Connect with us

Miami Dolphins

Adam Gase Proving You Are NOT What Your Record Says You Are

Travis Wingfield

Published

on

Trust the process, they say.

Three little words serve as the rally cry for so many athletes. The daily grind. The behind the scenes discipline and determination. The countless hours that lead up to the three-hour window better known as game day.

Bill Parcells is a football legend, but the game has a tendency to pass legends (and even their prominent quips) by. “You are what your record says you are,” Parcells famously claimed in lieu of explaining reasons for an underachieving team.

In a world where analytics reign supreme, where we have more information and data available than ever before, this old adage is about as accurate as a Brock Osweiler throw from outside the pocket.

Not only is the accuracy of the statement questionable, it flies directly in the face of the present-day message every coach and athlete preaches.

Predicting outcomes in the NFL is difficult. With countless factors, one of which being sheer luck, pointing to one number denigrates the grind from Monday thru Saturday. The result isn’t always a culmination of the week’s hard work. The result often comes down to the right foot of the worst athlete on the roster (the kicker).

In the Twitter era, we live in a daily hot take machine powered by thoughts void of any context. Individual statistics to define a player’s game, using Super Bowl rings to measure a player’s greatness, and using win-loss record to judge a Head Coach’s impact.

In the case of Adam Gase, his shaky win-loss mark wobbles even more under closer examination.

Sitting a game below .500 on the season, and for his career, Gase’s 21-22 mark is the exact same record posted by his predecessor, Joe Philbin, through 41 games. The optimist points to the radical nature of his team’s health, particularly at the quarterback position.

That’s a fair argument, Gase has been saddled with arguably the worst medical situation of any coach the last two seasons.

But at what point does the shine wear off of the mediocre record he managed in spite of his personnel? A few more losses? What about 10 alternate outcomes?

This Dolphins team, under Gase, has a way of finding wins in tight contests while getting blown out in losses.

With a point differential of +153 (7.7 per win) in victories, and -342 (16.3 per loss) in defeats, the questions about strength of opponent are entirely valid. Miami has won three games by multiple scores (9+ points) under Gase and lost 16 games by 9 or more points.

Those numbers are eye-opening, but the offense’s production during his time is alarming. Under Gase’s watch, one that has taken zero defensive input from the head man (trusting half the team to Vance Joseph and Matt Burke respectively), the saving grace should be a formidable attack unit.

During Gase’s three-year tenure, the Dolphins offense has never ranked better than 17th in the league. In 2016 Miami was 17th in both scoring and total offense. In 2017 Gase’s group was 25th in total offense and 28th in scoring. This year, through 11 games, the offense is 25th in scoring and 28th in total production.

Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

So those figures beg the question, “what exactly is it that you do here, Coach Gase?”

Winning close games. Finding ways to beat the opposition in the fourth quarter is a valuable trait, and one that Gase could hang his hat on through the first two-and-a-half years of his Miami tenure.

But how much of that trait is directly attributable to Adam Gase? No team in the NFL has had more missed field goals against them than Gase’s Dolphins since 2016. Over the last two seasons (27 games), Dolphins kickers have missed just three kicks (not counting PATs).

That’s luck; nothing else. And barely 24 hours removed from a game where Miami essentially handed the Indianapolis Colts a win, Dolphins fans would agree that teams are completely capable of losing games opposed to the challenger seizing victory by their own actions.

Below are 12 of the 20 games the Dolphins won during Gase’s time in Miami. It’s unfair to reverse the outcome of each of these 12, but it’s rather disparaging to see just how close the Dolphins are to publishing an 8-33 record over those 41 games.

Up first, the games that Miami definitively deserved to lose (tie):

2016 vs. Cleveland –

Adam Gase’s first win as Head Coach of the Miami Dolphins provided minimal joy for fans. A narrow overtime defeat, at home, against a team that would win just one game the next two seasons, Miami could’ve easily been win number two for the 2016-2017 Browns.

In fact, it SHOULD have been a win for Cleveland. Browns Kicker Cody Parkey missed a pair of kicks, including a 46-yarder at the buzzer (NFL kickers make kicks in this range at better than 85%). His first miss came from 42 yards out.

2017 – at Chargers –

More kicker problems for the opposition. Rookie Kicker Younghoe Koo (no longer in the league) missed a pair of kicks, including a potential game winner from 44 yards out. Koo missed from 43 earlier in the game – both kicks come from a range in which NFL kickers have a ~90% success rate.

2016 at Buffalo –

Rex Ryan, needing a win to stay alive in the AFC playoff chase, elected to punt on a 4th and 2 with 4:02 remaining in overtime from his own 40-yard-line. A tie would’ve removed Miami from the post-season chase, just as it did for Buffalo.

On the next play, Jay Ajayi ripped off a 57-yard run against a Bills defense that had only 10 men on the field.

