Monday, January 4, 2010

Dolphins to Draft 12th in 2010; Reid Takes UVA Job; Other Team Notes

With the 2009 regular season wrapped up and the Miami Dolphins finishing 7-9, the team now knows where they will pick in the next April's 2010 NFL Draft.

Losing a three-way tiebreaker with the other two 7-9 slotted teams—the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Denver Broncos holding the Chicago Bears' pick—the Dolphins will hold the 12th overall pick of the next draft.

Here is the entire draft order up to Miami's pick:
1. St. Louis (1-15)
2. Detroit (2-14)
3. Tampa Bay (3-13)
4. Washington (4-12)
5. Kansas City (4-12)
6. Seattle (5-11)
7. Cleveland (5-11)
8. Oakland (5-11)
9. Buffalo (6-10)
10. Chicago (7-9)
11. Jacksonville (7-9)
12. Miami (7-9)

The Dolphins will have a handful of possibilities at this pick, including quite a few options at need positions like wide receiver, linebacker and safety.

All or most of receivers Dez Bryant (Oklahoma State), Arrelious Benn (Illinois) and Golden Tate (Notre Dame) should all be available when Miami picks.

Miami could also look for a pass-rushing outside linebacker such as Jason Pierre-Paul (South Florida) and Sergio Kindle (Texas).

My personal choice would be Alabama inside linebacker Rolando McClain, although I fear he might not last to Miami's pick with Denver sitting two spots ahead.

Assistant Jim Reid leaves for UVA job

The offseason is barely underway for the Dolphins, but they've already lost a mention of their coaching staff.

Outside linebackers coach Jim Reid
—hired two seasons ago during Bill Parcells' first year in charge—has informed his players that he will be taking the defensive coordinator position at the University of Virginia under new head coach Mike London.

Coincidentally, London is the father of former Dolphins wide receiver Brandon London.

Hired away from the Virginia Military Institute in 2008, Reid helped guide the Dolphins' outside linebackers for a switch to the 3-4 brought by Parcells and his assembled staff.

The Dolphins' linebackers were highly successful under Reid's tutelage. Joey Porter experienced a career year in 2008 with 17.5 sacks and a Pro Bowl selection, and the Dolphins finished third in the NFL with 44 sacks this season.

2010 opponents set

With the Dolphins' season over and division standings finalized, the team now knows the final two opponents they'll face during the 2010 season.

Having finished in third place in the AFC East in 2009, the Dolphins will host the AFC South third-place team in the Tennessee Titans. They'll also head to Oakland to place the AFC West's third-place Oakland Raiders.

In all, the Dolphins will have home games against the Bills, Patriots, Jets, Browns, Steelers, Bears, Lions and Titans.

Additionally, the Dolphins will go on the road to face the Bills, Patriots, Jets, Bengals, Ravens, Packers, Vikings and Raiders in 2010.

Practice squad contracts expire

All NFL practice squad contracts are for one season only and expire when the team's season ends, so all seven players that finished the 2009 season on the Dolphins' practice squad are now free agents.

Those players are:
  • CB Will Billingsley
  • RB Tristan Davis
  • OG Ray Feinga
  • WR Taurus Johnson
  • TE John Nalbone
  • FS Nate Ness
  • WR Julius Pruitt
Nalbone and Ness are the only two who spent time on the Dolphins' active roster this season. Rookie seventh-round pick J. D. Folsom signed a two-year contract upon being promoted to the active roster on Jan. 2, so he will be under contract this offseason.

Most players that finish a season on a team's practice squad end up being re-signed by their team in the offseason.

Last year, all eight players that ended the 2008 season on the Dolphins' practice squad, including running back Lex Hilliard, were re-signed the following offseason in January.