National Football Authority

If you look at mock drafts across the web for Miami, one name has been constantly selected for the Dolphins with the No. 15 pick in the first round: Mark Ingram, running back from Alabama.

Don’t get me wrong, Mark Ingram would be a great addition to the Miami backfield. Especially since Ricky Williams and Ronnie Brown are both free agents, and the Dolphins do not know if they are coming back next season.

With that said, I couldn’t pull the trigger on Ingram because the Dolphins have a bigger need. This need is for speed and athleticism at the outside linebacker position. This is why I have the Dolphins selecting Aldon Smith from Missouri with the No. 15 pick.

This pick wasn’t a very hard one to make. Current starting right outside linebacker Tim Dobbins is 28 years old and has 2 sacks in his NFL career. Not to mention starting inside linebacker Cameron Wake is coming off a 14 sack outburst in 2010, which means that teams will start to game plan specifically to stop him in 2011.

And that is where you insert Smith. He has great athleticism, speed, and explosion from either the defensive end position in the 4-3 defense, or outside linebacker in the 3-4. He is 6’4” tall, weighs 258 pounds, and is entering the NFL after his redshirt sophomore season of college football.

His claim to fame in college football was his 2009 season. He dominated Missouri as a redshirt freshman, amassing 11.5 sacks, 64 tackles, and 19 tackles for a loss during his first full-time season as a starter. He followed that up with a 48 tackle and 5.5 sack performance in 2010. His 2010 season was slowed up by a leg injury which only allowed him to play in 10 games during his sophomore season.

If Smith were healthy during the entire 2010 season he wouldn’t be available for the Dolphins at No. 15. I can say with certainty that he would have been a top ten pick. His rare blend of speed and athleticism gives the Dolphins a threat to sack the likes of Tom Brady and Mark Sanchez on any given down in the future. And with a talent like that on their roster, the Dolphins defense will be ready to go in 2011.

March 16th, 2011

Posted In: NFL

Nathan Enderle will be an NFL quarterback. If there is one thing I took from Pro Day at the University of Idaho, it’s that the record setting signal-caller can no longer question if he will hear his name called at the NFL Draft next month.

While scouts from Cincinnati, Green Bay, Jacksonville, Kansas City, Minnesota, New York, Philadelphia and Seattle were all in attendance, it was the face of another franchise that should allow him to breathe easy.

With temperatures dipping down towards freezing, Chicago Bears Offensive Coordinator Mike Martz braved the frigid Moscow, Idaho air to spend some time one-on-one with Enderle.

Widely considered as one of the greatest offensive minds in the game, Martz’s appearance assures one thing. The question is not if, but when Enderle will be drafted. “He didn’t come here by accident,” quipped Idaho head coach Robb Akey.

Martz stood back and watched like many of the other innocent bystanders in attendance as Enderle repeated many of the drills he was put through at the NFL combine last month. However, when it was time for Enderle to start chucking the rock, the offensive mastermind was the first to emerge to the front of the pack.

Martz’s play-calling involves tempo and timing. Both were a topic of discussion as he stood close by, noticeably guiding Enderle through each throw. Early on, it appeared Martz specifically wanted to see the quarterback work a three-step drop checking his tempo and timing on “quick throws” — an area he struggled with as a senior. But with receivers running 6-yard hitches and 5-yard slants, Enderle was on point with all but one attempt.

In the end, he not only upped his stock with Chicago, but possibility another organization as well. With Pro Bowl quarterback Carson Palmer rumored to be on his way out of Cincinnati, Enderle has perked the interest of Bengals quarterback coach Ken Zampese. With Cincinnati rumored to have a private workout scheduled with Enderle, Zampese watch intently from the sidelines on Friday.

While Martz declined an interview, coach Akey was quick to elaborate on the noticeable names in attendance. “They want to see Nate throw the ball and they’re excited about him,” said Akey.

Physically, Enderle no doubt fits the mold of a professional quarterback. At 6-foot-4, 234-pounds, the Nebraska-native packs a powerful lower-half he uses to drive the ball down-field. While he doesn’t have elite arm strength, he can make every throw required of a pro-style system.

Mechanically, he is also sound. Although he tends to pat the ball before releasing it, he bends his knees in the pocket and posses the flat shoulders that promotes the accuracy coaches love to see.

In terms of experience, no one can match it. Of the top 20 rated quarterbacks in the draft, Enderle’s 1,427 career attempts are the most, and he is one of only three signal-callers to throw for more than 10,000-yards in a career. Additionally, his 74 career touchdown tosses rank second, as only he and Nevada‘s Colin Kaepernick have passes for 20-plus touchdowns in a season three times in their careers.

On top of all that, Enderle played in a pro-style offense in college, and was given free-range of calling audibles at the line of scrimmage. Mentally, he proved he can handle whatever is thrown his way.

Does all this mean Enderle is a fit for the Windy City? We’ll find out sometime between April 28-30.

Jay’s Jargon: Does Enderle fit with the Bears?

Considering the more mobile Jay Culter struggled to stay upright last season, it’s hard to imagine Enderle doing any better. While I’m a firm believer in Enderle’s ability to stretch the field and am confident his arm is better than he’s given credit for, he isn’t fleet of foot and often holds on to the ball too long.

I think Martz can relate to Enderle. Playing behind a much-maligned Vandal offensive line in 2010,
Enderle (sacked 39 times, 4th most in the NCAA) struggled to adapt after being protected by one of the best units in school history in 2009 (sacked just 20 times). In much of the same way, a sub-par Bears offensive line and Martz’s play selection of five and seven-step drops often put Cutler in harms way, the reason he was sacked a league-high 52 times last season.

With that in mind, if the Chicago Bears can stabilize their offensive line, Enderle’s junior year proves he could be a great fit for Martz’s system.

Until then, let’s face it, he wouldn’t push Cutler for playing time in the immediate future. But current Bears backup Todd Collins is almost old enough to remember the 1970 NFL-AFL merger, and they need to find a better option.

Enderle is certainly worthy of a 4th round selection, the same round the Bears stole Kyle Orton in back in 2005.

March 15th, 2011

Posted In: NFL