to make themselves sound smart.  In all reality the teams that draft by this credo win!  The Packers had Brett Favre, Hall-of-Fame quarterback, as they were drafting late in the 1st round of the 2005 NFL draft.  They had no NEED for a quarterback, but the best player on the board at pick number 24 was AARON RODGERS.  Now nearly 10 years later Aaron Rodgers is the best QB in the league and a MVP and Super Bowl Champion.

 

Best player available is what differentiates the winners from the losers; the Dolphins are a team year in and year out who tries to “fill needs”.  Also they are a team year in and year out who find themselves out of the contender conversation.  There’s a reason your draft the best guy there you can always find room for talent, you can’t always find room for a reach.  This was a similar conversation when the Dolphins drafted both Johnathan Martin and John jerry.  The offensive line is bad it is a major team need, yes martin and Jerry may be a reach in the 2nd and 3rd round respectively, but they fill a NEED.  Well where are they now… GONE, FAR FAR AWAY, after ruining the franchise on the field and off of it.

 

The Miami Dolphins had an opportunity to fulfill all requirements fulfill both need and best player at their spot and yet again missed.  What will Dennis Hickey do in rounds 2-7 are what will define him as GM.  What will Juwuan James become has not yet been definitely decided; he has to suit up and step in front of that crowd at Sin Life Stadium.  However; as we sit here the day after the draft, you expect to have a feeling of wonder, and hope.  Instead the South Florida faithful are left with a feeling of confusion and misery quite too often felt in these parts!


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  • BIG J

    There is a reason why Dennis Hickey wasn’t interviewed for the open GM spot in Tampa Bay, and why he was the only candidate who would even consider accepting our GM offer.

    I don’t think Ja’wuan is a bad player- he’s the most experienced RT in the draft, actually graduated, and was a team captain. It’s how and when we selected him that irks Dolfans. The pick behind us traded down a few picks, so it would stand to reason we could have too. There was no way anyone valued him as much as we did, and we could have had out cake and ate it too. Either Dennis Hickey is a complete genius, or he’s another nice guy, destined to finish last.

    This selection isn’t reminiscent of Aaron Rodgers, it’s more similar when we reached on RT and selected Vernon Carey in the first round, and passed on Vince Wilfork, whom NE was all to happy to select, even though they were deep at DT at the time.

    A position of strength is only an injury away from being an area of need. The best teams realize this and draft the best players available.

    • squalleyhead

      I agree with your points a little, but, a comment I read earlier on the NFL site has me more positive about this pick. One of the reasons James doesn’t grade higher is he is not projected to be a left tackle. We don’t need a left tackle, we need a right tackle. Not a left to convert to a right, so, a guy with 49 starts at right tackle in the SEC seems pretty good to me so far.;

  • Mike

    You both make good points and that was what I was getting at. We don’t know what Juwuan will be and he does fill a need. The problem is the think behind the pick, he was not high on any boards and would’ve been there with the 2nd Rd pick. The Wilfork pick by the Pats was a perfect example. This was in no way reminiscent of Rodgers this was the antithesis of that selection. It was a team so concerned with now that it passed on 3 or 4 special talents for a solid player. Good team’s who are always in win now mode, don’t do that. Why do you think the Saints traded up, they saw Cooks, who was a special talent who also filled a need. It just seems like a new name but the same old draft practices.

  • phins news

    We know that some people out there think the Phins reached for this one, but we do not think so. We think that was an overall good pick and should pan out in the future! http://phinsnews.com/jawuan-a-tackle/

  • jay

    What I don’t understand is that if we were targeting an OL tackle for sure, why not trade up a few spots to secure one of the four “elite” graded prospects like a Lewan or Martin instead of waiting and hoping they fall to 19.

  • David

    I’m extremely annoyed that there were several trades right after ours, and we still could have had this guy, and received an extra third round pick. I’m sure we were offered first. What is wrong with Hickey and Co…

  • Fraziel

    I thought it was a terrible pick. Why take a tackle ranked somewhere between the 7th and 10th best tackle when we could have taken the best guard, also a position of need? Why take a guy likely to be around when we pick at 50 in the second round and even if he wasnt we would have got someone of very similar talent? Why not trade down when new orleans clearly would have been interested? It was a monumental reach and its poor decisions like this that lead to poor drafts and long term problems with a franchise. Hugely disappointing pick and has put a dent in my faith in Hickey. He started the draft with a whimper.

  • Mike

    The problem is the rest of the draft wasn’t any different reaches on players no one wanted. Seems to be different name on the GM door, but similar decisions being made in the office.