NFL Draft 2008: Did Miami Dolphins Make The Right Choice?

Jeremy KaufmanSenior Analyst IApril 22, 2008

It’s official — the Miami Dolphins have signed offensive tackle Jake Long to a contract and will be select him with the first overall pick of the 2008 NFL draft.

Therefore, it may now be appropriate to deliberate as to whether or not the Dolphins have made the right pick.

With their first overall pick, the Dolphins essentially considered drafting one of four players — quarterback Matt Ryan, defensive tackle Glen Dorsey, defensive end Chris Long, and Jake Long.

By selecting Ryan, the Dolphins would have solidified a position that is often considered to be key to establishing any successful football team.

However, while many experts see Ryan as a potential franchise quarterback, others see him as an unproven commodity, as he did not establish himself until this past season, and he played for a school that wasn’t a top-tier program.

For these reasons, I believe that passing on Ryan was the right decision.

Dorsey, the dominant defensive tackle from LSU, was given a large amount of consideration as the No. 1 overall pick and would have undoubtedly solidified the Dolphins’ defensive line. 

However, in spite of how good Dorsey can potentially become, his lack of bulk for his position likely would not make made him a good fit for the Dolphins’ 3-4 scheme, which typically necessitates a 330-plus pound defensive tackle to man the line.

For quite some time, many experts predicted that Chris Long would be the man to be selected by the Dolphins with their first overall pick.

His versatility, which would allow him to be a formidable fit as a defensive end in either a 4-3 or 3-4 defense, or even as a linebacker in a 3-4, would have made him a great fit for the Miami defense. 

However, do you really turn a franchise around with a glorified utility player? 

This is not a knock on Chris Long at all, as I believe he has amazing talent and he could possibly even be a future Hall of Famer like his father was. However, the Dolphins defense would dictate the utilization of Chris Long in situations where he may not be able to make a franchise-changing impact.

After all, a 3-4 defensive end is important, but how much help can he really do for you if you don’t have the linebackers to fill the gaps that the end creates? 

Therefore, while Chris Long will undoubtedly become an amazing NFL player, he simply wouldn’t have made the greatest impact for the Dolphins.

This leaves us with Jake Long, the gargantuan offensive tackle from Michigan.

While he may not be as flashy as the aforementioned players, he certainly has proven himself at the college level and should have a very productive career.

The great success of Joe Thomas last year for the Cleveland Browns set a precedent as to just how great of an impact a left tackle could have on a franchise. Not to mention, it would be much easier for the Dolphins to sign an offensive tackle at the first overall pick than it would be for them to sign a quarterback.

Hey, look how long it took for the Raiders to sign JaMarcus Russell last year and the amount of money he was given.

Jake Long, on the other hand, is already signed almost a week before the draft even takes place. With all this in mind, I definitely believe that the Miami Dolphins made a great selection with their first overall pick.

Didn’t see that coming, did you?