I apologize to non-football fans for this posting which originally ran on NFL.com If you’re brave enough to read this anyway just know Ted Ginn Jr. is the Sarah Palin of football players, an incompetent who never should have been put in the position to fail so spectacularly.
After a disappointing year the Miami Dolphins have an early first round pick. Though there is no consensus of who the Dolphins should pick, there is a superstar offensive player fans are hoping might drop into their team. Yes, we could be talking about 2010 where the Miami Dolphins have the #12 pick. In honor of wide receiver Ted Ginn Jr being traded to the 49ers for a fifth round pick, let’s look way back to 2007 and see what lessons can be learned when the Dolphins were in a similar position and picked Ginn nineth overall. For as George W. Bush once said, “Those who do not learn from history ain’t too good at school.”
Character counts, but not above talent.
When fans booed the selection of Ohio State wide receiver Ted Ginn Jr. , Dolphins coach Cam Cameron justified the pick by making it a ten for one deal. “We drafted the Ginn family,” Cameron said. “Ted Ginn and his family will give us everything they have.” Ted Ginn’s father does seem to be a benevolent man who’s dedicated his life to opening a public school in Cleveland for at-risk boys. And perhaps his charity and good will toward man rubbed off on his son, but those qualities don’t necessarily translate as a positive on the football field. Most fans would love to root for law abiding citizens, but that doesn’t stop us from preferring victories and talent above all else.
The one who got away, you might want to keep away.
Much of the Dolfans disgust with the Ginn selection was that Notre Dame quarterback, Brady Quinn, was there ripe for the picking. Miami desperately needed a quarterback and there was a stud used to running a big time pro style offense available. But calling Quinn a bust so far would be a generous description. The Cleveland Browns selected him twenty-second overall and in three years passed for 1,902 yards with 10 touchdowns and nine interceptions.
This year Oklahoma State wide receiver Dez Bryant seems to be the can’t miss pick who could fall into our laps. Bryant was suspended for the 2009 season by the NCAA for lying about hanging out with former NFL star Deion Sanders. This could be a red flag that more trouble could be at hand with Bryant. Of course he could also be the next Randy Moss, a player who doesn’t follow the rules but somehow sets NFL records along the way.
Don’t create a need just to fill it.
In 2006 the Miami Dolphins’ most exciting player was Wes Welker. He returned every kickoff close to the 40 yard line with his sneaky blazing speed. We then traded him to New England for a second and seventh round pick where he’s established himself as a most valuable player candidate. Ginn was supposed to replace Welker as our receiver/return extrordinaire. We’ll ask San Francisco fans in a year how he fits that role.
Flashforward to 2010. Defensive linebacker Jason Taylor moves to our archrival New York Jets. Calls are being made to pick Derrick Morgan, defensive end from Georgia Tech. We need a pass rusher. How silly is that considering we just had one?
Don’t pick someone in the first round, you can grab in the second.
One of the most confounding things about the Ginn selection was most draft evaluators figured we could have had him in the second round. Cam Cameron and Randy Mueller thought history would validate their selection, it hasn’t. If most prognosticators place a player going in a later round chances are he will still be there in that later round.
Don’t overstate the importance of the draft.
In spite of Ginn’s many failings (his inability to catch the ball, his tendency to run out of bounds to avoid contact) he was still a cog in that great division winning 2008 Dolphins team. In 2008 in spite of many draft blunders the Dolphins were still able to put together a team through free agency, late round picks, and smart coaching that could compete with anyone.
Just look at the Super Bowl winning New Orleans Saints. They captured quarterback Drew Brees and defensive linebackers Jonathan Vilma and Scott Fujita from free agency. Starting running back Pierre Thomas was an undrafted free agent and number one receiver Marques Colston was picked in the seventh round. Only Reggie Bush was an early first round pick by the Saints and he wasn’t even a starter.
Bush was supposed to be a one of a kind talent. His propensity to fumble and get injured made him seem like a Ginnesque bust. This past year being surrounded by a great team, his career was revived as he could focus solely on returns and being a change of pace back. Could a similar fate be in store for Mr. Ginn? Fortunately Dolphin fans will soon have a new first round pick to worry about instead.