Friday, May 12, 2017

Dolphins Draft Reveals Win Later Attitude

    This blog's other writers seem very high on our draft, and I respect the hard work they put into their excellent columns last week.  I am, however, not feeling as giddy- which may be a good thing.        This organization seems to finally understand that a win now attitude can translate to win never.  That is, that panic drafting/buying to catch the Patriots, who are in the last few years of what may be the NFL's last true dynasty, can be a mistake.  The organization made a concerted effort to establish a realistic timeline for long-term success.  This will be frustrating this year, and bear fruit thereafter.
    Consider linebacker.  The Dolphins need an OLB as they have picked up a one-to-two year lease on a run stuffing tough guy from Pittsburgh- a signing I love.  Win now would say draft Cunningham from Vandy- strangely, we picked a run-stuffing tough guy from the midwest.  Our DC was left to muse that perhaps this year no linebacker would have a "natural" position but they would be shuffled week to week, depending on match-ups.  This sounds to me like a good organization man making lemonade.
     What that draft move meant is "we are willing to develop a long-term solution behind our rental." McMillan will be the man for a while, if we are lucky.  The vet will teach him.  And the Dolphins will mature without being bad in the short term.  A philosophy emerges?
     Consider DE.  Wake can give us a season or two more of excellence, we hope.  Branch is serviceable and solid.  Did we need rotational depth?  You bet.  Did we need it in round one?  Not if we want to compete for a super bowl now.  But perhaps, if we want to be well positioned in three year's time.  Wake will be gone by then.  His time to win is now- but perhaps the franchise realizes that its time to win won't coincide with Cam's?  That's possibly good thinking, probably good leadership. Draft the kid- who will be a one trick pony for now, but who can develop.  A rotational player for a 10-6 playoff team with glaring needs in round one?  Makes sense, if you know that 10-6 was a mild overreach and you are trying to one day be better than 10-6.
      Consider safety.  Yes, I know, we didn't.  Which means we are trusting an 8 game suspension, our stable of never-was, and a journeyman from Oakland to hold down the fort opposite our best defensive player.  All this, when we struggle to cover and can't stuff the run?  All this when the best safety in the draft was falling like a stone due to a minor injury?  Win now says trade up and grab Malik Hooker.  Have the best safety tandem in the NFL immediately.  Win later says hang on to depth, keep that pick to draft a roster builder, and let the steal of the draft fall to another squad (in this way, I think Caroo last year cost us Hooker, but that's another story.)
      In round three, elite safeties still abounded; we went corner.  I like the pick- long term.  This allows us to cut Maxwell and return to cap sanity.  Long term, this was the right thing to do.
       The Asiata pick was a concession to now- and a smart one.  Which completes the picture.  This organization wants to be decent now, and be excellent tomorrow.  We can have a far worse philosophy.  It just might be a bit frustrating for the coming year- and not being aggressive where Hooker was concerned, may haunt us for a decade.  This was the year of the safety, which is a position that will become more and more valuable as teams adopt a New England style approach to offense.  I think we missed, but we missed the way responsible grown-ups do, not the way we used to.

Jay Lopez
Like This Article ? :

16 comments

avatar

Good post Jay.

All draft picks are a crap shoot. No one knows for certain how they will turn out.

That being said, drafting talent and character regardless of the need bodes well in the long run.

We have to get used to this approach if we want to be a successful franchise. Picking 22 to 32, doesn't leave too many automatic starters on the table.

Could we have picked a safety instead of Tankersley? Yes. Will there be a higher rated one available in next year's draft as opposed to a 3rd round selection this year? Yes.

Grab your highest rated guys and run like the wind.

avatar

Thanks for the post Jay. Good thinking. I personally think the Dolphins have changed how they evaluate prospects and most of the NFL pundits haven't figure it out. the staff keeps using the phrase "Loves football" which is at the heart of the change but only reveals a small part of it. Guys who play for paychecks play differently. Look at the effort you get from Mike Wallace as an example of that vs a player like Landry. "Loves football" goes to heart and motivation. You can teach skills but heart comes from within. If you look at what successful late round picks and UDFA's have in common it's that heart. - Grimes, Wake, Ajayi, Zach Thomas. The players we took this year all have that. And if you look at the players who struggle on our team (Not including injury) it's the ones who don't (Phillips, maybe Parker)

I think that's why they weren't interested in Foster. 3 Red flags. Injury, attitude, and Character. which means heart is not in right place. - Sounds just like Dion Jordan.

