Friday, May 30, 2008

Rookie G Shawn Murphy signs

According to KFFL.com, fourth-round draft pick Shawn Murphy has signed with the Dolphins.

Murphy is the sixth drafted pick to sign with the Dolphins so far, and the first in the top four rounds after first overall pick Jake Long. His signing leaves only second-rounders Phillip Merling and Chad Henne and third-rounder Kendall Langford unsigned.

I have to say, I'm really pleasantly surprised with how quickly we've gotten our rookies under contract. In my experience following the league this is quite early in the offseason to have so many draft picks signed, and looking around the league this is quite apparent. By my count looking at the 31 other teams, only three other draft picks have signed. If I'm not mistaken, that means the Dolphins have twice as many draft picks under contract than the rest of the league put together.

As for Murphy, the signing of Steve McKinney takes pressure off him to start from Week 1. I would prefer a veteran to fill the open guard spot for now and I think McKinney can handle the job, so if he's healthy he should be the guy. Murphy probably isn't far away from really pushing for a starting job however, and if he doesn't crack the lineup in 2008 he will have a good shot at it in 2009.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

WR Tab Perry waived/injured

The Dolphins already thin receiving corps got a little thinner this week, as fourth-year wideout Tab Perry suffered a torn Achilles' tendon and will likely miss the 2008 season. Perry, who suffered the injury during a May 24 practice, signed with the Dolphins as a free agent in March.

Contrary to what various media outlets have reported, from the Sun-Sentinel to ProFootballTalk.com, Perry has not been released and is in fact still with the team.

If I may clarify the situation, Perry has been waived/injured, meaning if he clears waivers he will revert to the Dolphins' injured reserve list. While it is quite possible ends up getting an injury settlement from the team and gets released, he is still a member of the team for the time being. It is possible another team claims him off waivers, though this is extremely unlikely as teams rarely claim guys that just suffered season-ending injuries.

Update: It seems that more than a day after ProFootballTalk.com ran their initial story about Perry being released, they've finally learned from a "league source" (as opposed to yours truly yesterday) that Perry has indeed not be cut. Considering the whole waived/injured-to-I.R. thing happens dozens of times throughout the league each offseason, one wonders how a website dedicates to following the league was unaware of how it worked.

Analysis

I've seen quite a few Dolphins fans write this news off as completely irrelevant, and while it's not a tough hit to the team by any stretch it does carry with it some significance.

First, as I'd said in videos earlier this offseason, I felt talent-wise, Perry was one of the better receivers on the team after Ernest Wilford and Ted Ginn, Jr. If he had stayed healthy, I think he would have had a very good shot at the No. 4 job, and even could have challenged Derek Hagan for the No. 3 spot.

The absence of Perry gives every other receiver one less guy to compete with, and thus a better chance to make the roster. However, I guys like David Kircus and Greg Camarillo benefit more, because I feel strongly that the Dolphins will give the No. 5, and likely final, receiver spot to one of the undrafted rookies. Therefore the No. 4 job would likely have been between Perry, Camarillo and Kircus, and the losers of that group would be cut in favor of a rookie for the last spot.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Undrafted NT Robertson retires

Not long after the draft, I went on record and said that if I had to put money on one undrafted rookie making the Dolphins' active roster, it'd be Virginia Tech nose tackle Kory Robertson. It's a good thing I didn't actually put money on it, because my pick has already decided to call it a career before his career even began.

The Palm Beach Post reported today that Robertson has retired.

Robertson is the second player in as many years to leave the Dolphins not long after signing as an undrafted free agent. In 2007, Clemson offensive tackle Marion Dukes called it quits in August after signing with the team following the draft. It is not a completely uncommon occurrence at this time of year, as undrafted rookies face very tough uphill battles to sustain a career in the pros.

While the loss of Robertson is hardly detrimental, it does make the Dolphins' depth nose tackle even thinner than it was before. Jason Ferguson is a lock to start, but second-year man Paul Soliai was a disappointment as a rookie and is far from a lock to make the team. Undrafted rookie Anthony Toribio of Carson-Newman is the only other nose tackle on the roster at this point. As you'll recall, the Dolphins recently waived Steve Fifita, who was ahead of Soliai on the depth chart during the 2007 season.

