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17 posts from April 2010

April 28, 2010

Michael Beasley's Heat future (with poll); in defense of Jeff Ireland (with poll); 'Run Ricky Run' a letdown & more

1aabeas SHOULD BEASLEY BE A PART OF HEAT'S FUTURE?: Miami's season is done and so the real season is close to starting. The Big Summer. The major remodeling. All eyes will be on whether Dwyane Wade re-signs and what big gun (Chris Bosh?) is hired to partner up with him. But Michael Beasley (pictured) is the other big question, and our poll subject here. Has he played his last game for the Heat? (Do you hope he has?) His two-point disappearance last night -- and not leaving the bench the entire second half of an elimination game -- suggests his Miami future is on trembling ground. I've been a too-soon-to-give-up-on-him guy, but am beginning to really wonder. Take a dip in our poll and expound.

[Note: No. 3 is No. 6: Dwyane Wade finished sixth in 2009-10 NBA jersey sales according to new figures from the league, following (in order) Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Kevin Garnett, Derrick Rose and Dwight Howard. Rounding out the top 10 after Wade: Chris Paul, Paul Pierce, Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony].

[Blognote: The poll that follows, and the one on Jeff Ireland below that, are the latest in our blog to blast past 1,000 votes the first day of release. Thanks, again, to all!]

1aabeas2 LAY OFF JEFF IRELAND A BIT, OK?: [Click here for my full column on this, newly online and shipping to Thursday's pulp edition]. It came out that Dolphins GM Jeff Ireland, in a pre-draft interview with receiver Dez Bryant, asked Bryant if his mother was a prostitute. The politically correct outrage that has followed -- "Oh the (lack of) humanity!" -- and that forced a public apology from Ireland has been comical. I thought it to be an overreaction on the face of it. I think a club preparing to give $15-20 million in guaranteed money to a player with controversial baggage has every right to probe that person. Also I didn't think the question was all that off-the-wall considering Bryant's mother Angela had done 18 months in jail for drug trafficking. Upon investigation I think the question was legitimate given that the conversation led to it (see column). Ireland's question might have been clumsy, too direct, but given Bryant's background and the context of the interview I don't think it was egregiously unfair. Dear Athletes: If you come from backgrounds that raise questions about your less-than-tranquil upbringing, you might anticipate being asked some of those questions. Even the ones put bluntly. You might not agree. Take a dip in our poll, then say why. 

1aabeas3 'RUN RICKY RUN' DISAPPOINTING: I must say I was a bit disappointed in the ESPN documentary on Dolphin Ricky Williams that aired for the first time Tuesday night. You know what I mean? Maybe it's that we in South Florida have sort of lived the story and know it pretty well, arguably too well. Maybe it's that so much of Run Ricky Run was from five, six years ago. It just felt dated to me. Rehash-y. Nothing in it made me think, "Really? Wow. I didn't know that." Another factor, for me, is that I'm about done with the overindulging of Ricky's tortured search for self-enlightment. Not sick-of-it done. Just past-it done. I mean, move on, yes? He's an intriguing character of unusual depth -- especially for an athlete, and in the context of the NFL -- but please don't make us feel guilty if we'd sort of prefer at this point to think of him as a running back. Is that OK?

1aacollinsd 1aacollinsb COLLINS GETS THE BOOTSY: (A reaching reference to Bootsy Collins). Power-forward Dwayne Collins, only NBA Draft-eligible Miami Hurricane, sneaks into an ESPN.com top-100 prospects list at 85. He's seen as late-second-rounder-to-more-likely-undrafted. He has the body at 6-8 and 240, but is undersized for power-forward and slow for small forward, with underdeveloped offensive skills. Best case? He develops into a Udonis Haslem type who makes somebody's roster as a rebounding role guy. Pictured: the Collinses, Bootsy and Dwayne.

FOR THOSE WHO PARK LIKE AN A--HOLE: Saw an idiot's car in the Publix lot straddling the white stripe, his SUV intentionally glomming two parking spaces. I'm not a criminal or mean, so keying his car is out. But it's annoying, so here's the solution. Visit youparklikeanasshole.com and print an admonishment to stick under the perp's windshield wiper. You'll feel better and he'll feel like, well, you know.

THE LIST: HIGHEST HEAT DRAFT PICKS: Grading the players drafted in the top 10 overall in franchise history, listed in order of earliest selection:

2nd   Michael Beasley, 2008 (C-minus so far)

4th   Glen Rice, 1989 (A)

5th   Steve Smith, 1991 (B)

5th   Dwyane Wade, 2003 (A-plus)

9th   Rony Seikaly, 1988 (B-plus)

9th   Willie Burton, 1990 (C-minus)

10th   Kurt Thomas, 1995 (D)

10th   Caron Butler, 2002 (B)

Twitter.com/gregcote

April 27, 2010

Celtics win 96-86, to end Heat season; does Beasley have a future with Miami?

1aaceltics2 1aaceltics[Immediately below this in the blog: the Marino vs. Wade poll].

GAME 5: CELTICS 96, HEAT 86: Season done. Wade was Wade as you'd expect with 31 points, 10 assists and 8 rebounds. Mario Chalmers rose up with 20 points off the bench. Udonis Haslem had 10 rebounds. Otherwise? Not enough. not nearly. Michael Beasley and Jermaine O'Neal were two of the keys, and both fizzled. O'Neal scored seven points on 3-for-10 shooting, and Beasley had a negligible 2 points and did not play a second in the entire second half. Does Beasley have a future with the Heat? We'll see. Tonight, you wonder...  Original G5 post: The question is whether the Heat, down 3-1, will be -- in the immortal words of Miami's Brothers Gibb -- stayin' alive', stayin' alive. (Sorry). Odds are against it, but I give Miami a chance partly because the older Celtics may be more negatively affected by one day's rest. Big if, though. I think Miami has a chance only if Dwyane Wade gets big help offensively. That means Michael Beasley getting up near 20. That means Jermaine O'Neal waking up. That means two or three others in double figures beside D-Wade. Click on Help Wanted for today's column by me previewing Game 5.

