• Fins cut Grimes Fins cut Grimes The Fins release CB Brent Grimes, freeing $6.5 million in cap space
  • Mario Williams signed Mario Williams signed DE Mario Williams signs a 2 years deal with the Fins
  • Fins trade for CB Maxwell Fins trade for CB Maxwell Fins swap 1st round picks with the Eagles for CB Maxwell and LB Alonso
  • Adam Gase hired Adam Gase hired Coach Gase was hired as head coach of the Dolphins


Miami Dolphins – Play-Maker Analysis – WRs

All it takes is one buzz word from an NFL GM to set the entire tone of an off-season. Dolphins GM Jeff Ireland did just that a couple weeks ago. In an interview at the Senior Bowl:

“We’re looking for play-makers on offense. Look, we had two guys with over 60 catches but we’ve got to find guys that are scoring touchdowns,” Ireland said, via the Palm Beach Post. “This is the year that you got to do something. We’re in a very good position to utilize some of our cap space to bring in some veteran players on our football team, and we’re in a very good position to bring in some young players from a draft standpoint.”

Ireland further defined what he was looking for in this off-season in an interview with the Joe Rose Show:

Ireland’s point was clear, we are looking for Play-makers!

Those comments have since sparked debate and steered the opinion of many in the fan base too varying degrees. And with fortuitous timing ESPN’s draft expert Mel Kiper released his much anticipated 2013 Mock Draft. Kiper projected Cal’s Keenan Allen and Tennessee’s Cordarrelle Patterson as the top two wide-outs on his board. With the Dolphins slated to select Tennessee’s dynamic receiver Cordarrelle Patterson, with this development fans now had a tangible prospect to latch onto.

But from a man (Mel Kiper)who once projected wide-receivers Ted Ginn Jr, Limas Sweed, Malcolm Kelly, Sinorice Moss, Dwayne Jarrett, Troy Williamson, Maurice Stovall, Reggie Williams, Michael Jenkins, Jeff Samardzija, James Hardy, and Darius Heyward Bay as 1st round picks, shouldn’t we at least kick the tires first on Cordarrelle before driving off the lot?

Furthermore, since I am playing devil’s advocate, should the outlook be so parochial? Are Tennessee’s Cordarrelle Patterson and Cal’s Keenan Allen the only play-makers at wide-receiver in the draft? Are there no other receiver’s worthy of being deemed difference makers on offense? If those two are indeed the top talents in the draft, is there a significant drop off to the next best receivers on the board? Is there any drop off at all? Those are questions Jeff Ireland will need answered in the coming months.

“Guys that disrupt the passer. Guys that disrupt the timing of a receiver in the route… Guys that catch interceptions. Guys that knock down balls. Guys that score touchdowns. Guys that can pick up chunk yardage. Guys that can run after catch. Guys that can create big plays ontheir ability alone.”
Player (2012 Stats)
CONF Height Weight 40T Rec Yards TDs
Keenan Allen PAC-12 6-3 210 4.50 61 737 6
Cordarrelle Patterson SEC 6-3 205 4.45 46 778 5
DeAndre Hopkins ACC 6-1 200 4.52 82 1405 18
Terrance Williams BIG-12 6-2 201 4.49 97 1832 12
Justin Hunter SEC 6-4 200 4.49 73 1083 9
Quinton Patton WAC 6-0 195 4.52 104 1392 13
Robert Woods PAC-12 6-1 190 4.47 76 846 11
Tavon Austin BIG-12 5-9 173 4.38 114 1289 12
Aaron Dobson C.USA 6-3 200 4.53 57 679 3
Markus Wheaton PAC-12 5-11 182 4.44 91 1244 11
Marquise Goodwin BIG-12 5-9 175 4.31 26 340 3
Stedman Bailey BIG-12 5-10 195 4.50 114 1622 25
*Da’Rick Rogers SEC 6-3 206 4.50 67 1040 9
Cobi Hamilton SEC 6-2 197 4.54 90 1335 5
Chris Harper BIG-12 6-1 231 4.46 58 857 3
Marquess Wilson PAC-12 6-4 185 4.53 52 813 5

Full Pre-Combine Scouting of WRs: http://finnation.com/pre-combine-scouting-wide-receivers/

Miami needs to be careful that the “Play-maker” tunnel vision doesn’t impair them from extracting the most value from their draft board in April. A lot of success in the NFL Draft comes from correctly assessing the depth of talent at each position and projecting where the “starter caliber” threshold will be for each position of need. For instance, if the depth at receiver is promising to be great and experts project that there are ten (10) receivers that have starting caliber potential. And among those ten (10) prospects the talent levels are indiscernible, would it not be prudent to target a position of need where the depth of talent is thin? This logic will surely split the fan base and there will be debates on either side.

