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  Shock and Sensibility
    | Home | News Wire | Roster | Depth Chart | Schedule |  

by Chris Shashaty, Phins.com Columnist

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Raise your hand if you thought the Miami Dolphins would pass on drafting Brady Quinn with their 9th overall selection.




Didn’t think so.


As I wrote last week, predicting the draft is like predicting the weather.


Or spitting into the wind.


I don’t know if John Beck will be a better a quarterback than Brady Quinn.


Neither do you.


But these truths are evident:

  • GM Randy Mueller and head coach Cam Cameron are as good as it gets in terms of evaluating QB talent. No one in the business has a better reputation in this regard. No one. That includes Mel Kiper, Scouts Inc., you, me, and anyone else you can name.
  • The Dolphins had as solid an understanding of Quinn as they could possibly get. In fact, quarterbacks coach Terry Shea personally worked with Quinn for months leading up to the draft.
  • After all the analysis and discussion, the Dolphins reportedly had Beck rated higher than Quinn on their board…a HUGE surprise to everyone, including yours truly.
  • Paying quarterbacks with question marks, like Quinn, top 10 money has been a notoriously bad bet over the years. Clearly, the Dolphins didn’t feel good enough about Quinn to make that bet at #9.
  • The Dolphins had to do something about the lack of a playmaker at #1 WR. They haven’t had a difference-maker at WR since O.J. McDuffie was in his prime. In fact, they haven’t had a true gamechanger at WR since the Marks Brothers. Ted Ginn Jr. has the talent to be that kind of player.
  • The Dolphins had perhaps the best insight on Ginn as any club interested in the speedy Ohio State receiver, dating back to Cameron’s relationship with Ginn’s family when Ginn was just 13. 
  • According to Mueller and Cameron, Beck’s accuracy is what set him apart from other QB prospects. Translation: they were concerned that Quinn’s penchant for inaccuracy was going to be an issue down the road. Said Cameron, “You kind of teach guys that are accurate to be even more accurate. Can you teach somebody that isn't accurate to be accurate? I haven't had any luck doing that."
  • Ginn helps the Dolphins win now. Quinn might have helped the Dolphins in a year or three. Or never.


Add it all up, and it is harder to disagree with the decision to take Ginn and go with Beck as the future QB.


Let’s also give Mueller and Cameron credit for sticking to their convictions in the face of popular public opinion. Good leaders do what they believe is right, not what is popular. Yes, they might have been able to trade down a few spots and still get Ginn. But the Dolphins didn’t feel the compensation was worth the risk. In fact, the general overall lack of trades in the upper half of the draft is a testament as to how risk adverse teams in general have become.


If there is one thing that stands out about Ginn, aside from his extreme speed, it is his reputation for being a huge playmaker for three years versus major competition.


Ginn helps the Dolphins address several urgent needs:

  • An explosive playmaker at #1 WR
  • A talented speed receiver to deter defenses from playing eight man fronts to stop the run.
  • A quality third WR. Ginn’s presence allows the Dolphins to move Chris Chambers into the slot, where he belongs.
  • An upgrade at PR/KR, someone who can change a game with one play (Cameron called Ginn a “fifth down” player).


Yes, there are real questions about Ginn. Will he heal completely from his foot injury? Is he durable enough to withstand the rigors of the NFL? We shall see.


As for Beck, he probably won’t see a lot of action in 2007. But there are three things about the BYU quarterback that immediately catch the eye:

  • Maturity and poise: This will help him develop faster, a good thing considering the Dolphins badly need him and that he’s 26 years old.
  • Accuracy: The Dolphins are right. Beck had the second highest QB rating in college 1A ball last year (169.06) and the third highest completion percentage (69.3%). He was also fifth in passing yardage.
  • Hard to sack: Beck only took 15 sacks last season, second lowest among QBs attempting 400 or more passes.


As expected, the Dolphins addressed their dearth of quality offensive lineman by drafting Hawaii’s Samson Satele with the second rounder they got from the Patriots via the Wes Welker trade.


Satele played center last year but is almost certain to see most of his snaps at guard while backing up Rex Hadnot at center. Coming from a run-and-shoot scheme (Hawaii), his pass pro skills should be pretty good for a rookie. He certainly has the size, frame, and mean streak to be a good interior run blocker. As such it wouldn’t be too surprising to see Satele earn a starting job by the end of training camp.


In the third round the Dolphins tapped FSU RB Lorenzo Booker. Booker is a very talented player but underachieved in college. Some believe that he was not properly utilized by former offensive coordinator Jeff Bowden. It is interesting that Jets RB Leon Washington, Booker’s former teammate, has really blossomed as a pro. The Dolphins are hoping for the same with Booker.


Booker does his best work in space and would appear to be a good fit for Cameron’s offense. However, Booker has a bad habit of dancing between the tackles. He will have to be much more decisive to be effective as a pro.


Booker does have experience as a kick returner and is likely to get a chance to contribute in that regard, or in some other capacity on special teams. His impact on Ricky Williams’ expected role is not clear; we’ll know more once Ricky is reinstated.


Some general observations about the Day Two picks:

  • Round 4: DT Paul Soliai is a massive Keith Traylor-sized prospect (6-4, 344). If not for some character issues (team rules violations) he might have been a Day One pick. He’s very active inside against the run and can occupy multiple blockers. The Dolphins will toss him into the young DT mix of Fred Evans, Kevin Vickerson, Rod Wright, Steve Fifita, Manny Wright, and others.
  • Round 6a: Reagan Mauia is a huge FB (6-0, 270) that came from a passing offense (Hawaii). Go figure. While he has the mass to be a solid lead blocker, he can also catch the ball (a surprising 10.9 yards per reception), and did earn a 5.0 per carry rushing average on 31 attempts. Mauia will compete with Kyle Eckel for the back-up job behind starter Cory Schlesinger.
  • Round 6b: At 6-3, 299, C/G Drew Mormino will have to add some weight and strength if he is to have a shot at keeping a job in the NFL. As with Satele, he is a versatile player that can be used at multiple positions on the line. Mormino is a project that will do well to earn a practice squad job this season.
  • Round 7a: ILB Kelvin Smith’s pedigree is quite impressive (Keith Bulluck is his uncle and Seth Joyner is his godfather). He was very productive as a four year starter at Syracuse. Given the veteran depth ahead of him (Zach Thomas, Channing Crowder, Derrick Pope), his best bet of making the team will be on coverage teams.
  • Round 7b: Punter Brandon Fields is a Reggie Roby-sized punter (6-4, 239) who could be the heir apparent to the departed Donnie Jones. A former first team All-American, Fields reportedly has excellent leg strength but needs work on his accuracy and technique.
  • Round 7c: DE/OLB Abraham Wright is a tweener (the Dolphins list him at 6-3, 245). He was very effective in college as a pass rusher, earning first team Big 12 honors with 11.5 sacks last season. Given the lack of depth at DE, Wright has a decent shot of making the team if he can impress. His college resume suggests he is a fit for the Dolphins’ 3-4 scheme, though his lack of bulk would suggest he is a liability against the run.




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