Posted: 7:31 am Monday, April 25th, 2011
Former Dolphins boss Bill Parcells explains Jake Long-over-Matt Ryan decision, takes blame for Pat White
By Post Staff
As we wait for more details to emerge from the Brandon Marshall stabbing incident from the weekend, now’s a good time to remind everyone that the NFL Draft is just four days away, finally giving us some actual football to discuss.
And in conjunction with the draft, former Dolphins football czar Bill Parcells will get 90 minutes of airtime on ESPN on Tuesday night (9:30-11 pm EST) in which he will discuss his philosophies about the draft and, more importantly for South Floridians, finally discuss some of the moves made during his Dolphins tenure after three-plus years of silence.
But Parcells gave Sports Illustrated’s Peter King a sneak preview for his MMQB column, and King used the opportunity to ask Parcells about two of the current regime’s most controversial decisions: Taking Jake Long over Matt Ryan with the first pick in the 2008 draft, and selecting Pat White with the 44th pick in 2009.
Parcells didn’t hold back in taking the blame, if you will, for both decisions:
“One of the reasons we took Jake Long is that he was a surer bet,” Parcells told King. “Quarterbacks, you just don’t know. They’re so hard to predict. It’s easier to project how good a tackle is going to be, and a left tackle plays a pretty important position.”
It’s hard to argue with that logic. Long has been everything the Dolphins envisioned and more: A three-time Pro Bowler, a franchise cornerstone and a model teammate and citizen. And there’s no guarantee that Ryan would have developed into the same player in Miami that he has in Atlanta.
As for White, though, Parcells simply got too caught up in Wildcat Mania and whiffed on his evaluation of the quarterback. White, who stood at 6-0 (in cleats) and 190 pounds (soaking wet), was simply too small and inaccurate a passer to survive in the NFL. Accordingly, he washed out of the league after just two training camps.
White “was my mistake,” Parcells said. “It was a deviation from your principles; he was not prototypical. At the time, we’re thinking we could expand the Wildcat, you know. But it turns out he wasn’t accurate enough and didn’t throw it well enough. We learned from that.”
According to King, Parcells in his ESPN special “will try to focus some attention on the money risk of high picks, and why, even though a player like Long is tremendously paid, he thinks it’s smarter to pay a player who very likely won’t bust than to pay a player who might. He’ll also talk about the vanishing fullback, the rising importance of third and fourth corners, and the attributes he looks for in great quarterbacks.”
King also devotes one other section of today’s column to the Dolphins, an analysis of the Dolphins’ second-round picks since 2005. Warning: It may make you queasy.
2011: Traded 43rd overall pick to Denver as part of Brandon Marshall trade.
2010: Drafted LB Koa Misi 40th overall with pick acquired from San Diego.
Traded 46th overall pick to Denver as part of Brandon Marshall trade.
2009: Drafted QB Pat White 44th overall.
Drafted CB Sean Smith 61st overall.
2008: Drafted DE Phillip Merling 32nd overall.
Drafted QB Chad Henne 57th overall.
2007: Drafted QB John Beck 40th overall.
Drafted C-G Samson Satele 60th overall.
2006: Traded 51st overall pick to Minnesota for QB Daunte Culpepper.
2005: Traded 35th overall pick to Philadelphia for QB A.J. Feeley.
Drafted DE Matt Roth 46th overall.
“That’s one solid starter, one major question mark who could be very good, and three maybes,” King wrote. “That’s a pretty bad track record, to put it mildly. After picking 15th in the first round, Miami will be out of the nightmare round — but will be reminded of it daily this week, with all the stories about what a risky trade the Marshall deal was.”