If you were like me last Thursday you were filled with excitement through the first nine picks, as Lewan and Martin fell and the dream of Ebron in aqua was still alive. Then you began to come down to earth. Suddenly Ebron was gone to Detroit where they are trying to add digits to the scoreboard and Tennessee decided it would be better to play a game with 3 tackles since everyone like tackles, so Lewan came off the board. And at 15 Shazier and his aqua jacket went to Pittsburg, and then Jerry Jones showed some serious restraint (or was locked out of the war room) when he passed on his boy crush Johnny football and took the Dolphins future pro-bowl right guard Zach Martin away from them. Here you were sitting on the couch thinking about what prom could have been if all those cheerleaders didn’t already have dates. Martin falling this far and being snatched so close to 19 surely put a damper on your day, but no tears had been shed just yet, you still had 15 minutes before the water works came.
At this point you thinking about whether you were going to get a home or, away Mosley jersey and whether Hickey would get an A or, an A- for the pick. As the commissioner came to the podium and said “the Baltimore Ravens select C.J. Mosley, Linebacker Alabama” your tears began to water down your beer and like a six year old who really wants ice cream you began to beg your TV and anyone else that would listen for Hickey to just trade down. Needless to say Thursday was a somber night, and if you waiting to address the Dolphins to address their need at linebacker you assumed you would be waiting until next years draft, but the Dolphins might have just found a gem in the Montana soil.
Meet Jordan Tripp
Jordan is second round talent who had a third round grade and the Dolphins were able to get the 6’3’’ 234 pound product from the Treasure State in the fifth. And this pick figures to be a treasured pick. Jordan Tripp was a bear amongst boys at the FCS level as his instincts and athleticism seemly always led him to the ball and I mean always. If you find film of the Montana defense where there isn’t a number 37 laying on top of the ball carrier its film from 2011 when he missed all but three games with shoulder issues. His instincts are excellent and your ability to read guards doesn’t go away at the next level, you just have to read a little faster.
I have faith that Jordan will make the adjustment sooner rather than later, but don’t think you will be waiting long to hear his name. Just as he impressed NFL teams with his strength and athleticism leading up to the draft (22 bench reps, and the fastest 20- yard shuttle among linebackers along with a solid Senior Bowl) he figures to impress Phin fans as a special teams warrior in 2014, filling lanes and making tackles.
I don’t expect to see Tripp atop to NFL leaderboard for tackles in 2014, but I would expect to see him rotating in as a Mike, Will and Sam because of his versatility and the fact that he is a ball magnet. This coupled with the sad truth that the Dolphins lack linebackers that can cover tight ends and running backs in any sort of space larger than what you would find in an antique phone booth, and the fact that Dion Jordan is better served chasing signal callers rather than tight ends, I would expect to see Tripp on the field in a lot of passing situations. Its simply hard to keep a linebacker with good instincts off the field. And if Tripp develops as he could, I would expect to see him as a three down mike for the Dolphins in 2015.
I just want to remind all of you of this other home grown linebacker the Dolphins picked in the 5th round even though many had questions about how his game would translate when the completion was bigger faster and stronger. That linebacker was Zach Thomas and he made eight trips to Hawaii and recorded over 1,700 tackles in his career. I am not saying Tripp is the next Zach Thomas, I am simply prompting you to think about how cool it would be if he was.