Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Jalen Parmele Joins Ravens as Dolphins Lose Another Practice Squad Player

Miami's personnel department sure must be doing something right. For the third time in three weeks, the Dolphins have had a practice squad player sign to another team's active roster.

This time it's running back Jalen Parmele, a 2008 sixth-rounder out of Toledo. The 5-11, 220-pound Parmele began the season on the Dolphins' active roster before being waived and added to the practice squad in late September.

If you follow this here blog, you initially found out about this breaking news Monday evening. It took the media about another 24 hours to pick up on the story. Go ahead and say it: I'm the man.

Background

A four-year letterman at Toledo, Parmele started each of his final two seasons and was a first-team All-MAC selection both times. As a senior, Parmele rushed for a career-high 1,511 yards and 14 touchdowns. He finished his collegiate career with 3,119 yards and 29 total touchdowns.

At the 2008 NFL Scouting Combine in February, Parmele posted a 4.47-second 40-yard dash. At his Pro Day on Feb. 28, he measured in at 5-foot-11 3/8 and 226 pounds. He ran the short shuttle in 4.44 seconds, short cone drill in 6.95 second and had a 41 1/2-inch vertical leap. On Apr. 15, Parmele met with the Miami Dolphins for a pre-draft visit.

The Dolphins selected Parmele with the first of three sixth-round picks (176th overall) in the 2008 NFL Draft. He signed a contract with the team on May 10 and was assigned No. 31.

Parmele appeared in all four preseason games in 2008, rushing for a team-high 123 yards and one touchdown on a 5.9-yard average. He had a long of 80 yards and lost one fumble.

After initially making the active roster following the preseason, Parmele was inactive for the team's first three regular season contests. He was waived on Sept. 24 when the team signed tight end Joey Haynos. The Dolphins re-signed Parmele to the practice squad the following day.

Analysis

First, just to answer some questions I've seen on forums and such, the Dolphins get no compensation from Baltimore for signing Parmele. Practice squad players are essentially free agents and can be signed to another team's active roster any time. You get nothing in return and you can't block it. The only thing you can do is offer that player a promotion to your own active roster (and I doubt Miami did in this case), but it's still up to the player to accept it.

I'm disappointed to see Parmele signed, but the move has little immediate impact on the Dolphins. The team has three capable running backs (Ronnie Brown, Ricky Williams, Patrick Cobbs) and it would have taken multiple injuries for Parmele to get on the active roster and see the field.

In the long-term, I would have preferred to see Parmele stay because I think he has some potential as an NFL backup or even a fill-in starter. I'm not sure he'll ever be a starter in the NFL, but he does have some ability and it would have been nice to keep him around and develop as a backup.

That being said, Parmele was not that great of a prospect and running back is the easiest position in the game to replace. There will never be a shortage of potential backup running backs, and in all likelihood Parmele will be available at some point over the next year (and possibly even this season) if the Dolphins like him enough to bring him back.

The Dolphins do have one running back still on the practice squad in fellow sixth-rounder Lex Hilliard out of Montana. However, I'm a much bigger fan of Parmele's and I don't see Hilliard as having much of an NFL career. He doesn't have that natural running ability that Parmele does and might be more of a fullback than a tailback.

As stated in the intro, the Dolphins have now had three practice squad players signed by other teams in as many weeks. Tackle Kirk Barton was signed by the Bengals two weeks ago while the Saints re-signed linebacker Rob Ninkovich last week in the wake of Will Smith's suspension. It's a credit to the Dolphins' front office that they have so many players other teams like.

With the loss of Parmele, the Dolphins now have two open spots on the practice squad. (The vacancy left by Ninkovich has yet to be filled.) As of yet, the Dolphins have not made any roster moves to fill these vacancies.

One player I'd love to see signed to the practice squad is running back Marcus Mason, whom the Jets waived yesterday. The 2008 preseason rushing leader with Washington, Mason is a talented back and definitely has the potential to be an NFL backup at the very least.

However, I'm not sure he'd come to Miami, as the Jets likely have an interest in adding him to their practice squad. Mason would probably choose New York over Miami in that case, as he has experience in their offense and they have only two backs on the active roster to Miami's three.