Saturday, April 26, 2008

1 Hour Left.

The NFL Draft begins in one hour. Let's start this off by talking about Miami's first pick, Offensive Tackle Jake Long.

Why he's #1: 6'7" 315 lbs. Benches 225 37 times. 7.44 3-cone. 27.5 Vertical. 32 7/8 arm length. 10 1/4 hands. Basically, he's a beast. In his entire college career he allowed 2 sacks and had 2 penalties. He even remembers when the sacks were, which shows that he obsesses over things like that. Jake Long is tenacious and finishes every play, he's the kind of guy that will pancake you, then if you try to get up, he'll pancake you again. Big 10 Offensive Lineman of the year for two years in a row. Beat Joe Thomas out of the award as a junior. Smart kid, hard worker, a "Parcells guy."

Why the Dolphins need him: Championship teams begin with the offensive line, and end with the defensive line. People can talk about RBs and QBs and WRs all they want, but without strong trench play, it doesn't matter how good your "skill position" players are. If you can't control the Line of Scrimmage, then you can't control the movement of the ball. Think about it: What is the most important player-to-player ball transfer in a football play? QB to RB? Nope. QB to WR? No way. C to QB? Now you got it.

Our offensive line play last year was, to be frank, absolutely horrible. Vernon Carey and Samson Satele had great seasons, but two guys can't control 4 when the other 3 aren't playing up to par. Before drafting Jake, our depth at offensive line was so short, that we didn't technically even have the RT spot filled.

Why I Love the Pick: The free-agency addition of Justin Smiley and Jake Long as our draft pick will create a solid, young line. Carey at RT, Smiley at RG, Satele at C, Mormino at LG and Long at LT. Mormino isn't great, but has a lot of upside. Putting him in between two great young players like Satele and Long will take a lot of pressure off of him and allow him to grow into a decent player himself. The Dolphins also have a young QB in John Beck that will benefit greatly from the added protection, and a strong backfield that will run behind a road-grader like Jake Long all day long (pun intended). Ronnie Brown was leading the NFL in rushing before he was hurt. Now imagine the same but with a much better offensive line.

So basically, adding a guy like Jake Long not only brings his own personal set of skills to the team, but also allows the players around him to play up to, or above, their potentials as well.

1 comment:

ASponge said...

I couldn't agree with you more on Jake Long. I'm getting more excited by the day.