2011 NFL Draft Results: Dolphins Play It Safe with Pouncey in 2011 NFL Draft

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2011 NFL Draft Results: Dolphins Play It Safe with Pouncey in 2011 NFL Draft
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15th Overall Selection, Mike Pouncey

Going into last night's first round of the 2011 NFL draft, the Dolphins had three basic goals:

1)  Trade down in the first round to regain the second-round pick given to the Broncos for wide receiver Brandon Marshall.

2)  Draft speedy, game-changing offensive players.

3)  Draft a quarterback (this depends on what you think of current starter, Chad Henne).

With the 15th pick in this year's NFL draft, the Miami Dolphins select...no one that falls into those categories.

While it was a total possibility that this would happen, the Dolphins went the unsexy route of selecting Florida G/C Mike Pouncey.  This is not a knock on Pouncey, as he really did nothing wrong but play well (sans two early season games last season at UF).  Projected as a guard at the pro level, he's the definition of a safe selection.  My problem with this pick stems from where it leaves the Dolphins from here on in with the next few rounds.

The Dolphins still don't have a second-round pick.  A great number of talented players are still available that they will have no chance to even get near, let alone select by the time the third round comes around. 

Players at wide receiver (UM's Leonard Hankerson, Maryland's Torrey Smith), running back (Kansas State's Daniel Thomas and Illinois' Mikel Leshoure) and more than likely quarterback (TCU's Andy Dalton and Nevada's Colin Kaepernick) will all be living happily ever after in other locales when the Dolphins are back on the clock.

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By the time the third round comes along, the Dolphins will have their pickings of project quarterbacks (Idaho's Nathan Enderle, anyone?), flawed tight ends (Notre Dame's Kyle Rudolph) and not a single wide receiver who can be considered an upgrade over the current ones on the depth chart (Austin Pettis over Davone Bess or Brian Hartline?).

Going into this draft general manager Jeff Ireland said that, unlike last season, he had a plan going into this year's selection process.  The Pouncey selection only shows that the plan involves not picking a slow, unsexy Big Ten player that this regime covets.  Granted, Jake Long and Vontae Davis have both worked out great for the Dolphins, but let's not forget what they could have had; a franchise quarterback (Matt Ryan) and one of two gamebreaker receivers (Kenny Britt or Hakeem Nicks). 

In a league that now relies so heavily on an aerial attack, the Dolphins still don't have one after three years of the Parcells/Ireland/Sparano era.  No one knows what'll happen with Brandon Marshall after his recent "domestic dispute" (sidebar: even as a UCF alum/fan, I'm sick of him acting like a thug).  The best tight end they have is a Dallas Cowboy castaway in Anthony Fasano.  The current quarterbacks on the roster are unproven (Tom Brandstater) and proven to be incompetent (Chad Henne).

This is not to say the Dolphins can't redeem themselves and somehow get into the second round.  Even with the labor situation in flux, the Dolphins can trade future draft picks.  They could also roll the dice on a new labor agreement and be in the market for firepower that way (Mike Sims-Walker, Kevin Kolb and DeAngelo Williams). 

Considering the fact that Sparano and Ireland are basically on bought time (compliments of Steven Ross' mismanagement in the Jim Harbaugh incident),  they need to do something huge that'll make an immediate impact, gain fan support and (quite honestly) keep them employed.

Otherwise, get ready for a season of Bill Cowher/Jon Gruden/Tony Dungy rumors.

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