Thursday, April 20, 2006

Saban's Draft Mantra: VALUE

''I think value is really important to the organization overall. If you get position specific, sometimes you can reach out of a category and take a lesser player to satisfy a need. And, I think, long term, that is not philosophically what we'd like to do.'' -- Nick Saban

In Nick Saban’s pre-draft press conference today, the coach continued his mantra of drafting players according to their overall “value.” Of course, anything anyone says at this point – especially Saban – has to be taken with a grain of salt. And that salt comes in heavy doses.

But if we are to believe that Saban will look to use the No. 16 overall pick in terms of “value,” then we need to believe he will take the best player on the board and that could be any number of guys.

My gut still tells me it will either be Santonio Holmes or Chad Jackson. While the needs of this team are plenty, much if it has been met with some prudent free agent signings. And while a safety or corner back is a big demand, the fact that the secondary class of prospects is somewhat deep this year leads me to think the Fins will target this need in the 3rd round and beyond.

While not dismissing the team’s needs in the secondary, Saban did remind the press that some of those needs have been filled this off-season. ''You can kind of put two-and-two together and know what's been solved to some degree,” he said. And while he also stressed that “the front-seven people, big people, especially those who can affect the quarterback are always a top priority,” he kept coming back to the mantra: value.

And that’s why I think the Fins will go with one of the two best receivers in this year’s class. Throw in the recent draft spot swap (say that five times fast) between the Broncos and 49ers, and I now think that Denver has its eye on RB DeAngelo Williams out of Memphis, with the 15th pick.

We’ll delve deeper into what the Fins may or may not do in the MSD’s in-depth Draft Coverage next week. But for now, I’ll leave you with this:

In terms of player value and needs, factored into what the teams picking ahead of the Dolphins are projected to do, Miami’s war-room draft board will probably look like this by the time they’re on the clock:

1.) WR Chad Jackson (assuming Denver does take DeAngelo), Florida
2.) WR Santonio Holmes, Ohio St.
3.) DB Donte Whitner, Ohio St.
4.) CB Tye Hill, Clemson
5.) CB Jimmy Williams, Virginia Tech
6.) LB Ernie Simms, FSU

All six are projected to be great players in the NFL. All six can make an immediate impact on the Dolphins this year.

The debate rages on …

( Feel free to throw in your two cents in the MSD Forum )


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