What a difference a year makes. Seriously, last year at this time I was so upset with how the Dolphins had squandered their draft that I questioned whether or not it was even worth it to be a fan anymore. This year, even after enduring a 1-15 season, I have hope that the franchise is headed in the right direction. Thank you Coach Sparano, Jeff Ireland and Bill Parcells for infusing new energy into this team.
Now, on to the picks.
Miami ended any type of suspense when they signed offensive tackle Jake Long a few days prior to the draft. It was a great move because Miami's offensive line has been lacking a solid player to build around, and because Long's early signing guarantees that he'll be available for any and all camps.
Then, Miami took a great step to prepare themselves for Jason Taylor's departure by drafting defensive end Phillip Merling. Before the pick there was speculation that a deal sending Taylor to another team would get done during the draft. Eventhough, that didn't happen Miami is now in a position to look at a variety of offers without feeling too pressed. Merling was projected by many to be a first round pick, but his sports hernia caused him to a drop a bit. That worked in Miami's favor, and they didn't hesitate to jump on it. This pick has Parcells' signature all over it.
In stark contrast to last year's draft, Miami grabbed a star quarterback that could prove to finally be (dare I say it) Dan Marino's successor. Sure, John Beck does have talent, but he didn't play in the system, or against the same type of competition, that Chad Henne did. Plus, drafting the same tackle that protected him in college could prove invaluable in the years to come.
The Dolphins then went back to shoring up the aging defense by drafting Kendall Langford. Another pick that screams Parcells. Langford can play a variety of positions in the 3-4, and I'm sure he'll be moved all over the field.
Next, Miami gave some help to their new tackle by drafting offensive guard Shawn Murphy. He's a strong offensive lineman that should instantly help upgrade Miami's offensive line.
Then Miami added some depth at running back by grabbing Jalen Parmele(no, no relation to the old Dolphin favorite Bernie). He's not the fastest back, but he can grind out the tough yards and punish smaller defenders when he gets into the second and third level. He could prove to be a good change of pace bruiser for Brown and Williams.
Miami added depth along the offensive line by drafting Donald Thomas in the sixth round. Thomas needs some improvement, but Coach Sparano has proven that he can get offensive linemen to perform to the best of their ability.
With their last pick of the sixth round, Miami added another body to the backfield by drafting Lex Hilliard. He's a strong runner that can pick up yards both inside and outside.
And with their last pick of the 2008 Draft, Miami selected Lionel Dotson. He'll need some coaching, but should provide some depth along Miami's defensive line.
Overall, I thought that Miami did extremely well in this year's draft. They addressed a pressing need to get some quality players along the offensive line, and brought in some young guys on defense to help shore up that aging unit. The two areas that I would have liked to have seen addressed a bit more were wide receiver and defensive back, but maybe that can happen via a Jason Taylor trade.