NFL

1 2 3 14

Tide Turning In River City?

By: Robert Craft

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

The Jacksonville Jaguars traded Nick Foles, the Super Bowl 52 MVP, to the Chicago Bears for the Bears’ fourth round compensatory pick. Foles, who signed a four year, $88-million contract with the Jaguars a year ago, will now compete with Mitchell Trubisky for the Bears starting job.

The Foles trade qualifies as a disaster for General Manager Dave Caldwell and Coach Doug Marrone. He only played four games last season because of a shoulder injury and earned 30.5 million dollars.

Gardner Minshew, a 2019 sixth round pick out of Washington State, for now, becomes the Jags’ starting quarterback. Minshew went 6-6 as a starter with 21 touchdowns, 6 interceptions and a 91.2 passer rating.

The Foles trade is another move in a busy offseason that saw the Jags trade defensive lineman Calais Campbell to Baltimore, cornerback A.J. Bouye to Denver, placing the franchise tag on defensive end Yannick Ngakoue ($19.3 million this season) and declining the option on defensive tackle Marcell Dareus.

The Jags signed former Cleveland linebacker Joe Schobert to a 5-year $53 million deal and former Cincinnati cornerback Darqueze Dennard to a 3-year deal worth 13.5 million dollars.

The Jags will have 12 selections in the 2020 NFL Draft: two in the first round (#9 & #20), one in the second round (#42), one in the third round (#73), four in the fourth round (#116, #137, #140), two in the fifth round (#157 & #165), two in the sixth round (#189 & #206) and one in the seventh round (#223).

If you are panicking, thinking the Jags are “Tanking for Trevor”, let’s take a closer look at the trades. Bouye wasn’t the Jags’ best corner last season (Tre Herndon) and my guess is they will address the cornerback position in the draft.

Dareus only played six games last year, and after 9 seasons the wear and tear is taking its toll on Dareus.

Campbell made the Pro Bowl last season but his production has slipped from the previous two seasons.

No matter how you feel about Dave Caldwell, the reality is, he and Doug Marrone are the ones making the moves this offseason. The further reality is the Jags are having a very good offseason.

The Jags are stockpiling draft capital for a lot of players many believed might have to be released.

Dave Caldwell and Doug Marrone are running out of time in Jacksonville unless they turn it around in 2020. It’s hard to envision such a turnaround with Minshew.

The best hope for Dave Caldwell and Doug Marrone to keep their jobs beyond this season is to sign Cam Newton.

Ice Left In The Freezer?

By: Kipp Branch

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

With the signing of Todd Gurley to add another weapon to the Atlanta Falcon offense, it raises another big question and that is how much gas does Matt Ryan have left in the tank?

Matty Ice will be 35 years of age at the start of the 2020 season.

Ryan had a decent 2019 season in Atlanta, where he passed for almost 4,500 yards and 26 TD’s. Ryan’s 2016 MVP season was thing of beauty for Atlanta, which seems now to only be remembered as the season the Falcons blew a 25-point Super Bowl lead in the final 17 minutes of that contest.

We all know the weakness of the Falcons is defense and the hope is that gets addressed in the upcoming draft in April.

But what about offensive line? Matty Ice has been sacked 90 times in the last two seasons. Interesting stat line is Tom Brady over the past two seasons, has been sacked 48 times while Ryan was sacked 48 times in 2019. That is the most in a single season in his 12-year Falcon career. For the Falcons to be successful in 2020 then steps have to be put into place to protect Matt Ryan.

Ryan has always been known as a great distributor of the football. His career completion percentage is 65.4, which means he is accurate with the ball.

Julio Jones, who may be the best wide receiver in football, has caught 797 balls in his nine-year Falcon career with Matt Ryan being his starting QB for every single season he has been in the league.

Ryan is not a mobile QB, so protecting him must be a high priority. Ryan has averaged tossing 27 TD’s per season. The production is there for the former MVP.

Another interesting stat is that Matt Ryan has beaten every team in the NFL except two and those are the Pittsburgh Steelers and the New England Patriots.

