Dolphins should have taken Quinn
Appeal Sports Writer
It’s been nearly a week since the NFL Draft ended, and I’m still shaking my head in amazement at the stupidity of the Miami Dolphins.
In case you’ve been hiding under a rock, aren’t an NFL fan or were out of town, here is what happened in a nutshell.
The Dolphins had the ninth pick in the first round, and when Brady Quinn wasn’t chosen in the top three, most experts figured the Dolphins would go with Quinn.
Miami had Daunte Culpepper and Cleo Lemon at quarterback going into the draft, and Culpepper played poorly last year . Culpepper had some good years in Minnesota, but injuries have made him just an ordinary Joe under center.
Obviously nobody knows how guys like Quinn and JaMarcus Russell will turn out, but most football people say they have bright futures, and when a team has been underachieving for a few years like the Dolphins, you would think taking a big, strong quarterback like the 6-3 230-pound Quinn would make plenty of sense.
Miami went in the face of conventional wisdom and took Ted Ginn Jr., Ohio State’s exciting kick returner/wide receiver, who suffered an injury in the national title game and will miss at least some of the early mini-camps and maybe some of training camp.
When that was announced at the draft, there were boos and plenty of shocked people.
How can a team justify wasting a first-round pick on a punt returner? Ginn wasn’t even the best receiver on the OSU team.
Even at Miami’s draft party, fans booed the selection lustily.
I suspect that Miami didn’t want to pay a quarterback top dollar. Ginn won’t command as much of a signing bonus as Quinn would have. If that’s the case, Miami needs to be honest enough to come out and say that to the media and their fans.
The Dolphins took QB John Beck in the second round. Beck is a solid quarterback, but he’s already 26 because he went on his Mormon Mission. Beck played in a weak conference, and trust me on this, isn’t as good as Quinn.
TO START OR NOT TO START RUSSELL?
And, while we’re on the subject of the draft, many people think that Russell will step right into the starting job with the Raiders.
Don’t bet on it.
I don’t think the Raiders want to throw Russell to the wolves just yet. He didn’t play in a pro-style offense at LSU, and his football acumen isn’t up there with Quinn.
Sure he can throw the ball 80 yards in the air, but the last time I looked, the Raiders don’t have people to protect a quarterback long enough to get that kind of throw off, nor do they have receivers with that kind of speed.
The Raiders allowed 70-plus sacks a year ago, and they don’t want to see their franchise quarterback continually on the ground in his first season in the NFL. The Patriots did that to Jim Plunkett, and the former Stanford star never put up the numbers expected of him as a Patriot.
The smart thing to do is break Russell in gradually. The Raiders play well enough on defense that they just need a quarterback that won’t make a lot of mistakes, and Josh McCown, whom the team obtained from the Detroit Lions, is that type of guy. He’s serviceable until Russell is ready to shoulder the load.
I look for McCown to start at least the first half of the season. Deep down, the Raiders would love for Russell to watch for a whole year, and not be forced into the fray.
PACK PLAYERS SIGNED
J.J. Milan, cornerback Joey Garcia, running back Robert Hubbard, long snapper/tight end Travis Branzell and wide receiver Caleb Spencer all signed free-agent contracts with NFL teams last week.
Milan was signed by the Raiders, who will use him at defensive end or linebacker, Hubbard signed with the St. Louis Rams, Garcia went with Detroit, Spencer is now a Redskin and Branzell went to the Jets and tight end Anthony Pudewell is with Jacksonville.