GAME 4: HEAT 101, CELTICS 92: Miami faced the literal must-win Sunday afternoon at the downtown bayside arena and came through -- thanks to a huge fourth quarter and 46 points in all from the great Dwyane Wade. Click on Wade En Fuego for my column off the game. No NBA team ever -- not once in 88 tries -- has overcome a 3-0 hole to win a playoff series. Can the Heat make history? Well, likely not, of course. But they have at least given themselves a fighting chance by avoiding the embarrassment of a sweep. The dark undercurrent today was the possibility, however unlikely, that this could have been the final home game in a Heat uniform for free agent-to-be Wade. He reminded us again why we hope not.

GAME 3: CELTICS 100, HEAT 98: Crushing loss on a last-second Paul Pierce shot last night and it left me wondering (OK, second-guessing) why Miami didn't use the foul it had to give. Dwyane Wade scores 34 and gets some rare help, with Michael Beasley (16) and Dorell Wright (15) among four others in double figures. But it still wasn't enough. Click on Fade to Black for my column off the game. No team has overcome a 3-0 playoff series hole. They'll play again here Sunday. For what it's worth.

GAME 2: CELTICS 106, HEAT 77: What word works better than embarrassment? Heat desperate. Celtics playing without suspended Kevin Garnett. And yet Boston dominated last night. Game close into early second quarter, and then Celts reel off runs of 21 and then 18 unanswered points. Abysmal. Miami now in a position of having to win 4 of next 5 games in series to advance. Not liking my series upset pick at the moment. If you're the Heat, how do you pretend to have any real confidence in the series after tonight?

GAME 1: CELTICS 85, HEAT 76: If your glass is half full, you saw your Heat good enough to take a 14-point lead on the road in this series opener. But in some ways that makes the loss all the worse. Call it an opportunity lost, a big chance to take early control of the series squandered. Playoff hopes cannot survive a 10-point fourth quarter, or a quiet six points from Michael Beasley. Boston's balanced offense only accentuates the reality that Miami, on too many nights, is Dwyane Wade and a prayer. Heat could catch a break if Kevin Garnett is suspended for Game 2, but what Miami needs even more is Beasley and others to step up so the burden is not all on Wade.

Original Saturday post; I know many of us are in Dolphins/NFL Draft mode but try to hit the pause button on that for a second and join me in giving a crap about something else. This theoretically should be a tossup series with Boston seeded 4th and Miami 5th, but not many experts give the Heat much chance. Example: 10-man panel of predictors on ESPN.com, and all 10 have Boston advancing.

I like Miami in an upset, not necessarily in tonight's opener up there, but in the 7-game series. I say why here in today's 1A column by me. But it'll take more than the usual excellence from Dwyane Wade. I think  Michae Beasley and Carlos Arroyo are two guys who need to step up the next couple of weeks.

Your thoughts on this Heat season and this opening playoff series are invited here.

The series: Boston leads 2-0 --- G1: Celtics 85-76 --- G2: Celtics 106-77 --- Next: G3: Tonight 23rd in Mia --- G4: Sun 25th in Mia --- If needed : G5:Tue 27th @ Bos --- G6: Thu 29th in Mia --- Sat 1st: @ Bos.

POLL: WILL THE HEAT ADVANCE?: Obviously every Heat fan wants to believe "yes," but try to separate hopefulness from what you really think will happen. And what do you base your vote on?

THE LIST: BEST HEAT FINISHES: Here have been the best of the previous 21 Heat seasons:

2005-06   NBA Champions (52-30 regular season)

1996-97   Conference finals (61-21)

2004-05   Conference finals (59-23)

1999-00   Conference semifinals (52-30)

2003-04   Conference semifinals (42-40)

Note: Miami's other eight playoff appearances have been firstr-ound eliminations.

Twitter.com/gregcote

Marino vs. Wade: The Poll (plus Jeff Ireland ripped, 4 Canes on 2011 draft hot-list, Adalius Thomas, new Super Bowl odds & more)

[Immediately below this in the blog: Grade-the-Dolphins-draft post].

[Dolphins' GM Ireland gets ripped: Click here for an interesting new Yahoo.com piece on Dolphins GM Jeff Ireland. Paints a bit of a different portrait of him than the glowing, post-draft testimonial that appeared in Monday's Miami Herald].

1aadan2 1aadan MARINO VS. WADE: THE POLL: I wrote in my column (click here) off Sunday's Heat playoff win and his 46-point performance that it is time to say that Dwyane Wade has surpassed Dan Marino as the most exciting, talented athlete we have had on a local pro team. But I also think it is a close call and certainly open to debate. So let's debate. I last blogged on this in February 2009 and had a similar poll a couple of years ago, so it's time again. Take a dip in our poll and make your argument.

[Poll note: This is our latest to blast past 1,000 votes in its first day. Thanks again and keep 'em coming. Poll comment: Results so far no surprise. Marino winning solidly but hardly a landslide. In what clearly is a football town where Dolphins are king, call it a strong showing for Wade, even aided by the poll's timing]. 

1aaallenbailey FOUR CANES ON 2011 DRAFT HOT-LIST: Mel Kiper Jr., like rust, never sleeps. He's already looking at the 2011 NFL draft with top fives at every position, and UM Hurricanes mentioned are Allen Bailey (1st DE, pictured); Leonard Hankerson (3rd WR); Colin McCarthy (4th OLB); and Orlando Franklin (5th OG). Florida gators mentioned are OG Mike Pouncey and S Ahmad Black (both 3's). FSU Seminoles are OG Rodney Hudson (1), C Ryan McMahon (3), QB Christian Ponder (4) and FB Marcus Sims (4). Probably means Bailey will start a new first-round streak for Miami if he has a strong, healthy season. [Update: SportsIllustrated.com has a 2011 mock draft (no, seriously; click here) that has Bailey, who has played DE and DT, going 29th overall. Dolphins are projected to pick 19th and take Michigan State LB Greg Jones. No not another linebacker!!].