Yes, that means he has never beaten the QB that just landed in his division; the GOAT Tom Brady.

Matty Ice gets two shots at Brady this upcoming season and don’t think for one second that Matty Ice does not have those games circled on the calendar. All of the hype now in the NFC South is surrounding Tampa Bay.

Every great player has a nemesis they had to overcome. Michael Jordan had to get past the Detroit Pistons. LeBron James had to get past the Boston Celtics, Peyton Manning had to get past Tom Brady and the Patriot domination to win a Super Bowl and now Ryan will have two chances at Tom Brady in 2020.

Let’s take a look at the division:

Tampa Bay: Now that they have Brady, they may become a trendy pick in the NFC South

Carolina: Now that Cam Newton is gone the Panthers look like they are in full rebuild mode and may get in position to land Trevor Lawrence in the 2021 draft.

New Orleans: The Saints on paper are the team to beat, but seem to choke in the playoffs every season now.

Then you have the Atlanta Falcons, who currently have 10 former first round draft picks starting on offense in 2020.

On paper, with Matt Ryan distributing the football to Julio Jones, Todd Gurley, Calvin Ridley, Hayden Hurst, Russell Gage, and Laquon Treadwell, the Falcon offense potentially could one of the most explosive in the NFL.

Matt Ryan is the straw that stirs the drink in Atlanta. Ryan loves the city of Atlanta dearly and wants to bring a championship to the city.

Matty Ice is still a valuable asset in the NFL and will not take a back seat to any QB in the NFC South.

Matty Ryan still has ice left in freezer.

Treasure Hunter

By: Robert Craft

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have addressed their starting quarterback situation in the boldest way possible; by signing one of the greatest of all time, Tom Brady.

Does Brady’s arrival make them a Super Bowl contender? Which is asking a lot, considering the Buccaneers finished in the bottom half of the NFC South in 10 of the past 12 seasons (eight last place finishes). The Buccaneers haven’t made the playoffs since 2007.

Is Tom Brady immune to father time? While he has yet to fall off performance wise, he is starting to show signs of slowing down. Brady will be 43 years old when the next NFL season begins.

Brady replaces Jameis Winston as the Buccaneers starting quarterback. Winston led the league with 30 interceptions and 5 fumbles. Brady has thrown nine or fewer in seven of the past 10 seasons. Never throwing for 14.

Brady joins the Buccaneers roster that may arguably have the best starting receiver duo in the NFL. Both Chris Godwin (1,333) and Mike Evans (1,157) topped the 1000 receiving yards last season and combined for 17 touchdowns.

Add on a couple talented tight ends in O.J. Howard and Cam Brate, with Brady’s history of maximizing the tight end position, does Brady’s arrival make them a Super Bowl Contender?

The Buccaneers must upgrade the running back position either draft or free agency.  Bruce Arians and Tom Brady have a history of running backs that contribute heavily in the passing game.

One free agent to watch is Dion Lewis. Tampa Bay hasn’t had a running back with 60 or more receptions since Warrick Dunn.

The same day Brady signed with the Buccaneers; the team announced the signing of offensive tackle Joe Haeg. Haeg spent the last four seasons with the Indianapolis Colts. He has played both tackle positions as well as right guard.

The addition of Haeg addresses a position where the Buccaneers were in need of depth. The Buccaneers offensive line gave up 47 sacks last season and provided little in the run game. I know PFF.com ranked the Buccaneers offensive line 7th, but stat boy doesn’t watch film.

In 2019, the Buccaneers defense gave up the fourth most points per game (28.1), tied for the 12th most TD’s allowed and ranked 18th in total yards allowed (343.9). Opponents last season averaged 67 plays per game against the Buccaneers, which was tied for third most in the NFL.

Basically, Brady is better than Winston in taking care of the football last season and that’s very important. I’m not sure spending $50 million for two seasons for a 43-year-old quarterback you’re hoping will be a better game manager is the right move.

