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.
Many backers of the Miami Dolphins took time to gently disagree with my column wondering about Bill Parcells’ legacy if Jake Long winds up being a pedestrian player and the other marquee players in this draft wind up being great.
The whole point of the Long pick is that he definitely won’t be the next Sam Bowie. Long was the safe choice and the Dolphins could have gone with a select few with higher upside, but especially with Ryan and Gholston a significantly lower floor. To use an analogy, in baseball if you’re down 8-0 with the bases empty, are you trying to hit homeruns, or are you just trying to get on base? It’s easy for people to say they should have drafted one way or another, but when you’re throwing 60 million around, 30 of which is guaranteed, do you want to be taking chances and shooting for the moon, or taking the guy you know is going to be at the very least a good to very good pro? The fact that LT was potentially their biggest need, and how offensive tackle is one of the few positions that can justify these kinds of dollars, it was a slam-dunk pick. Pro Bowl DE and DT’s very rarely make what the first pick is going to be making, so why over-pay? There’s a reason teams don’t let go of franchise left tackles. Sure it’s the boring pick, and it’s the media’s job to over-react to non-issues, but fact of the matter is there was only one elite talent in this whole draft, and they didn’t need a RB.
I just read your article on the Dolphin's choice and I am hard-pressed to find a comment expressing my view that doesn't use the word "dumb". You have my heartfelt sympathies that Bill Parcells didn't do something entertaining enough to enliven your day but when I consider Miami's needs, Parcells' record and your article I am left wondering if you actually know anything about the game of football. Was the choice flashy? Sexy? Videogame hawt enough to catch the attention of Generation IPod? perhaps not. Did it make sense? Inarguably yes, it did. Please excuse me if you see this as just another "rip the writer" email, I do not mean it that way at all, but the opinion you expressed was so far off-base that I could not keep myself from saying SOMETHING!
Enjoy the rest of the draft.
THE BIG PICTURE
I have been under the opinion for a number of years that reporting and editorial standards for all subject matter has diluted to mediocrity. With the need to constantly refresh stories with all of the 24-hour news stations and internet sites, stories and opinions with absolutely no merit are published. Bill Parcell’s job is to turn a franchise around, as he has done many times before. To do that you use logic and common sense, not flashy draft picks so you have something more interesting to write about. I think your opinion about this draft pick is misguided and honestly is so off base, it shouldn’t have been published. My bet is that you don’t have any conviction and had the selection been different, you would have written another story criticizing that.
THE ARMCHAIR COORDINATORS
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?" Look genius, Chris Long and Glenn Dorsey do not even fit the 3 - 4 defense that Parcells is going to run. Vernon Gholston fits the 3 - 4, but at what position is he more likely to find a Pro Bowl player later in the draft or in subsequent years: LT or OLB/DE? And taking Matt Ryan #1 overall when he would have been the 4th QB selected in 2004 and really is a no better prospect than was Brady Quinn last year because "we are rebuilding a franchise around a QB so we have to take the best available even if he doesn't have a top 10 pick grade" failed with Alex Smith, David Carr, Joey Harrington, Kerry Collins, etc. As a matter of fact, Brady Quinn, Matt Leinart, and Aaron Rodgers slid for precisely that reason. Because of the huge rookie contracts and signing bonuses given to players - especially QBs - in the top 5 and the pressure to win now, a QB drafted that high can no longer sit on the bench for a season or two in order to learn the game and (more importantly) give the team time to put better players around him. No one is going to succeed in that situation unless he has elite ability, the sort that would take a college program that has won 8 straight bowl games a bit further than a 24-21 win over 7-6 Michigan State in the Champs Sports Bowl. Anything less than a franchise QB is being set up for failure unless he has a decent offensive line, capable running game and effective receivers early in his career, and if Miami had those they wouldn't have gone 1 - 15. But with Jake Long at LT, if he is as good as was Joe Thomas for Cleveland last year or anywhere on the level of guys like Orlando Pace, Jonathan Ogden, Tony Boselli, etc. Miami's offensive line will go from being one of the worst in the NFL to competent, especially if they are able to shift their LT to RT.
Good morning. Just read your article on the Dolphins taking Jake Long. I have to say that it sounds like you are not the biggest fan of Bill Parcells?? You bring up the fact that he is a liar, hasn’t won a playoff game since 1998 and hasn’t gone 3-6 in playoff games since winning the Super Bowl. I think you are missing the point and I want to point out a few facts.
1. Patriots, Jets and Cowboys have all gotten significantly better after he got their. He may leave the teams abruptly but it still doesn’t take away from how he turns franchises around.
2. Look at his past drafts…his drafts for the Pats, Jets & Cowboys have been excellent. He is an awesome talent evaluator and builds all of his teams through a strong draft. And this one is no different.
I am 100% on board with the Jake Long pick. It solidifies our O line, it will make John Beck (if they stick with him) a better QB and will help Ronnie Brown tremendously. And on draft day when they trade Jason Taylor for a few picks or maybe even package Taylor and another pick to the Bengals for Ocho Sinco, the Dolphins will be a much-improved franchise this season.
Thanks for your time.
I just read your column today, and I'm really surprised. I felt like Parcells made the right choice and started building from the ground up. The Miami line has been so-so or terrible for long enough, and he's going to start opening holes for Ronnie Brown and giving his QB more time to make decisions. How is this a problem?
Thanks for writing,
Jamaal in St. Paul
I just wanted to write and comment on your article regarding the Dolphins “dull” draft pick. Being a Dolphin fan, I tend to agree with you however I don’t believe there is really much to choose from in this draft. Miami needs help in a lot of areas and I am sure Parcells would have liked to have traded down and grabbed quantity among the lack of quality. But I thought it was a good move for the simple fact that their offensive line has not been able to poke holes in the defense to help Ronnie Brown in any way, shape or form. He’s not a power runner that is going to blow holes in the defense, he needs somewhat of an offensive line to make those holes for him, which they haven’t had. Also anyone that has tried their hand at quarterback for the Dolphins since Marino left have been running for their lives back there. While I agree it wasn’t a brilliant move, I thought it addresses an area that needed addressing.
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