My sources tell me agent acquisition Randy Starks is getting some reps at the nose tackle spot, as one would expect with Miami's depth there. While Starks is probably a better fit at end in the 3-4 and is working primarily from there so far, he would likely be a better replacement for Ferguson than any of Miami's other current options. Starks will probably open the season starting at end, but should Ferguson go down don't be surprised if Starks slides over.

Former Dolphin update

Because I enjoy following the league as a whole, and tend to be the guy to answer other Dolphins fans' questions of "Whatever happened to that guy?", I like to keep you guys up to date on the movements of former Dolphins.

Cornerback Will Poole, originally drafted by the Dolphins out of USC in the fourth round of the 2004 NFL Draft, has re-signed with the Kansas City Chiefs. Poole appeared in 15 games for the Dolphins as a rookie in '04, recording 31 tackles and five pass deflections. He was a first-round talent who likely would have developed into a starter for the Dolphins had he stayed healthy, but his career has been derailed by knee injuries and he has yet to really bounce back.

Poole spent 2005 and 2006 on injured reserve and was subsequently let go by the Dolphins. He was picked up by the Chiefs in July of 2007, but failed to make the team's final roster. He spent less than a week on the Toronto Argonauts' practice squad in October before being a released.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Tuff Harris signs with Saints

Keeping you up to date on all the movements of former Dolphins, safety Tuff Harris has been signed by the New Orleans Saints. Harris was signed by the Dolphins as an undrafted free agent in 2007. He began the season on the practice squad before being signed to the active roster in November, and went on to appear in one game for the Dolphins. He was waived on April 25, 2008 .

Harris doesn't possess great skills and will have a hard time making the Saints' roster, though his versatility as a corner and safety as well as a potential returner could help his cause. He is one of seven safeties currently on the team's roster and will have to make an impact on special teams to earn a spot.

Steve McKinney analysis video

It took a little longer than it should have because, well, I forgot. But here's my analysis video on the Steve McKinney signing. It's definitely worth watching, as the McKinney signing does have some implications beyond his immediate impact. Enjoy!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Dolphins sign UDFA center, ink three more draft picks

The Dolphins have remained busy in a fairly dead time between the draft and training camp, adding a veteran, a rookie and signing a couple of their draft picks. I will have a video on the Steve McKinney signing up shortly, but this entry covers some stuff I didn't deem "video worthy."

Draft pick signings

First, the Dolphins signed three more of their draft picks to contracts on May 19. Sixth-round running back Jalen Parmele, sixth-round running back Lex Hilliard and seventh-round defensive end Lionel Dotson all inked multi-year deals, likely in the vicinity of three years in length. Such contracts would the three to be eligible for restricted free agency in 2011. Along with Jake Long, these three players made up the first four draft picks signed by any of the 32 teams this year.

Matt Spanos signing

The Dolphins also added yet another undrafted free agent, signing former USC center Matt Spanos.

Spanos (6-4, 300) was the USC's starting center in 2007 after Ryan Kalil graduated the year before. He appeared in 10 games (nine starts) for the Trojans this past season, missing the team's first three games with a triceps injury. For his efforts as a senior, he was an All-Pac-10 honorable mention.

Prior to his senior season, Spanos played in a reserve role for the Trojans and worked at every offensive line position. He redshirted in 2003, was a backup offensive tackle in 2004, a backup center in 2005 and worked at guard in 2006 before becoming academically ineligible.

Spanos will wear No. 75 and will compete for a reserve offensive line role. The signing currently gives the Dolphins 16 undrafted rookies, including four offensive lineman.

Analysis

Like all undrafted rookies, Spanos has an uphill battle to make the roster. Still, because of the lack of veteran depth on the offensive line, Spanos will have his chance to compete for a backup job.

Both he and fellow undrafted center Mike Byrne (Delaware) have the versatility to play all across the offensive line, so there's no clear-cut advantage there. One has to assume that when it comes to competition faced, the edge goes to Spanos having played at USC.

