Originally posted, with many more articles, on www.thephinisher.com.
Calvin Pace is a New York Jet for the bargain-basement sum of $42,000,000.
This is Mangini’s last year.
In a draft year with good depth at the OLB “tweener” (defensive ends too small for the position in the pros, but with the athleticism to play linebacker) the Jets have unloaded a boatload of money on Pace, who had a very good season last year.
It wasn’t anywhere near Kevin Greene or Greg Lloyd good, but hey, if they want to pay a guy with his arrow going up that kind of money, then they have my blessing.
They could have signed randy Moss and another OLB for that money but again, hey, “Go mean green!"
The Dolphins didn’t need to buck up and try and match. Chris Long will be better and cheaper than Calvin Pace.
Why The Dolphins Should Draft Chris Long
Chris Long began to climb the charts once draft gurus began to notice that his measurable talent matches his on-field production.
79 tackles, 19 for a loss, 14 sacks, two forced fumbles, 10 passes broken up, and one interception.
Those are results that speak loudly.
Scouts knew he had the stats and the pedigree, but they really wanted to see him measure up at the combine.
He did more than that.
He had pretty much the best results in every category, except in the 40 and bench press, the latter of which he did not take part in because of a thumb injury.
In quickness drills, like the 20 yard shuttle, he dominated.
These are the drills an OLB needs to excel in. Not necessarily the 40.
He will bench at his pro date and at 6’3” and 272 lbs. his strength is not questionable.
It is probable that he plays with another 10 lbs. (some sites have him listed in the 280's) and slimmed down for the combine.
This guy is the real deal.
Chris Long is probably the safest pick for the Dolphins and safety is a premium with the inflated salaries top rookies make. Football is not like hockey or basketball, where the top picks mean cheap help.
In the NFL, the top 10 picks, especially the top five, can be just another shovel full of dirt on a tanking team.
Jake Long, the runner up in the safety department, has had some injuries and may not have the speed to block elite ends and OLBs.
Chris Long is going to be good. How good is the question.
Long also allows for almost any scenario involving current personnel to play out, which is something that is very important on a team in as much flux as the Dolphins.
Fine. Either Long or Taylor can try their hand at OLB or DE. Long has the mass and high motor to play end. Taylor has constantly proven he’s good wherever you put him.
Move Crowder to middle linebacker to fill in for the departed Zach Thomas?
Fine. Put Chris and JT at OLB and J-Peezy at “Sam” backer.
Okay. Then Joey Porter and Long are your OLBs and you draft a guy like Curtis Lofton for middle linebacker duties. Crowder remains the Sam.
Release J-Peezy? You get the picture. I'll stop.
More than anything Long brings a high level of intensity. He seems to thrive on competing, even if only with his personal goals in an environment like the combine.
He’s a character guy from a football family. He’s charismatic and has the poise to eventually replace JT as the face of the franchise. He makes a lot of sense.
Why They Shouldn’t
OLB or DE is not the critical need on a team with many, many needs.
Jason Taylor will have a great season next year if he’s Miami’s OLB. Joey Porter had a productive, if slow to start, season. He should have a good year too.
They’ve developed depth at the position through free agency, with guys like Quentin Moses and Reggie Torbor showing a lot of upside (especially Moses) in limited action last year.
Torbor started for the last half of the year while the Giants made their run at history.
While that and the DT positions have been bolstered, the offensive line still needs help.
The secondary needs help too. The quarterback position is up in the air.
All three have viable first-round prospects that may be worth looking at with the first overall pick.
More importantly, a trade for more picks might allow for more of these holes to get filled.
Miami has a long way to go. Parcells has gone as far as anyone could wish for in free agency and now it’s time to look to draft some more help.
In the end, it seems like Chris Long could be the best pick.
He’s not a franchise quarterback or mauling left tackle. He is however, a good investment.
He will bring good returns. In the end, this is what the NFL is about.
Tomorrow, I’ll talk Jake Long.