Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Craziest Miami Dolphins Schedule I Have Ever Seen!

Just when I thought I had seen everything in 57 years of life.

Just when I thought it was safe to go back in the water.

The NFL scheduling shark swam up and took a good chunk of my butt with him.

For starters, no home game at 1 PM until October 25th. That's week 7!

There goes our heat advantage.

I understand that we wanted to start on the road because we wanted to make sure we had time to have the stadium renovations in place.

BUUUTTT...In the first 10 weeks of the schedule we have only 2 games in SunLife Stadium. Part of that is due to hosting the Jets in London in week 4 and then the Bye in week 5.

Hello! What does the NFL have against us? Please just come out and tell us so we can apologize and then we can all move on from there.

A 7 week stretch from week 6 through week 12 with a total of 5 road games. Those road games are at the Titans, Patriots, Bills, Eagles and Jets. With the middle 3 in a row! In 18 Days!

Its tough enough to win in this league with an alternating schedule but we may have to come out of camp as the greatest road warrior team ever just to stay in the hunt this season.

We do get 2 night games: Thursday October 29th at the Pats and Monday December 14th hosting the Giants.

We do get Breakfast at Wimbledon on October 4th at 9:30 AM with our home game against the Jets in London. That should be fun to watch at church with the choir singing "Be not afraid".

On the positive side, we should actually be able to open up with 2 road wins at the Skins on September 13th and then at the Jags on September 20th.

We have no cold weather games in December as San Diego is our only away game in the last 5 games.

And in November, we have 3 games on the road in the Northeast with all starting at 1 PM. So we may not need any parkas this season.

But we finish home against the 2 AFC Championship teams from last year, the Colts on December 27th and the Pats in the New Year on January 3rd.

The Colts, we can beat. The Pats, we will have to beat.

We do get 4 home games out of the last 5: Baltimore, Giants, at San Diego, Colts and Pats.  On second look, that's not that great a consolation.

Oh well, we knew going in that this was going to be a tough schedule with the division cross over games with the NFC East and AFC South.  But those divisions are saying the same thing.

So here it is in case you haven't read it elsewhere (all times EST):

Week 1: 9/13 at Skins 1 PM
Week 2: 9/20 at Jags 4:05 PM
Week 3: 9/27 Bills 4:25 PM
Week 4: 10/4 Jets in London 9:30 AM
Week 5: BYE
Week 6: 10/18 at Titans 1 PM
Week 7: 10/25 Texans 1 PM
Week 8: 10/29 at Pats Thursday Night 8:15 PM
Week 9: 11/8 at Bills 1 PM
Week 10: 11/15 at Eagles 1 PM
Week 11: 11/22 Cowboys 1 PM
Week 12: 11/29 at Jets 1 PM
Week 13: 12/6 Ravens 1 PM
Week 14: 12/14 Giants on Monday Night at 8:30 PM
Week 15: 12/20 at Chargers 4:25 PM
Week 16: 12/27 Colts 1 PM
Week 17: 1/3 Pats 1 PM

Phins Up!!!

Carl Leone
Dolfan since 12/25/1971

Monday, April 20, 2015

7 Round Mock Draft For Dolphins' 2015 Picks ( 8th Edition WHAT IF MEL KIPER IS RIGHT )

A couple weeks ago, I read that ESPN's NFL Draft Guru, Mel Kiper, had the Dolphins utilizing their First Round pick on Danny Shelton out of Washington, the number 2 Rated DT.  At 6-2, 339 lbs, Shelton is projected to go high in the draft as he has all the intangibles you look for in a DT with strength and athleticism.

Shelton can step in and play immediately. Kiper's reasoning is that this pick would not only make our starting Defensive Line the best in the NFL with Cameron Wake and Olivier Vernon on the ends along with Ndamukong Suh at DT.  Shelton would also protect the major investment in signing Suh and not allow him to wind up being an overpriced possession on our Roster but make Suh even more effective and then certainly worth the investment.

I may not agree entirely with this philosophy but if the Dolphins' brain trust feel Shelton would be the Best Available Player at 14, then who am I to second guess this possible pick.

With this in mind, I decided to utilize the same NFL Draft App and see how drafting Shelton at 14 might effect the rest of our draft. The App made all the other picks for the 31 other teams and I made all our selections for the Dolphins.

Here is what I came up with:

Round 1 Pick 14: "A plague on all 31 of their houses!"  About time we got around to Pick 14, Shelton was gone. I kid you not. But I want to keep the same philosophy of protecting the investment in Suh going. So rather than pick a DT at 14 and over paying for who was still available at DT, I decided to accept a trade from Philadelphia. The Eagles offered their 20th Pick in Rounds 1, 2, and 3.

Round 1 Pick 20 (From Phila.): There was still 3 DTs left with First Round Grades, all Juniors no less: Arik Armstead from Oregon, Malcom Brown from Texas and Eddie Goldman from Florida State.

Armstead, at 6-7, 292 lbs, hasn't fully developed physically yet and would be better suited for the DE position in a 3-4 Defense so he is eliminated. Brown at 6-2, 319 lbs, is set to become a penetrating DT in a 4-3 Defense. And Goldman at 6-4, 339 lbs is best suited as a true NT in a 3-4 Defense. Goldman can tie up two blockers and free up Suh to one on ones which in theory is what we would be trying to do here but I like the idea of having another sack specialist in this passing friendly league that the NFL has become.