In the last 10 years the average number of wide-receivers that have been selected in the first round of the NFL Draft has been four (4), with the maximum of seven (7) wide-receivers being selected in 2004. If we project that there are ten (10) receivers who have starting caliber potential in the 2013 NFL Draft, surely some of those wide-receivers will slide into the early 2nd round right?

Let’s examine this from a league-wide team need perspective. Just how many teams are likely to draft wide-receiver before the Dolphins select at pick #42?

# Team Probability of WR Teams Early Round Needs
1 KAN UNLIKELY Dwayne Bowe UFA – WR is unlikely at #1
2 JAC NONE Pass Rusher and Cornerback
3 OAK NONE Many holes on Defense
4 PHI NONE D-Line, O-Line and Cornerback
5 DET NONE Pass Rusher and Cornerback
6 CLE UNLIKELY Pass Rusher, WR is possible but unlikely
7 ARZ NONE O-Line and QB needed
8 BUF POSSIBLE QB needed – WR is possible if QB is not found
9 NYJ NONE Pass Rusher, O-Line, HB and QB
10 TEN NONE O-Line and Secondary
11 SD NONE O-Line and Cornerback
13 TAM NONE Cornerback
14 CAR NONE D-Line and Secondary
15 NO NONE Pass Rusher, Secondary and O-Line
16 STL POSSIBLE O-Line, Safety, WR is unlikely – Claimed Titus Young
17 PIT PRESSING NEED Mike Wallace UFA – WR is pressing need
18 DAL NONE O-Line and D-Line
19 NYG NONE O-line, Cornerback and Linebacker
20 CHI NONE O-Line and Linebacker
21 CIN NONE Safety, Linebacker, HB and DE
22 STL LIKELY O-Line, Safety, WR is possible – Claimed Titus Young
23 MIN PRESSING NEED Percy Harvin will be traded – WR is a pressing need
24 IND NONE O-Line, Corner and D-Line
25 SEA POSSIBLE Pass Rusher and WR – Will draft best player available
26 GB UNLIKELY D-Line, HB, Center, WR, TE
27 HOU LIKELY #2 WR needed with Andre Johnson
28 DEN NONE D-Line, Linebacker and Secondary
29 NE PRESSING NEED Wes Welker is UFA and Brandon Lloyd maybe cut
30 ATL NONE Pass Rusher, HB, O-Line and TE
31 SF POSSIBLE FS and WR – Crabtree, AJ Jenkins, Manningham on roster
32 BAL UNLIKELY Linebacker, FS and WR – Anquan Boldin may be cut
33 JAC NONE Pass Rusher and Cornerback
34 KAN PRESSING NEED Dwayne Bowe UFA – WR is Likely at #34
35 PHI NONE D-Line, O-Line and Cornerback
36 DET UNLIKELY Pass Rusher, Cornerback and WR – Titus Young cut
37 CIN NONE Safety, Linebacker, HB and DE
38 ARZ NONE O-Line and QB needed
39 NYJ NONE Pass Rusher, O-Line, HB and QB
40 TEN NONE O-Line and Secondary
41 BUF LIKELY QB needed – WR is possible if QB is not found

From the table above we see those nine (9) teams; Buffalo, St. Louis, Pittsburgh, Minnesota, Seattle, Houston, New England, San Francisco and Kansas all could potentially have needs at wide-receiver early in the draft. With Buffalo, St. Louis and Kansas posing a greater chance because they all have two picks before the Dolphins at pick #42. But out of those nine (9) teams we have to assume that some of them will fill their needs at WR in free agency with Mike Wallace, Dwayne Bowe, Greg Jennings and Wes Welker. And some of those teams may fill those needs via trades with a player such as Percy Harvin. Therefore, net-net out of those nine (9) teams only about 5 teams may still have a need for drafting a wide-receiver before the Dolphins select at pick #42.

