>\n\nBrandon Marshall to the Dolphins-The Implications \n\n\n\n

Brandon Marshall to the Dolphins-The Implications

Written by Curt Popejoy on 04/16/2010

We all figured it would happen, it was just a matter of the details  Brandon Marshall didn’t want to be a Denver Bronco anymore and the Denver Broncos didn’t want him.  It’s unfortunate it came to this, considering Marshall is one of the most talented and productive players at his position in the league.  But it is what it is.  Denver was never going to give him the money he wanted, so it was best to get something for him.  To summarize quickly, the Broncos dealt Marshall to the Miami Dolphins for a 2nd round pick in 2010 and a 2nd round pick in 2011.

When you look at it on the surface it’s a win/win.  Denver got rid of their headache and got two nice draft picks for him, and the Dolphins got their elite wide out, this team has been without, well forever.  Marshall is getting $10 million a year, which should be enough to keep him happy and focused, and I’m fairly certain Chad Henne is giddy as a school girl.  But this is a draft site, so what does this mean for the draft for these two teams?

First, we will look at Miami.  Clearly if they are dealing like this, they were thinking wide receiver was a serious need.  There is no wide out in this draft, who’s production could approach what Marshall can do.  Especially a 2nd round wide receiver.  Now, they are out of the Dez Bryant sweepstakes in the first, and they have to be breathing a sigh of relief that they won’t have to take a shot on him.  This also allows them to take that first round pick for a position of need.  I haven’t had the Dolphins taking Bryant at any point, so that won’t change for me.  What do they need?  If I were prioritizing things, I’d go OLB, S, and NT.  Which position gives the greatest impact this season?  It’s hard to say. An edge rusher like Jason Pierre-Paul or Brandon Graham could have a serious impact in the passing game from day one.  But along those same lines, a dynamic playmaker in the secondary like Early Thomas could make that front 7 look better.  And in the 3-4 never rule out the value of a great NT, and a player like Dan Williams, while maybe a little over valued would give them that plug in the middle.

Next we have Denver.  This is where things are a little more complicated.  On the surface you have to think that replacing Marshall is the top priority, but I don’t buy it.  Why dump 100 catches a year for a 2nd round pick, only to spend your first round pick on his replacement?  Makes no sense.  Josh McDaniels is a smart guy and he comes from the Patriots camp, where players like Deion Branch, David Givens  have Super Bowl Rings.  Eddie Royal is a fabulous young player, and while I agree finding a complimentary player should be a need, I don’t see it as a first round need.  Sorry Bryant, you continue to fall in my book.

So, where do they go in the first round?  I think it really comes down to 2 positions.  Inside linebacker and Center.  What, no defensive line?  No.  Do I feel it’s a need?  Yes.  But the fact is, the Broncos brought in 3 new defensive linemen, and you don’t do that and then draft one in the first round.  The pick that seems to make the most sense is Rolando McClain from Alabama.  He’s getting a lot of negative press because he ran a bad 40 time, and the fact that ILB’s just don’t get drafted that early.  I have no problem with McClain here, but I agree it’s too soon.  At center, obviously no matter how good a prospect Maurkice Pouncey is, he’s not 11th pick good.  So, the two best players at the top need spots are taken, what do they do?  I say if he’s on the board, they go with Earl Thomas.  Brian Dawkins is great, but he can’t play forever.  Same for Renaldo Hill.  18 years of experience between them, and little depth.  This team has two 2nd round picks, and both ILB and C are real options there, in the form of guys like Sean Lee or Brandon Spikes at ILB, or J.D. Walton at C.  If I am the Broncos I go with the best player on the board at 11, like Thomas, and get your needs filled in the 2nd round.  And obviously the Broncos could try and find a big wide out with one of those 2nd round picks, a guy like Brandon LaFell or Demaryius Thomas, and this would not surprise anyone.  Then a guy like Ted Larsen at C at pick 80.  Things could line up nicely for them.

Long term I think Denver regrets this move.  They cannot replace Marshall’s production.  I think if handled properly the 2 picks they got could end up great players for Denver, but quarterbacks need weapons, and a weapon like Marshall is rare.  They’d better hope Eddie Royal can become more of a factor in that passing game, if their offense is going to be successful.  Miami has to be happy, and assuming they do well with their first and third round picks this year, and their first round pick next year, they will be much better.  The Dolphins were forced last year to find gimmicks to manufacture yards and points.  This year they have a legit touchdown machine in the passing game.  The biggest question will be, how will Chad Henne do, when he’s suddenly placed in the position of having to get Marshall the football?  We all know how crazy wide outs can get if they aren’t getting the ball.  And this could also mean that the wildcat is expanded with Pat White under center, and more throwing options out of it.  More gimmicks but still could be seriously effective at times.  His threat to run paired up a real weapon downfield.  Oh, and who else is better today?  Davone Bess and Ted Ginn.  Neither a no.1 and both sort of forced into that role.  Marshall will mean both of these players can just do what they are good at, and not be forced to do more than they are capable of.

All in all, for this season, Miami wins big, unless the Broncos just hit home runs with at least 2 of those 3 picks in the first 45.  Long term, I think Miami wins because it makes them competitive in a tough division and shows real progress by their organization.  I applaud both teams for making a move this bold.  How they handle it in the next couple of seasons will be significant. 

Last Edited: 04/15/2010

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