Dolphins veterans puzzled by first-round selection
Posted: Thursday June 7, 2007 12:58PM; Updated: Thursday June 7, 2007 1:02PM
Zach Thomas and his wife Maritza were walking down Manhattan's Central Park South on draft day when a man on the street delivered some shocking news, early 20th century paperboy style.
"Yo, Zach, what's up, man?" the passerby asked in a concerned voice. Without waiting for an answer, he bellowed: "Ted F----- Ginn!!!" before continuing on his not-so-merry way.
The Dolphins' All-Pro linebacker wasn't positive what the man meant, but he had a sneaking suspicion that his employers, via their proxy a few blocks downtown at Radio City Music Hall, had just done something controversial with the ninth overall selection. A few minutes later Thomas's cell phone started ringing, and he and his teammates -- as well as Mel Kiper Jr., millions of TV viewers and virtually every other football fan across the globe -- began second-guessing Miami's decision to take former Ohio State receiver (full name: Theodore Ginn Jr., no F-bomb in the middle) with the bum wheel instead of ex-Notre Dame quarterback (Brady Tyler Quinn) with the golden arm.
In some players' eyes, this wasn't merely a reach -- it was proof that NFL coaches and general managers should be subject to the same drug-testing procedures as the athletes.
The Dolphins, who finally completed the long-awaited trade for almost-37-year-old Trent Green on Tuesday, clearly needed a quarterback for the future. Instead, they picked a guy who ... well, let veteran defensive tackle Vonnie Holliday tell it: "With the ninth pick they took a guy who is basically a kick returner -- a hurt kick returner. Here were are in June, and he hasn't been in camp yet. Maybe he'll come in eventually and become a better route-runner and make some plays. But I couldn't believe it then, and I can't believe it now."
Holliday's words might sound a bit strong, but his is hardly a minority opinion. Miami's best player and most vocal leader, reigning NFL defensive player of the year Jason Taylor, was similarly stunned by the pick -- not so much because he's sure Quinn will turn out to be a bigtime NFL passer (who is?), but because the whole thing seemed so illogical, especially given the potential seriousness of Ginn's sprained left foot. It didn't help that Taylor, appearing as a call-in guest on a Miami radio station minutes before the selection, had proclaimed that selecting Quinn was "a no-brainer" -- only to come off like a befuddled outsider after Roger Goodell strolled to the podium.
"You notice the commissioner kind of paused before he read the name," Taylor says. "Like even he couldn't believe it."
Neither could one prominent NFL coach with whom I spoke Wednesday. "I was really surprised," he said. " Really surprised. That's a hit-or-miss pick, at No. 9, because the foot could really be an issue."
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