LATEST SUPER BOWL ODDS: Says Bodog: Jets SB odds have gone from 25-1 in February to 12-1 now. Miami's have gone from 45-1 to 30-1. Patriots holding steady at 10-1. Colts (8-1) and Saints (9-1) still lead overall. Post-draft odds also reflect trades and other developments. Brandon Marshall helped lower Dolphins odds. Redskins went from 50-1 to 28-1 after getting Donovan McNabb. And Steelers went from 11-1 to 18-1 with Ben Roethlisberger suspension.

1aaadalius ON ADALIUS THOMAS' AVAILABILITY: Patriots released veteran OLB Adalius Thomas Monday, and initial reports had him headed to the stinkin' Jets, rejoining Rex Ryan, for whom he played six years in Baltimore and earned two Pro Bowl bids. Althought now NYJ interest reportedly is limited. Thomas (pictured) can still produce (14.5 sacks in 35 Pats starts), but should Miami be interested? Probably not. Thomas is 32 and a bit of a malcontent, and the Dolphins just drafted what seemed like about 146 players who do what Thomas does. What does make him attractive, especially for Miami's evolving defensive schemes, is versatility. He is by trade a pass-rush-oriented OLB but at 6-2, 270 also can play inside-LB, end or even shift to tackle at times.

MILLEN ANALYZES POLACKS' LOVE OF BOLOGNA: Matt Millen was used to making draft day mistakes and having to apologize in his many years as Detroit Lions president, but he did it again as an ESPN analyst by referring to Ron Jaworski as a "polack." They were talking about fried bologna sandwiches when Millen said, "Ask any polack from Buffalo how they like them, right Jaws?" To which the unoffended Jaworski said something about preferring them with fried onions. Me? I think far fewer listeners were upset by the polack reference than by hearing two ESPN analysts on draft-day discussing fried bologna sandwiches.

[The above reminds me how interesting I find semantics in terms of what offends people. For example, one may not not properly refer to a Chinese man as a Chinaman. Also, when inquiring about someone's religion (itself gravely frowned upon), asking "Are you Jewish?" is more acceptable than "Are you a Jew?" It was once considered insulting to call an American a "Yank." That is no longer the case, except in Boston].

1aagaysb GAY SOFTBALLERS DEFEND THEIR SANCTITY: The North American Gay Amateur Athletic Alliance, which runs the Gay Softball World Series, is defending itself against a lawsuit brought by three San Francisco-area men who say they were banned from competing because they were not entirely gay, but rather more of a bisexual persuasion. Click here for the tale. I'd go on, but it might lead to a lame joke about the softball event not allowing switch-hitters. So I'll just move on.

1aabull2 1aabull REVENGE OF THE BULL: Famous Spanish bullfighter Jose Tomas was seriously injured after being gored in the groin during a competition. I wish Tomas well. However I doubt I am alone in generally rooting for the bull. That's especially true on the streets of Pamplona, but also in the ring. Pictured right: Sometimes the bullfighter wins; other times, he does not. Tease the wrong bull with your fey red cape at your own risk, Mr. Macho Matador!

THEY DON'T CALL THEM PERFORMANCE-ENHANCING DRUGS FOR NOTHING: American track star LaShawn Merritt (400-meter gold, Beijing) tested positive for a banned substance that turned out to be ExtenZe. the over-the counter male enhancement product whose pitchmen include UM coach-turned-talking head Jimmy Johnson. Not sure what Merritt's penalty will be but it could be stiff. Did I just say that?

1aacolordog DEAR GREG: Your blog is OK, but it would be better if occasionally you would show a photo of a dog that has been humiliated by its owner in a dog-grooming contest, and yet has a loopy grin indicating an unawareness that even other dogs are laughing. Thank you.

Personal aside: Thanks to Paul & Young Ron (Big 105.9) for having me on the show this morning. I didn't realize how many people are up at 7:20 a.m. listening to the radio. I didn't know people were up that early doing anything.

THE LIST: HEAT PLAYOFF POINTS: Top five in postseason points in Heat history:

1. Dwyane Wade: 1,705 (65 games)

2. Alonzo Mourning: 989 (82)

3. Shaquille O'Neal: 751 (40)

4. Tim Hardaway: 605 (39)

5. Udonis Haslem: 487 (65)

Note: Wade's and Haslem's totals include current series.

Twitter.com/gregcote

April 24, 2010

Dolphins' draft grade? You're saying B, maybe C-plus (with poll)

GRADING THE 2010 DOLPHINS DRAFT: Poll remains open, but plenty enough votes are in to call it a final B grade leaning downward to C-plus, and I think you all are pretty much on the mark. I say B-leaning-C-plus because B is the most popular grade by far but C votes comfortably outnumber A votes. Roughly one-third of Dolfans are judging this draft as average or below; that's substantial. For what it's worth, Mel Kiper Jr. of ESPN grades Miami a C-minus, calling it "Jared Odrick and the rest." Says second pick Koa Misi will need time to adjust from DE to OLB, and says some of the other picks are reaches. (Again, for what it's worth...)

Original post: I know, I know, I know. It takes a year or two and sometimes longer to fully, fairly judge any team's draft. Yada yada yada. The thing is, this isn't a history book or an encyclopedia here, it's the Internet. This blog traffics in immediacy, and therefore please feel-free to grade the Dolphins' draft without apprehension or guilt. It's OK, because:

This provides an initial gut reaction, that's all. We all understand that. Mel Kiper Jr. doesn't wait two years to offer an opinion; why should you?  Derive your grade from the quality of players drafted based on what you know, from how well the team targeted and filled areas of need, from what transpired compared to what could have (such as players they might have had but passed up); and just from how the whole thing feels to you compared to what your reasonable expectations were going in.