Nevertheless, Spanos will have his hands full, and it's entirely possible that even if Steve McKinney wins a starting guard job, the team will only keep eight or nine lineman and opt to use McKinney as a possible center backup.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Dolphins to sign veteran OL Steve McKinney

As I and I'm sure many others predicted with the release of Drew Mormino, the Dolphins are expected to add a veteran guard to the mix by tomorrow. The Houston Chronicle reports that former Texans lineman Steve McKinney - older brother of former Dolphin Seth McKinney - is expected to be signed by the Dolphins tomorrow. I'll have more info and analysis on this move if and when it becomes official, but just wanted to get the word out there already.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Dolphins waive C/G Drew Mormino

As it turns out, No. 1 overall pick Jake Long won't have to do any negotiating for No. 77.

In a somewhat surprising move, lineman Drew Mormino was waived/failed physical today. Mormino was drafted by the Dolphins in the sixth round of the 2007 NFL Draft out of Central Michigan. He spent all of his rookie season on injured reserve with a shoulder injury.

I say this is somewhat surprising because despite the fact he spent all of last season on injured reserve, the Dolphins are very thin at the interior offensive line spots and Mormino's versatility at center and guard seemed like a plus. In fact, I'd gone so far as to say this offseason that I thought Mormino was definitely going to be in the mix for the open spot, if not the favorite. While it's always a possibility that Mormino could be brought back when healthy, it seems unlikely given his injury, draft placement and the front office's lack of allegiance to him as a player from the former regime.

Mormino's absence now leaves the Dolphins with even less depth at center and guard. Undrafted free agent Mike Byrne (Delaware) is currently the only other listed center on the roster after starter Samson Satele. At guard beyond guaranteed starter Justin Smiley, you have rookies Shawn Murphy and Donald Thomas in addition to Trey Darilek and Ike Ndukwe. I'm unsure if any of these players have experience at center, but I've yet to see anything to indicate it.

Any way you look at it, Miami is lacking depth at the guard position - especially in experience. While Murphy maybe develop into a solid starter one day, it's unknown whether he'll be able to start from Day 1. The lack of experience and the release of Mormino raise the question of whether Miami is going to consider bringing in a cheap veteran to either start or provide depth just for the 2008 season. It's definitely not something I'd be opposed to, as we already have one rookie on the offensive line in Jake Long and a temporary veteran fix might be the best thing for the immediate future. It is definitely something to keep an eye on as training camp creeps closer.

Updates on a few former Phins

Well things are pretty slow right now, so in the interest of having something new up on the blog I've decided to update you guys on the movement of a few former Dolphins. I'm also considering putting together a very preliminary prediction at the 53-man roster based on the current roster, but for now here are the updates.

OT Cory Lekkerkerker signed with the Dallas Cowboys on May 14. Lekkerkerker spent two seasons with the Chargers from 2005 to 2006, and was then claimed off waivers by the Dolphins (led by his former Chargers OC Cam Cameron) prior to the 2007 season. He appeared in 11 games for the Dolphins this past season with two starts, seeing time at both tackle and guard. Lekkerkerker will have his hands full in camp and is a long shot to make the Cowboys.

After one season with the Dolphins, defensive back Jereme Perry re-signed with the Cleveland Browns on May 15. Perry spent his rookie season with the Browns in 2006 but failed to make the team last season. He was picked up by the Dolphins in early November and went on to appear in four games, recording three tackles. He was waived by the team on April 25, 2008. Despite his versatility as a corner and safety, Perry is unlikely to make the Browns in 2008.

Marcel Reece, an undrafted receiver out of Washington who spent less than a week with the Dolphins this month, was picked up by the Oakland Raiders on May 13. Reece is one of 12 receivers currently on the Raiders roster and has practically no chance at making the team.

