Q – We have 5 picks in the top 82, and a ton of cap space to work with. My feeling is we seem to do well getting our first and second rounders to start, but third and lower, many times are projects, depth, or even busts. How do you feel if we trade up to get better talent, rather than stick with the 9 picks we have?
First of all, it’s surely a league wide phenomenon that your 1st and 2nd RD picks will start, and then there will be a falloff from there. Whether guys are depth, projects or both, or even busts, this happens to every team once you get past the early rounds. Furthermore, It’s hard to gauge ALL of our drafts, and I understand that some will say that isn’t fair, but I’d prefer to just go by the last 2 drafts, and even more specifically, because this past one we were looking for players that fit our current team and Coaches etc.
If we look at last years draft, we addressed the most important position in the sport, Quarterback. Taking Ryan Tannehill, while I admit was a reach for player with his limited experience at QB, was a very good pick. I thought of that pick much more as a pick for the future, and not what he would do for our team this past year. The fact that he started every game, to me was gravy. He had the knowledge of the offense, and except for the 1st game, never seemed lost, or overmatched, and now goes into next season with a full season of experience under his belt. Taking OT Jon Martin was another very good pick. Speculation has run rampant that the pick was made with the knowledge that he would be our future LT if Long couldn’t stay healthy. I don’t know this is as fact, but regardless, we got a 1st RD rated T, considered by some a top 15 talent, in the 2nd RD, so great value there. He started every game, and although he had some rough spots, showed promise that he can be a starter in this league, and I believe he can start at LT. We had two 3rd picks, and we took TE Michael Egnew and DE Olivier Vernon. Egnew was a major disappointment seeing the field in only the last 2 games, and not registering a single reception. Thankfully, he has a chance at redemption next season. Vernon showed some promise, at both rushing the passer, dropping back in coverage, and making big plays. I’m not sure I’m ready to pencil him as a the starting DE, but once he develops, it’s possible. We traded up in the 4th RD to get RB LAmar Miller, who really showed a lot in the last game. I think it’s possible he can replace Reggie Bush without losing very much at all. There seems to be a pattern that this staff prefers to bring along rookie players along at a slow pace, and not out them in the game until they know the playbook well, and are capable at doing whatever assignment may come their way. LB Josh Kaddu was taken in the 5th RD, and he’s a guy I’m really interested in seeing more of. Fast kid, who can be a pass rushing specialist at some point. WR BJ Ciingham was taken in the 6th, was put on the PS, and then poached. Our two 7th RD picks are very much with the team, and I expect both will see significantly more playing time next season. DT Kheeston Randall and WR Rishard Matthews were our 7th RD picks. Matthews showed some real flashes of being a solid receiver, and made things happen with his limited opportunities. The same could be said for Randall, who was a guy who rotated in at DT, and looks like he will see more time next year on the field. Looking at this draft, there is a LOT of production from our picks.
Sorry for the long response, I actually wanted to go deeper, but now I want to address the latter part of your question. I am absolutely in favor of trading up, but it depends how and where. I’d actually prefer that we trade down with our first pick, unless a player we covet is there at #12. If not, and we have a partner, get an extra pick. Since I think there will be plenty of talent for us in the 2nd and 3rd RD, I would use that extra pick we would get in the 2nd to make some moves. Rather than pick 3 players, in the 2nd RD, I’d prefer to target 2 that we really want, and go get them. We need to get some impact players, and I think there will be some available if we pick wisely. I think having two 2nd’s and two 3rd’s gives us plenty of flexibility to move up when we want. Yes, I would prefer to come out of this draft with 3 or 4 great players, over 7-8 average ones.
From Brian in NY
Q – If we re-sign Starks this offseason, do you move Odrick inside with Starks, allowing Vernon more playing time at DE, and trade Soliai to a team that employs a 3-4 defense in need of a NT for a 2nd RD pick, taking into account he’s a free agent next season?
Tough question, because I don’t think I’d feel comfortable trading Big Paul unless the coaches were sold that Kheeston Randall could handle the job. Coyle seems so against Odrick moving inside as an every down DT, so it worries me to go that way, unless Randall is ready. The other part is, teams would also take into account that Soliai is a FA next season, so trading a 2nd RD pick for what amounts to a 1 year rental doesn’t seem wise. That being said, if the opportunity was there, and we felt Randall was ready to do the job, sure, I’d do that, but again, I don’t think moving Odrick inside full time is going to happen. It’s funny, I have no problem drafting a talented DE with our first pick, but then I think to myself, what happens to Odrick and Vernon? I know Odrick can move inside occasionally, but then when does Vernon see playing time? I’m asking Mike in my own response! 🙂
I’d say logically (Son, shhhhh!), that can’t and won’t happen. Imagine if Ireland traded a 2nd RD pick for Haloti Ngata, and he played one season for us, and then left as a free agent the next season. Can you picture what Gigi might say?
Q – We have 2 new CB’s that we picked up last year, Richard Marshall and Dmitri Patterson. Both will cost us a lot of money to keep next season, so what are the chances they both stay with the team? Can we afford to keep one, or both?
Marshall is set to make $4.55M next season, and it was a 3 year deal with $6M guaranteed. I’m not a capologist, but I would expect we lose the $4.55M in cap space if we cut him, plus $4M in guaranteed, which was likely split over the contract $2M per year. That’s a big cap hit, but we need production, and I do expect to draft at least 1 CB, hopefully two, and hopefully, one by at least our 2nd pick in the 2nd RD. Marshall didn’t impress me, but it was in limited time, and then he was injured.
Dimitri Patterson is set to make $4.5M, and also has a 3 year deal with $6M guaranteed. Patterson did impress me, so if one was going to stay, I would say he would be the likely candidate to remain on our roster. I doubt we cut both, due to all that guaranteed money. I think Patterson sticks, and there’s a good chance, especially if we draft 2 CB’s that Marshall is cut.
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