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Long-term view — is tackle safer pick?

Discussion in 'Miami Dolphins Forum' started by ATVZ400, Apr 22, 2008.

  1. ATVZ400

    ATVZ400 Senior Member

    Mar 22, 2008
    parts unknown, NJ
    While the Dolphins appear to be inching closer to wrapping up Michigan tackle Jake Long before taking him with their first pick in Saturday's draft, they apparently are opting for the safer selection, rather than the flashier one.

    Over the past dozen years, teams are hitting far more home runs by taking mammoth offensive tackles with their top pick, rather than striking out with pass-rushing defensive ends such as Courtney Brown, the No. 1 pick by the Browns in 2000. Still, many draft pundits have Virginia defensive end Chris Long at the top of their mock drafts.

    "The thing about left tackle is that it is a 'must' position in this league," Texans coach Gary Kubiak said. "You've got to protect your quarterback; you've got to protect your franchise, so to speak. And those guys are hard — hard — to find. I mean, they don't fall off of trees. They're a special breed."

    Kubiak omitted that he's already got a premier pass rusher in defensive end Mario Williams, the highly criticized No. 1 pick in 2006 who busted out with 14 sacks last season.

    While quarterbacks generally lead the league in draft busts, defensive ends and off tackles have had their shares of flameouts. Brown never fulfilled his promise after a decent rookie season. Tackles Tony Mandarich and Robert Gallery were both taken at No. 2, Mandarich by the Packers in 1989 and Gallery by the Raiders in 2004. Along with former Bills No. 4 pick Mike Williams in 2002, the trio are all considered major flops.

    That said, there's a long list of cornerstone left tackles who have been taken early in the draft, starting with Orlando Pace (No. 1 in 1997), Jonathan Ogden (No. 4 in 1996) and Walter Jones (No. 6 in 1997). The Redskins struck gold with Chris Samuels in 2000 (No. 3).

    "You better have someone who could rush the passer, but you've got to draft offensive linemen all the time," said former Packers GM Ron Wolf, who spent first-round picks on left tackles in '96 and '97. "It's the only position I know if you don't have five you can't play. You better have a cadre of linemen, because they're good for everything."


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