Perhaps the most unlikely play came at the end of regulation. Andrew Franks, who’s previous career long was 41 yards, hit a game-tying 55-yard kick in the frigid Buffalo conditions.

2018 vs. Chicago –

Albert Wilson caught two passes, racked up 104 yards after the catch, and scored on both plays, against a gassed Bears defense. Miami was moments away from going behind 28-14 before a questionable offensive pass interference took a touchdown off the board. Mitch Trubisky threw an INT into the end zone on the next play.

2017 vs. Tennessee –

This one flies in the face of the backup quarterback argument, but scoring 16 points at home rarely yields a victory. Luckily, for Miami, this was the one game of the season that Marcus Mariota missed.

Matt Cassel stunk up the field all day, including a questionable fumble ruling that Reshad Jones returned for a touchdown. That play came two snaps after a terrible offensive pass interference call took a 59-yard touchdown off the board for Cassel and the Titans.

Games Miami Probably Should’ve Lost:

2016 at San Diego –

Phillip Rivers is prone to late-game mistakes, no question about that. But the Chargers had a 1st and 10 at the Miami 42-yard line with 1:13 to go in a tie game. Rivers takes the bait and puts the ball between the 4 and the 7 on Kiko Alonso’s jersey.

A big-time play by Alonso, no doubt. At worst, San Diego should’ve at least survived to see over time. The 2016 playoff run was propped up by multiple plays just like this.

2017 at Atlanta –

Matt Ryan was fresh off an MVP season, he shredded the Dolphins to the tune of nearly 200 passing yards in the first half, then bogged down in the second half. The Miami defense deserves credit for putting the screws to the Atlanta offense, but the Falcons were poised to take the lead late before an all-pro play by Reshad Jones.

On 1st and 10 from the Miami 26, trailing by 3, Ryan forced a throw to Austin Hooper. The ball appeared to be completed at the Dolphins 6, but Jones robbed Hooper and won the game for Gase and Miami.

2018 vs. Oakland –

The lowly Raiders outgained Miami 434-373 and converted third downs at a success rate double that of Miami’s output. With a red zone turnover already in their pocket, the Raiders doubled down with an awful throw from Derek Carr on what should’ve been a game-winning touchdown drive.

Carr threw a prayer into the end zone on first down at the 13-yard line. Miami’s defense was gashed all game and saved by the heroics of Xavien Howard and the shortcomings of Carr.

Coin Flip Games:

2016 vs. NY Jets –

Ryan Fitzpatrick tossed his third touchdown of the game to give the Jets a three-point lead with five minutes to play. Kenyan Drake responded with a 101-yard kickoff return to put Miami immediately back in front.

Who knows how the game would’ve turned out, but the special teams’ heroics made it so Gase’s offense didn’t have to face that challenge. With 274 total yards on the day, it’s fair to assume the Dolphins wouldn’t have made the clutch drive.

2016 vs. San Francisco –

Nearly blowing a 17-point fourth quarter lead to a woeful 1-9 49ers team, Ndamukong Suh and Kiko Alonso saved the day by thwarting Colin Kaepernick’s fourth down scamper at the one-yard line. Surely, San Francisco would’ve attempted a 2-point conversion with no time on the clock to decide the winner.

Miami might’ve made the stop, but considering Kaepernick went for a season-high 296 passing yards and season-high 113 rushing yards, who knows?

2017 vs. NY Jets –

Jay Cutler started the game and put the Dolphins in a 14-point hole. Matt Moore comes off the bench and rescues the day for Miami with 17 unanswered in the fourth quarter. Josh McCown aided the comeback by throwing an interception directly to Bobby McCain with 47 seconds to play at the Jets 23-yard line.

2018 – at NY Jets –

Sam Darnold’s three interceptions, including one in the end zone, puts this game in the category of games the opposition lost.

Miami won by eight points as the Jets allowed time to expire on their final drive of the first half in a goal-to-go situation. New York outgained Miami 362 to 257.

Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Dolphins have the second most interceptions in the NFL. They are top-five in red zone touchdowns allowed percentage and red zone takeaways. These stats are great, but they aren’t long term indicators for success.

Miami’s relative prosperity over the past three seasons have been propped up by one of the game’s greatest determinations of success – pure luck.

An in-season change isn’t coming. A change at the end of the season (if Stephen Ross’ history is any indicator) is unlikely.

Gase has seen his redeeming qualities wither away as time has gone on now in year-three. His leash ought to be shrinking with each questionable decision. Poor management has robbed the Dolphins of two crucial road victories this season (Cincinnati and Indianapolis).

Questionable decision led to the disconcerting numbers displayed in this column. All signs point to Ross enacting the same action he deployed in 2011 and 2014 – hanging onto a coaching staff that has perpetuated the very mediocrity that has Dolphins fans clamoring for more.

Hopefully, for ‘Phins fans nationwide, Ross considers the context – not just the win-loss record.

