When Bill Parcells selected Ohio State linebacker Bobby Carpenter with the 18th overall pick in the 2006 NFL Draft, Carpenter figured to be on a path to stardom. He was a standout player for the Buckeyes, starring alongside A.J. Hawk on a defense seething with NFL talent.
Four years, three teams, and heaps of disappointment later, Carpenter's only claim to fame in the NFL is a scene from the 2008 installment of HBO's Hard Knocks where he becomes the subject of Cowboys' behemoth offensive lineman Marco Colombo's anger. Carpenter's name has since become synonymous with soft.
But before Carpenter can officially fall into first round draft bust oblivion forever, the man who brought him into the NFL is giving him another chance. Bill Parcells saw something special in Carpenter when he drafted him in 2006, and he obviously believes that the potential for stardom is still lurking somewhere in his 6'2", 250 pound frame.
The St. Louis Rams swapped offensive tackle Alex Barron for Carpenter earlier this summer, but even they did not seen enough promise in the linebacker to give him a roster spot (by the way, who got the better end of that trade? At least Carpenter didn't cost the Rams a game, right?).
The Dolphins, plagued by injury at linebacker, scooped Carpenter up, and just one week after his arrival, he will receive significant playing time against the Minnesota Vikings.
It is not, however, Carpenter's great college career or big-name status that might hint success, but rather the Dolphins' unbelievable track record with NFL castoffs and unknowns.
A huge portion of this Miami Dolphins roster is composed of late round draft picks and NFL table scraps.
Take a look: Chad Pennington (free-agent castoff), Lousaka Polite (free agent), Davone Bess (undrafted free agent), Brian Hartline (fourth round draft pick), Anthony Fasano (acquired for a fourth round draft pick), John Nalbone (undrafted free agent), Richie Incognito ($1 million free agent), Joe Berger (afterthought free agent), John Jerry (third round draft pick), Kendall Langford (third round draft pick), Randy Starks ($5 million-a-year free agent), Cameron Wake (signed from the CFL), Tim Dobbins (acquired in 2010 draft day trade with Chargers), Chris Clemons (fifth round pick).
All of those players were lured in by Bill Parcells and Jeff Ireland, and all of them have or are expected to make significant impacts this season.
Take a look at how sharply this contrasts with this team's high-priced free agent signings that are already off of the roster: Ernest Wilford, Gibril Wilson, Jake Grove, Justin Smiley, and Reggie Torbor.
As far as we know, Carpenter will be equally as dreadful as he was in Dallas and St. Louis. But the Dolphins seem to have unparalleled success when it comes to digging diamonds out of the rough.
Based on the Trifecta's history, there's a great chance Carpenter will become a productive role player, and maybe, just maybe, reach the potential Bill Parcells saw in him four years ago.