The Dolphins are going to introduce a new logo, and they’re doing their best to remake their locker room in free agency.
But five years ago, they had the best chance to change the course of the franchise, and they whiffed.
That’s the year they used the first overall pick on Long, skipping over Boston College quarterback Matt Ryan, who they didn’t think was worthy of the top pick. He’s now 56-22 in the regular season for the Falcons, and has led his team to the playoffs four times in five seasons.
The Dolphins haven’t enjoyed that kind of success, in part because of what they didn’t get from the group of players Bill Parcells drafted in 2008.
Long was followed in the second round by defensive end Phillip Merling and quarterback Chad Henne, and the rest of the names are providing the exact same benefit to the Dolphins now (Kendall Langford, Shawn Murphy, Jalen Parmele, Donald Thomas, Lex Hilliard and Lionel Dotson).
Frankly, 2009 was nearly as bad, as their top three picks were Vontae Davis, Pat White and Sean Smith, two of whom are elsewhere and one of whom is out of the league and begging for work. They did get Brian Hartline and Chris Clemons later, and have resigned them this offseason.
Recent history has shown us, via the Packers, Giants and Ravens, that the way to build a stable franchise is by finding a quarterback, then using picks to surround him with a base of price-controlled talent.
Their evaluation in 2008 was that Ryan wasn’t going to be a franchise passer, scared by the interceptions he threw at BC. So they drafted the solid but unspectacular Henne, and took the sure thing Long with the top pick.
And now they have nothing to show for it.
It was an embarrassing waste of resources, and part of the reason the Dolphins are now in a desperate game of catch-up.