@WingfieldNFL

Advertisement
2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Donv

    November 26, 2018 at 10:40 pm

    This is cherry picking to support your position. It is meaningless as an evaluation tool…like most media and twitter posts…who cares!

    The reason we have had mediocrity since Shula,is because this team has reacted to fans and media comments,starting over every few years.When they should have focused on building continuity and long term success. Patriots, steelers, panthers, seahawks, saints are examples of what that can bring. The fans and media will always bitch, let them but do what is best for the organization regardless. Gase is the best coach we have had since Shula.

  2. Avatar

    Mike

    November 28, 2018 at 2:56 am

    Travis, this team is clearly rebuilding. Ask yourself this, how many teams do you honestly believe we are more talented then? It’s a short list. Patience is important here. We were pressed up against the cap. A purge was necessary. We can argue about the growing pains of a first-time head coach, and whether he should be calling plays, but those things will work themselves out in time. As will the talent level of the roster. The 2016 draft showed well Sunday. That is what you should be writing about.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Miami Dolphins

2019 NFL First Round Mock and Dolphins 7-Round Mock

Travis Wingfield

Published

on

32 First Round Pick Projections and 9 Dolphins Pick Projections

My final mock of the 2019 draft season is also my first — at least when it comes to picks 1-32. Pumping out multiple 32-team simulations feels like an exercise in redundancy.

Team-oriented mocks, however, help the fan base become familiar with the particular positions that will offer the most value with each pick – hence the multiple seven-round mocks I have personally divulged on the podcast for the better part of the last three months.

This entry will satisfy both aspects of the mock season. In order to best gage the available talent at picks 48 and 78, I felt it necessary to run through the first 77 picks, pick-by-pick.

Should you choose to do the same, you’ll come across the same realization that hit me near the end of round-one — the board is quickly picked clean.

Without any further hesitation, let’s get to the official Locked On Dolphins NFL Mock Draft 1.0.

1. Arizona Cardinals – QB Kyler Murray – Oklahoma

The decision to hire Kliff Kingsbury leaves little to the imagination for this year’s top pick. A no-brainer, the Cardinals inject the best play-making quarterback to enter the league since Michael Vick into an offense that was previously lifeless.

2. San Francisco 49ers – DE Nick Bosa – Ohio State

The best player on many-a-draft-boards, Bosa fits both BPA and needs-drafting philosophies at this pick. John Lynch needs to start getting his drafts right if he is to retain his job and this is an excellent first step in securing his standing in the Bay Area.

3. New York Jets – DT Quinnen Williams – Alabama

The casual Jets fan will be disgruntled by another interior defensive lineman, but the knowledgeable Jets fan will recognize that their team just secured one of the three elite talents in the class. Williams was mostly unblockable at Alabama and could help recharge the career of Leonard Williams.

4. Oakland Raiders – DE Josh Allen – Kentucky

Mike Mayock and Jon Gruden get the apple of their collective eye with college football’s most productive pass rusher in 2018 falling to the fourth pick. Allen starts on the edge from the work go in Oakland.

5. *TRADE* Cincinnati Bengals (from TB) – QB Dwayne Haskins – Ohio State

Keeping Haskins in-state, Zac Taylor attaches his job to a cerebral, 21-year-old quarterback with plenty of room to grow. Paying a second-round pick to go up and get Haskins, to groom behind Andy Dalton (at least for a few games), is a small price to pay for a potential franchise signal-caller.

6. New York Giants – DT Ed Oliver – Houston

New York stays true to Dave Gettleman’s philosophy of focusing on trenches. This time, Gettleman gets it right with the rare specimen that is Ed Oliver. Oliver can play, quite literally, any position on the defensive line while offering pass rush and run-stopping prowess.

7. Jacksonville Jaguars – TE T.J. Hockenson – Iowa

Doubling down on the ground-and-pound mentality that brought Jacksonville to the doorstep of the Super Bowl two years ago, Doug Marrone gets a multi-faceted player with an extremely high floor. Hockenson functions in both aspects of the offensive game plan and helps ease the transition for new Quarterback Nick Foles.

8. Detroit Lions – DE Brian Burns – Florida State

Looking to replace the production lost via Ezekiel Ansah and Eli Harold, Matt Patricia bookends his newest toy (Trey Flowers) with an athletic marvel in Burns. Burns’ first step, and ability to turn the corner, could lead to terrific sack production at the next level.

9. Buffalo Bills – OT Jawaan Taylor – Florida

After giving Josh Allen a track team at the skill spots, it’s time for GM Brandon Beane to protect his franchise quarterback. Mitch Morse solidified the interior while Jawaan Taylor is a plug-and-play starter at right tackle — currently a massive void on Buffalo’s roster.

