I don't know what round Florida State safety Myron Rolle will be drafted
in, nor which team will take him. Neither does anyone else. What I do know is
that the team that picks him will be getting a terrific all-around player.
It's not very often that
superior physical and mental skills come together in one person. When that
happens, you might get a Rhodes scholar or an All-American. Or, in Rolle’s
Rare stuff indeed.
A highly regarded college
and pro prospect, Rolle very wisely decided to bypass the 2009 NFL Draft in
order to accept an invitation to study for a year at Oxford. His post-football ambition is to one
day become a neurosurgeon. But now that he is back from his year of
matriculation in England,
he is focused on pursuing a long and successful NFL career.
The Miami Dolphins crave
players like Rolle, guys who have what they call "the make-up"
(toughness, discipline, intelligence). They also happen to like players with
prototypical size (Rolle is 6-2, 215) and skills for their position.
All of this is great stuff,
but only when it translates into on-field productivity. During his three years
at FSU (he actually graduated in two and a half years), Rolle turned in
performances that left legendary defensive coordinator Mickey Andrews gushing.
Understand, Andrews wasn’t effusive in praising his players publicly. So it’s
quite a compliment to Rolle when, in 2008, Andrews lauded him for turning in “the
best and most complete game he has ever seen a safety play at Florida State
University in his 25 years of coaching”.
The opponent? The University of Miami.
That’s some heady stuff when
you consider the procession of safeties that played for Andrews; guys like Leroy
Butler, Chris Hope, and Dexter Jackson.
I normally don't gush about
college prospects because there's a zillion ways for them to go bust. But if
ever there was a rookie who could grasp a pro defense quickly, earn a starting
job, and make an impact from the start, it's got to be Rolle.
Naturally, there are
doubters. Many worry that he is not fully committed to becoming an outstanding
football player given his post-football goals. This, in my opinion, is a big
reason why many draft gurus do not regard him more highly, together with their concerns
about his deep speed.
"I think my pursuits
academically have helped me in football,” Rolle said to reporters at the
Scouting Combine. "I think you learn discipline, you learn time management,
you learn structure, you learn organization and as a football player. Those are
obviously valuable assets and traits that you can use to be great, whether at
film study or on the field.”
The Dolphins have interviewed
Rolle. At the Senior Bowl, DB coach Todd Bowles worked closely with him
one-on-one. So we know the Dolphins have the goods on him. Most telling was
Bowles’ interest; he wouldn’t have spent precious time with Rolle if the
Dolphins weren’t intrigued.
This is why I have to
believe that Rolle has earned a high spot on the Dolphin draft board. Good
thing, because it’s always a blessing when need and talent can come together on
draft day. And the Dolphins are in desperate need of an upgrade at safety, regardless
of GM Jeff Ireland's recent and alleged support for free agent bust Gibril
knows Rolle could be the answer to this very pressing need, a player with the
ability to guard and tackle physical tight ends in the open field, be a force
in the run game, and stay over the top of the plethora of talented wide
receivers in the AFC East.
The trick, of course, is to
pull the trigger at the right time. This is not an easy thing to determine,
especially as the draft draws out.
Again, no one has a clue
right now where Rolle will actually be drafted. We can safely say that it
probably won’t be in Round One, certainly not as far as the Dolphins are
concerned, not with their current needs at defensive tackle, linebacker, and
wide receiver crying out for attention, and not with so many appealing
prospects weighing down the top of the draft board.
But the Dolphins under Bill
Parcells have shown a propensity for making unexpected moves in rounds two
through four, moves that contradict what the draft gurus were expecting. So it
wouldn’t surprise me if Rolle enters the conversation anytime from the second
This I know: Bill Parcells,
Tony Sparano, and Ireland
don’t miss much. It all depends on the grade they and other teams have assigned
to Rolle, and how determined the Dolphins are to have the Bahamian native.
So will they be calling
Rolle in a about a month and a half with a job offer?
It says here they would be
wise to do so.