If Long winds up being Sam Bowie and either Vernon Gholston, Glenn Dorsey, Chris Long or Matt Ryan winds up being Michael Jordan, how bad will the stain on Bill Parcells’ legacy be?
It has to be pretty significant, doesn’t it? I mean, charged with rebuilding a club that was arguably the NFL’s worst team since the 1976 Buccaneers, Mr. Fix-It is going to use the to make an offensive tackle the top overall selection for the third time in draft history (Orlando Pace in 1997, Ron Yary in 1968)??
Parcells is saying, “No thanks,” to Ryan because he’s got … John Beck at the quarterback controls? He’s saying, “Sorry, Vernon,” because he’s got a an aging salsa king named Jason Taylor as his main pass rusher (for now)? He’s a more dire need on his offensive line for Jake Long than he has for either Dorsey or Chris Long on his defensive line?
Apparently so. And this can be read two ways.
First, teams poised to select those players suddenly find their palms sweating because no less an authority than Bill Parcells has turned his nose up to them.
Or teams wondering about the Dolphins plans are doing reverse handsprings because Parcells just gakked at the top of the draft.
And it could be the latter. It’s been a while since Parcells was infallible. A little more than a decade and three teams ago, to be precise. He scored with the New England Patriots from 1993 through 1996 and with the Giants in the '80s. He took them from horrible to very good. Then he took the Jets from bad to pretty good. Then he took the Cowboys from bad to pretty good.
Since winning the Super Bowl with the Giants in 1990, Parcells’ teams are 3-6 in playoff games and he hasn’t won a playoff game since 1998. He has, since leaving the Giants, become as well known for breaking his word as he once was for rehabbing NFL franchises.
“Jake was our guy from the beginning,” said Miami GM Jeff Ireland (Parcells is the Dolphins’ Yoda). “In regard to debate, there wasn’t a whole lot of debate. We all kind of felt comfortable with the player. We think he’s the best tackle in the draft and we thought it was a very good fit for the Miami Dolphins. There’s no secret that left tackle is a very pivotal part of your building process. It’s just the most important of the offensive line in my opinion, so it was just a position that we felt comfortable with and it met the needs of our team and the board value as well.”
The Dolphins have now removed quite a bit of intrigue from what was shaping up as one of the most fascinating top 10s in recent memory. If, as we’ve been hearing, the Rams take Virginia defensive end Chris Long at No. 2, the Falcons’ decision on whether to take Ryan or Glenn Dorsey with the third pick is now the highest drama remaining. At least for the short term.
For the long term, the storyline for the 2008 NFL Draft will be that Bill Parcells and the moribund Miami Dolphins made an offensive tackle the No. 1 overall pick four days before the draft even started. And how (pick one: stupid or brilliant) that move ultimately was.
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Long to go No. 1
April 22: Michigan tackle Jake Long signs a contract with the Miami Dolphins, who plan to select him with the No. 1 pick in the draft on Saturday.
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