Mel Kiper will be there, draft notes in hand, to break it all down.
Kiper, who has been covering the draft and evaluating players for over 30 years, recently participated in a conference call to discuss this year’s hot topics.
Even though he’s a seasoned veteran, Kiper still must adjust his evaluating techniques to counter trends that surface in the league. Because the NFL has become increasingly pass heavy, the way quarterback prospects are projected has changed.
“I have to reassess the way I evaluate quarterbacks because back in the day you let them develop,” Kiper said. “Now you have to also assess is he ready to be a starting quarterback in the NFL.”
One of the beneficiaries of this mindset could be Brandon Weeden, the Oklahoma St. quarterback, who spent several years as a minor league pitcher before heading to Stillwater. His draft position will still suffer because of his age–he’ll be 29 at the beginning 0f the 2012 season–but being “starter-ready” is becoming much more important to impatient NFL teams.
“You say, ‘Hey, I’m not gonna have a 15-year career, but I could have a real great seven, eight-year career,’ and there’s nothing wrong with that,” Kiper said. “He’ll be expected to play right away.”
Since the Dolphins’ offensive philosophy is shifting towards a West Coast passing attack, there are a few receivers that they will likely have their eyes on heading into the draft. In all likelihood, Justin Blackmon, the two-time Bilitnekoff Award winner, will be off the board when Miami makes the eighth pick. If that’s the case, the Dolphins could shift their attention to Michael Floyd.
“I just want to see him show a little bit more want to,” Kiper said. “To want to be the guy, to want the ball thrown his way, to just go and get it and take over games. That the attitude and the approach change to take the bull by the horns.”
If Miami is willing to add a wide receiver in the later rounds, it could add a local talent coming off of an impressive season. There has been a lot of buzz surrounding Tommy Streeter, the former Hurricanes wide receiver, but Kiper cautions he may just be another one-year wonder.
“He doesn’t play to the level of his computer numbers all the time, but he’s got a lot of talent,” Kiper said. “And if he’s coached properly, he’ll improve.”
Yeremiah Bell’s departure this offseason could make safety a priority for the Dolphins at the draft. Kiper says that there are a few guys that should be really solid pros, but there probably isn’t anyone worthy of being a top-1o selection.
“Everybody wants the next Ed Reed or the next Troy Polamalu, and the common denominator for some these (contending) teams is the safety position,” Kiper said. “This year it turned out to be a couple of guys who have a chance to be very good. Maybe not elite but very good.”
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