I’m not optimistic this move will prove to be a good one for the Buccaneers on the field. Season tickets sales are through the roof and ESPN & NBC are working on the schedule right now to get Brady in prime time.

Tom Brady might be the G.O.A.T. but he’s not a top 10 quarterback right now. Tampa Bay is just paying him like he is.

Weak In the Knees?

By: Kipp Branch

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

Todd Gurley was in good form after the Rams released him, sharing a tweet about getting fired on his day off.

He made it clear that it was all business and nothing personal on Twitter before agreeing to a deal with the Falcons one day later.

After his contract with Atlanta was announced, Gurley had one last parting shot for the Rams for releasing him. The former UGA great thanked the Rams for his check today. The Rams, by releasing Gurley had to eat $20 million in dead money.

The Atlanta Falcons signed Gurley to a one year $5 million dollar contract, and the State of Georgia, which like the rest of the country is isolated due to Covid-19, was ecstatic with any good news related to sports at the moment.

Gurley grew up in North Carolina and played his college football at the University of Georgia where he was, outside of Herschel Walker the most talented running back to ever wear the red and black.

The Falcons passed on Gurley in the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft, when they chose Vic Beasley with the 8th selection and then just two picks later the Rams selected Gurley.

Gurley was coming off an ACL tear against Auburn in 2014 that ended his UGA career. Still it made many Falcon fans mad that Gurley was passed on by Atlanta.

Gurley has played five seasons in the NFL and has rushed for over 5,000 yards and 58 touchdowns. Todd Gurley is one of the top 2-3 running backs in the NFL when healthy.

Gurley’s health is a major question. Will the left knee holdup? Gurley will be 26 years old by the start of the season, his 6th in the NFL.

Whispers are that Gurley has an arthritic component in his surgically repaired knee, and that caused the Rams to manage his touches therefore resulting in the worst season of his career in 2019.

What makes Gurley special is his ability to catch the ball out of the backfield as his 218 career receptions would suggest. With Gurley coming to the Falcons now what will the Falcons get? Will they get the 2018 version or the 2019 version of Gurley?

I think he comes to Atlanta with a chip on his shoulder, and gives the Falcons the Pro Bowl player we have all come to love and respect. Matt Ryan gets another option in the passing game, and forces opposing teams to focus on a true three down back in Gurley.

With the addition of Gurley, Atlanta now has 10 first round picks starting on offense. Talent will not be a problem on offense in Atlanta.

The problem has been stopping people on defense for years. The Falcons also have brought in Dante Fowler to rush the passer, and now with the addition of Gurley the Falcons brass can focus on defense in the upcoming NFL draft. Every selection in the draft for Atlanta should be on defense.

Todd Gurley is on the Mount Rushmore of The University of Georgia running backs, and now he is back home in the state which he calls home. The Atlanta Falcons could be a force in the NFC in 2020, and if Todd Gurley is the Todd Gurley the State of Georgia knows then look out NFC.

Todd Gurley is back home and the Atlanta Falcons righted a wrong they made by passing on him in 2015.

Welcome Home Todd and thank you Rams for picking up the tab!

Who Said You Can’t Come Home?

By: JJ Lanier

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

It almost felt like one of those NFL retirement signings, where a team signs a former great to a one day contract so said player can retire a member of a particular team.

Only, in this case Todd Gurley has never played for the Falcons, nor was born in Georgia.

However, I guess when you’ve been a star player for the University of Georgia, it kind of feels like it’s always been your home.

A lot has been made, and will likely continue to be made, about Gurley’s injury, why Los Angeles handled his workload the way they did over the past season plus, as well as their willingness to accept a hit of over $20 million in dead salary-cap space this season to get out from under his contract- all of which are legitimate concerns.

The arthritis in Gurley’s knee isn’t going to get better and if actions speak louder than words, Los Angeles’ actions are the non-verbal form of “Fire, everybody get out!”

Having said all that, I think the signing can be very advantageous for both Gurley and the Falcons, as long as everyone keeps things in perspective.