10. Denver Broncos – QB Drew Lock – Missouri

John Elway can talk about Joe Flacco entering his prime (LOL) all he wants, but if Elway enters the year without a contingency plan, it’s difficult to see him returning in 2020. Reports have linked Elway to Lock for months and it finally comes to fruition with the 10th pick.

11. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – LB Devin White – LSU

Acquiring more draft capital and landing the top linebacker in the draft is a homerun for Bruce Arians and company. White is a three-down linebacker with an infectious attitude that can replace the production and leadership vacated by Kwon Alexander’s departure.

12. Green Bay Packers – OT Jonah Williams – Alabama

The best tackle, on tape, in college football last year, Williams’ long-term projection is to take over outside in Green Bay. He can start at guard immediately and gives the Pack a contingency plan behind Right Tackle Bryan Bulaga, who has missed games all but two years of his nine-year career.

13. *TRADE* New York Giants (from MIA) – QB Daniel Jones – Duke

Without a Josh Rosen deal done, Gettleman phones up Miami with an offer to get ahead of Washington to get the successor to Eli Manning. The Giants are loaded with mid-round draft picks and decide to send the 96th and 133rd picks to Miami to secure the QB position.

14. Atlanta Falcons – OC Garrett Bradbury – NC State

Thought by many as the best lineman in this class, Atlanta gets some much needed interior help. Alex Mack is 33, but Bradbury can play guard before transitioning into the Falcons’ long-term center.

15. Washington – WR D.K. Metcalf – Ole Miss

With the board developing in this fashion GM Bruce Allen will likely work the phones to see about Josh Rosen, so why not give him the top WR on the board? Metcalf is a difficult cover, despite some stiffness, and provides a shot in the arm for a wanting Washington passing offense.

16. Carolina Panthers – OT Dalton Risner – Kansas State

Carolina has done a poor job of protecting Cam Newton recently, and with the emphasis on the ground-game, a nasty mauler in the mold of Risner makes a lot of sense. He can play Right Tackle and Center giving the Panthers options.

17. *TRADE* Houston Texans (from MIA) – OL Cody Ford – Oklahoma

After Miami’s first trade, the board broke perfectly. With two more offensive linemen coming off the board Houston’s urgency to get Deshaun Watson some help grew tenfold. Ford is, far-and-away, the best OL prospect on the board and Miami scoops up another third-round pick to slide back six spots satisfying the team’s desire to acquire multiple additional picks.

18. Minnesota Vikings – OT Andre Dillard – Washington State

The run of the offensive line made for a near nightmare scenario for the Vikings, as Dillard is the last remaining lineman with a potential top-20 grade left on the board. Minnesota has two starting tackles in-house, but could certainly use an upgrade over Brian O’Neill.

19. Tennessee Titans – DT Christian Wilkins – Clemson

Jurrell Casey has been the entirety of Tennessee’s interior pressure for far too long. The Titans pluck a terrific football player, a better human being, and a real pain in the ass to deal with on third downs in Wilkins.

20. Pittsburgh Steelers – LB Devin Bush – Michigan

It’s tremendous to see the growth Ryan Shazier has made in his recovery from a devastating spine injury, but the Pittsburgh defense has never been the same since he went down — enter Devin Bush. Bush is the three-down thumper the Black and Gold desperately needs.

21. Seattle Seahawks – S Chauncey Gardner-Johnson – Florida

Seattle needs better safety play after losing two legendary members of their famed Legion of Boom (Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas) the last two years. CGJ is an immediate 100% snap-taker who can play single-high or come down and cover the slot.

22. *TRADE* Green Bay Packers (from BAL) – TE Noah Fant – Iowa

The Jimmy Graham experiment went awry quickly and Aaron Rodgers needs another weapon in the middle of the field. After splurging on defense in free agency, Green Bay spends its two first-rounders on supporting its all-time great quarterback.

23. Miami Dolphins – DE Chase Winovich – Michigan

Double majoring in preparation and production, Winovich has vaulted up draft boards throughout the process. His combine workout was elite, his interview skills were reportedly terrific, he’s sharp on the white board and he can play both the run and the pass. Winovich checks every box that the Dolphins want in a player.

24. Oakland Raiders – WR Hakeem Butler – Iowa State

Antonio Brown and Tyrell Williams are an excellent start to reshaping the passing targets Derek Carr has at his disposal, but adding a power forward to the group is too attractive to pass up. Butler plays the game above the rim and can help the Raiders red zone woes.

25. Philadelphia Eagles – S Nasir Adderley – Delaware

Philadelphia adds another versatile safety in Adderley. His range, cover-skills, and return ability make him a viable option to get onto the field as a rookie before eventually taking the reins for an aging group.

26. Indianapolis Colts – DE Rashan Gary – Michigan

Each draft has a story about a player falling, and this year that distinction belongs to Mr. Gary. His production never matched the traits, but GM Chris Ballard knows value when he sees it. The Colts dramatic shift from a finesse team, into a bully, continues with another solid addition to the trenches.