Here is the bounty you are grading:

1R---Penn State DT Jared Odrick; 2R---Utah OLB Koa Misi; 3R---Mississippi OG John Jerry; 4R---Iowa OLB A.J. Edds; 5R---Maryland CB Nolan Carroll; 5R---Georgia S Reshad Jones; 7R---Middle Tennessee State OLB Chris McCoy; and 7R---Ohio State OLB Austin Spitler. (That's defense by a 7-1 margin, for those scoring at home, including four linebackers).

Take a dip in our poll and then share your thinking. Pretend you have 20 seconds in an elevator with Bill Parcells right now. Your synopsis comment to him on Miami's draft would be what?

[Note: The above poll blasted past 1,000 votes in near-record time. Thanks to all. And keep 'em coming].

Twitter.com/gregcote

Dolphins Draft completed. Hey let's not get all defensive. On second, thought, let's! (plus mock results)

[Note: Alan Faneca: ets have released the veteran, nine-time Pro Bowl guard. Miami could use a guard. Hmm. I'm just saying. I know Faneca is almost 33 and not what he was. But for the right price? Worth considering. Dolphins-Jets rivalry, I'll call your Taylor and raise you a Faneca!].

[Note: Dan Marino: Our No. 13 named 6th most valuable draft pick of all-time in NFL poll to name top 75, after Joe Montana, Jerry Rice, Walter Payton, Barry Sanders and Peyton Manning. Rounding out top 10 after Danny Boy: Brett Favre, Tom Brady, Emmitt Smith and Lawrence Taylor].

DOLPHINS' DRAFT / DAY 3: Iowa OLB A.J. Edds is the 4th round pick. Maryland CB Nolan Carroll is 5th round pick. Georgia S Reshad Jones is second 5th round pick. Because of trades Miami had 6th round pick. Middle Tennessee State OLB Chris McCoy is first of two 7th round picks, followed by Ohio State OLB Austin Spiller.

Final totals: Miami spent seven of eight picks on defense, including four on outside linebackers.

Original post: Saturday afternoon brings rounds 4 through 7 and Miami has seven picks scheduled, subject to change: 126th overall in 4th round; 145th in 5th; 174th and 179th in 6th; and 212th, 219th and 252nd in 7th. Gil Brandt informs us that 70 different players drafted in rounds 4-7 have played in the past three Pro Bowls. So there!

For what it's worth, I saw a 4th-round mock draft on ESPN.com that has Miami selecting North Carolina nose-tackle Cam Cameron Thomas. Position targets today figure to be NT, safety, another OLB and WR.

1aakoamisi DOLPHINS' DRAFT / DAY 2: With the 40th overall selection (obtained Friday in the first-round tradedown), the Dolphins select Utah OLB Koa Misi. Huh! Whu! Dan Marino announces the pick. More evidence: None of us knows anything. Koa Misi heralds the return of the Cam Cameron-styled Samoan love. Oops he's Tongan. Crying your pardon. Misi is pictured.

And with the 73rd pick Miami selects Ole Miss guard John Jerry. Anyone who claims they had heard of either Koa Misi or John Jerry before Friday is either a liar, or Mel Kiper Jr.  

Original post: More prime-time pickin' tonight as King Sport (d.b.a. the NFL) conducts draft rounds two and three. Barring trades, Miami picks once in each round, the 40th and 73rd overall selections.

1aakindle I think the Dolphins have a real shot at No. 40 to get Texas OLB Sergio Kindle -- whom many respected draftniks had going as early as 12th to Miami in round one before the Fins traded down and Kindle (pictured) cascaded. He's a pass-rusher they could use. I think Southern Cal S Taylor Mays and Notre Dame WR Golden Tate are also strong in the mix. Other names to keep an eye on for Miami's second-round pick include Florida S Major Wright, Southern Cal DE Everson Griffen, Alabama DT Terrence Cody and South Florida S Nate Allen. Any of those guys might also entice Miami at No. 73 if they fall that far.

One more reason to tune in tonight: A UM Hurricane might finally hear his name called. TE Jimmy Graham is a possible late third-round pick.

Your thoughts on the Dolphins' Day 2 draft are invited here. I'll update as much as I can, although I am deployed columnizing off the Heat home playoff game tonight so updates in this post might be limited.

HOW MY MOCK DRAFT STACKED UP: My 19th annual first-round Mock Draft had 81 percent (26 of 32) first-round picks overall, and 25 percent (eight) "exactos," or right-player-to-right-team. That's slightly better than my career averages going in of 77% overall and 23% exactos.

Here is how my 26/8 stacks up with a handful of other prominent mockers: ESPN's Todd McShay had 27/11; ESPN's Mel Kiper 27/10; SI's Peter King 28/8; CBS' Clark Judge 27/7; SI's Don Banks 28/5; and CBS' Pete Prisco 26/5.

I and most others overestimated how high DT Dan Williams (my pick for Miami) would go, but at least I had the Fins' targeted position right. Also had Jared Odrick's slot about right, since Miami took him 28th and I had him going 29th to the Jets.

1aaking I'm OK with my results, considering those draftniks mentioned are football full-timers who make a cottage industry of the draft, while I spend a couple of days on my mock and have fun with it. That I would have as many exact hits as King (pictured) and more than those three other guys is amusing to me. It shows how much it's all guesswork.

The Dolphins drafting Odrick also shows how little we really know about what the team is thinking or might do. We see preening media experts quote conveniently anonymous "inside sources" and at the end of the day they know bloody little more than Bill Parcells wants them to know. Hilarious. Giggity!

THE LIST: DOLPHINS IN ROUND 2: Miami's top 10 all-time second-round draft picks:

1. Mark Duper, WR, NW Louisana St. (52nd), 1982

2. Dwight Stephenson, C, Alabama (48), 1980

3. Bob Baumhower, NT, Alabama (40), 1977 

4. John Offerdahl, LB, W. Michigan (52), 1986

5. Sam Madison, CB, Louisville (44), 1997

6. Patrick Surtain, CB, S. Mississippi (44), 1998

7. Keith Sims, G, Iowa State (39), 1990

8. Tim Ruddy, C, Notre Dame (65), 1994

9. Chris Chambers, WR, Wisconsin (52), 2001

10. Andra Franklin, RB, Nebraska (56), 1981

[Note: We exclude recent 2R'ers QB Chad Henne (2008) and CB Sean Smith (2009). They might earn their way onto the list, but right now the estimation of both remains incomplete].

