Barry Jackson

Veteran NFL personnel executives assess wisdom of the Miami Dolphins’ plan for rebuild

Over the past two days, we’ve gathered feedback from Jimmy Johnson and ESPN analyst and former Redskins and Eagles pro personnel director Louis Riddick for insight on what the Dolphins are doing.

In today’s piece, we solicit input from three people who have been NFL general managers and a scout. Their thoughts:

Former Tampa Bay general manager Mark Dominik, who hosts a show on Sirius XM Radio, didn’t like the Laremy Tunsil trade for this reason:

“I like coach [Brian] Flores a lot,” Dominik said by phone. “I know he means what he’s saying in terms of not tanking. But you just told the locker room something completely different by trading Tunsil. I understand when the Texans offer more and more [that it’s tempting for Dolphins general manager Chris Grier] but I don’t know if it’s worth what message it sends to your team. You’ve told your team that this year doesn’t matter. To me, it’s a lose/lose [trade]. The Texans gave up too much. And finding a quality left tackle is not easy. The world is littered with left tackles who are not good enough.”

Dominik indicates this Dolphins plan is far from foolproof.

“Everyone says they have all this ammunition to get a quarterback. OK, what if Jacoby Brissett and the Colts go 2-14 and the Dolphins go 3-13? Doesn’t matter if you have the collateral if the team in front of you needs a quarterback. 0-16 is so hard to do. I know we traded a second-round pick for Josh Rosen, but he’s not good enough to start? I continue to see a team that says we’re rebuilding. Where does the rebuild start and stop? I’m confused. And [owner Stephen] Ross has shown he’s not been patient.”

One longtime NFL front office executive who requested anonymity said he understands what the Dolphins are doing but adds: “At the end of the year, it’s going to be difficult to evaluate Brian Flores. If they win five games, he will be coach of the year. What you want to know as an owner is what you have in a head coach and your quarterback. How can you fairly judge the job Brian does or Josh Rosen? [With their talent], how do you even know if he’s the best coach for the job?

“They got a significant premium on Tunsil, but they need to use one of those picks to get a young athletic left tackle, which is hard to find. You hope to get a player of his quality and that’s a lot to ask. Even beyond quarterback, they still need offensive linemen, need pressure players. They have a lot of holes. I would be concerned about [Alabama quarterback Tua] Tagovailoa’s build. Can he withstand rigors of a 16-game schedule?”

Conversely, former Redskins and Texans general manager Charley Casserley, now with NFL Network, said he likes what Miami is doing.

“I think there is no exact comparison but the Browns dismantled their roster, gathered a ton of picks and are now a contender with a franchise quarterback,” he said. “This can work. I have a lot of faith in Chris Grier and Brian Flores. Will they be given the time to see this through?

“I don’t think they had any intention of trading Tunsil until they got two ones and a two. It’s hard to turn that down, and you might be in last place with him. I’m not sure how many others they traded that would have contributed. It will be a tough year [but] they are on the right track. Maybe this approach can get them out of that rut.”

Former NFL scout and ESPN analyst Matt Williamson, now a Pittsburgh talk show host whose opinion we’ve always respected, said this Dolphins roster is worse than the Cleveland teams that went 0-16 and 1-15 a couple of years ago, noting that those Browns teams were competitive.

For the Dolphins this season, “going 0-16 is certainly possible,” Williamson said. “If 2.5 [wins] was their over under, I would take the under. I don’t know how they get to three wins. It’s definitely the worst roster in the league. It’s the worst offensive line. I don’t know how you evaluate Josh Rosen or any skill guys if you can’t block anyone. It makes the evaluation process more difficult. They’ve got some pieces in Xavien Howard and Minkah Fitzpatrick, but they need close to everything.

“Michael Deiter is the only one of their offensive linemen that could be longterm starter. I will take the Browns [0-16] roster over this [Dolphins roster]. To me, Cleveland was not a zero win team. They were highly competitive in a lot of their games. If not for Hue Jackson, they might have been 4-12.”

Here’s my Friday piece on the Dolphins’ newest veteran signing and the wonderful rise of Sam Eguavoen.

Here’s my six-pack of Friday UM notes.

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