It's doubtful any of the 764,231 mock drafts posted in the last month called this exact 1-2 punch: the Miami Dolphins predictably chose a cornerback with their first pick, though it was Vontae Davis and his sass over the more coachable Darius Butler. And then, Chads be darned, Miami made a beeline for West Virgina quarterback Pat White in the second round.
Obviously concerned about the pass defense, the 'Phins rounded off Day 1 with Utah's big project corner Sean Smith. But all the buzz surrounded picks no. 25 and 44.
Davis is a top 10 pick with late-20s baggage; an aversion to instruction and lagging work ethic sent him to the doghouse at Illinois for a brief spell last year. While obviously athletic and aggressive, the concerns about a prima donna attitude ensured Davis was available when the Dolphins went on the clock.
Davis has the size the Dolphins love, and should be starting next season. But we're keeping a wary eye on this pick (though if anyone can scare the impertinence out of a giant rookie, it's Bill Parcells and Tony Sparano).
The splash of the second round, White's selection is a clear notice that Parcells and Sparano are committed to the "Wildcat" offense they debuted with much success last year against the Patriots.
The formation, in which running back Ronnie Brown lined up at quarterback to hand off, take off, or sometimes even throw, is absolutely tailor-made for White. Running a similar scheme at West Virginia, he threw for 56 touchdowns for the Mountaineers—and rushed for a whopping 47.
The move put last week's trade rumors about Brown in a whole new light. Despite Sparano's earlier insistence there was "no chance" the Dolphins would put Brown up for sale, using their second pick on his younger potential replacement (in the Wildcat, anyway) forced general manager Jeff Ireland to address White's role yesterday.
"Right now he’s going to line up at quarterback," Ireland said, perhaps instead giving third-stringer John Beck a gentle hint not to get too comfy in South Florida.
But White, at 6' 197 pounds, doesn't have the size of a prototypical NFL quarterback, and most teams were eyeing him as a hybrid receiver-returner-wildcatter—which is where we expect him to end up. His unique skill set brings a lot of flexibility to the Miami offense.
For his part, and in contrast to the bombastic Davis, White said humbly, "I just want the opportunity to play, and now that I've got it, I'm going to do what the coaches ask me to do ... I'm ready for anything."
The 'Phins still have some pressing issues to address as the later rounds get underway Sunday. Linebacker and wide receiver are the glaring needs many expected them to address Saturday instead of snagging another backup to the Chads. There's also a lack of depth at nose tackle.
As such, the jury remains out for now on the Dolphins' 2009 draft—out, but piqued.
And ready to see what else Parcells has up his sleeve.