The rebuilding of the Miami Dolphins has been on, off, on, off, and on again over the last five years without anyone really knowing which phase the process was in. After Sunday, it’s now clear; the Dolphins are locked in on full rebuild mode. 2009 First round draft pick cornerback Vontae Davis was traded to the Indianapolis Colts for a second round and conditional late round pick in 2013. The move signifies that the Dolphins have essentially begun looking toward the future and will not be in contention in 2012.
MDD Staff Writer: Chad Pullen
GM Jeff Ireland tried to rebuild while also staying competitive this offseason as he traded star WR Brandon Marshall moments before free agency begun for an extra third round draft pick in both the 2012 and 2013 drafts. With the eight pick in the draft and all signs pointing to the Dolphins searching for a quarterback of the future, Ireland was able to explain the trade as not wanting a diva like influence on whichever QB was brought in.
Ireland then rolled the dice on veteran QB David Garrard and an even more diva like WR in Chad Johnson. With that eighth pick being used on Ryan Tannehill as the QB of the future, Miami seemed poised to try and compete in 2012 as best as possible while grooming the future of the team in the background. Once camp opened and Garrard went down with an injury, and Johnson was arrested for a domestic dispute, the Dolphins were faced with the future being here sooner than expected.
Tannehill has been named starter for week 1 and the keys to the franchise have been handed over. Davis, once thought to be a key piece of the franchise, had struggled early in camp and disappointed the coaches to the tune of losing his starting spot to free agent signee Richard Marshall. It was believed that Davis would eventually get motivated and reclaim his spot, however the Dolphins may have grown tired of waiting for Davis to live up to his first round value.
By trading him just before the season for a second round choice, the Dolphins now have a shot at having five picks in the first 75 selections depending on where the Bears and Dolphins finish in the standings in 2012. It’s possible that had Garrard and Johnson stayed on track to start the season, the Dolphins may have tried to continue working with Davis and get him to play at the level they expected of him.
There are rumors that the Dolphins could use some of the extra draft picks to acquire a WR for this season, but I for one am hopeful that that does not happen. Bringing in a veteran receiver that would be at best a number two or even number three guy would do nothing to change the course of this season and would cost a draft pick that could be more useful in April. Clearly the Dolphins will be looking to add playmakers at the receiver position for Tannehill going forward, but they do not need to do so at the cost of trading away potential youth for a 3-4 year window of talent.
In this instance, it would be better for Ireland to continue his path and acquire as many draft picks as he can get his hands on. This could also mean moving more veterans as the season moves on up to the trading deadline. As of right now, the Dolphins are scheduled to have nine draft picks, the same number as 2012.
Dolphins fans may not want to hear it, but it appears that the 2012 NFL season is already over before it even begins in terms of the Dolphins playoff hopes. The future is now, and this season is going to be all about learning what young players can play in this league, and scouting the college ranks for players to bring in and fill in any holes left over, including the new hole at cornerback after the Davis deal. 2011 and its 0-7 start was bad enough, looks like Miami could be in line for another long season, and potentially a top 5 draft choice in April.