Twitter.com/gregcote

April 22, 2010

Dolphins draft Penn State DT Jared Odrick (with poll); fans liking but not loving it; add your vote now

1aadraftnfl 1aajaredo The Miami Dolphins trade down from 12th to 28th and select Penn State defensive tackle Jared Odrick (pictured) in the first round of the NFL Draft Thursday night. I'm not a huge trade-down fan but think this one worked well for Miami, gaining back a second-round pick and also filling a position of need with a guy they coached at the Senior Bowl and liked. One hesitation: Odrick is not a classic nose-tackle, light for that at 6-5 and 304 pounds. Click here for my column off the Dolphins' first round. Now it's your turn. Take a dip in our poll and tell us what you think of the Dolphins' night:

DOLPHIN DRAFT NIGHT LIVE BLOG!:

10:26: Pats Take CB Devin McCourty 27th. Now it's Miami. Pass-rushers Sergio Kindle, Jerry Hughes still on the board.

10:19: Dan Williams!: Arizona gets a steal drafting DT Dan Williams 26th. He would have a great, great fit for Miami. Still say so.

10:09: TEBOW!!!: Broncos take Gator Tim Tebow 25th. Where'd he go was the biggest mystery of the draft.

10:02: Dez Bryant: Goes 24th to Dallas. Imagine if he'd have been available to Miami at 28th? We'll never know.

9:52: Packers: Get OT Bryan Bulaga 23rd, a guy who some had pegged top-10.

9:47: Receiver: Broncos get WR Demaryius Thomas 22nd. So much for still-available Dez Bryant being easily the best wideout in this draft.

9:40: Catching up: 17, G Mike Iupati; 18, C Maurkice Pouncey; 19, OLB Sean Weatherspoon; 20. CB Kareem Jackson; 21, TE Jermaine Gresham.

9:21: Final details on Dolphins trade: Chargers get 12th, 110th and 173rd picks. Dolphins get 28th, 40th and 126th picks and ILB Tim Dobbins. Still not sure I love the trade as much as some seem to.

9:20: Morgan goes: Derrick Morgan goes 16th to Titans, yet ANOTHER guy who could have helped Miami.

9:14: Pierre-Paul off board: Giants make 15th pick of DE Jason Pierre-Paul, another guy the Dolphins were considering and could have had.

9:05: Earl Thomas goes: Picked 14th. Another guy Miami could have really used and aneed-position. This is the problem with trading down.

9:00: Catching up: Dolphins also picking up San Diego's 126th overall pick in the fourth round. I hate trade-downs. But let's see who they get at 28. (SD took RB Ryan Matthews with Miami's 12 spot. Philly gets OLB Brandon Graham 13th -- a guy Miami could have used).

8:45: DOLPHINS TRADE DOWN!: Miami gives up the 12th overall pick in a trade-down with San Diego, getting the Chargers' 28th overall pick and reportedly SD's second-rounder (40th overall) tomorrow.

8:44: Trade: 49ers trade up slightly with Denver, take OT Anthony Davis.

8:38: Shocker: Jaguars select DT Tyson Alualu, a guy many draftniks pegged a second-rounder. Wow. Broncs on deck and Miami in the hole, with lots of enticing guys available.

8:31: Spiller to Bills: Another big offensive weapon just enetred the AFC East as RB C.J. Spiller is scooped up by Buffalo. Strong pick, but surprising. Another guy Miami really liked (and might have been interested in if Ronnie Brown had been dealt). Means Marshawn Lynch is on the way out.

8:29: McClain goes 8th: ILB Rolando McClain a remarkably sane pick for the Raiders. First guy to go that Dolphins would have really considered (had they not signed Karlos Dansby). 

8:23: Haden??: Browns take Gators CB Joe Haden. The first "reach" of the night. I had him going 13th and I thought even that might be high. Everybody who enticed Miami and that Miami thought might realistically fall to 12 is still on the board!

8:13: Okung: OT Russell Okung goes 6th. Browns up next make it interesting. This next pick could see go the first guy Miami thought it had a shot at. Derrick Morgan, maybe?

8:06: Berry good: Chiefs get S Eric Berry, as I'd Mocked.

7:59: Oh well...: Skins pick OT Trent Williams. There goes my Perfect Mock.

7:52: The Real McCoy: Bucs pick DT Gerald McCoy. Everything expected so far. Me 3-for-3 in my Mock. But now it gets tough. The gimmies are over.

7:44: A Boy Named Suh: Lions pick DT Ndamukong Suh, also as expected.

7:38: Bradford No.1: Rams take QB Sam Bradford first overall, as expected. I'm 1-for-1 in my Mock Draft. Can we quit now? Anybody else notice that ESPN flashed Bradford's name on the screen before Goodell officially announced it?

7:05 p.m.: NFL's biggest day?: Everybody would say it's the Super Bowl. But I have to say the first-round of the draft is a strong second, and maybe closing. The passion of interest is broader; it doesn't just intensely involve two teams.

Original post: Thanks for visiting. Giggity! We'll have constant updates right here in the main body on anything notable leading up to and during tonight's first round and on every pick that impacts Miami in any way. The Comments section is in y'all's able hands as usual.

This just in. Bill Parcells has agreed to a trade-down, going from 12 to 18 pizzas for the War Room after Domino's agreed to throw in a second round of garlic rolls.

1aadraftdolphs3 It'll be a long night if the Dolphins keep the No. 12 pick, and a reeeaaallly long night if roster guru Tuna (right) decides to trade down (to 24th, maybe?) as is rumored. Cases of Red Bull and pots of extra-caffeinated coffee are at the ready as the media swarms Dolphins HQ in Davie and prepares to ... wait, and wait, and wait some more.

