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History indicates the Dolphins WILL draft Matt Ryan first overall

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Contrary to reports suggesting the Dolphins may draft Virginia senior DE Chris Long first overall, a series of striking similarities between the 1993 New England Patriots (that Parcells inherited) and the 2008 Dolphins (that Parcells inherited) indicates the team will instead select Boston College senior QB Matt Ryan first overall.

Exhibit 1 – First Overall Pick
Parcells has inherited the first overall pick for the 2008 NFL Draft as he did the first overall pick in 1993.

Heading into the respective drafts, neither team boasts/boasted a competent starter. Fortunately, Matt Ryan projects as a franchise-type quarterback, as did Drew Bledsoe in 1993. A player around which Parcells may build his franchise is available.

Exhibit 2 – Dump the veteran, throw the rookie into the fire

Parcells has shown that he will throw a rookie quarterback into the fire from Day One.

Veteran Hugh Millen had been the Patriots’ starting quarterback the prior two seasons, and despite throwing just 17 touchdowns to 28 interceptions at least offered an experienced alternative. However, Parcells didn’t hesitate to dump the veteran, and on draft day 1993 traded Millen to the Dallas Cowboys.

Fast-forward to 2008, and Parcells released 14-year veteran, albeit twice concussed and twice carried out on a stretcher 14-year veteran, Trent Green, on Monday.

Conclusion: In both scenarios, Parcells dumped the veteran and set the table for a rookie to step in as the starter from Day One.

Exhibit 3 – Who’s left on the roster

Trading Hugh Millen left the Patriots with second-year QB Scott Zolak and afterthought Scott Secules. As a rookie the year prior, Zolak struggled to make his case as a potential starting quarterback, amassing the following numbers:

Started 4-of-6 games he played in 1992. Completed 52-of-100 pass attempts (52-percent) for 561 yards, 2 TDs, 4 INTs – 58.8 QB rating.

Releasing Trent Green on Monday left the Dolphins with their own second-year quarterback, John Beck. As a rookie, Beck compiled an eerily similar stat line:

Started 4-of-5 games he played in 2007. Completed 60-of-107 pass attempts (56.1-percent) for 559 yards, 1 TD, 3 INTs – 62.0 QB rating.

Conclusion: Yes, Zolak was only a fourth-round pick, while Beck was drafted much higher – in the second-round - but Parcells showed he would not defer to a second-year questionable talent in lieu of drafting a potential franchise quarterback.

Exhibit 4 – Understanding the value of the quarterback
Needless to say, the 2-14 Patriots weren’t exactly overflowing with talent, and trading down in the draft certainly would have allowed the team to stockpile picks and plug some holes. After releasing nine players on Monday, the Dolphins also find themselves further devoid of talent.

*Receiver – Parcells traded leading receiver Irving Fryer for a ’93 second-round pick and a ’94 third-rounder. Tight ends Ben Coates, Marv Cook, and WR Michael Timpson filled out an unimpressive receiver corps.

Leading receiver Marty Booker was released on Monday, leaving WR Ted Ginn and TE David Martin as the top returning receiver options.

 *Defensive Line – Tim Goad left much to be desired at nose tackle for the ’93 Pats.

Starting NT Keith Traylor was released yesterday, leaving unproven second-year players Paul Solai and Steve Fifita to battle for a crucial starting spot in what will likely become a 3-4 defensive scheme.

Conclusion: …and so on and so forth. Parcells certainly loves to stockpile picks, but again, a great quarterback (yes…along with better drafting) can go a long way toward turning a franchise around. A Patriots squad that finished 2-14 in ’92 made it to the Super Bowl just four seasons later.

How long is Parcells’ contract with the Dolphins? Oh yeah, four years.

Exhibit 5 – Matty Ice will be special
Let’s cut to the chase. Matt Ryan is a special quarterback, and regardless of any circumstances, warrants being selected first overall.

Throw on the Clemson or Virginia Tech games, and you’ll see a quarterback that went into the most hostile environments (not to mention the downpour in Blacksburg), and with ice in his veins led a pair of comeback victories featuring across his body, across the field, game winning throws.  

Yes, I know an offensive line can make a world of difference. Once an afterthought, the Browns’ Derek Anderson just participated in his first Pro Bowl (as an alternate). His offensive line featuring franchise left tackle Joe Thomas (’07 first-round pick), left guard Eric Steinbach (free agent pickup), and right tackle Kevin Shaffer (free agent pickup), helped to drastically improve a rushing attack that ranked 31st the year prior, and undoubtedly made dropping back in pocket a lot easier for Anderson.

However, Ryan’s decision-making and ability to get rid of the ball quickly cannot be understated. Don’t forget he played behind 280-pound true freshman Anthony Castonzo – a turn style (he will get better) at right tackle, and left tackle Gosder Cherilus, a better fit on the right side. However, Ryan managed to lead the ACC in sack percentage – he was sacked only once every 31 pass attempts.

Comparatively speaking, other highly touted quarterback prospects boast less impressive sack percentages.

John David Booty (USC) – sacked once roughly every 28 pass attempts

Brian Brohm (Louisville) – sacked once roughly every 20 pass attempts

Chad Henne (Michigan) – sacked once roughly every 17 pass attempts

Andre Woodson (Kentucky) – sacked once roughly every 14 pass attempts

Mix in the 6-4, 220-pound frame, a great arm, great touch, leadership, and intelligence, and its obvious…

… "with the first-pick in the 2008 NFL Draft, the Miami Dolphins select Matt Ryan."

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