Wide receiver Kerry Reed was signed by the Baltimore Ravens on May 1. No surprise here, as current Ravens offensive coordinator Cam Cameron signed Reed as an undrafted free agent out of Michigan State one year ago. Reed split last season between the Dolphins' practice squad and active roster, appearing on one game. He was re-signed this past January, but was waived on April 25. Reed will have to battle to make the Ravens' squad in 2008, though he has a better shot there than he would have in Miami.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Dolphins release Matt Baker, Steve Fifita, Derreck Robinson and Abraham Wright

One thing I failed to mention in any of my six videos from today was the release of four players by the Dolphins in recent weeks. The Dolphins parted ways with quarterback Matt Baker and nose tackle Steve Fifita on April 29, while defensive end Derreck Robinson and linebacker Abraham Wright were let go on May 5.

I'm not sure these transactions are really video-worthy (though that hasn't stopped me before!) so I'm just going to provide a little analysis on each one in good ol' text form. 56k users rejoice!

Matt Baker

Baker was the fourth and final quarterback on the roster after Casey Bramlet was let go and Chad Henne was picked up on Day 1 of the draft. Because the other three - Beck, McCown and Henne - are essentially all locks to make the team, there was really no point in keeping the guy around. On a side note, he was later picked up by the Buffalo Bills, where he'll compete for the No. 3 job with former Dolphin Gibran Hamdan and undrafted free agent Luke Drone.

Steve Fifita

Easily the most surprising of these four cuts, given our lack of depth at nose tackle and the fact that he out-played 2007 fourth-rounder Paul Soliai, who remains with the team, last season. Hopefully, this is a vote of confidence for Soliai and our undrafted rookies (Kory Robertson and Anthony Toribio). Fifita was later picked up by the Patriots (surprise, surprise) and he could have a shot at securing a backup nose tackle job behind Vince Wilfork.

Derreck Robinson

A prototypical 3-4 end, but one from the previous regime in a now very crowed position. After we took three defensive ends on the draft, there was simply no way Robinson was going to make the club even if he did fit the scheme. It wouldn't be surprising if he landed in Baltimore, another 3-4 team that also features Cam Cameron as it's offensive coordinator.

Abraham Wright

Wright is another guy that fit the scheme, but he too had quite a few guys ahead of him on the depth chart. Our seventh-round pick from 2007 was a prototypical 3-4 outside linebacker, but he struggled with injuries as a rookie and wasn't going to beat out the likes of Reggie Torbor, Junior Glymph and Quentin Moses.

2008 Draft Analysis: Undrafted Free Agents

This is my final video out of the six that I did to catch back up, and it's on the 17 undrafted free agents the Dolphins have added since the conclusion of the 2008 NFL Draft. 15 are still on the roster so it will be interesting to see who makes the final cut in 2008.

2008 Draft Analysis: Part IV

This is the second four videos covering the Dolphins' 2008 NFL Draft selections, with this one discussing the selections of Connecticut guard Donald Thomas, Montana running back Lex Hilliard and Arizona defensive end Lionel Dotson. Be sure to check out the rest of the draft analysis videos as well as the rest of my videos from the day!

2008 Draft Analysis: Part III

This is the second four videos covering the Dolphins' 2008 NFL Draft selections, with this one discussing the selections of Utah State guard Shawn Murphy and Toledo running back Jalen Parmele. I also talk about the trading of running back Lorenzo Booker to the Philadelphia Eagles. Be sure to check out the rest of the draft analysis videos as well as the rest of my videos from the day!

2008 Draft Analysis: Part II

This is the second four videos covering the Dolphins' 2008 NFL Draft selections, with this one discussing the selections of Michigan quarterback Chad Henne and Hampton defensive end Kendall Langford. Be sure to check out the rest of the draft analysis videos as well as the rest of my videos from the day!

2008 Draft Analysis: Part I

This is the first of four videos covering the Dolphins' 2008 NFL Draft selections, with this one discussing the selections of Michigan offensive tackle Jake Long and Clemson defensive end Phillip Merling. Be sure to check out the rest of the draft analysis videos as well as the rest of my videos from the day!

The first of six new videos today!

Well I've finally gotten caught up and I have six new videos covering trades, draft picks and undrafted free agents involving the Dolphins in recent weeks. This is the first video, so it's where you should start if you reaaaaally want to get the full effect of the six-video run. It is on the acquisition of tight end Anthony Fasano and linebacker Akin Ayodele from the Dallas Cowboys.