For Atlanta the signing is a low risk- high reward move, beginning with the contract. Obviously, Gurley is no longer a featured, every down back, hence the

1 year/$5 million contract. That doesn’t mean he can’t be productive and justify his paycheck.

If Atlanta not only limits his touches, but more importantly can figure out how to manage those touches and use Gurley in situations he’ll be most effective, he could become an extremely impactful player.

His arrival also ignited some much needed enthusiasm among a fan base that like most of America right now, could use it.

On the flip side, if none of that happens and it becomes clear Gurley can’t be productive, Atlanta really hasn’t lost anything. Plus, they don’t have much salary cap space available, so it’s not like there were a lot of different options out there for the Falcons to choose from.

As for Gurley, I like the move for a couple reasons. For one, I think he’ll fit in well with Atlanta’s offense. He’s not going to be the focal point of the offense and the Falcon’s passing game should help him not see as many eight man fronts when he is in.

Also, and this goes back to my initial paragraph, he’s coming “home” in a way. The fan base is going to be more supportive and will allow more time to adjust, than he probably would receive if he were to have signed somewhere else.

When you look at some of the factors, like Gurley’s contract and Miami’s decision to bring in Jordan Howard over Gurley, the message seems pretty clear that this upcoming season is a make or break year for the former Georgia running back. (As a side note, considering the Dolphins lack of success with free agents and choosing one over another, I wouldn’t blame you if you actually looked at their signing Howard as a good thing for Gurley.)

Gurley’s arrival in Atlanta truly does have the makings of a win-win for both sides, something you don’t see too often in sports today. And if not, he’ll at least be able to end it close to where he started…kind of.

Let The Dominoes Fall

By: Robert Craft

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

The Coronavirus has shut down every major sports league in America, but not the NFL. So that’s what I’m writing about.

The free agency period started and the league’s legal tampering period allowed teams to begin to talk and to negotiate with unsigned free agents.

Most eyes and ears were on the latest Tom Brady rumors, as the 42-year-old hit the unrestricted free agency for the first time in his 20-year career. More notable NFL players will be on the move over the next few days via free agency or trades.

Brady announced that his next NFL home would not be New England. He ended up signing a deal with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers worth around $30 million a year.

Brady’s departure breaks up the most successful partnership in NFL history. Can Tom Brady win without Bill Belicheck and vice versa? Who is more vital to an organization, the quarterback or the coach?

Here is a list and a grade of some of the transactions that have been agreed upon to sign on Wednesday, March 18, 2020.

The Jaguars traded defensive lineman Calais Campbell to the Ravens in exchange for a 2020 fifth round draft pick. Baltimore extends Campbell’s contract through the 2020 season.

 

Ravens B+     Jaguars F (total rebuild in Jacksonville)

 

The Dallas Cowboys franchise tagged Dak Prescott and Amari Cooper to a five-year deal worth $100 million.

 

Cowboys A

 

The Texans agreed to trade DeAndre Hopkins and a 2020 fourth round pick to the Cardinals for running back David Johnson, a 2020 second round pick and 2021 fourth round pick.

 

Texans (F) Cardinals (A++).

 

The Vikings traded Stefon Diggs and a 2020 seventh round pick to the Bills for 2020 first round pick, a fifth-round pick, sixth round pick and 2021 fourth round pick. This trade has the Brady Effect written all over it. The Bills are going all in on Diggs and the division.

 

Vikings B    Bills B

 

The Bears have been busy signing pass rusher Robert Quinn and tight end Jimmy Graham to free agency deals. I like Quinn’s signing but Graham’s best days are behind him.

 

Bears C

 

The Dolphins made waves by signing cornerback Byron Jones to a $17 million a year contract. Miami agreed to terms with two chronic underachievers in offensive lineman Ereck Flowers and pass rusher Shaq Lawson. I also just noticed Kyle Van Noy has signed with the Dolphins.

 

Dolphins B

 

The grades try to estimate a players’ chance of outplaying his contract. To say it is an inexact science would be an affront to science.

