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Article:Are We There Yet?

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As a Miami Dolphins fan, and I appreciate your condolences, I have mentally fast-forwarded to April, and the NFL Draft. With Bill Parcells calling the shots, for the first time since Jimmy Johnson controlled Miami’s war rooms, I am heading into this draft with the utmost confidence.

Whether Parcells retains the Dolphins’ first ever number one overall pick or not is still a matter of some conjecture. Recent rumors have Dallas Cowboys owner, Jerry Jones, salivating over Arkansas running back Darren McFadden. He could be interested enough to trade Marion Barber and possibly additional picks to Miami so he could select the Razorback as his first overall selection.

I, for one, am all for it. Actually, I am all for anything Parcells decides to do. With his track record, he could call a press conference tomorrow announcing the comeback of Ryan Leif and I would accept it.

OK, that was a bit overboard. My point is this: April can’t come soon enough for this “Die-Hard,” as is the rest of the franchise’s impatient fan base. There should no longer be excruciating anticipation of senseless draft choices like the past three Dolphin regimes.

Let’s go back in history a bit.

In 2000, Dave Wannstedt began his disastrous tenure as Miami’s Head Coach. That draft produced nothing. I give him a pass on this one because he was left with no first round pick because Jimmy Johnson dealt it away in the ‘98 draft to Carolina for that year’s 44th overall selection. That selection was Pro-Bowl cornerback and fan favorite, Patrick Surtain. Nice job, Jimmy.

Following an 11-5 season, the 2001 draft was mediocre at best. First round pick, Jamar Fletcher and second round pick, Chris Chambers were both eventually traded to San Diego in 2005 and 2007, respectively. Other notables were Travis Minor, Morlon Greenwood and Shawn Draper. None remain Dolphins in 2008.

2002’s draft was the beginning of the end for Wannstedt. A few months prior, Miami welcomed what we, as fans, thought was our savior. Ricky Williams. Miami sent the 25th overall pick and the 125th overall pick in 2002, along with a conditional third round pick in 2003, to New Orleans to acquire the once promising running back. Miami selected Seth McKinney and Randy McMichael, along with some others who are currently not Dolphins.

2003 was the worst draft in team history.

Eddie Moore Wade Smith Taylor Whitley Donald Lee J.R. Tolver Corey Jenkins Yeremiah Bell

SCORE!

Did I say 2003 was the worst? I should have waited a year. The 2004 draft made ‘03 look like a model in war room efficiency. Vernon Carey, Will Poole, Tony Bua, and Derrick Pope. I’m serious; this was actually our draft class. The only good thing about this draft was that it was Wannstedt’s last as a Dolphins coach.

The next two drafts were administered by Nick Sat… er, Saban, that is. I always do that for some reason. With the No. 2 overall pick, Dolphins fans welcomed running back Ronnie Brown to fill the void left by Williams, after he abandoned his teammates. Yea, I said it. Ricky has a long way to go before earning this fans respect back.

After Brown, Saban made some savvy moves by selecting Iowa’s DE, Matt Roth and Florida’s LB, Channing Crowder. So the Jury is still out on this class. Yet, with Brown proving that being a featured back for the first time since Pop Warner has taken its physical toll on him, I will wait it out until ultimately deciding on the value of this class. Check back next year.

2006, Saban’s drafting finale, was questionable to say the least. 16th overall pick, Jason Allen has shown potential, but third rounder Derek Hagan has yet to make a significant impact. Joe Toledo, Frederick Evans, Rodrique Wright, and Devin Aromashodu rounded out a crew that had many ‘Fins fans saying collectively, “Who?!”

It’s 2007. Cam Cameron, we hardly knew you. Let’s see what happens with Ted Ginn, Jr. If Ginn ever takes a punt or kickoff to the house in a crucial play-off game, I will thank Cam. Second round pick John Beck doesn’t appear to have the NFL starting quarterback chops, but after a 1-15 season, he is not the guy to blame. Do I think he is the answer? Let’s just say I’m not betting the farm on it. I don’t even own a farm, so this is pretty irrelevant anyway.

Now we are in 2008 and I am sure I can speak for the majority of Dolphin’s fans when I say we are tired of picks that immediately cause us to shrug our shoulders in total bewilderment. I’d like to cheer on a Miami selection for the first time this millennium, rather than justifying the pick to your friends and co-workers, when you yourself are cursing the pick in your head.

The last seven years have been a gradual torture, each season tormenting me more and more. Can 2008 break this streak of draft ineptitude? I certainly hope so. One thing I do know - Bill Parcells is the guy to do it.

It’s finally time for this once prominent NFL franchise to begin its road back to prosperity. What Parcells and his staff decide to do is anyone’s guess. At least Dolphin fans can breathe a bit easier each time Miami (and Parcells), is on the clock.

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