We’re back with another AFC East Q&A session. Today we’re heading down to South Beach to check in with Cody Strahm of Phins Phocus.
1. What were your thoughts when Miami took Mike Pouncey with the 15th pick? Will he make an impact on this team in his rookie season?
I was a little disappointed the Dolphins went the conservative route and drafted Pouncey. As you know, I was a big fan of Ryan Mallett throughout the entire pre-draft process, and was hoping they would take him 15th overall if they weren’t able to trade down. First and foremost, I was hoping they would trade down to later in the first round and acquire a second-round pick. If they weren’t able to trade down, I was hoping they would just snag Mallett there at 15. But obviously the Dolphins weren’t as high on Mallett as I was, because they traded up into the second-round, had him staring right at them, but drafted Daniel Thomas. Jeff Ireland wasn’t able to find a trade partner to move back in the first either, as he admitted the phones weren’t ringing when the Dolphins were on the clock. If I would have known ahead of time that the Dolphins weren’t high on Mallett and that they would be unable to trade down, I would have said Pouncey makes the most sense. It was a bit of a reach, but taking a running back that high, unless he’s an elite talent, doesn’t give you great value, and there weren’t really any other prospects on the board that would have filled a need and had a mid-first round grade. Pouncey will undoubtedly start along the Dolphins’ interior O-line right from the get go. They have been adamant so far that they will start him off at center, but I’ve maintained that I hope they eventually move him to left guard so Richie Incognito can take over at center where he actually has the potential to be more than average. But either way, I expect Pouncey to be a valuable addition to the Dolphins’ O-line as a well-rounded lineman who has the athleticism to pull, something this line struggled with heavily in 2010.
2. The Dolphins drafted speedy running back Daniel Thomas in the 2nd round. What does that mean for the future of Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams?
It was pretty much accepted before the draft that Ronnie and Ricky would likely sign elsewhere whenever the lockout was lifted. We just didn’t know which back the Dolphins would draft. Thomas gives them their bruiser, workhorse back, so expect the Dolphins to pursue signing a scat back in free agency. Darren Sproles and DeAngelo Williams have been speculated to be possible suitors.
3. Who was the steal of the draft for Miami?
The steal of the draft for the Dolphins is probably a tossup between WR Edmond Gates and CB James Wilson. Gates was selected right about where he was expected to come off the board, but he was one of the fastest prospects in this year’s class and may have been a day two selection if he had played for a bigger school. He’s expected to be a huge addition to an otherwise slow Dolphins’ offense that lacked big-play ability. James Wilson, on the other hand, was a nice little steal in the seventh round. Some scouts have suggested Wilson has second-round talent, but due to off-the-field concerns, including a two-year prison sentence while being tried for murder before being acquitted, Wilson slipped all the way to the draft’s final round.
4. Now, the Dolphins did not take a quarterback in the NFL Draft? Will they keep Chad Henne as the guy? If not, who will be the ideal free agent they bring in to compete/win for the job?
I’m not sure if by not taking a quarterback this regime was endorsing Henne or simply admitting they don’t feel they have the time to develop a rookie. But make no mistake, a veteran will be brought in to at least compete with Henne. I don’t even think it’s a question of if the Dolphins will sign/trade for a quarterback once the lockout is lifted, but rather a matter of which quarterback it will be. Personally, I wouldn’t mind seeing the Dolphins trade for Carson Palmer or Kyle Orton. But I wouldn’t give up anything more than a second-round pick for either. If the Dolphins aren’t willing or able to strike up a deal for Palmer or Orton, I would sign Vince Young.
5. I remember a few weeks ago we talked about Ryan Mallett being a great fit for the Dolphins. So,what were your thoughts when Mallett was drafted by the Patriots in the 3rd Round?
Although, you will probably have to wait four or five years to witness the results, barring injury of course, I think the Pats got one of the biggest steals of the draft with Mallett. I mentioned this to you on Twitter, and I truly believe Mallett has the potential to wait in the wings and thrive when Brady is out of the picture just like Aaron Rodgers did when Favre stepped aside. That’s a scary thought for the rest of the AFC East, as the light at the end of the tunnel (end of Brady’s career) just got a little dimmer in my eyes.
6. Patriots-Dolphins is scheduled to kick off the Monday Night Football schedule, but with all the NFL labor negotiations, will the game even be played on time or at all?
I sure hope so because that’s one of those games you circle on your calendar immediately following the schedule release. There’s no bigger stage in regular season football like Monday night, and it would be a great opportunity for the Dolphins to set the tone and send a message to the rest of the division and the entire league for that matter. For some reason, even though it contradicts how I usually feel about my teams, I’ve been optimistic about these negotiations. I feel like the owners are losing the battle and will become desperate sooner or later. Hopefully, that will be enough to come to some sort of compromise. If they don’t get a new deal done in time, hopefully the lockout will end before October, as I’ve heard the league can still get all the games in if they push back the opener a few weeks.