Long’s departure leaves Dolphins with nothing from 2008 Draft


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.

With Jake Long’s departure for St. Louis, the Dolphins’ entire 2008 Draft class is history.

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.

39 responses to “Long’s departure leaves Dolphins with nothing from 2008 Draft

  1. And Hartline was acquired in a trade with the Raiders for Samson Satele in which they got an additional pick and swapped places in the fourth round. Satele was drafted with one of the picks acquired from the Patriots for Wes Welker. So even Hartline, the lone remnant of Parcells’ drafts, took giving up Welker to land if you follow the full lifeline of transactions.

    Parcells set the franchise back several years, which is precisely why I’ve always been hesitant to throw Ireland under the bus completely (not that he’s devoid of blame). He’s had to spend several years digging himself out of a hole that Parcells dug.

  2. What conveniently is ignored is that without a guy like Long blocking for him in Miami he likely would not have developed the way he did in Atlanta.

  3. This is one more instance of “when the facts conflict with the legend, print the legend”. The media hacks never bring up Miami when discussing The Greatness Of Bill Parcells. Funny, he never mentions it, either.

  4. I still don’t think it’s fair to rip the Dolphins so hard over Matt Ryan. In Atlanta, Matt Ryan has the best TE of all time, two All-Pro WRs, and, until this year, a monster running game. He would have probably still been good, but I don’t think he would have been remotely the same success with Miami’s offensive personnel, which is management’s fault.

    They deserve a lot of blame for a lot of bad picks, but I find it hard to criticize a team for drafting a x4 Pro Bowl left tackle.

  5. In 2008, the Miami Dolphins were drafting offensive linemen for a man-blocking scheme and defensive players for a 4-3 zone-coverage scheme. Two years later they switched to a 3-4 press. Now they are once again a (hybrid) 4-3 and are looking for zone corners while their o-line blocking scheme has changed again.

    Almost everyone acquired between 2008-2010 should be gone, as they really don’t fit most of Miami’s present needs anyway.

    Jake Long played great when he could, and he’s a great person, but he wasn’t worth his asking price considering he was only healthy for one full season (2009). Miami already made him the highest paid offensive lineman in history, and he didn’t fully live up to those expectations. The Dolphins can move on, as they’ll be fine with Jonathan Martin at LT and they can either sign a free agent RT or draft someone at 1/5 of the Jake Long’s preferred salary.

  6. Umm, they changed coaches last year, you know that right? I guess you don’t understand how brand new schemes on Offense and Defense, requires a new set of player skills. Well I suppose that’s a bit too complicated for the PTF staff!

    But yes, Bill Parcells is a big overrated wind bag that basically blows.

  7. I am assuming most will disagree with me. We needed to get rid of all of Parcells influence. We have become a better team without Parcells. I am not sure if Fire-land should be retained, but Parcells is not a part of the way football is played now. I think it is reasonable that if we don’t WIN a playoff game, Fire-land needs to go.

    I am happy Long left. Long is a fine LT when healthy, but is worth $8M and not a cent more annually.

    We have a way to go (CB, RT, CB, DE, RG, and depth) but for a change, the Phins actually have an offseason that is respectable. And I can’t remember the last time I could say that (maybe even all the way back to Johnson).

  8. Matt Ryan was not considered a top pick candidate in that draft. Many considered it a reach when the Falcons chose Ryan.

    Did the Falcons choose poorly when they picked Ryan and ignored Flacco? Flacco has a 54-26 record, has gone to the playoffs every year, won at least 1 playoff game each year and has earned a Lombardi and SB MVP trophy.

  9. I wouldn’t say we have nothing to show for the 2008 draft! What about the memories?

    I still remember Henne’s bullet passes (near the end zone where a touch pass would have been more appropriate), Merling’s inability to make a play (except for that one interception return- against the Jets I think), Langford spending hours fruitlessly looking for a $50k earring on the practice ground and Jake being made to llok like a fool by Merriman and Freeney last year (their only good games of the year).

    Good times . . .

  10. Matt Ryan has been so successful because he has had good to excellent weapons around him frontage start of his career to go along with good to excellent pass protection. The 49ers have shown that the way to develop a very Good team is to draft linemen early and often. OL and DL and if a badass defensive player is available early in the draft, snatch him up (Patrick Willis). They went from garbage to the Superbowl with Alex Smith playing a significant role in both extremes. The dolphins just suck. The organization has not commitment to building a champion, so they haven’t built a champion. Matt Ryan would be Chad Henne now if he would have been drafted by the Dolphins.

  11. Parcells deserves SOME of the blame, but Ireland has been GM for the last six seasons and it’s HIS fault there has been no improvement following his first season. As for Matt Ryan, he’s solid but not elite. It will be interesting to see how players such as Long, Smith and Davis do finally playing for quality franchises with quality coaches.

  12. The phins will be fine without Long. So happy the Parcells picks are all gone sans Hartline

  13. Right. No one remembers that they won the AFC East the year they drafted Long right?

  14. Parcells did nothing for this franchise, and then walked out mid season. Plus he brought Ireland from Dallas. What did Vontae do last season with the colts, nothing. What did Smith do, dropped more passes than he caught. Jake was hurt for the last 2 seasons, and didn’t finish out. Lot of good that was!!
    What did Wannstache do in Buffalo, got fired???

  15. I got to see Matt Ryan play last season in Houston and I wasn’t impressed. He had happy feet and missed some wide open receivers that ultimately lost the Falcons the game. Like others have said, average QB surrounded by extraordinary weapons.