Winners And Losers

By: Robert Craft

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

The NFL scouting combine is now in the books.

More than 300 prospective NFL players were put through the ringer during the world’s most unconventional job interview.

After all, that’s what the combine is, a job interview. Some will get a job and others will leave temporarily unemployed.

Performing well in drills like the 40-yard dash, the vertical jump, or the bench press can convince a team there’s untapped potential. On the contrary, a poor performance, an injury, or any other red flags can sink a player’s draft stock.

Here are some of the winners and losers from some NCAA headliners in the 2020 NFL Combine.

Winner: C.J. Henderson, CB, Florida: The former Gator weighed in at a solid 204 pounds and still managed to run a 4.39 40-yard dash (third fastest among DBs).

His bench press reps (20) showed some dedication in the weight room. Henderson was the most impressive corner in on the field drills.  He needed a good day to secure a first-round selection, and he got it.

Loser: Trevon Hill, edge rusher, Miami: Hill was a potential top 100 prospect this season, but teams will likely be disappointed in his athleticism results from the combine.

The former Cane weighed in at 248 pounds, he ran a 4.89 40-yard dash and managed pedestrian jump of 28 inch vertical and 9.5 broad.

Hill will probably be a day 3 selection. Still employed, but unexpectedly lower in status.

Winner: Cam Akers, RB, Florida State: Akers improved his draft stock with a solid showing at the combine. The former Seminole finished 5th in the 40-yard dash (4.47), broad jump 10 feet 2 inches and vertical jump was 35.5 inches. Akers is now the fourth ranked running back on my board behind Swift, Taylor and Dobbins.

Loser: Van Jefferson, WR, Florida:  Jefferson did not participate at the combine after discovering a fracture in his foot that will require surgery. Jefferson was slotted as a day two selection now falls to day 3. Jefferson was at the combine and took part in the various team interviews.

Winner: Isaiah Simmons, LB, Clemson: Simmons lined up at nearly every position imaginable in college.

Simmons, before the combine was a top 10 pick, and is still a top 10 pick. Measuring in at 6 foot 4 inches (93 percentile), a 39-inch vertical (92nd percentile), 11-foot broad jump (98th percentile) and a 4.39 40-yard dash (99th percentile). Impressive for a 230 pounder.

The percentiles are NFL Combine history rankings.  Let’s put it in layman’s terms, Simmons is a Defensive Freak!

Loser: Jake Fromm, QB, Georgia: There were no surprises with Fromm’s mostly average measurements earlier in the week. His arm strength during workouts was below average, his throws fluttered at times and his deep pass lacked velocity. Despite a poor showing, I suspect he’ll have an NFL career. However, his combine workout moved him down in QB stock below Eason.

While the timing, results, and measurements are key, data from the combine is not the whole story of the evaluation process.

Game film, physicals, interviews, and background checks will determine their career path. Some big differences and small similarities in the professional sports job market and regular people job markets. No matter the gig, these things can be challenging for anyone!

The Draft, however, is specifically tough on both candidates and staff. Simply put, it’s an educated gamble.

Jaguars Need To Sharpen Claws On Offense

By: Kipp Branch

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

The Jacksonville Jaguars finished with a 6-10 record in 2019, missed the playoffs for the second straight season, and were a boring team to watch especially on offense for the better part of the season.

I’m getting straight to the rat killing here. This team needs more playmakers at WR and with the #9 pick they need to draft one of the two Alabama receivers below:

 

Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama

Height: 6-1. Weight: 192.

40 Time: 4.45.

Projected Round: Top-20.

 

Jeudy totaled 77 receptions for 1,163 yards and 10 touchdowns in 2019. He played well for Alabama, showing his skills to be a dynamic receiver and a source for big plays while also serving as a good blocker for his teammates.

Jeudy has big-play speed and is a fantastic route-runner. He can blow the top off of a defense. If Jeudy is there at #9 this in a no-brainer for Jacksonville. I predict Jeudy to be a Pro-Bowl WR in the NFL.