Has your thought coalesced on who you think Miami will come out of the first round with? I stick faithfully with my Mock Draft pick, DT Dan Williams, albeit nervously, with many of the late mocks trending Thursday toward OLB Sergio Kindle. We shall see. Sooner or later...

[Meantime our Dolphins draft-related post directly below this one includes the hot yet perhaps annoying Roethlisberger-to-Miami fun poll, in case you haven't voted yet.]

THE LIST: TRADE-DOWNS: Here are the five times in Dolphins history the team has traded down in the first round:

1987   14th to 16th; took DE John Bosa, who disapppointed.

1994   16th to 20th; took DT Tim Bowens, who had very solid career.

1998   19th to 29th; took RB John Avery, a bust.

1999   24th to 27th, 27th to 39th; took RB J.J. Johnson, a semi-bust.

2010   12th to 28th; took DT Jared Odrick, result to be detrmined.

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Dolphin Draft-Day Special: Big Ben Roethlisberger to Miami? (with poll); plus Dolphins trading down to 24th?, Tim Tebow, Brown/Spiller & more [Updated]

[Announcement: We'll have a DOLPHINS DRAFT NIGHT LIVE BLOG in a separate post this evening starting around 7 with updates through the first round, culminating with Miami's pick. We'll include an instant poll on your gut reaction to Miami's choice right after it is made. Join us. We'll also have draft-night palaver at Twitter.com/gregcote so follow there, too].

Welcome to our Dolphins' Day 1/First-Round NFL Draft Special. Check back for frequent updates:

1aaa5 BEN ROETHLISBERGER TO MIAMI?: The possibility -- however realistically scant -- was a bone being chewed pretty hard by my buddy Dan Le Batard when I was on 790 The Ticket with him yesterday. I mean, Pittsburgh is shopping its shamed and suspended QB. Dan proposed trading the 12th pick and QB Chad Henne to the Steelers for Roethlisberger (pictured right looking like Eminem). I think Pittsburgh wants a trade partner with a higher pick and more to give. But I wouldn't do that deal anyway if I were Bill Parcells -- not if my faith in Henne was at all strong. Big Ben is damaged goods, not physically, but in ways also important. The sexual misconduct shines light on a character flaw that calls into question his leadership. And, already suspended the first six games of the 2010 season, he is one more off-field embarrassment from a likely year-long suspension. Miami is taking a similar character gamble with WR Brandon Marshall but there was a desperate need there. There is not that desperate need here -- unless the Dolphins' professed confidence in Henne has been a lie. What do you think? (Relax. The draft is all about speculation. We're just havin' a little fun here!) Take a dip in our poll and tell us why...

1aaa4 MOCK DRAFT: DAN WILLIAMS:

Readers and clickers have made my 19th annual Mock Draft (click here) the most popular thing in the paper and most-viewed entity online today -- with more than twice as many hits as anything else. Thanks for that. I have Miami selecting Tennessee nose-tackle Dan Williams (pictured) 12th overall, with the caveat that a trade-down is very possible. Team also likes safety Earl Thomas but I have him gone by 12. If a trade-down happens I think it's more liklely the Dolphins will end up selecting an outside pass-rusher. [Vote for who you think Miami should draft tonight. Find the poll in the blog post just below this one. Williams ruinning second to Thomas when last I checked...].

[Update 6:30 p.m.: Live draft blog: Only a half-hour til we kick it off at 7 in a separate post. Oh the excitement is building!].

[Update 5:15 p.m.: Tebow: Rumors out there have Denver trading back up into first round and taking Tim Tebow. Then again maybe the rumors were started by Tebow's agent.   :)   ].

[Update 4:10 p.m.: Smiley: Don't be surprised if a Dolphin trade-down tonight packages in outbound G Justin Smiley in order to collect an additional late-round pick]. 

[Update 3:40 p.m.: Big Ben poll: Interesting results so far. Two-thirds of Dolfans saying no-way. But that means fully a third are at least receptive to the notion. Won't happen. Shouldn't. But fun to consider]. 

[Update 3:30 p.m.: Tradedown to 24?:  ESPN now on the bandwagon about Philly and Miami talking a swap (see 12:35 update) that would have Eagles picking 12th, and Miami picking 24th and adding (presumably) another Eagles pick, perhaps even a second-rounder].

[Update 3:10 p.m.: More Kindle: Todd McShay's final mock now out. He also has OLB Sergio Kindle to Miami at 12. I don't feel so bad, though, because McKiperrival has Dan Williams going 9th to Buffalo].

[Update 2:30 p.m.: Nervous?: It is 5 hours til draft kickoff. Am I worried about my pick (Dan Williams to Dolphins)? Somewhat, yes. In mock-monitoring I see Williams generally trending downward a bit. Still think he is the smart pick there, and that they can get a pass rusher they like (such as Kindle) with a trade-down].  

[Update 1:35 p.m.: Kiper: Mel Kiper Jr.'s final mock draft has Miami selecting OLB Sergio Kindle 12th. Mr. Coif has my guy Dan Williams falling all the way to 26th. If Williams drops that far I'll show up at tomorrow night's Heat game in a prom dress].

[Update 12:50 p.m.: War room: Dolphins just announced that TV and still photographers will have a brief opportunity to shoot the team's draft "war room" (no audio) at 6:30 this evening. That's before the draft. Picture a handful of men in a room sitting around a large table not doing a whole lot].

[Update 12:35 p.m.: Kindle?: Peter King Tweeted that he likes the mock draft of SI stablemate Don Banks. FYI, Banks has my Dolphin pick at 12, Dan Williams, going 9th to Bills. He predicts Miami will trade with Philly, drop to 24th, and take DE/OLB Sergio Kindle. It's plausible. Fins like Kindle and, coincidentally, I have Kindle going 24th (to Philly) in my mock].