Player (2012)
Age Height Weight 40T Rec Yards TDs Seeking
Mike Wallace 26 6-0 199 4.33 64 836 8 10-11mil/yr
Greg Jennings 29 5-11 198 4.48 36 366 4 7-9mil/yr
Dwayne Bowe 28 6-2 221 4.51 59 801 3 8-9mil/yr
Percy Harvin 24 5-11 184 4.41 62 677 3 8-9mil/yr
Wes Welker 31 5-9 185 4.60 118 1354 6 7-9mil/yr
Brian Hartline 26 6-2 199 4.52 74 1083 1 5-6mil/yr

So the question is: How deep is our draft board at wide-receiver? Is it more than 5 or less than 5? Are there 10 players we like at wide-receiver? If the board is deep at receiver, then should we not wait to select receiver at #42 and fill other needs at CB or DE?

Do all play-makers come from round 1? Examine the Super-Bowl Champions the Baltimore Ravens, all of their offensive play-makers except for QB Joe Flacco were drafted outside of round 1. Anquan Boldin and Jacoby Jones being acquired via trade and free agency were originally drafted in rounds 2 and 3 respectively. Baltimore’s 1st round selections in the last couple of years were spent on CB, OT, QB, G and DT. The same can be said of two of the most prolific offenses in the league, the Green Bay Packers and the New England Patriots. Both organizations have been able to consistently find play-makers on offense in the later rounds or via free agency. Employing a philosophy of drafting core low-risk players along their O-Line, D-line and players with pass rushing expertise in the 1st round.

Baltimore’s Super-Bowl Offensive Play-Makers
Player Position Round Pick
Joe Flacco QB 1 18
Ray Rice HB 2 55
Anquan Boldin WR 2 54
Torrey Smith WR 2 58
Jacoby Jones WR 3 73
Dennis Pitta TE 4 114
Ed Dickson TE 3 70

Is the 5th ranked WR Justin Hunter not a play-maker with his 2012 season of 73rec, 1083yds, 9tds? What about the 11th ranked Da’Rick Rogers is he not a play-maker 67rec, 1040yds, 9tds? The interesting thing about Justin and Da’Rick is that they both started ahead of Cordarrelle Patterson at Tennessee. Da’Rick Rogers is an interesting case, he was a national 4-star recruit out of HS and was considered the most refined of the three. He lived up to his billing and was very productive until he got suspended for Marijuana use and transferred to Tennessee Tech.

What about Baylor’s Terrance Williams he led the nation in receiving yards and in two seasons he amassed 156 rec, 2789yds, 23tds is he not a play-maker? Clemson’s Junior receiver DeAndre Hopkins has produced from the first day he set foot on campus, and torched LSU for 191yds and 2 scores capping off a remarkable year versus top defenses in the SEC with 82rec, 1405yds, 18tds is he not a play-maker?

Is Quinton Patton’s performance versus Texas A&M not enough to be consider a play-maker 21rec, 233yds, 4tds? Over two seasons’ he amassed 183rec, 2534yds, 24tds is that enough? How about his superb performance at the Senior Bowl is that enough yet?

How about Tavon Austin 114rec, 1289yds, 12tds? Or his teammate Stedman Bailey 114rec, 1622yds, 25tds? What about Robert Woods who was a projected 1st round lock last year.

Is it that Cordarrelle’s and Keenan’s talent levels are so far ahead of the wide-receiving class that they absolutely must be selected at pick #12? Are they the next Julio Jones and AJ Green? If they are, and let’s be honest, if the sentiment is that strong then you not only should draft them at pick #12, but there is a strong case you may actually have to trade up to get them! So which is it? Are they closer in talent to the rest of the wide-receiving class or are they closer to Julio Jones and AJ Green? If you are confident that they are closer to the caliber of Julio Jones then the answer is simple: Do everything possible to draft them!

But don’t just take Mel Kiper’s word on it, you got to have a look for yourselves and decide. (Top 150 – WRs by Brian Catanzaro)

The irony of it all is that both sought after free agents Greg Jennings and Mike Wallace were 2nd and 3rd round picks respectively.

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