 

Henry Ruggs III, WR, Alabama

Height: 6-0. Weight: 190.

40 Time: 4.40.

Projected Round: 1.

 

Ruggs had 40 catches for 746 yards and 7 touchdowns in 2019. Of the special group of receivers at Alabama, Ruggs is the fastest.

His production was held back by Alabama spreading the ball around to that talented receiving group. If Jeudy is gone then the Jags could go Ruggs here. If this kid runs a sub 4.4 at the combine then he could fly up the draft boards.

If Jeudy and Ruggs are gone before the #9 selection then the Jags should look at addressing the WR position in the second round and the studs below could be still on the board:

 

Tee Higgins, WR, Clemson

Height: 6-4. Weight: 200.

40 Time: 4.55.

Projected Round: 1-2.

 

Higgins had 59 catches for 1,167 yards with 13 touchdowns in 2019. He is a tall, long receiver who is a red-zone weapon.

Higgins is projected as a late first round or second round pick. Could he still be there at Pick #42 if the Jags have a brain fart and go defense at #9?

 

Justin Jefferson, WR, LSU

Height: 6-3. Weight: 192.

40 Time: 4.50.

Projected Round: 1-2.

 

Jefferson was a nightmare for opposing defenses in 2019, recording 111 catches for 1,540 yards and 18 touchdowns.

Jefferson has length to go with speed. He was a steady big-play producer for Joe Burrow and LSU in 2019. This kid is a playmaking machine and can high point the ball over opposing defensive backs.

The Jaguars ranked 20th in total offense in the NFL in 2019. 16th in passing offense and 17th in rushing offense.

DJ Chark was a 1,000-yard receiver for the Jags in 2019, but in an offensive league like the NFL you have to stock up on playmakers. Did you watch the Kansas City offensive explosion during the 4th quarter of Super Bowl 54?

Since taking Blake Bortles in the first round in 2014, who turned out to be a bust the Jags have used their first-round pick on defense in 4 of the past 5 drafts.

It is time to shake off the Bortles hangover and start assembling some pieces on the offensive side of the ball to compete with these high-powered offenses in the AFC.

The dream scenario would be the commissioner saying with the 9th pick of the 2020 NFL Draft the Jacksonville Jaguars select WR Jerry Jeudy from Alabama then trade for QB Matthew Stafford of the Detroit Lions to make this team a serious player in the AFC.

 

Rebuilding The Rebuild

By: Kenneth Harrison

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

The Jacksonville Jaguars played in the AFC Championship game in 2017. They held a second half lead at New England before losing, 24 – 20. They went into the 2018 season as a legit Super Bowl contender and finished 5 -11.

The Jags had a good running back in Leonard Fournette and an elite defense. Quarterback was considered the weak link so they finally got rid of Blake Bortles.

In March of 2019, they signed Super Bowl LII MVP quarterback Nick Foles to a four-year contract worth $88 million. $50.1 million is guaranteed and could pay up to $102 million with incentives.

That generated excitement for the fan base but he was injured in Week 1 against Kansas City in the first quarter. He suffered a broken left clavicle and had surgery the next day. He did not return until Week 11 and rookie Gardner Minshew started in his place.

Foles only had four starts and threw three touchdowns with two interceptions. The team finished the year 6 -10.

The good news is they earned the No. 9 pick. The Jaguars’ pick will be their 18th time in the top 10 since the franchise came into existence in 1995, the most of any team. The Cardinals, who will be making their 15th top-10 pick since 1995, are second.

They also acquired the 20th pick when they traded Jalen Ramsey to the Los Angeles Rams.

The good news is they have nine draft picks in the upcoming 2020 draft. The bad news is there are now several holes in Jacksonville’s roster. The offensive and defensive efficiency rankings are both 26th.

They rank 24th in total defense and 20th in total offense. Let’s take a look and see what impact players the Jags might select in the first round.

With the ninth pick, the Jags can go in several different directions. The offensive line needs a solid left tackle and Louisville’s Mekhi Becton would be a good fit. He’s 6’7, 369 pounds but he’s very athletic. He has good footwork, balance and strength. He would fit nicely with 2019 second-round right tackle Jawaan Taylor.

