Friday, July 29, 2016

Puff-Puff-Pass And Other Drafty-Type Nuggets From The Dolphins’ Annual Bust Invitational

As training camp quickly approaches, I’ve held off on recapping the Dolphins’ draft. Since a high-round pick gets hurt before the season for a remarkable number of seasons in a row, I was sort of waiting for that to happen, and sure enough, second-round projected starting corner Xavien Howard got slapped on the PUP list with a knee injury.

With that out of the way, football is nearly here so it’s worth taking a look back at how the latest incarnation of Miami’s ever-evolving front office fared in the draft. Outside of first-round gift Laremy Tunsil, I actually liked what the ‘Fins did later in the draft this year. There were too many early-round gambles and trades for my liking, but the team did land some intriguing prospects later in the process to somewhat redeem this year’s effort.

With last year’s draft, I predicted the future with way too much accuracy. I hope to be pleasantly wrong more often this time around.

And away we go …

1st Round, 13th Overall: Laremy Tunsil, OT, Mississippi
This selection has received as much attention as any 13th-overall pick in the history of the NFL Draft, so I’m not going to belabor the point. If Tunsil can single-block an above-average end without getting the quarterback folded in half, I don’t care if he has a one-hitter in one hand and a bag of Funyuns in the other. Bottom line this was an easy pick whether Tunsil pans out or not. Miami doesn’t usually have situations like this fall into their lap in a positive way, and it was good to see them not overthink it.

2nd Round, 38th Overall: Xavien Howard, CB, Baylor
So, forget everything I said about the first pick and not overthinking it. The good vibes from the Tunsil choice went out in the window quickly as the ‘Fins gave up a fourth-round pick to move up four spots for a guy that wasn’t sparking a lot of buzz (two Tunsil puns for the price of one, you’re welcome). If you’re going to move up in this area, you do so for Miles Jack, who was the guy they really wanted anyway. Granted, if Howard is one of your starting corners—and he’d better be—on the first day of the season, all will be forgotten, but pick management comes into question here.

3rd Round, 73rd Overall: Kenyan Drake, RB, Alabama
The second-straight shaky pick came at another position of need, but there were more proven backs available at this stage and even Drake admitted to being surprised he went so early. This guy hasn’t been healthy since he was 13 years old, and I just never want his value as a gunner on special teams to be a prominent talking point for a third-round skill position player. Ever.

3rd Round, 86th Overall: Leonte Carroo, WR, Rutgers
The third-straight headshaking pick, and you could make a compelling argument that it is actually the fourth in four picks at this stage. Are you sensing a theme? Miami gave up a ton to move back into the third round to get this kid, a potential No. 4 wideout who had some off-the-field issues. Carroo is described as a playmaker and has been compared to Antoine Boldin, and I’d love to see it. In the short term, though, this trade knocked the ‘Fins out of some highly valuable mid-round possibilities, making this a luxury move that I’m not sure this team could afford at this point in their development.

6th Round, 186th Overall: Jakeem Grant, WR, Texas Tech
The Dolphins waited so long to pick again that it barely felt like the same draft. When they did, however, they made one of my favorite selections in this electric return man and slot project. If you’re going to load up on back-end picks at the end of the draft, you take guys like this with a dominant skill and hope they turn into something more. Even if Grant reduces some of Drake’s value as a return guy (don’t get me started) and even if the NFL is dead set on reducing the importance of special teams, Grant is still a playmaker type that I like in this spot.

6th Round, 204th Overall: Jordan Lucas, SS, Penn State
Miami needed a safety, so this made some sense—until it was announced that Lucas would line up at corner. But the ‘Fins need corners, too, so who the hell knows. Lucas is a guy who has to hope he can buy himself enough time on special teams to make the team for a year and transition to a new spot. I figured the Dolphins would target a linebacker around this time of the draft, but again, defensive backs are a massive need.

7th Round, 223rd Overall: Brandon Doughty, QB, Western Kentucky
No issues at all with a development QB here; it’s smart to take one in probably every draft. Doughty is an accurate kid who doesn’t possess a huge arm, but sees the field well. At the very least, you can always use a camp arm and Doughty should be aiming for a practice squad spot this year with the hope of becoming the backup next year if Matt Moore moves on.

7th Round, 231st Overall: Thomas Duarte, TE, UCLA
Like Lucas, Duarte is another transitional option as he goes from wideout to tight end. He’s a very intriguing athlete, but the key is obviously to see how he adapts to the blocking aspect of the game. Miami’s tight end depth chart is sort of in flux, so there is long-term potential for Duarte to earn a larger role if he can make the team as a rookie.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Limerick Friday #408: Stenson Puts On A Show For The Ages, Plus Another Monster Of The Midway Bids Adieu

Royal Troon set the scene
A British Open more gray than green
Mickelson threw darts all week
But Stenson was at an impossible peak
The best major Sunday I’ve seen

All the pitchers find harm
The Mets don’t have a live arm
Setback after setback it seems
That would ruin any teams
Is Jesse Orosco still down on the farm?

Cleveland is a dump
An apt site for Trump
The GOP is in shambles
As this moron rambles
Might as well vote for Forrest Gump

At RB, they needed a vet
So they searched for what they could get
Arian Foster is now in the fold
A lot injured and slightly old
But maybe he’ll surprise us yet

Forced turnovers by the bunch
Even ate Randy Moss’s lunch
A Bear legend, no doubt
Charles Tillman, on his way out
How about a final Peanut Punch?

Friday, July 08, 2016

Limerick Friday #407: Brexit Is A Thing That Actually Happened, Plus Durant Takes Easy Way Out

Ignorance triumphs
With racist harrumphs
Brexit in the UK
What have we done, they say
Here come the politics of Drumpf

State’s lifeboat rafted
Cat Barber got shafted
He went unchosen
Another Pack hopeful frozen
Gottfried needs someone to get drafted

Classes by a monitor glow
Learning is going slow
Digital marketing at Duke
Blue makes me want to puke
But forward is the only way to go

Discord throughout the land
As consistency does disband
I scream to the identity guide
With frustration I can’t hide
Whither the integrity of brand
KD flew the coop
Joining the Golden State troop
The Thunder now up in smoke
The NBA, kind of a joke
More money, less competitive hoops