Friday, March 25, 2016

In N.F.L., Deeply Flawed Concussion Research and Ties to Big Tobacco - NYTimes.com

This is a pretty good read about the flaws in concussion research - and the way the NFL is trying an approach similar to big tobacco (and going so far as to hire some of the same people).

http://mobile.nytimes.com/2016/03/25/sports/football/nfl-concussion-research-tobacco.html


Short. Sweet. To the point. That's the beauty Dave's iPhone.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

2016 Miami Dolphins 7 Round Mock Draft

Come April 28th, in Chicago, the 3 day NFL Draft will commence. The first round is on Thursday the 28th, the second and 3rd rounds are on Friday the 29th and the final four rounds will be on Saturday the 30th.

The Dolphins, after trading down with Philadelphia for LB Kiko Alonso and CB Byron Maxwell by exchanging their first round picks, are now picking 13th instead of 8th.  The Dolphins hierarchy figures they just got 2 starters by moving down five picks. Plus, they should get another starter with the 13th pick.  That's 3 starters for moving only 5 picks down the line.

On a team that needs plenty of help, more than just one player to put us over the top, that's a good move. Of course, only if Alonso and Maxwell play and play well.  Alonso is coming off 2 years worth of injuries and Maxwell got burned quite a bit in the Philly scheme after playing well in the Seahawks scheme.

Lets face it, there are no guarantees in the draft.  You do your research and you hope that the guys you draft pan out. But there is no absolute certainty.

After reading about the Dolphins new Head Coach Adam Gase and how they plan to scheme around what players do best, I believe since the team is a number of players away from being a legitimate contender, they will be selecting the Best Player Available regardless of what position they play.

We need help in quite a few areas. The most important are CB, OG, DE, LB and RB.  I am sure if the need matches the BPA philosophy, that player will be selected. But don't be surprised if the Dolphins select a player in any round that just adds to a position that is already pretty deep because that player that is available is rated pretty high on their chart.

We have picks in each of the first 6 rounds and 2 in the 7th round so baring any trades we could wind up with 8 new players on the roster pushing our vets for playing time.

The purpose of this Mock Draft is to give fans an idea of who may be available in each round.  I am utilizing a Computer App to make the selections for the 31 other teams in the draft.  Unfortunately, I do not have the time to list all the picks nor all the players who may have been available when I picked for us.

ROUND 1: Miami is on the clock...Had choices of Shaq Lawson and Eli Apple but went with the higher rated OLB out of Ohio State Darren Lee. He started his Ohio State career at safety, put on some muscle and moved to linebacker, replacing the graduated Ryan Shazier at SAM linebacker in 2014. Lee played the "walkout" linebacker role so he was asked to cover, blitz and consistently play in space.

In 2014, he had 81 tackles, 16.5 tackles for loss, 7.5 sacks and a pair of interceptions. He also earned Defensive MVP honors in the 2015 Sugar Bowl win over Alabama. Lee started all 13 games in 2015, finishing with 66 tackles, 11.0 tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks to earn Second Team All-Big Ten honors.

He is 6'1", 245 lbs and runs the 40 in 4.47 seconds. He could start on the outside in a heartbeat for us.

ROUND 2: I had a tough choice here. If the Dolphins go BPA, then DT Jarran Reed would be the pick as the 19th rated player or even C Ryan Kelly out of Alabama at 26 but I go for the 37th rated player and fill a big need here with the OG out of Kansas State Cody Whitehair.  At 6'4", 304 lbs, he started 50 games at KSU and earning All-Big 12 honors all 4 years. He is the highest rated Guard in the draft. He played both Tackle and Guard but will switch to OG where he actually wants to play anyway. He is good enough to play all 5 positions if needed so depending on how our other OL shake out and into what positions, he should start somewhere on the OL.

