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31 posts from April 2007

April 30, 2007

Grading Dolphin draft

Aaareportcard      With the obvious disclaimer that nobody can accurately appraise a draft for at least a year, everyone is entitled to their quick opinion. Mine (you'd find my draft column here) was that Miami erred in choosing Ted Ginn Jr. over Brady Quinn. I may be wrong; so might the majority who seem to agree. We'll see.

     For now, we invite overall opinions of Cam Cameron and Randy Mueller's first draft. Give a letter grade or not, your call.

     Meanwhile, below you'll find a condensed sampling of national opinion from four respected draftnik/NFL experts...

     This from Mel Kiper Jr./ESPN, who graded Miami a C: "Passing on Brady Quinn was ridiculous. Ted Ginn is a good player, will help Miami in the return game and fills a need. Still, they had Quinn staring them in the face, and they weren't going to have to trade up to get him. The Dolphins were fortunate that QB John Beck was still available in the second round and they were able to salvage their quarterback situation. Samson Satele is a good center, but he might have to play guard because Miami already has Rex Hadnot. Lorenzo Booker could be a really good third-down back. Paul Soliai was a very good pick in the fourth and could see a lot of playing time. Drew Mormino made sense as a backup center. Kelvin Smith has a chance to be a starting linebacker someday. Brandon Fields has strong leg but is inconsistent.

    This from Ira Miller/AOL Sports, who graded Miami a D: "This was hard to figure. The Dolphins have plenty of needs yet they used their first pick on an undersized receiver, Ted Ginn Jr. Ginn is a superlative return man, but the ninth spot in the draft seems a luxury for a player whose biggest contributions figure to come on special teams – especially for a team with a quarterback problem and an aging defense. The obvious conclusion is the Dolphins liked BYU's John Beck, their second-round choice, better than they liked Brady Quinn, and maybe they'll eventually be proven right. Of course, in Beck, the Dolphins are getting a player who will be 26 as a rookie. But that's what's great about the draft. Right now, Miami looks bad. Two or three years from now? Who knows?"

     This from Pete Prisco/CBS SportsLine, who graded Miami a B: Best pick--Second-round center Samson Satele is a power player who will help upgrade an offensive line that needs it. Questionable move--Passing on Brady Quinn in the first round to take Ted Ginn. It’s not that Ginn isn't a good player, but Quinn is the best quarterback in the draft. They made amends getting John Beck in the second round. Second-day gem: Fourth-round pick Paul Soliai is a wide-body nose tackle who will help stuff the run. Overall--Beck will be a good player, so passing on Quinn might turn out OK. Is Ginn really worth the ninth pick?

     And this from John Czarnecki/FoxSports, who graded Miami a C-: Outside of new head coach Cam Cameron, few personnel men I spoke with liked his draft. Most thought the Dolphins really reached on Ohio State receiver/returner Ted Ginn Jr. who still isn't healthy. Ginn could develop into a game-breaking receiver, but most teams rated him lower in the round. BYU quarterback John Beck is very accurate and Cameron loves his intelligence [but] Beck was judged by most teams as the fourth to fifth best quarterback in this draft. Utah defensive tackle Paul Solia in the fourth round was decent value. Florida State RB Lorenzo Booker might end up being the draft's best all-purpose runner. But why do they need him if Ricky Williams is returning? The best thing the Dolphins did was not cave into Kansas City's demands for QB Trent Green, who probably will be released in June.

Heat-Bulls G4: Done! Now what?

Aaa4     Win or out Sunday. And it was out, 92-79. Sweep.

     What must the Heat do to be title contenders again? Is it as simple as getting Dwyane Wade healthy or are significant changes needed?

     Comments welcome on why this series was lost so resoundingly, and on the state of an unceremoniously dethroned champion. You'd find today's game column by me here.

     Say you have Pat Riley's ear for 30 seconds. What you tell him?

Draft contest results

     Congratulations, Wayne Linville!

     Wayne was one of only five people who had all three of our Draft Contest answers right: Ted Ginn Jr. as the Dolphins' first-round pick, JaMarcus Russell as the draft's overall No. 1 selection, and Cleveland as the team selecting Brady Quinn.

     We blind-drew Wayne's name over the other four finalists: Blake, Liad, Ron Montanez and Steven Archer. (Two other bloggers, JJF and Pete, had Ginn and Russell right but missed on the team taking Quinn).

     Our draft-contest champ will be receiving a 670-page 2007 Dolphins Media Guide/Record Book or (if he wishes) a comparable prize. Thanks to all who entered!

     More results, in the spirit of full disclosure. Here's how I fared in my Mock Draft: Predicted 27 of 32 first-round players (84%), including seven to the right team (22%). That's around average for me. My record across 15 previous Mocks was 78% overall, 24% exactos.

Aaamel       ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. correctly predicted 28 ovAaagregerall and 10 to the exact teams. Ouch. You got me, Mel. Also, you have much better, shinier hair.

April 29, 2007

Dolphin Draft Day 2

     Suggesting we limit this to comments only on Dolphin Draft Day 2 picks made today.

     (There's a separate post just below for Day 1 stuff including Ted Ginn Jr. over Brady Quinn. And we'll invite overall thoughts, maybe with a poll, on Monday).

