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Quality vs. Quantity

Posted by Albert Breer  April 18, 2010 10:47 AM

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Ginn.jpgTouched on this at the bottom of my Sunday Notes, and I think it's worth hitting on again: The 2007 Dolphins draft shows just how little having picks can mean, because it's easy to screw it up.

The Ted Ginn trade underscored that this week.

Ginn, the ninth pick in 2009, went to San Francisco for a fifth-round selection. Miami's first second-round pick that year, John Beck (41st overall), was cut last summer. The other second-round pick, C Samson Satele (60th overall), was dealt for a sixth-round pick. And the club's third-round pick in 2007, Lorenzo Booker (71st overall), was dealt two years ago for a fourth-round pick.

So the Dolphins had four of the top 71 picks in 2007, and wound up with fourth-, fifth- and sixth-round picks for their trouble. Pretty stunning. Miami did get nose tackle Paul Soliai, who subbed for Jason Ferguson last year, but he and punter Brandon Fields are the only players left from that draft for Miami.

Similarly, the Patriots have just one pick, albeit a good one in Brandon Meriweather, left from 2007. Yes, they got Wes Welker and Randy Moss by trading picks in that draft, which is huge but does not have anything to do with identifying and selecting the right players. In other words, it's not like they said, "Well, we've got Welker and Moss, so let's put this thing on autopilot and call it a day."

Harris1 - internet 300x396.jpgOverall, New England and Miami (which was under different management) had 19 selections in 2007. That only three are left of those is pretty incredible, and it works against the argument that stockpiling picks is the way to go.

The Jets used quite a different approach, even while getting their own veteran skill-position stud (Thomas Jones) with some of that capital. They traded first-, second-, and fifth-round picks to get in position to take Darrelle Revis 14th overall. They dealt second-, third-, and sixth-round selections to get into the 47th slot, where they selected David Harris. As a result, New York had just four selections in 2007 -- the other two were Jacob Bender (cut in 2008) and Chansi Stuckey (a nice player who was a chip in the Braylon Edwards trade).

Still, Revis was the best defensive player in football in 2009 and Harris was named All-Pro. Bottom line: The Jets identified players they saw as difference-makers and aggressively moved to get them. Today, they have the same number of position players out of that draft that the Dolphins and Patriots have combined, despite having four picks instead of nine or 10.

Why do I raise the point? Because I think the Patriots need difference-makers -- and not rank-and-file roster guys -- out of this draft. So it'll be interesting to see their approach to making sure they get them.
News, analysis and commentary from Boston.com's staff writers and contributors, including Zuri Berry and Erik Frenz.

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