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Draft King Analysis

July 12, 2008
Lou Pickney,

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With Bill Parcells joining the Dolphins as team president early in December 2007, it was clear that changes were going to be made in Miami. That was a foregone conclusion for a team that suffered through a dismal 1-15 season, but the addition of Parcells into the mix upped the ante.

Parcells cleaned house, bringing in guys who he knew would buy into his system of restructuring, including new head coach Tony Sparano and new general manager Jeff Ireland.

Phillip Merling
Phillip Merling slipped to round two of the 2008 NFL Draft. (Icon SMI)
Mystery surrounded the Dolphins and the #1 overall pick in the 2008 Draft in the months and weeks leading up to the draft. Finally, the Dolphins negotiated a deal with acclaimed Michigan offensive tackle Jake Long, which they finalized in advance of the draft. If Long isn't a starting offensive tackle for Miami at the top of the season, he should move into the spot during the season. He's that good.

After going with an offensive tackle at the top spot, the Dolphins filled a need on their defensive line by selecting Clemson DE Phillip Merling at the top of round two. Merling had been projected by many draft observers (including me) as a first round pick, and at the very least he represented a good value pick at #33 overall.

The demand on Merling in 2008 will likely depend in large part to the status of Dolphins star DE Jason Taylor, who alienated himself from the Parcells regime by eschewing off-season work in Miami in favor of participation on ABC's Dancing With The Stars. But even if Taylor does return and play with the Dolphins in 2008, Merling will be looked upon to produce quickly in a Miami defense that had a horrible time stopping the run in 2007.

Miami held the Chargers' second-round pick, acquired via the Chris Chambers trade (which was very much underplayed in the national media as a turning point for San Diego and easily the most impactful mid-season trade made in years), and they used it to take Michigan QB Chad Henne at #57. That had to be troubling for QB John Beck, who the Dolphins used a second-round pick on the year before.

There had been much speculation that the Dolphins might take LSU DT Glenn Dorsey with the #1 overall selection, despite him not being a perfect fit for Parcells' favored 3-4 defense. Miami opted not to do that, and instead the team snagged Hampton DT Kendall Langford in the third round at #66 overall. In a draft that was weak at 3-4 DT/NT players, Langford might have been the best option for Miami, particularly with the team being able to land him in round three.

The Dolphins will be an interesting team to watch in 2008, and almost certainly they will outperform the horrid 1-15 output of 2007. The QB battle will likely be heated in training camp, and the running back situation will be intriguing with Ronnie Brown coming back off of a torn ACL and Ricky Williams also in the mix.


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