1aaa3 DOLPHINS OWNER SAYS PICK SHOULD BE...: Jennifer Lopez (pictured rockin' the derriere) was pimping her new movie with Jay Leno on The Tonight Show last night and said the Dolphins should draft DT Dan Williams. That J-Lo is smarter than she looks! Granted I am taking liberty calling her a Dolphins owner, but she sleeps with part-owner Marc Anthony, so it's almost the same thing. Then again Anthony owns part of the Dolphins like my five shares make me a part-owner of Coca-Cola. But still.

1aaa2 ON RONNIE BROWN/C.J. SPILLER: Speculation that Miami might consider trading Ronnie Brown (pictured) with an eye on drafting RB C.J. Spiller 12th is intriguing and plausible, but hardly likely. A second-round pick might tempt Miami to part with Brown, but the reason he's casually available is the same reason other teams might be wary. His injury proneness. You have to think Miami is better off sticking with Brown, presuming his good health and targeting defensive needs tonight.

THE TRADE-DOWN FALLACY: I disagree with the way-too-common posit that Miami "should" trade down and that Dolfans should hope for that. It is an attitude of resignation to think that in a deep draft the No. 12 spot won't offer a great player, an immediate starter whom Miami needs and should love to have. Would it be nice to add a second-round pick in a trade down? Sure. But the clear priority tonight should be to make certain the one guy you get is a high-impact player, and that's axiomatically more likely picking 12th than significantly lower.

1aaa1 POSTSCRIPT ON DEPARTED JASON TAYLOR: ESPN reports (as if it's news) that Miami did offer Taylor a contract. Yeah, last November. But the team withdrew it before the end of the season and didn't offer another one prior to JT signing with the Jets this week. Unless the Dolphins claim otherwise (and they have not), the truth is that Taylor is gone because Miami showed no recent indication it wanted him back.

THE LIST: DOLPHINS PICKED IN TOP 10: Grading Miami's picks on players selected in the draft's overall top 10. List is chronologocal:

1966   1st Kentucky QB Rick Norton (F)

1967   4th Purdue QB Bob Griese (A-)

1968   8th Syracuse RB Larry Csonka (A)

1989   9th FSU RB Sammie Smith (D)

1990   9th Texas A&M OT Richmond Webb (A)

1992   7th Wisconsin CB Troy Vincent (B)

2005   2nd Auburn RB Ronnie Brown (B because of injury concerns)

2007   9th Ohio State WR Ted Ginn (D)

2008   1st Michigan OT Jake Long (B+ so far)

Note: Dolphins in 1966 also selected Illinois RB Jim Grabowski (1a to Norton's 1b), but he signed with NFL. In 1970 Miami traded 3rd overall pick to Cleveland for Paul Warfield.

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April 21, 2010

Mock time: Dolphins to draft Vols NT Dan Williams! (with you-make-team's-1st-pick poll); plus more

Wednesday late-afternoon update: My 19th annual Mock Draft is now officially published online and shipping to Thursday's newspaper. No turning back now; I'm stuck with it. Click on My Mock/Mock Me to read it now.

[Note: Jason Taylor-to-Jets post, with poll, may be found directly below this in the blog].

Quick aside: Told you earlier that Larry Csonka was named the 6th most valuable draft pick of all-time in a top-75 fan vote to commemorate this 75th annual NFL drtaft. League has since released everything but the top 10, still with no Dan Marino. Is it possible he'll be shut out? Still think Danny gets in, although frankly the top 10 seems a bit high considering the no-ring factor.

ENTERING THE MOCK CAVE: I have exited the Mock Cave, the solitary confinement where I ensconce once every year to assemble my NFL Mock Draft. It is dank and dimly lit in here, the flickering candle light lending a haunting glow to the room's inspirational Mel Kiper Jr. Shrine, featuring a small vial containing a DNA-quality strand of Mel's gel-laden hair obtained on Craigslist. The soundtrack for my tedious work: A continuous, high-volume loop of The Verve's Bittersweet Symphony. I spent much of Monday and Tuesday researching, ruminating and writing my forecast of the entire first round, with emphasis of course on the Dolphins' first pick (scheduled) at No. 12. The Mock Draft is now online and will be in the paper-edition on Thursday. Take a dip in our poll. Weigh in on who you think Miami should take in the first round. Who knows? We might even end up agreeing.

ZONK MAKES BEST-PICKS LIST: With this the 75th NFL Draft, league asked fans to select the 75 "most valuable draft picks" ever. Today numbers 75 through 51 were revealed, and the lone Dolphin pick in the group is Larry Csonka (8th overall, 1968) at No. 67. Top 50s for Miami? Dan Marino a lock, Jason Taylor a likely. Just missing: Ted Ginn Jr.   :)   :D 

VEGAS SAYS KINDLE TO GO 12TH: My boys at Bodog.com tell me Texas OLB Sergio Kindle is a 5/6 betting-line favorite to be the 12th pick in the draft. Me? Possible, but I wouldn't bet on it. Also, Bodog puts it 1/2 odds that Tim Tebow will go between the 30th and 50th picks. It's 6/5 for 1-29, and 5-2 for 51-plus.

1aaben BIG BEN DESERVES SUSPENSION: I don't see racism or racial overtones around every corner like some people (love ya anyway, Dan!), but I think Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger should be suspended by commissioner Roger Goodell for actions that have embarrassed the franchise and league. Big Ben has averted criminal prosecution over two accusations of sexual assault, but anyone who has followed closely can agree his behavior portrays him as, well, a pig. Do I think he'll be suspended? No. I think he'll be put on double-secret-probation and told his next impropriety will bring the hammer. Do I think there would be racial tones in the decision? No. I think it is more a matter of the player's stature and position than race. I think being a star quarterback for a big franchise helps Ben Penisberger more than his whiteness. And remember there is no criminal conviction here to force the commish's hand as there was with Michael Vick. [Penisberger is pictured here, obviously neither drunk nor on the prowl].

1aacora TAHITICORA AT PLAY: A reader passed this along, and I'll do the same. It's a YouTube video (click here) of Tahiticora playing an Xbox video game while wearing a thong. Tahiticora, by the way, is Coralie, 26, from Miami Beach. Warning: The video shows her wearing nothing more risque than what you might see on the sands of South Beach, but it could offend the easily offended.