27. Oakland Raiders – CB Byron Murphy – Washington

The cornerback slide ends with Oakland going to the BPA strategy. The Raiders have some nice corners in-house, none of which can match Murphy’s versatility across schemes or rare instincts for the position.

28. Los Angeles Chargers – DT Dexter Lawrence – Clemson

The nimble, 340-pound Lawrence is an oxymoron by every sense of the word. He’s immovable against the run and will occasionally offer interior pressure. Lawrence could stand to drop 10 pounds and really capitalize on the rare power-quickness combination he already presents.

29. Kansas City Chiefs – CB Greedy Williams – LSU

The cornerback run starts now with Kansas City looking to supplement a pass defense that never recovered from the loss of Marcus Peters. Play makers that can help get the ball back to Patrick Mahomes are a point of emphasis in this KC defense.

30. Baltimore Ravens – DL Jeffery Simmons – Mississippi State

A gamble by Eric DeCosta, Simmons is a top-five talent that stumbles down the board because of a recent ACL tear. The numbers aren’t great on players recovering from injuries that rob them of their rookie campaigns, but the last player with Simmons’ upside to experience something similar is Dallas’ star linebacker, Jaylon Smith.

31. Los Angeles Rams – OC Erik McCoy – Texas A&M

McCoy climbs up boards the more folks plug in his tape – he’s really, really good. The Rams need interior line help and can utilize McCoy’s versatility to double down on their complex running scheme and screen game.

32. New England Patriots – DE Clelin Ferrell – Clemson

Like Rashan Gary, Ferrell takes a tumble down the board because of the premier defensive line talent ahead of them. Ferrell’s slide is the Patriots gain as Bill Belichick pounces on a good looking prospect at a position of need.

 

That brings us to the rest of Miami’s draft. I forecasted one more trade for the Dolphins, this time coming up the board in the second round. With the offensive line talent flying off the board, Chris Grier finds it paramount to move up to secure a plug-and-play Guard at the top of round-two.

Dolphins Trades
Acquired picks 17, 96, 133 in exchange for pick 13 with New York Giants (Daniel Jones)
Acquired picks 23, 87 in exchange for pick 17 with Houston Texans (Cody Ford)
Acquired pick 36 in exchange for picks 48 and 96 with San Francisco 49ers (Chris Lindstrom)

 

Round (Pick) Position Player School
1 (23) DE Chase Winovich Michigan
2 (36) G Chris Lindstrom Boston College
3 (78) S Darnell Savage Maryland
3 (87) DT Trysten Hill UCF
4 (117) OLB Justin Hollins Oregon
4 (133) C Lamont Gaillard Georgia
5 (152) RB James Williams Washington State
7 (235) CB Derek Baity Kentucky
7 (236 WR Penny Hart Georgia State

 

This is the framework of an ideal mock draft for Miami. Adding two more picks and hammering out a BPA strategy, while checking off the list of needs, this group of players adheres to the requirements filed by the new Dolphins brain trust.

Let’s go pick-by-pick and explain these selections.

1. (23) DE Chase Winovich – Michigan

A high-motor pass rusher with an obsession for preparation, Winovich falls into a similar bucket as Minkah Fitzpatrick did a year ago. He out produced the more physically gifted Rashan Gary at Michigan, and topped off his impressive final collegiate season with a near-perfect run up to the draft. Some might assume this is too high for Winovich, but he’s not going to be around when Miami picks again in round-two.

The Plan: With minimum development needed in his game, Winovich steps in as an immediate contributor. Miami’s multiple front scheme will balance Winovich across multiple roles including the 7-tech, 5-tech, and the occasional two-point on-ball edge linebacker role.

2. (36) OG Chris Lindstrom – Boston College

After picking up three additional picks via the two round-one trade backs, the Dolphins saw the decade-long solution at left guard starring back at them at pick 36. San Francisco was open for business needing more draft capital of their own.

There’s a theme with these players regarding their love of the game and Lindstrom falls right in line. He’s a mauler, a technician, and a leader. Lindstrom might go off the board earlier than this and he’s a legitimate option in the first if Miami are inclined to trade down. The Dolphins have spent a lot of time with Lindstrom during the process.

The Plan: Starting 47 games at BC, almost exclusively at right guard, Miami’s lone 16-game participant happens to be the RG incumbent, Jesse Davis. Lindstorm is a better player, however, and allows Miami to kick Davis out to right tackle removing Zach Sterup from the starting line-up.

3. (78) S Darnell Savage – Maryland

An alpha leader of the Maryland defense, Savage is the type of presence that’s impossible to ignore in a shared room. He has the explosiveness to showcase more range than we saw at Maryland, but he’s at his best when he can drive out of his zone position, lay the wood, and rob underneath and crossing routes. He slots right in as the long-term replacement for Reshad Jones.