The other option could be a play-making wide receiver. Receiver CeeDee Lamb (Oklahoma) could provide speed and explosive plays. Second-year receiver D.J. Chark Jr. had a breakout 2019 campaign (75/1,008/8), but the team needs more weapons for Gardner Minshew (or Nick Foles).

Lamb had 62 catches, 1,327 yards and 14 touchdowns in 2019. He averaged 21.4 yards per reception.

The last option with this pick is on the defensive side of the ball. I think the top three prospects; cornerback Jeffrey Okudah, defensive tackle Derrick Brown and linebacker Isiah Simmons should be off the board before this pick. South Carolina DT Javon Kinlaw would be the best player available and he could help shore up the interior.

With the 20th pick, I think CB Trevon Diggs (Alabama) would be a good fit. They need a corner to replace Ramsey. Diggs has good physical traits standing at 6’2, 207 pounds. He had 37 total tackles, 3 interceptions and 8 pass deflections last season. If runs in the 4.4 range at the combine they have to take him.

If they don’t select them, I expect them to take another corner, C.J. Henderson (Florida). The biggest knock on him is his tackling but he has the height (6’1) and speed to be an elite cover corner.

Jacksonville has a chance to turn the franchise around with this draft.

Out Of The Shallows

By: Robert Craft

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

With the Super Bowl in the rear view, the Miami Dolphins can officially start executing their off-season draft plans. The Miami Dolphins have 14 picks in the 2020 NFL Draft.

The Dolphins will be a key contender in the 2020 draft, as they currently hold three first round picks and two second round selections.

The speculation is in full swing when it comes to trying to predict what the Dolphins will do with those three first round picks, with more guessing and predictions sure to come.

According to Spotrac, the Dolphins are set to own the most cap space in the NFL next year for a cool 90 to 115 million dollars in cap space.

Needless to say, the Dolphins are going to have a ton of money to convince a handful of top talented free agents to come play in South Beach.

It is going to be a lot of fun for Dolphin fans to see how Chris Grier (Miami’s General Manager) maneuvers free agency and the draft to rebuild this story franchise.

As the Dolphins transition into buyers instead of sellers, they are going to need to do their due diligence to maximize their cap space.

Miami’s wheeling and dealing netted it two additional first round draft picks, at 18 and 26, in addition to their own selection at 5. So, the Dolphins choose wisely, they can set their rebuilding plan in motion in a big way.

One thing is obvious in building a NFL team, you must possess a gifted quarterback to obtain sustained winning and championships. In a pass happy NFL, teams must have a top tier quarterback to win Super Bowls.

The Dolphins rebuild has always been centered around drafting a franchise quarterback.  The football gods have been cruel to Alabama quarterback, Tua Tagovailoa, as he saw his season cut short by injury.

The Dolphins have had their eyes on Tua for quite some time and if the medical report on Tua’s hip looks good the Dolphins shouldn’t pass on him. Tua is a super talented passer with elite accuracy; a requirement for a potential franchise quarterback.

I realize that the Dolphins have a lot of holes on both sides of the ball, but Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither will this Dolphin’s team. With the current draft choices and cap space, it is safe to say this is a good foundation to start the rebuild.

The Dolphins almost never make bold moves at the draft and if they want this franchise to be relevant again, they must roll the dice and move up to assure you get the quarterback to build around.

Watching Pat Mahomes this year reminded me of that feeling I used to get when Dan Marino was quarterback. The feeling of hope; by hope I mean the feeling that the Dolphins were never out of a game, the feeling that the Dolphins could overcome any deficit, the feeling the Dolphins can contend for the playoffs and Super Bowl.

Dolphins fans I’ll leave with a quote from Jimmy Johnson “Do you want to be safe and good or do you want to take a chance and be great?”

That is what this off-season is all about for the Miami Dolphins, that is if you’re talking about the Super Bowl.

1 2 3 14