1aahanibal A FREUDIAN SLIP, IF FREUD WORE A WHITE HOOD: An Australian publisher has recalled and destroyed thousands of cookbooks after a recipe was found to list "salt and ground black people" -- instead of pepper -- in the ingredients. Click here for the story, then scroll about halfway down to the subhed, 'Book destroyed after misprint.' I assume the stomach-turning error was unintentional and slipped past a derelict proofreader. That, or it was a cookbook for cannibals also including such delicacies as roast leg of human au jus and (of course) liver and fava beans with a nice chianti.

WHO CAN STOP LAKERS-CAVALIERS FINAL? (NOBODY): Predictability is a curse of the NBA playoffs and this year is no exception. Cleveland at 7/4 and the LAL at 5/2 are betting picks to win the title, with only Orlando (at 6-1) better than a 12-1 longshot to derail a Kobe-LeBron inevitability, the stuff of TV dreams. The Knicks in 1999 were the last 5th-seed-or-worse to reach the Finals. An 8-seed has eliminated a No. 1 in the first round only three times of 52 possibile instances since the current playoff format took effect in 1983-84.

1aabriandavis GOLF'S NOBILITY: Tiger Woods' sex scandal dragged his gentlemanly sport through the tawdry mire, but we were reminded again Sunday of what's good about golf by the actions of a little-known (at least to me) player named Brian Davis. Davis (pictured) was in a playoff vs. Jim Furyk when he admitted an infraction. Davis was hitting from a hazard area, where rules prohibit a club from "touching a loose impediment" before striking the ball. Davis said he thought his backswing grazed a dead reed of sea grass, and TV confirmed it. The PGA Tour interpretation: A two-stroke penalty. Golf is full of strict, dumb and/or persnickety rules, and this is one. But the story here is not the rule but the honesty of this player over such a minute detail that might otherwise have escaped detection. Sportsmanship lives.

THE LIST: NO. 12 DRAFT PICKS: Grading the players picked 12th overall in the past decade:

2009   Georgia RB Knowshon Moreno, Broncos (B: 947 yards as rookie)

2008   Boise State OT Ryan Clady, Broncos (A-: Pro Bowl in 2009)

2007   Cal RB Marshawn Lynch, Bills (B-: 1 Pro Bowl, off-field issues)

2006   Oregon DT Haloti Ngata, Ravens (A-: Pro Bowl in 2009)

2005   Md. OLB Shawne Merriman, Chargers (A: 3 PBs, 43.5 sacks)

2004   Miami MLB Jonathan Vilma, Jets (A: 2 Pro Bowls; now w/ Saints)

2003   Penn St. DT Jimmy Kennedy, Rams (D: Reserve now w/ Vikes)

2002   Wisc. DT Wendell Bryant, Cardinals (F: 3 years & out of league)

2001   Miami DT Damione Lewis, Rams (C-: Journeyman; now w/ Pats)

2000   Tenn. DE Shaun Ellis, Jets (B: Career-long Jet; 68 sacks, 1 PB) 

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Fumble! Dolphins' mishandling forces Taylor to Jets. Who do you blame? (with poll)

1aajt [Note: Thanks to all who joined our live chat today. Extra big turnout. We do it every Wednesday 1-2 p.m. in the Q&A Forum. Click here to post questions early].

[Note II: Heat-Celtics playoff post may be found directly below this in the blog].

JASON TAYLOR JOINS THE J-E-T-S!:

The unthinkable, to many Dolfans, has happened. Jason Taylor has agreed to sign with the rival New York Jets. Me? I blame the Dolphins. You'd click here to read why in my column, online now and in Wednesday's paper. I think the Dolphins' actions or inactions toward Taylor were callous and also dumb in a football sense. But what do you think? What emotions stir? Have your say. Take a dip in our poll and elaborate as arguably the greatest defensive player in Dolphins history joins the bitter divisional rival.

I would also invite messages here to Taylor on what you think he has meant to this franchise.

[Update: NFL regular-season schedules out today. Miami's is here. The home opener? Vs. the Jets ... and Jason Taylor. Sweeeet! As I say in my column, the only positive to come of this is that an already intense Dolphins-Jets rivalry gets all the more spirited by JT switching sides].

THE LIST: JASON TAYLOR: Taylor among NFL sack leaders:

1st among active players with 127.5

11th all-time with 127.5

1 season title (2002, 18.5)

1st among Dolphins with 124

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April 16, 2010

Your fondest memories of departed Ted Ginn; plus name Dolphins' worst first-round pick (with poll)

1aaginn THE GINN ERROR ERA ENDS: The Dolphins have traded wide receiver Ted Ginn Jr. to the San Francisco 49ers for a 2010 fifth-round draft pick. Jay Glazer of Fox broke the story. Obviously Brandon Marshall's arrival made somebody expendable. Ginn, a former ninth overall draft pick, never panned out as a wideout but showed sporadic value as a kickoff return man. Although Ginn qualifies as a draft bust I actually think the 49ers get a pretty good deal. Ginn is young enough, fast enough and has enough return chops to have some potential left. We know, of course, that the Niners also are getting a guy who cowers from contact and runs for the sideline as if that's where the Holy Grail is.

Unless you are too overcome with emotion, share your favorite Teddy memories here.

POLL: DOLPHINS' WORST 1R PICK SINCE 1990: Where does Teddy rank? You be the judge.

THE LIST: WORST FIRST-ROUND PICKS: The 10 worst first-round picks in Dolphins history, chronologically:

QB Rick Norton (1966; 2nd overall)

DT Mike Kadish (1972; 25th)

DE Don Reese (1974; 26th)

OT Darryl Carlton (1975; 23rd)

LB Jackie Shipp (1984; 14th)

DE Eric Kumerow (1988; 16th) 

RB Sammie Smith (1989; 9th)

OT Billy Milner (1995; 25th)

CB Jamar Fletcher (2001; 26th)

WR Ted Ginn (2007; 9th)

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