Sunday, August 26, 2012

Dolphins send Vontae Davis to Colts for two draft picks

In a move that had been speculated about over the past week but not one that many of us that follow the team actually believed, the Miami Dolphins have traded cornerback Vontae Davis to the Indianapolis Colts in exchange for a future second-round pick and conditional sixth-round pick.

The deal comes after Colts' owner Jim Irsay spent the week hinting on Twitter about a big trade in the works and some had speculated Davis could be the player involved. The Colts ranked 31st in the NFL in opponent's passer rating in 2011 and projected starter Jerraud Powers injured his knee in the team's most recent preseason game.

As it stands, there is no confirmation of which draft these picks will be in, although I would suspect both are for the 2013 NFL Draft. There is also no word on the conditions of the sixth, but a good guess is it's tied to Davis' starts for the Colts in 2012.

Miami's first-round pick out of Illinois in 2009, Davis started 36 of 44 games played in three seasons with the Dolphins. He hauled in nine interceptions and racked up 32 pass deflections, including four-interception seasons in 2009 and 2011.

However, maturity has also been an issue for Davis, who was suspended by the team at one point last year for reportedly showing up to practice drunk/hungover.

As anyone that has been watching Hard Knocks knows, Davis did not show up to training camp in shape, drawing the ire of the defensive backs coach Lou Anarumo and the rest of the Dolphins' coaching staff while losing his starting job to free-agent acquisition Richard Marshall.

Specifically, Davis had trouble getting through some training camp practices without becoming winded and was even chided by head coach Joe Philbin for not being able to hold his bladder during a 75-minute session.

Although Richard Marshall hasn't looked great in the preseason and Sean Smith's strong camp hasn't fully translated to the field either, Davis didn't earn back his job in the games with a personal foul penalty against the Panthers and a pick-six that was called back because of his own pass interference.

That all being said, seeing a 24-year-old talent and former first-round pick like Davis shipped out is never an easy thing and it's certainly hard to like this move right now, not even taking into account the Dolphins' recent struggles with second-round picks. One has to assume if the Dolphins were willing to trade Davis, they seriously must question his long-term upside, motivation and conditioning.

Prior to this preseason, Davis had clearly been the Dolphins' most talented and consistent corner. His departure greatly weakens an already questionable secondary for the 2012 season in a pass-happy NFL. Marshall and Smith remain question marks in terms of starting talent and effectiveness, while there is little depth to speak of and Smith is a free agent in the offseason. It's been suggested since the trade was made that the Dolphins are high on Nolan Carroll, but the 2010 fifth-rounder with four career starts is hardly a solution.

As I've been saying recently and as this move really indicates, the Dolphins are not expecting to compete in 2012 and will be simply hoping to see some progress from their younger core of players, including rookie starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill.

The Dolphins will head into the 2013 offseason not only with a likely high first-round draft pick of their own, but also two second-round picks, two third-round picks and a bevvy of cap room to build around their potential franchise signal-caller.

Check out the projected depth chart reflecting these transactions here.

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