So at Pick 20, I selected Malcom Brown.  Brown is quick, very quick, off the ball and will make plays behind the LOS. He is very active in chasing down the ball along the LOS and also batted down 6 passes so he is pretty darn athletic. Brown, the 24th Ranked player, finished 2014 with 14 tackles for a loss and 6.5 sacks allowing him to not only be an All-American but also a Bronko Nagurski Award finalist for the best defensive player in the country as well as a finalist for the Outland trophy for the best interior lineman in the country. I know Philbin will like the fact that Brown is already married with 2 kids and has been volunteering for Adams Angels who support kids with cancer. Lets hope he isn't another Ted Ginn Jr.

Round 2 Pick 15: Time to solve a few of our true needs so lets start at WR with Jaelen Strong, another Junior out of Arizona State.  Strong, the 39th Ranked player, brings a 6-2, 217 lbs, frame along with 4.44 speed to the roster. He doesn't have top line speed which is why he will be drafted in the 2nd round but he does have the ability to play big on 50-50 balls and does a nice job in traffic. Strong is the 7th rated WR, who compares to Marques Colston of the Saints. He finished 2014 with 82 receptions for 1165 yards and 10 TDs, earning First Team Pac 10 honors.

Round 2 Pick 20 (from Phila.): Still had some good choices here in OG, RB, ILB, FS, SS and OLB. But I really like this next pick. With the 52nd Pick, I selected the 46nd Rated Player in ILB Bednardrick McKinney of Mississippi State. At 6-4, 246 lbs, this Junior has the hard nose for the football you look for in an ILB and runs the 40 in 4.66 seconds as well as having a vertical of 40.5 inches. Starting behind Suh and Brown he can become a taller version of Zach Thomas. McKinney has long arms and is very agile laterally but he did lift only 16 reps at the combine so he will need to beef up a bit. There are those who question his instincts in reacting well to the ball and stacking blockers prior to shedding them, but quite frankly, he may not have to shed too many blockers anyway. McKinney was an All-American LB in 2014 and finished his career with 244 tackles in 39 games.

Round 3 Pick 20 (from Phila.): Time for the secondary to get some help. There isn't a whole lot of quality players at the Safety position in this draft so I decided to overpay a bit here by selecting Derron Smith from Fresno State.  At 5-10, 200 lbs, he may not have the height but he certainly has the instincts to play in the NFL. He had 14 Interceptions heading into 2014. Smith possesses exceptional ball skills and can contort his body mid-air to come down with the ball. He has excellent leaping ability and great hands. I used the 84th pick on the 104th Rated player.

Round 4 Pick 15: Staying in the secondary, lets sure up the CB position with Steve Nelson out of Oregon State. Nelson is a tough kid who plays larger than his 5-10, 197 lbs frame. He uses his size and hands well to tie up WRs at the line when asked to. At the Senior Bowl, Nelson broke up 4 passes in one practice by consistently under cutting routes so he has the instincts too. He does get a bit grabby going down the field but could be a very good nickel for us. Nelson is the 109th Rated player I used the 111th pick on.

Round 5 Pick 13: How much do I like this kid? I picked him in almost all my drafts. For redzone and seam insurance at TE, welcome, once again, Tyler Kroft from Rutgers. At 6-5, 246 lbs, Kroft runs the 40 in 4.75 seconds and has played TE since High School. Why? He has incredible hands with deceptive speed. Kroft, a Junior, can play all over the LOS and can block adequately too. Combined with Jordan Cameron, he can give Bill Lazor two big receiving weapons in the Red Zone and a matchup nightmare. With the 141st pick, I selected the 132 Rated player.

Round 5 Pick 14: Staying on the Offense and the LOS as well, welcome the C/OG out of Georgia Tech, Shaquille Mason. At 6-2, 309 lbs, one might think that due to his lack of height, Mason couldn't handle the NFL. But this kid is a mauler in the run game and uses his lack of height to consistently gain leverage on DTs. At the Senior Bowl, Mason played Center but can slide to OG if needed. Could become a good interior swingman as a backup. He is the 173rd Ranked player, I used the 142nd pick on.

Round 6 Pick 15: I wasn't thrilled with who was still available. I was planning on using this pick to grab Matt Jones the RB out of Florida but the word got out on Jones so I accepted a trade from GB for the 20th Pick in Round 6 that they acquired from Phila. and GB's Pick 30 in the 7th Round.

Round 6 Pick 20 ( from Phila. via GB ): Still looking for a big RB to help out in short yardage and in the Red Zone, I selected Mississippi State RB Josh Robinson. At 5-8, 217 lbs, Robinson is considered a poor man's Ray Rice. The runner, not the wife beater. He is a short yardage specialist who runs low to the ground with good forward leverage. This Junior is nicknamed "Bowling Ball". Sound familiar?? Don Nottingham?? Robinson does need some work with his blocking and may not be a starter in the NFL but he could be another Lousaka Polite. Robinson is the 186th Rated player I used the 190th pick on.

Round 7 Pick 30: Tough break for this kid as he was only 2 picks away from a week in Southern California and a Parade in his honor. Oh well, back to the secondary and in the 7th Round, its best to look for a Special Teamer so that's why only 2 picks from Stardom, we added the tackling machine in SS Kyshoen Jarrett from Virginia Tech. At 5-10, 200 lbs, Jarrett is fast, explosive and physical. He runs the 40 in 4.57 and did 21 reps at 225 lbs. He totaled 88 tackles last year and 242 in 3 years as a starter. His skill set is more in tune with the nickel position but he can certainly earn a living as a very good gunner for us.

I will admit that this wasn't one of my better drafts as players didn't fall as I would have liked this time around. So we can blame Kiper and look forward to tomorrow's Schedule Release and see who we are playing each week as well as at what time.

Phins Up!!!

Carl Leone
Dolfan since 12/25/1971