To understand what Parcells will do with the No.1 pick, you have to first understand the man and his background in player procurement. Working in personnel with five NFL teams over the past 23 years, I've gotten to know Parcells pretty well. He has been a mentor of sorts to me. While I was with the Eagles and Parcells with the Jets in 1998, we made a trade with New York for defensive end
Parcells is a man that does not have much patience and has his own timetable for events to occur, so after a day of the Eagles not being able to get an extension with Douglas, he told me in a stern voice that I knew was no bluff: "When I get back from dinner tonight, we either have a deal or I will never trade Hugh to Philadelphia.'' So, before he could put his napkin on his lap for his meal, we called him back and finalized the deal for Douglas ... without the extension we needed.
So how does that story relate to today? Parcells won't let the crazy money at the top of the draft dictate what he's going to do with the first pick. He is not going to wish and hope to sign the guy he picks on draft day. I think Parcells knows exactly who he wants to pick and he knows exactly what he wants to pay for that pick. (He also knows he can't trade the pick, but more about that later.)
Parcells' potential player pool is small and it's not that difficult to know what direction he may be headed. No matter what team logo he wears on his shirt, his personnel philosophy are all Giants-based from his time working and building those championship teams in the eighties. The term we use in the scouting industry is the Giants were a size/speed team. The Giants were very big on defense, football smart and tough at every position.
Miami will exclusively look for players that have the size and speed requirements that Parcells has set for each position, setting a blueprint of what they will become. Also, his players in Miami had better love football and be willing to work at getting better during the season and especially in the offseason. (How's
I believe Bill's course of action during draft week will be for him to call the agents for his top four or five players. He will swear those agents to secrecy; Parcells hates loose lips in his organization. Miami will call agent
What the fans don't know about the backroom dynamics of the draft is that most agents are more interested in bragging about big deals to next year's recruiting class than they are in getting a deal done today. I say most agents because one of them, Demoff, is a sort of lion in winter, a veteran agent who doesn't sully himself in the recruiting wars and likely won't care very much about what other agents say about him. That could give
Miami will present offers to all the potential picks -- probably one after another, with deadlines for each agent -- based on a percentage of increase (anywhere from 3 to 10 percent) of the 2007
Parcells will use every means necessary to make sure his message is getting accurately delivered to each player. For Jake Long, it would not surprise me if fellow Michigan alum
So why don't the Dolphins just trade the pick? That's a very fair question, especially considering the last time the Big Tuna had the first pick in the draft with the Jets, he was able to make a few trades and acquire an extra first-round pick. An extra first-rounder for the talent poor Dolphins would be a welcome addition. But the draft today and the draft of 1997 are worlds apart. Back then you could move around in the top 10 of the draft, you could trade picks and shuffle your hand. In 1986, when I was with
But today's drafts are a far more complicated enterprise then the ones in '86 and '97. Having held two top-five picks in the last five years with the Oakland Raiders, our phone never rang with calls of interest, only calls asking, "What are you going to do?" The pick is like a hot potato, no one wants to be left holding it. As Colts president
My educated guess and research tells me that Jake Long will be the first pick. He gives the Dolphins size, speed and toughness, the key traits Parcells has used to build teams from East Rutherford to Dallas. Jake Long fills a huge need for Miami at right tackle, assuming he's willing to play ball with Miami on the contract, which I think he will do.
Without a quality offensive line, it's hard for any team to evaluate the skill positions correctly and all of Parcells' teams have been well-stocked and highly talented in the offensive line. This pick begins the rebuilding process in Miami and firmly establishes the direction of the new administration.
If Parcells thinks the offensive Long wants too much money or Condon won't talk before the draft, then I expect Chris Long to be next in line. He fits the Parcells profile -- a never-say-die kid with position versatility, a great football pedigree and a player who won't be ruled by money. Both Longs are Parcells guys who would be good cornerstones for the new Dolphins.