By Tom E. CurranThe Miami Dolphins reside in that NFL middle class that seems impossible for some teams to escape. They've won 7, 7, 11, 1, 6, 9, 4, 10, 9 and 11 games in the past decade. They're a nice enough team with a smart enough coach and, aside from Brandon Marshall (who recently got pin-cushioned by his wife - allegedly) no real stars. Their 2011 draft didn't change that. For all the agitating about the Dolphins needing a new quarterback or an improved running game, Miami wasn't positioned to take either with their first pick (No. 15) so they took Florida offensive lineman Mike Pouncey. Good, safe pick, although if Pouncey is installed at center he needs to improve his current penchant for snapping the ball all over the map when he's in the shotgun. Miami did get aggressive in the second round, trading up to 62 to take Kansas State running back Daniel Thomas, a 6-foot, 230-pounder. The Dolphins gave up a third, a fifth and a seventh to move up 17 spots. For his size, he's surprisingly fast and elusive and is a smart pick since Ronnie Brown's a would-be free agent. Miami came back in the fourth and took a wideout, 6-0, 192-pound Edmund Gates. A really interesting prospect from Division II Abilene Christian, he runs in the 4.3s and is - at 25 - seen as a mature, diligent, high-effort player who has great ability to go and get the ball. He doesn't have the experience against better competition yet and the lockout could impact him for 2011, though, since he'll need a fair amount of seasoning. The Dolphins rounded it out with an H-Back project named Charles Clay (179), a nose tackle from Alabama A&M named Frank Kearse (231) and a cornernamed Jimmy Wilson (235) from Montana who spent two years in jail on a murder charge for shooting his aunt's boyfriend. His first trial ended in a hung jury; the second in acquital. Miami did a thorough mining of Wilson's background, according to GM Jeff Ireland. SUMMARY: Nothing here that indicates to me the Dolphins are about to leave the middle class. Gates may make them more electric; Thomas is well thought of... I dunno. Hard to get awestruck by a draft that yields a center who has a hard time snapping the football. They told Patriots' third-rounder Ryan Mallett they'd draft him but never got around to it. Mediocre. TE, RB, QB, Wanna think wideout a bit
After eight playoff-less seasons with the Rams, Chris Long came to his father's hometown town -- the Patriots -- in 2016 with one goal: To win a championship. And he did, even though he wasn't an every-down player for the first time in his career.
Now his goal is to play regularly again. So he's headed to the city where his father played collegiately -- Philadelphia -- to try and make that happen.
Long, 32, the son of Pro Football Hall of Famer Howie Long (a Charlestown native and Villanova product), signed a two-year contract with the Eagles Tuesday:
I'm ready to work!!! #FlyEaglesFly— Chris Long (@JOEL9ONE) March 28, 2017
CSN Philly reports that Long isn't guaranteed a starting job on the Eagles' defensive line, but will be a valuable addition in any case:
The Eagles had a definite need -- and likely still do -- at defense end following the departure of Connor Barwin. . . . This signing doesn't mean Long will come in and start. The Eagles still have Brandon Graham and Vinny Curry under contract. But, at the very least, this is a depth signing to bring in a veteran locker room presence, like the one they lost when Barwin left.
Long had four sacks and 10 quarterback hits in 16 games for New England and was an integral part of a defense that allowed an NFL-low 250 points.
The New England Patriots first took a stand against domestic violence in 1996, when Myra Kraft, wife of Patriots owner Robert Kraft, convinced the team to release recent draftee Christian Peter, who had four convictions for assaulting women while playing at the University of Nebraska.
That stand continues to this day.
Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald reported Wednesday that Robert Kraft said the team will not draft Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon, who was seen on video punching a woman in the face in 2014. He was suspended by the Sooners for a season because of the incident.
The Herald quoted Kraft as saying: “While I believe in second chances and giving players an opportunity for redemption, I also believe that playing in the NFL is a privilege, not a right. For me, personally, I believe that privilege is lost for men who have a history of abusing women.”
The Dolphins have also said they won't draft Mixon, who is the most talented running back availabile in the draft. The Pats could soon be looking for help at the position, as James White and Dion Lewis are both in the final years of their contracts and they signed Rex Burkhead to just a one-year deal.
But Mixon won't be the answer to those problems.