The Plan: If Reshad Jones is in fact immovable, Savage is afforded a year to get his feet wet. Minkah Fitzpatrick and Jones will play the base downs but Brian Flores is a big believer in three-safety packages (60% of the time last year) making Savage a primary defensive player early. Once Jones is gone, Savage will fill that role patrolling the hook-zone, robber role, and playing near the line-of-scrimmage.

3. (87) DT Trysten Hill – UCF

Strangely only starting one game last year under a new coaching staff, Hill’s tape is eye-catching — just as his combine workout was in March. He’s an interior pocket collapser with tremendous quickness, but he needs to refine his hand placement and technique – a project well within Marion Hobby’s wheelhouse.

The Plan: Coming off the bench initially as a sub package interior rusher, Hill’s technical refinement won’t be a concern in year-one — his only job will be to go get the quarterback. By 2020 Miami could realistically roll out a front line of Taylor, Godchaux and Hill.

4. (117) OLB Justin Hollins – Oregon

Miami is pretty well set at two linebacker positions, but Hollins gives them the inside-outside option they presently lack. Hollins is twitchy as all get out and could get even better with his length. He will need some development before he’s ready to play, but he provides Miami with a potential replacement for Kiko Alonso in 2020.

The Plan: Slotting in as the fourth linebacker initially, Hollins will use his rookie season to develop some nuance as an edge rusher. With his length and explosiveness, Hollins is a prime candidate to become a staple of the linebacker unit, but he needs to improve his functional strength and contact balance.

4. (133) OC Lamont Gaillard – Georgia

Gaillard’s draft projections are all over the place, so I stuck him smack dab in the middle of Miami’s class. He has the power to anchor against stout interior rushers, and enough athleticism to get out in space and up to the second level. Gaillard is the perfect competition for Daniel Kilgore.

The Plan: Miami have expressed their interest in letting someone compete with Kilgore (under contract for another season). Gaillard is power player who could use some seasoning and a year under Pat Flaherty’s tutelage — he serves as the primary backup center during his rookie season.

5. (152) RB James Williams – Washington State

Comfortably in this position for months, Williams was one of college football’s best pass catching backs in 2018. He can run the full running back route tree and is elusive in open space in the screen game.

The Plan: An immediate impact player on special teams, Williams will play the Rex Burkhead role on offense contributing with roughly 20% of the offensive snaps, primarily as a pass catcher. If Kenyan Drake is not brought back (expiring contract), Williams will see his role expand extensively in 2020.

7. (235) CB Derek Baity – Kentucky

Baity plays much larger than his frame and has the technique refinement that could eventually get him on the field on defense. It’s his desire and will to lay the wood, and exceptional tackling technique, that makes him a core special teamer as soon as his rookie season.

The Plan: Sure-tacklers always have a role on special teams. In the 7th round, if that’s all Baity ever becomes, the Dolphins will gladly except that ROI.

7. (236) WR Penny Hart – Georgia State

Hart’s Senior Bowl was impressive but his workouts, thereafter, were not. This might be a tad low, but his poor offseason puts Miami in a position to find a developmental slot receiver with game-breaking ability both on offense and in the return game.

The Plan: Potentially beginning his career on the practice squad, Hart’s primary value is at the return position, though that job is held by the dynamic Jakeem Grant. Hart provides early insurance behind Grant and Albert Wilson on the WR depth chart as both return from an injury.

Alternatively, here is a mock draft free of trades.

 

Round (Pick) Position Player School
1 (13) DT Christian Wilkins Clemson
2 (48) S Juan Thornhill Virginia
3 (78) OT Chuma Edoga USC
4 (117) OLB Justin Hollins Oregon
5 (152) S Mike Edwards Kentucky
7 (235) CB Derek Baity Kentucky
7 (236 WR Penny Hart Georgia State

 

With the multiple pathways (many needs) Miami can travel, a satisfying class almost doesn’t exist without acquiring more picks. With the two extra picks in the first mock, I feel confident in my ability to add reinforcements to the position rooms that need it most.

The focus, for both drafts, prioritized character, athletic traits, and defined roles within the program. Adding Wilkins to the Davon Godchaux and Vincent Taylor rotation essentially solidifies my interior defensive line. Wilkins can provide an interior rush the moment he arrives in Davie, FL.

Thornhill is the day-one center field safety (think Duron Harmon (61% of New England’s snaps last year)), while Edoga competes for the opening day right tackle job.

Hollins fits the same description from the original mock while Mike Edwards plays on special teams in year-one with the hopes of taking over Reshad Jones’ position in 2020.

Derek Baity and Penny Hart fit the bill for the three, aforementioned focal points.

A reminder that Locked On Dolphins will have the quickest, most comprehensive Dolphins draft coverage anywhere on the web next weekend.