ROUND 3: I was thinking about DE Carl Nassib out of Penn State who led the country with 15.5 sacks last year. He is the 68th rated player but decided to fill a need with the 75th rated player with the RB out of Arkansas Alex Collins. A one-year starter in Arkansas' pro-style offense, Collins didn't become a full-time starter until 2015, but it was his third straight season with 1,000-plus yards rushing - only the third player in SEC history to do so, joining Herschel Walker and McFadden. At 5'10", 217 lbs, Collins has enough quickness, power and patience to contribute by sharing carries with Jay Ajayi.

ROUND 4: Since all the very good corners are off the board by now, I grabbed a guy who will transition from the outside to play nickel for us. Lets face it, with the wide open offenses out there today, the nickel is now a starting position.  Welcome the 118th rated player, CB from Georgia Tech D.J. White. Since starting in  2013,  he made 157 tackles, broke up 21 passes, forced 11 turnovers with seven interceptions and four forced fumbles. The back-to-back All-ACC selection displayed an exciting knack for raising his play under the brightest of lights, enjoying a breakout game against Mississippi in the Music City Bowl to cap his sophomore season (13 tackles, two forced fumbles and an interception), intercepting a pass to seal an upset win over state-rival Georgia in 2014 and another pick (in the end zone) in a highly anticipated showdown with annual competitor Notre Dame and its talented receiving corps in 2015.

White at only 5'11" 193 lbs, lacks the ideal size to matchup with the bigger outside receivers in the NFL. He runs the 40 in 4.59 and his length, athleticism and experience will allow him to step in and contribute on the inside immediately. The kid finds a way to make big plays at big times.

ROUND 5: Time to double down! And since we are gambling anyway at this stage in the draft, here is a risk-reward pick if I ever saw one. Nothing that the Dolphins hadn't tried in the past and in round 5 no less. Here is a kid you may not have heard of. He is not from a small school. He is not a hoops player switching to football. No. This kid had issues with discipline and was thrown off his college team. A team that is known for recruiting and developing DBs. He is a Florida kid from Pompano Beach so maybe being back home may help. He is 6'1", 171 lbs and runs the 40 in 4.49 seconds. He is a big risk but could step in and play the outside corner, LSU Rashard Robinson.

ROUND 6: How about a guy who is a jack of all trades along the DL. He is quick enough to play outside and yet tough enough to play inside during passing downs. He sat behind a couple of good players for a few years in Trent Murphy and Henry Anderson. I expect him to be a good Practice Squad player and see how he grows. I am talking about the DE from Stanford Aziz Shittu. At 6'2" and 284 lbs, he left the Cardinal on a high note, recording eight tackles, including 3.5 for loss and 1.5 sacks, against Iowa to earn Rose Bowl Defensive MVP honors. What the hell, maybe he is on a roll.

ROUND 7: OK we lost Rishard Matthews and we seem to be set with Parker, Landry and Stills but why not grab this guy who has a 6'3", 203 lbs frame with 10 3/8 inch hands to grab hold of that ball after running the 40 in 4.47 seconds. This guy played in the SEC, starting opposite the top receiver in the coming draft. Sound familiar? Landry? Landry? Landry? Nope but almost. How about the WR out of Ole Miss Cody Core. Core was often overlooked on a team featuring Laquon Treadwell, but he closed out a very productive career by catching 37 passes for 644 yards and four touchdowns as a senior. His career highs came in 2014, when Treadwell suffered a season-ending leg injury. Core stepped up to finish second on the team with 41 catches and fourth with 558 receiving yards. He was a four-year letter winner, seeing action in every game on special teams and at receiver as a freshman and seeing time at receiver, defensive back and on special teams as a sophomore in 2013.

ROUND 7: Lets finish up with a good character beast of a guy. At 6', 318 lbs, this dude was an interior force in the PAC 12 earning 1st Team accolades at DT.  With a stout, compact, ready for the NFL body welcome the DT out of Southern California Antwaun Woods. He demanded double teams and has violent hands. He would add great depth to our interior DL.

There you have my 1st Edition of the 2016 Mock Draft.  Who knows how any draft will actually go and what surprises will emerge. Let me know what you think.

Phins Up!!!

Carl Leone
Dolfan since 12/25/1971