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Dolphins Watch


February 22, 2010 10:41 PM

Combine approaches

PORTER.bmpNot much to report in Dolphin Land, aside from the botched attempt to cut disgruntled linebacker Joey Porter.

In case you missed it, the team actually released Porter almost two weeks ago, only to have the NFL inform them it was an invalid transaction. Now, the Dolphins have to pay Porter an extra $400,000, and can't cut him until March 1.

Talk about a costly screw-up, one that limited the resources of a team that is already close to the salary cap total.

As for new news, the NFL combine -- that meat market that ranks as one of the most overrated offseason events -- begins March 2 in Indianapolis.

How many times have we seen a player boost his stock simply because of his measured vertical leap or how fast he ran at this event, only to turn into a total dud in the NFL?


Remember Darrius Heyward-Bey last year, who had a spectacular combine and thus elevated himself to being a possible first round pick, with many speculating the Dolphins would draft him?

Now, being a Florida State alum, and someone who watches the team regularly, I had seen Heyward-Bey's Maryland team play the Semioles numerous times, and I didn't remember him at all.

That was stunning enough, and to hear that based on his combine numbers he had somehow worked his way into the first round, seemed laughable.

Many predicted he would be the Dolphins' choice in the first round, while I hoped against hope they would see the light and pass on him.

Thankfully, the owner formerly known as Al Davis decided to take a chance on Heyward-Bey, and the rest will be remembered in infamy.

Heyward-Bey already entered the league with a reputation for questionable hands, which of course, came to the fore during his rookie season. The 12th pick in the draft caught just nine passes for 124 yards and one TD. Heyward-Bey didn't even equal his draft number, which is incredible.

But, aside from Heyward-Bey and the numerous instances over the years where a player has been a workout phenom but ended up an NFL bust (Mike Mamula, Tony Mandarich), some NFL scouts will again get their dander up about a guy just because of how good he looks in shorts or how fast he can run in a straight line.

The biggest predictor for NFL success should continue to be what you see on film: What did a player do at the collegiate level?

Here's to hoping the Dolphins don't make that mistake this year.

More thoughts on Carter
Apparently, in my earlier column, I was wrong about Cris Carter. He's not being kept out of the Hall of Fame because of his off-field demeanor, but even more damning, because voters don't think he belongs among the top receivers just yet.

This is shocking. Peter King's MMQB column this week showed the disparity between Carter, Tim Brown and Andre Reed's numbers and the last three receivers to make the Hall of Fame: Michael Irvin, Art Monk and Bob Hayes.

Admittedly, Hayes played in a different era, and Irvin's career was cut short by injury, but the trio who are not in the Hall dwarf their numbers.

And now, I'm hearing something I never thought I'd hear: Andre Reed is actually a stronger bet to make the Hall next year than Carter.

Now, having watched Reed for years when the Buffalo Bills faced the Dolphins, I can tell you that while hew was a very good receiver, he was not as good as Carter.

Some seem to say the fact Carter never made it to a Super Bowl, while Reed went to four straight, is a knock against Carter.

Like the argument for greatest quarterback, it's a ridiculous debate.

Carter played in a far stronger conference than Reed did for much of his career, and was a Gary Anderson missed field goal from making a Super Bowl appearance in 1999.

Would that one appearance have made him equal to Reed? No, because Carter was always the better player.

Reed had good numbers in the Super Bowl, but aside from the first half of Super Bowl XXV and Super Bowl XXVII -- when he caught eight passes for 152 yards as the Bills were forced to throw the ball early in a game they lost 52-17 -- he was a nonfactor in the other games.

Again, Carter was better, Carter should go in first. You could even make the case that Brown was better than Reed, as he made nine Pro Bowls to Reed's seven.

I don't know what the real reason is for continually overlooking Carter, but he is every bit a first-ballot Hall-of-Famer as Jerry Rice and Emmitt Smith, who were 2010's first-year inductees.

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