Dolphins Notebook: Daniel Thomas Reflects, Ochocino SHOULD be in Miami, and ACC Prospects for the Dolphins

June 11th, 2012
Daniel Thomas Dolphins Browns

Daniel Thomas Reflects on "very disappointing" season

In another weekly Dolphins Notebook, we’ll look at Daniel Thomas’s self proclaimed “very disappointing” season, why Chad Ochocino would be a great fit in Miami, and the prospects from “ACC Week” here at the AFC East (and KCChiefsDraft.com) blogs.
MDD Lead Editor: Eric Galko

“Very Disappointing” Daniel Thomas Rookie Year
In last year’s draft, grabbing Daniel Thomas in the second round to rotate with Reggie Bush made so much sense for the Dolphins. Bush had never shouldered the load in his career, and Thomas didn’t have a ton of wear and tear on himself as well as flashing downfield ability as a bigger-built runner.

But things didn’t go according to plan. In an article from ProFootballTalk.com and a quote from the Miami Herald:
“I can’t worry about who they’re drafting,” Thomas told the Miami Herald. “I know I’ve gotten better. The injuries affected me a lot last year. They messed my mind up. I lost the confidence I had. I didn’t have the same burst I had earlier.”

Staying healthy is part of the battle, of course. Thomas averaged 3.52 yards per carry on 165 rushing attempts. He conceded the average was “very disappointing,” and believes he “can average 5.0 a carry in this league.”

Thomas is right on multiple occasions in his quotes, but that’s not totally a bad thing. He should be disappointed with last year, as 3.5 yards is not a running back-season that’s worth celebrating.

He also shouldn’t worry about who the Dolphins draft. The selection of Lamar Miller is more of a testament to both the value of the draft and Joe Philbin’s new found focus on playmakers out of the backfield. Miller has never shown the ability to stay balanced and focused as an inside-the-tackle box runner, something Thomas has the size to do and flashes the ability to do as well.

Thomas should be more focused on staying willing to use his size to drive through defenders and feeling confident in his cutback balance and strength. He’s the Dolphins most naturally powerful back, and he’ll need to develop further into that if he hopes to maintain that stable, between the tackles runner the Dolphins are expecting him to be.

Why Chad Ochocino Makes too Much Sense for the Dolphins
Now released from his media-hiatus stint with the Patriots, Chad Ochocinco is back on the market. And according to ProFootballTalk.com, the Dolphins are both high on his list and willing to give him a tryout this week.

And the possibility couldn’t make me any more excited to see if Chad Ochocinco can make this team.

For one, the Hard Knocks series would keep Ochocinco a main focus. That ability to keep the pressure and focus off of the other receivers, most of which are in their first three years in the NFL, could allow them for more focus on the field, and less interviews after practice or in the locker room.

Another reason is for these other players to see how a veteran, who seems desperate to make a team, could work in the way only experienced NFL players have. Ochocinco may not have been the model of staying in shape (but Terrell Owens has been, who is another talent I wouldn’t mind bringing in), but for a guy likely realizing he’s on his last leg as an NFL player and having the background he does in the NFL, he may be a veteran who can both provide some insight with his route running, desire to make the squad, and nuances of the position.

And finally, there appears to be no pressure or steep contract to bring him in on. He’s not on a multi-year deal where the team is locked in both for multiple years and on a contract where he can’t be released. He’ll need to fight for a roster spot just like every other player, and as long as he realizes that they have two solid starters returning (Hartline and Bess), three recent draft picks (Cunningham, Matthews, and Gates) and six other receivers to battle with, he should be at worst a veteran camp body and at best a well-polish route runner with #3 or #4 receiver ability and a role model fundamentally for these young receivers.

Ochocinco is worth bringing in for his attention he’ll take, the drive of work he’ll likely put in, and the minimal risk tied to him. The Dolphins have gone the dysfunctional route in a lot of ways with Hard Knocks, signing David Garrard after missing out on other top quarterbacks, and drafting Ryan Tannehill without completely consulting Mike Sherman or Joe Philbin. This would be another questionable feather in Jeff Ireland’s cap, but to me, it seems like a very worthwhile endeavor.

Five Dolphins Draft Prospects from “ACC Week”
Check out all the ACC prospects from “ACC Week” Here: http://www.nepatriotsdraft.com/2012/06/2013-nfl-draft-acc-week-roundup.html

Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State (JR)
-A powerful, upper body massive defensive end, Werner could be a more consistent pass rusher than current defensive end Jared Odrick, and could be a perfect complement to the speedy Cameron Wake on the outside.

Deandre Hopkins, WR, Clemson (JR)
-One of the ACC’s best draft eligible receivers, Hopkins gets overshadowed a bit by Sammy Watkins, but he’s got great run after catch quickness and reactions, catches away from his body well, and can get vertical. He may be the polished, downfield outside receiver the Dolphins lack right now.

Kenny Tate, SS/OLB, Maryland
-Despite having a position that isn’t set in the NFL, Tate’s ability to hit and finish tackles like a weakside linebacker and have the range and fluidity to cover tight ends and in general in the passing game should make him coveted in the NFL. Miami lacks that tight end covering defensive back/linebacker, a role Tate could fill.

Jonathan Cooper, OG, North Carolina
-It’s no secret guard is a big concern on both sides of this offensive line, and Cooper is clearly the best of the bunch when it comes to the ACC and likely the rest of the 2013 Draft. His ability to get downfield and block as well as redirect in the short area should make him a solid fit for this offense.

Marcus Davis, WR, Virginia Tech
-Virginia Tech’s and quarterback Logan Thomas’s best receiver option, Davis has the size (6’4) and short area ability that the Dolphins will covet as receiver in their West Coast-based, up tempo offensive set.

Tags: ACC Week, Chad Ochocino, Daniel Thomas, Dolphins, NFL Draft

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