Sunday, August 03, 2014

Dennis Hickey’s Acorns


So we are approaching the first preseason game of 2014 and at this point you can get an early feel for Dennis Hickey’s first offseason as GM of the Dolphins. Granted I do know that the performance of the regular season is what is the true measure of success. However in the early going it appears Dennis Hickey has done a solid job.  In free agency he recruited  Alberts, Delmas, Finnegan, Colledge, and Mitchell. They all appear to be solid veteran players the team really needed to mix with the younger players. Dennis Hickey’s first draft also appears to have a nice outlook. James, Landry, and Turner all appear likely to be solid contributors as rookies.  Wow, is that was is like to get 2nd and 3rd draft picks that actually can become starters on your team as rookies?  So as any fan would hope for, it looks like our new GM did a solid job in free agency and drafting. That in itself is very impressive. However, what is even more impressive are the “acorns” Dennis Hickey seems to have found. (Ok I used that on purpose since very few Jeff Ireland acorns ever turned into trees)

It is not easy, NOT EVEN IN THE VICNITY of easy to acquire rookie free agents after they draft that are much more than camp bodies.  If you’re lucky maybe one makes it as a practice squad player or is a special teams player. It appears Hickey may have acquired two, yes TWO players that might not only make the team, but have the ability to be starters for this team at some point.  Ireland had trouble getting players that could do that in the 2nd and 3rd round of the draft.  Hickey also has two potential players that could develop into significant roles later in the season or maybe next season. In review here are my four favorite acorns to keep an eye on as you are watching the preseason games.

Anthony Johnson -DT - looks like he has moved in the mix as a reserve defensive tackle. This guy clearly has the ability to be starter in this league.  It would not surprise me to see him working in the lineup as reserve during the season and being one of our top 3 tackles in a year or two.  – It is almost unheard of to get a solid Defensive Tackle after the draft.

Damien Williams – RB – This guy has been flashing a lot. It looks to me like he has moved up to the #3 running back (at least with Moreno out with an injury) I think he has the ability to surpass Daniel Thomas.  He clearly has the upside and ability to play running back in the NFL. At this point I am not sure it makes sense to keep both Moreno and Thomas. They are both on unrestricted free agents after the season and Williams is much younger and cheaper than both of them.  It would not surprise me to see Williams take over as the #2 back in 2015. – Again very impressive for an undrafted player.

Gator Hoskins – TE - Quick question. If Charles Clay gets injured, what player is the closest to being capable of being the dual threat that he is? That player is Gator Hoskins.  I doubt that he is on the active roster, but I do suspect he will be on the practice squad and I would not be shocked if was suddenly put on the regular roster if Clay gets hurt.

Chris McCain – LB- All the guy keeps doing is making plays. He is currently too small to be an every down linebacker. However, this is another guy I think may be put on the practice squad or even on the regular roster to play in passing downs and on special teams. If he can add another 10-20 pounds on his frame he may have the ability to even start at linebacker or be a solid reserve in 2015.

Let me know who your favorite acorns are and how you think Hickey has done.
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7 comments

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Nice article GoFins! Speaking of hickey and not necessarily "acorns" but I believe the best pick of the draft and most impressive by Hickey was Ju'wuan James. I specifically remember watching the draft and thinking that Miami for sure would have taken Cyrus Kuandjiao. Everyone and their mother had him higher on their draft boards than J. James, including me. Now, this pick didn't really hit home until tonight during the HOF game where I watched Kuandjiao GET OWNED by every defensive line player that was in front of him that played for the giants. 1st, 2nd, 3rd string, didn't matter, he played horrible all night. At that moment is when I realized that Hickey made one hell of a pick or has major luck. I would like to think it was just a great pick. Things seem to be looking up for the Phins, hopefully it translates to the regular season.

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I think Anthony Johnson will be in the rotation Week 1 though I am always on over side of optimism. I believe he is the 4th best DT on the team. Envision him as if he were a 2-3 round draft pick because that is his talent level.

Chris McCain is listed as 6' 5", 250 on the official dolphins website roster. Not sure what is more accurate as I know you are referring to pre draft sites which have him much less. Yes, he is interesting.

Hope Hoskins can keep the momentum. Omar Kelly is saying he has disapeared when the pads have come on. I hope he puts it together because some guys have a knack for the end zone and he showed that knack in college.

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Great article gofins4sb!

This was a very, very deep draft. And a few of those guys you mentioned did have late round draft grades but Anthony Johnson was projected to go in the 2nd or 3rd round so he may wind up being the steal of the draft.

Johnson's going to work hard and make the rotation behind Starks, Mitchell and Odrick. He will wind up being Hickey's best signing as I think he will become a big contributor late in the season.

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Great Comments, I see I am not the only one watching Anthony Johnson. The Dolphins had the advantage of having some solid vets at DT so they could throw Johnson in with them. They can teach him how to be a professional and we may very well have a solid DT for years to come.

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Not to be a "wet blanket," but didn't Anthony Johnson have some off-the-field issues that led to him going undrafted. If not, my apologies to Johnson. Nonetheless, I agree that he may turn out to be a steal.

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Yes, Johnson tested positive for marijuana at the combine. Not too bright when you consider he knew he was going to be tested. He does have a 2 year old child and his words were encouraging in one of the articles about him. That does change a guy so hopefully he keeps his head on straight. He has something to work for and good teammates for support. Hope it works out. He could even turn out to be the best draft pick/free agent of this whole class actually.

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Most people don't realize that marijuana is detectable for 30 days after using. Most figure after a week it is out of your system but it isn't.

I am sure he is being counseled by both his agent and teammates. Hopefully he matures rather quickly because he has a lot on the line.