Here, you can find the draft profiles we did last year. Film study, quotes from teammates and coaches, athletic measurements, scheme fit, projected role; everything about these players will be detailed on Locked On Dolphins dot com — as well as the Locked On Dolphins podcast.

@WingfieldNFL

Continue Reading

News

Miami Dolphins have exercised Laremy Tunsil’s fifth-year option

Shawn Digity

Published

on

Laremy Tunsil USA Today Sports
Laremy Tunsil taking on Khalil Mack. Image courtesy of USA Today Sports

Miami Dolphins have exercised Laremy Tunsil’s fifth-year option

The headline says it all; the Miami Dolphins have picked up Laremy Tunsil’s rookie contract fifth-year option. All 2016 first-round draftees are up for fifth-round options and the dominoes have started to fall with Tunsil.

The announcement tweet, which can be seen below, was broken on Twitter by Armando Salguero and shouldn’t come as a huge surprise to Dolphins fans. Laremy Tunsil is one of the key cogs of the team and will be the cornerstone of an otherwise enfeebled offensive line that will likely be addressed in next week’s Draft.

Laremy Tunsil is the surest thing on the Dolphins o-line in a unit that has seen better days and will require two to three new starters. While Tunsil was a no-brainer for the Dolphins to pick up that fifth-round option on, they’ll likely have to extend him at some point, which won’t come cheap since he’s one of the rising stars at left tackle.

But Laremy Tunsil is secured through the 2020 season. I hope between now and then the Dolphins spearhead an extension and get Tunsil locked up a little bit longer. Success in the trenches will start with Tunsil at left tackle and the Fins can fill in the rest during the draft.

Laremy Tunsil will realistically become the highest-paid left tackle at some point in the next few years, and the Dolphins would be wise to get ahead of the curve for that. I think that will happen.

The current frontrunner for left-tackle contracts is the Oakland Raiders’ Trent Brown, and he is making an APY (average per year) of $16.5 million with. The top ten left tackles are making from the aforementioned $16.5 million to $12 million for Green Bay’s David Bakhtiari, Kansas City’s Eric Fisher, and Cincinnati’s Cordy Glenn.

There’s an average APY of $14 million, but I expect Laremy Tunsil to eventually be well above that average when the time comes–I foresee the Dolphins making him the highest paid left tackle, remember. Full guarantees on those top-ten contracts are running between $16 and $36 million, so there’s much more variability with those portions of the contract.

Good and great left tackles aren’t cheap. Laremy Tunsil will break the bank in a few years and will be the highest paid left tackle if the Miami Dolphins intend on making him their franchise LT for years to come.

Laremy Tunsil was drafted by the Miami Dolphins in the 2016 NFL draft after an unfortunate and unfair draft-day tumble that gave the team a golden opportunity. The 2016 class has proven to be extremely fruitful (for the most part). Along with Tunsil, Xavien Howard, Kenyan Drake, and Jakeem Grant were selected in the second, third and sixth rounds, respectively, and all have made major contributions in one form or another.

Exercising Tunsil’s fifth-year option is good news for Fins fans. It’s not a blockbuster trade or a splash signing, but taking care of the best players already on the team before it snowballs out of control a la Jarvis Landry or Ju’Wuan James is a step in the right direction. And while exercising Tunsil’s option is an obvious choice, it’s still an encouraging sign nonetheless.

All contractual information courtesy of Over the Cap.

 

Continue Reading

Miami Dolphins

Brian Flores’ Pre-Draft Update

Jason Hrina

Published

on

Image Credit: Miami Dolphins / Jason Hrina

Get used to this mantra, Miami Dolphins fans: Adapt or Die.

You might not find it printed on training camp t-shirts for the team to sport around, but you can expect head coach Brian Flores to repeat this line often. It’s about to become ingrained in both us and the players.

Flores spoke briefly with reporters before the team finished up their 3-day “voluntary” workout and prepares for the upcoming NFL draft.

If you’ve heard these kind of comments before, it’s because Flores has nailed the proper, cliche  press conference etiquette. Answers are “insightful”, but vague. He gives you an answer while also laying out all other possibilities. That said, he’ll sometimes respond with some sarcasm and wit that’ll reassure you that there is a personality inside of him.

If there is one thing we can take away from Flores’ demeanor and message, it’s that he isn’t about to tolerate the type of locker room culture that festered under Adam Gase. There will be both accountability and self-reflection; and that’s reassuring after witnessing Gase deflect blame to everyone but himself.

With the most important day of the offseason just one week away, we take a look at what Flores had to say at his press conference earlier this morning:

On the Draft:

Most important measuring tool?:

“Combination of production. Height. Weight. Speed. Intangibles. Fit. There’s a myriad of things there. To say it’s just one thing that’s important…they’re all important.”

“Is one more important than the other, I’d say no.”

“It’s the total fit of the player and how we feel they’ll fit with our team.”

Combine/Visits, what do you get out of it?:

“Try to get to know the person, that’s a big part of this.”