  16. Bill Parcels and his antiquated “vision” has set Miami back a decade, deserves the blame for all this. He set up the front office and coaching staff in an attempt to win the 1986 Super Bowl all over again.

    BP clearly was not Dolphin-safe Tuna.

  17. Don’t act like Miami is the only team in the NFL that doesn’t have a player from the 2008 draft on their roster any longer. Pittsburg is another team off the top of my head. I do agree with your overall sentiment that teams that draft well are the ones that are the contenders year in and year out.

  18. Dolphins are the worst ran team in professional sports.
    They have overtaken the Clippers & Browns with that honor.

  19. How is this just not the same old Dolphins who haven’t been any good since Marino left? One or two ‘ok’ seasons in the last decade, and one of those seasons was being the first to throw in the wildcat before everyone else and then abandoning in a year later when everyone figured it out.

  20. But according to most Dolphins fans, it’s the Jets and ONLY the Jets that are the league’s laughing stock…

  21. So the Dolphins not signing Long is Parcell’s fault? Long was a bad pick? I think in hindsight they should have taken Ryan… but that’s not how the NFL works. They actually did draft an All-Pro Left Tackle… ummmm that’s good. The fact that they let the guy go is the real problem. Just saying.

  22. Long looks like another Tony Boselli to me. Starting out very strong and fading as injuries take their toll.

    I think he will have a pretty decent year this year but the turf will take it’s toll, you will see a steady decline.

    Good not great player anymore.

  23. Matt Ryan is a very good quarterback and many of his intercpetions at BC related to playing comeback. It’s a lot different playing quarterback for BC than it is USC, where QBs are blessed with fast receivers, great offensive lines, and strong defenses. The kid at BC right now is very good. He has a crappy defense, a weak offensive lines, and no running game to speak of. He has one very good wide receiver. Miami thought they were playing it safe in going with Long and they have had crappy quarterback play since then. Tannehill seems to thought of highly, but has major accuracy issues.

  24. One has to separate the Parcells’ coaching legend from his executive personnel position. Parcells is not a very good recruiter of talent in the NFL. His record shows that. Bill is what his record shows he is as a personnel executive.

  25. Every year there are great players in the draft to go after, so I have no sympathy for a team that doesn’t know how to do proper homework. They got what they deserved and they are never going to be a threat to develop to a competitive team until the ownership gets new mngmt in place.

  26. I hate when people talk about could have, should have. At the time both Jake and Chris Long was viewed as the number one and two picks. If we were talking Ginn or White, than I could see people complaining about the pick because they clearly were reaches. IMO, Miami has a history of not being able to develope players.

  27. Another angle on this is how quickly things can change if Tannehill does indeed prove to be a franchise quarterback.

    He already is head and shoulders over any QB has drafted since #13 retired; his athleticism and intangibles give many reasons for hope.

    If Ryan’s the man, Mike Wallace and Brandon Gibson will prove worth the money, and Keller will earn himself a fat multi-year deal in FA next spring. Otherwise, it’s all for naught.

  28. Dan LeBatard has made some great points about the Dolphins and their draft picks. During the Miami drafts teams who have gone to Super Bowls today have picks that have been a part of their recent championship competing teams during the times that Miami selected players who are no longer with the team.

    During Ray Lewis’ 17-year time span the Ravens, including years such as 2008 and 2009, the Ravens have a combined 17 draft picks that range from Rounds 1 & 2. During the two specifically aforementioned years the Fins picked guys like Jake Long, Pat White, Chad Henne, Philip Merling, but only have six combined 1st and 2nd Round picks from 2008 till now.

    In years such as 2005 the 49ers picked up Frank Gore while the Dolphins were excused by fans as having Ronnie Brown as the 2nd overall pick in a “bad draft.” Gore was a part of San Fran’s team in 2012, but Brown is now in San Diego.

    His point is that those two teams went to the Super Bowl because their draft picks were good and date back to even earlier times. If your picks no longer stay with you you can’t go to the Super Bowl the way that the 49ers and Ravens did.

    I agree with LeBatard.

    Except, he forgets to point out how players like Jake Long, Sean Smith, Ronnie Brown, Vontae Davis, and even 3rd round picks and free agents like Kendall Langford, Karlos Dansby, and Kevin Burnett cannot just be let go because those players still help their teams. They’re not All-Pro guys or the most talented, but teams go to the Super Bowl when they have many players who do help.

    If you let helpful players leave then you face greater risk of worsening because not all replacements are helpful. Teams struggle because they have too many unhelpful players or ones that make as many or more bad plays than good ones.

    Those who make more good plays than bad are helpful.

    Right now the Dolphins look as if they have stagnated or worsened because when they do not have players that are proven to help their team while subtracting or letting go of players who technically helped they will likely not improve.

    In the NFL you set your bench mark with the players you had on your roster during the prior season. Now, they have too many subtractions to where they might repeat at 7-9 or be a 5-11 and 6-10 team because they subtracted and substituted the subtracted players instead of avoiding subtractions while adding more helpful players to fill roster holes and improve their recent flaws.

    Things looked better with for Miami in 2012, but 2013 cannot be approached with that much optimism because the roster too different from 2012 to where you know what good the team can really do.

  29. I’m approaching 2013 with a lot of optimism because we are younger and faster. Can’t win in today’s NFL by moving the ball 5 yards at a time

  30. You all know st louis passed on ryan as well right? And like it has already been mentioned the dolphins had nobody on offense to help him out. He would be no better than a backup now if the phins drafted him.

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