I think the Dolphins have increased the odds of success by looking for the mental and motivational traits of players above skill and talent alone.

avatar

I agree Carl, and as for the linebacker position I LOVED the McMillan pick, was hoping for a long time we would take him but thought after we signed Timmons we wouldn't. There will be SAM linebackers next year, some good ones, like the backer from Clemson. Maybe next year depending on Mr Pouncey's injuries we go after the Olineman we wanted, Michigan's Mason Cole, then you have Tunsil, Asiata, Cole, maybe Steen, and James, young and GOOD. Pick up a run stuffing D end, and that other linebacker, one more corner, a safety, RB, I'm sure there will be a trade or two, we have a WINNER

avatar

Well written Jay. However, I think building for future through the draft does not necessarily mitigate the idea that these draft choices are expected to contribute to winning now. Personally, I feel this draft class could be special in the short-term, even though I agree with you that it definitely appears to add much needed depth and trends towards development of future starters.

avatar

10-6 was not a fluke. If Matt Moore had started at QB for the whole season last year; we would have won our division and the Superbowl! Proof of this fact, is, if Matt Moore starts at QB the whole season, this season; we will win our division and the Superbowl this season; GUARANTEED!

avatar

@David Apollos - Matt Moore costs us 2 games with his constant turnovers. Tannehill is why we made the playoffs. Long winning streak was with Tannehill under center not Moore. You need to let go of your man crush on Matt Moore. You show your lack of football knowledge with your constant anti Tannehill trolling.

avatar

David Keller if tannehill plays the whole upcoming season and we do not make the playoffs; what will your excuse be then? This will be year six. What sane person gives a QB six years in hopes of recouping the previous 5 years of investment.
Only if tannehill scores a TD on 95% of his possessions and goes to the playoffs for the next 5 seasons; would this investment be worth it's cost to the team and dolphin's organization. And we both know that that is not going to happen.

avatar

Drafting a DE in the FIRST ROUND who cant stop the run. AT ALL. Watch the LSU game. He wasnt even draftable. Im upset we cant get a day 1 starter at 22 overall and everyone should be mad as well. There were guys there who could do the job and had great upside. Instead we settle on a project and pitch him as a diamond years from now. In the meantime were stuck with coal. I appreciate everyone elses optimism but this draft wasnt that good. We drafted maybe two day one starters but most likely zero until misi goes out. Big whoop, wake me up in 3 yrs when this draft starts to come out. Trying to see the good for weeks now but we made no observable progress in the draft.

avatar

D A - You say this s..t to get a reaction out of us. Everyone knows Tannehill is the man. Let it go you goofball.

avatar

I just hope Matt Moore is under center all of this upcoming season so that we can make the playoffs. Otherwise we will not.

avatar

Phinsfan54zt, Harris could become a dominant pass rusher for us and will most likely pay dividends immediately in that area. If we have to wait a year or two for him to get better against the run, so be it. This defense is built to destroy passing attacks because this league is a passing league. The Phin's made the right choice.

avatar

David Apollos, you must be another one of those fools who thinks football is a one man team sport.

avatar

Eric even a dummy knows that one man in a key position as QB can mean success or failure for a good football team. The New Orleans Saints had a record of 3-13 before Drew Breeze took the helm. Then with the exact same team; with Drew Breeze under center that same team went 13-3 the following year and won a Superbowl. The only change was the QB. So you see that the wrong person under center can keep a very good team out of the playoffs. Tannehill has been doing that since 2012. As soon as a change was FORCED at QB; we finally made the playoffs with Matt Moore under center. Therefore if Matt Moore is under center in the coming season; we will make the playoffs again.

avatar

It was Tannehill who had the team on track to the playoffs, not your bum buddy Moore. Do you actually even watch any games or just get on the blog to say crap? Even the Carolina game that Tannehill got hurt Moore did not win, Tannehill had the Dolphins with a great lead, Moore lost the lead and had to come back. By the way, Tannehill beat the Steelers last year Moore LOST

avatar

Yeah because Matt Moore played GREAT in the playoff game. LMAO. Every single time we had a chance to make it a game again, Matt Moore threw an INT or fumbled it away. And all three of his turnovers were 100% his fault. Give it a rest Apollos, you're boy is a great backup and nothing more.