Monday, March 1, 2010

Will we really fail to see a change at (free) safety?

With the combine taking place in Indianapolis and free agency around the corner I’m as excited as ever for football season to start. Looking at the combine and how the players have been performing, it seems as though this is going to be a great draft class. Hopefully we manage to pick up players that will make an immediate impact, but we’ll still have to wait over a month to find out who those players are and another six months to watch them play. In the meantime, I’ll go ahead and finish up our review of the defense. I’ll start up by finishing up the secondary today by looking at the safeties and then I’ll make sure to update you on our defensive line before Friday.

Yeremiah Bell.- Bell was one of the three Dolphins’ players selected to play in the Pro Bowl and is by far the best safety we have in the roster. He led the team in tackles with 114 total, making it his second straight season with over 100 tackles. He also had 3 interceptions, and 1.5 sacks, which brings his total up to 7.5 in the time he has played with the Dolphins, the highest total for any defensive back in team history. The only area that Bell can improve upon is one on one coverage, but all in all he is a solid guy that I am confident can make a tackle when needed and has the speed to chase those receivers down when they do get away.

Gibril Wilson.- Where do I even start? Even though Ireland spoke out on behalf of Wilson a couple of days ago I still believe that he will fail to be part of the team in this upcoming season. There really is just no reason to keep him, just like there was no reason to acquire him in the first place. Signing Wilson is easily the biggest mistake this front office has made thus far; sure Ginn missed some big plays but at least he managed to make a couple of big ones as well, Gibril did absolutely nothing. Despite having finished second in the team when it comes to tackles with 91 total, Wilson failed to make a single big play. He didn’t get any interceptions even though he had more than a couple of shots at easy ones, he didn’t even force a fumble. There really are no redeeming qualities in Gibril and I would be more than happy to see him go.

Tyrone Culver.- Culver has been a very solid special teams player since joining the Dolphins in 2008 and I expect he will be back next season. In addition to playing special teams, he did get an opportunity to start in a couple of games this season. All in all, he played over 300 snaps on defense and managed to get 16 tackles, 6 pass deflection and one interception on Drew Brees which set up a Dolphins touchdown.

Chris Clemons.- This rookie saw limited action this past season, he took very little snaps on defense and played a few times in special teams where he did manage to get 6 tackles. Clemons has potential, he was a fairly solid player in college but we’ll have to wait and see how much action he will get next season.

Although not necessarily a pressing need in the first few rounds of the draft, I do believe we should try to find another guy to bring in to fill in the safety position. Let’s take a look at what’s available in both free agency and the draft, even though I believe we will get our safety help from the draft.

Darren Sharper (New Orleans Saints).- Sharper had one of his best seasons with New Orleans in 2009; he managed 9 interceptions which he ran back 376 yards. Considering they won the Super Bowl and forcing turnovers is what the Saints defense takes pride in I just don’t see him going anywhere.

Nick Collins (Green bay Packers).- Currently one of the best safeties in the league, Collins’ has been a solid performer in the Packers defense. He is a very talented player and I’m sure any team would love to have him. He is an restricted free agent though, so I’m sure the Packers will offer him a pretty good deal to ensure that he continues to play for them.

Antoine Bethea (Indianapolis Colts).- Another restricted free agent, even though Bethea might not get much recognition around the league, the Colts know how valuable he is to them. He’s one of those guys who has the ability to play as both a free safety and a strong safety and perform equally well in both. I believe he will continue to play for the Colts.

Eric Berry (Tennessee).- By far the best safety in the draft ; I would love to say that we have a shot at getting Berry, but although safeties rarely get drafted in the top 5, I believe Berry might actually go that early. This guy is amazing and has so much potential he hasn’t even tapped into, I’m sure he’ll be a pleasure to watch no matter what team he ends up in.

Earl Thomas (Texas).- Thomas declared for the draft in his sophomore year, but despite having only 2 years of college experience he has proved he has the talent to become a solid safety in the NFL. Although there is a possibility he might fall to the second round, I don’t expect us to pick up a safety that early on.

Nate Allen (South Florida).- Allen is a very good safety that has gone by a little unnoticed; I personally saw him play a couple of times during his sophomore year and very impressed. There is a possibility he might still be around in the third round, but even then I still think it would be too early in the draft for us to consider picking a safety.

I do believe we will try to pick up a safety in the later rounds of the draft, possibly with one of our sixth round picks, or maybe even a fifth round pick if we are indeed awarded one, which I think we might; but, I don’t think we have any shot at even guessing who we would consider that deep into the draft.

Additional Notes:
Other safeties available in free agency are Roman Harper (New Orleans Saints), O.J. Atogwe (St Louis Rams), Bernard Pollard (Houston Texans), Will Allen (Tampa Bay Buccaneers), Atari Bigby (Green Bay Packers), and CC Brown (New York Giants).
Other safeties available in the draft are Taylor Mays (USC), Morgan Burnett (Georgia Tech), Darrell Stuckey (Kansas), Reshad Jones (Georgia), Larry Asante (Nebraska), Major Wright (Florida), Myron Rolle (Florida State).


bruce said...

no need to draft one this year at least not really early .i think when your safeties make 100 plus tackles your pretty good at the position or you have really bad linebackers and i think its both

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