April 28, 2007

Draft Day 1: Dolphins draft ... Ted Ginn!?

Aaaginn_2       We were hoping the Dolphins fared better in their first round than the Heat has. The Dolphins had a chance to, with QB Brady Quinn, who miraculously fell to them at No. 9. Instead -- stunningly -- Miami drafted Ohio State receiver Ted Ginn (pictured).

     I'd hoped the Dolphins would be able to trade up for a shot at Quinn. To have a chance to get him at nine was a huge bonus. To then pass him by seems initially to be a shocking error that the Dolphins could live to regret for years.

     You'd find today's draft column by me here.

     Inviting comments here on all of the Dolphins' Draft Day 1/Saturday picks, especially Ginn over Quinn as numero uno. When you heard the name called, what was your gut reaction?

     And for those who wanted Quinn: Does the team getting BYU's John Beck in Round 2 ease your angst?

April 27, 2007

Heat-Bulls G3: Champs dead?

Aaa3b      I dislike the "must win" cliche, particularly when a game doesn't literally qualify as such. But this was. And the Heat didn't. Miami's 104-96 Friday night home loss made it a 3-0 Chicago series lead and left the defending champions on life support.

     Put it this way: In 78 instances of a team being down 3-0 in NBA playoff history, no team has come back to win the series. Not one.

     Abysmal free-throw shooting killed the Heat in Game 3; moreover, Miami seems to have no defensive answers for the younger, quicker Bulls. You'd find my column off the game here.

     Comments invited on why this game slipped away and how the series -- and the season -- seems to have done the same. Miami needs a sporting miracle now. My question: Do you believe?

CONTEST! Dolphins' draft

Aaafort2      [Updated noon Saturday. The contest entry deadline has passed. We'll announce the winner Monday morning].

     Simple. Looking for three answers, in this order:

     1. Name the Dolphins' first-round pick on Saturday.

     2. Name the draft's overall No. 1 selection.

     3. Name the team that takes Brady Quinn.

     Anyone who answers the first question correctly is in the running for the prize. The second and third questions (in that order) will serve as tiebreakers. If there's still a tie after that I'll draw a name from a hat.

     Important: ONE ENTRY PER CUSTOMER! We reserve the right to cross-check ISP addresses and eliminate any with more than one entry.

     Prize: A 670-page 2007 Dolphins Media Guide/Record Book (or a comparable alternate for a non-Dolfan winner). There might also be an additional sur-prize if we can work it out.

     Entries must be posted by noon Saturday, Eastern time

April 26, 2007

He said, she said

     You'd find a most unusual story by clicking here. It is about an L.A. Times sports writer, Mike Penner, who is about to change his byline. To Christine Daniels. Mike, whom I have not met, revealed himself today to be transexual. He is brave.

     How will readers react? How will athletes react? How would you feel if a familiar South Florida sports writer or sportcaster suddenly went from he to she? (It's a serious question, by the way. But just to preempt middle-school wisecracks: No, I am not planning any major personal announcement).

Dolphins' biggest draft busts

     Today's Herald lists the Dolphins' 11 all-time biggest draft busts Aaadonreese (whatever happened top Top 10s?) as: 1. tie, DE Don Reese (pictured) and DT Randy Crowder (1974); 3. RB Sammie Smith ('89); 4. RB Cecil Collins ('99); 5. RB John Avery ('98); 6. OT Billy Milner ('95); 7. LB Jackie Shipp ('84); 8. CB Jamar Fletcher ('01); 9. DE/LB Eric Kumerow ('88); 10. DT John Bosa ('87); and 11. DT Mike Kadish ('72).

Aaaerick      The Sun-Sentinel happens to do the same today and lists its biggest busts as: 1. Kumerow (pictured); 2. Smith; 3. Avery; and 4-5. Milner and OG Andrew Greene ('95).

     In terms of other first-rounders for dubious consideration, I would add, chronologically: QB Rick Norton (1966), OT Darryl Carlton ('75), WR Randal Hill ('91) and WR Yatil Green ('97), with a special dishonorable mention to second-round LB Eddie Moore ('03). Can't include RB David Overstreet ('81), whose career was aborted by a fatal car accident. Wouldn't add DB Jason Allen from '06, either. Yet.

     Who is your all-time Dolphin Draft Bust? Give us one or a short list.

     [Reminder: Our special Dolphin Draft Contest hits the blog here tomorrow/Friday at 8 a.m. sharp. Don't miss it].

April 25, 2007

Hey Cam and Randy...

Aaadolphs Aaachoices      Dolphins coach Cam Cameron and GM Randy Mueller are -- as we speak, right this minute -- weighing the team's first-round options for Saturday's NFL Draft. Deciding what to do.

     Would you help them, please? (Granted they don't want your advice, or mine, but let's pretend they do!)

     What should Miami do? Try to trade up for Brady Quinn? Trade down and stockpile picks? Fill a need with Levi Brown?

     Say you're in the war room with Cam and Randy. Their heads swivel suddenly to you. They're asking for your input. What are telling them?

     [Advisory: We'll be unveiling a special Dolphin Draft Contest here in the blog on Friday morning. Don't miss it].