“Sometimes people see players as just players. You want to know about their mom, their dad, who was an important person in their life. What kind of adversity they have faced before. Does that person fit your style as a coach, your locker room, the culture you’re trying to build as a team. When you sit down with a player, you’re just trying to get to know him.”

I think Dolphins fans know this all too well after the Dez Bryant/Jeff Ireland prostitution episode back in 2010.

Flores’ Influence in the Draft:

“Chris and I definitely work well together. We speak the same language….when we come together it’s the same (language)”

“Have had (and) will have discussions on different scenarios (throughout the draft)”

On his New/Hybrid Defense:

What kind of players do you need for your Hybrid defense?:

“We need good players.”

“I think as a coach, you get a good player, (and you ask yourself) what does he do well? You try and do that.”

“That’s the good thing about having a versatile scheme, it fits a good player.”

“You try and get the best player and I feel me and my staff can fit what we’re going to do around that player.”

“Some guys are going to have a better fit than others, but you have to put the whole fit together.”

On Identity of this Team:

“You know, call it what you want.”

“I’m going to get my team to play hard. Play together. Play with good fundamentals and technique. Play as a team. Put the team first. You have to try and get 11 guys to play together and that’s a hard thing to accomplish as a coach.”

“That’s my goal, you can call it whatever you want. ‘The Patriot Way’….to me, it’s just good football.”

Flores seems to understand that he’s going to live under Bill Belichick‘s shadow for awhile, especially if he is unsuccessful. Seems like he’s also getting a little tired of it….and I kind of like it. I’m glad he’ll have this chip on his shoulder to prove that he isn’t just a Belichick clone. Then again, judging by all Flores has gone through, he doesn’t need this chip to drive him.

Does he expect his players to be on time?:

“If you’re early, you’re on time, if you’re on time, you’re late, and if you’re late you’re forgotten.”

“Is it a rule, no, it’s my personal mantra.”

“I have a lot of respect for time. I think it’s precious; we shouldn’t take it for granted. If you want to stay on schedule you have to stay on time.”

“We have a schedule, it’s laid out pretty well.”

There is absolutely no bull**** from Brian Flores when it comes to practice! That’s not to say Adam Gase or any of the other prior head coaches were more-lenient, but you get the feeling that Flores isn’t going to tolerate players who believe they are bigger than the team.

Gase showed a similar coaching style when he traded Jay Ajayi and released players like Byron Maxwell and Jordan Phillips, but that never translated to a productive locker room culture. It’ll be interesting to see how Flores’ style compares.

On His “Right-Hand Man”:

“Pick any of the 20 guys, they’re all my right-hand men.”

“We work well together. (We) try and put a staff together that embodies what I want our team to reflect.

“I want to be tough, I want to be smart, I want to work well together.”

On Mike Gesicki:

“Mike is a good, young player. Talented. Like everyone else on this team, there are places he can improve, develop, get better. As a young player, there’s a lot of room for development. Mike’s working hard. We see what everyone else sees: he has size, speed, can catch the ball.”

On Raekwon McMillan and Jerome Baker:

“Raekwon is big. Fast. Physical. (Has) good leadership. Smart. Can play a few different positions. (A) good, young player.”

“Jerome is another skilled player. Fast. Good tackler. Raekwon is a good tackler as well. Smart. Can do a few different things. Can cover; which, obviously in this league, going in a passing direction, it’s good to have an LB that can cover.”

“We’re glad to have them both.”

On Jake Rudock and Luke Falk:

“Like everyone else, they’re working hard. They are doing everything possible to try and improve their techniques, fundamentals. Footwork. Ball Handling. They’re doing a really good job. All 3 quarterbacks.”

“We’re excited to see what they can do moving forward.”

Flores couldn’t be more generic with the assessment of his players. Even going back to when he discussed Charles Harris at a previous press conference, Flores tends to speak about his players vaguely, as if to avoid tipping his hand in any regard.

From a player’s perspective, it’s nice to know your coach won’t throw you under the bus and will keep things private. From our fan perspective, it means we just have to go through every possible adjective and scenario with him. He’s not lying when one of them has to be true.

On his Mother’s Passing:

“It was hard. She’s someone I think about on a daily basis. Wish she was here to enjoy this with us, but she’s with me all the time.”

“She wouldn’t’ want me to dwell or be upset and she would want me to have peace.”

“I’m sad. I’m unhappy. I miss her. But I have peace knowing I did everything I can to make her proud.”

On New Surprises as a Head Coach:

“(I have had) A lot of conversations with head coaches around the league…one thing they said is something would come across your desk every day.”

“(That’s) kind of my approach coming in, being adaptable. A mantra of our team: ‘adapt or die’.”

“Part of (the job) is allowing other people to lead.”

Continue Reading
Advertisement

LATEST

Advertisement
Advertisement

Trending