By Dr. Bruce Banner
It’s almost that time again. Time for me to start sweating, pacing, shaking my fists, finding myself in some back alley with pants and shirt torn to shreds. Yes I am talking about draft time. All the countless hours of anxiety leading up to and dissecting our draft needs and who is the one and only person that can right this franchise in one fell swoop. Year after year I experience the anxiety and then the eventual explosion of rage as I watch the Phins over reach, trade down, draft a family instead of football player and well you get the picture. However, for some unknown reason this year’s draft seems different to me. I am not feeling my palms sweat, I am not walking around in a rage and I have not woken up with my clothes all torn since the playoffs ended. I began to wonder why I am not suffering from my usual pre-draft anxiety this year. My only answer is that success breeds success.
I know one winning season and a one and done in the playoffs is not much of a measure of success and we can easily revert to our old ways but there seems to be something different about this team. The players don’t quit when they are down, it overcame key injuries, it won on the road, it won close games and most of all there is a quiet confidence that starts with the coach and resonates with the players. I think this brings a different outlook and attitude as this team heads into the draft.
In year’s past we were always looking at the draft to land that one impact player, to land weapons, to be the face of and carry the franchise. When I look at this team heading into this draft my thought is we are no longer looking for weapons or franchise players. We have those on both sides of the ball in multiple positions. What we are looking for are pieces. Pieces to fill out the roster. As our elder statesman of the blog Stanger has pointed out, we have been linked to 21 different players at R1P22. That is a good thing. It means we are not desperate to fill out one position. It means we can take best player available as opposed to drafting just for need. We can take Forrest Lamp and solidify the interior of the line. A unit that showed much progress last year. We can take Jabrill Peppers and team him up with Reshard Jones and create a more physical presence at Safety. We can draft David Njoku and give Tannehill a freakishly athletic tight end the likes of which we have not seen in Miami. Even taking someone like Taco Charlton, whom I am not a huge fan of, is still not a bad pick. This is to just name a few of our options. The fact is that we are in a good spot in this draft and for once we don’t seem to be desperate.
To me the more significant portion of this draft will not be round but rather what we do in rounds 3-5 may have a bigger impact on our team than what we do in rounds 1-2. What this team needs more than anything is depth. Every team has to deal with injuries and ultimately injuries took their toll on this team last year, in particular on the offensive line and in the secondary. Getting 3-4 guys in the middle rounds who can play when called on as a backup may have impact than whoever we draft in round 1. Which to me is a good sign as to the direction of where this team is headed. One name for a 3rd rounder to keep an eye is Obi Melifonwu, S from Uconn. He can be a nice athletic addition to a depth chart. Or perhaps we can look at depth at Center where our oft injured Mike Pouncey has struggled to stay on the field. Perhaps an Ethan Pocic from LSU or Kyle Fuller from Baylor would give us much needed depth at that position. Once again these are just a few names that we can watch to see what happens come the draft.
Of course I don’t put it past our team to draft a long snapper and punter in rounds 1 and 2 and I find myself turning all green and waking in a dumpster again. However, for the first time in a long time I get the sense that almost no matter what direction we go in the draft we are going to be alright. So everyone just relax and chill.