Couple of steals

The news around Dolphins camp has been mostly negative in recent weeks, whether it be the Ricky Williams retirement, the David Boston injury or the unsettled quarterback situation. But, yes, shockingly enough, there has been some good news as well. It looks, as of now, like the Dolphins had themselves a pretty good 2004 draft.

In fact, as it stands right now, we project five of the six draft picks to make the active roster — Vernon Carey, Will Poole, Tony Bua, Rex Hadnot and Derrick Pope.

We're thinking seventh-round pick Tony Pape will get cut, but perhaps might resurface on the practice squad.

But of the other five, the Dolphins look like they got a couple of real players in Poole and Pope.

Start with Poole, the guy has been nothing short of awesome in camp. You probably have read by now how every day he makes a big play in practice.

It's legit, folks. This guy is a playmaker. He is everything that Jamar Fletcher was not.

This guy can cover, he's not afraid to hit, and he's a real ball-hawk.

Right now, his role is as dime back, but we're going to tell you he'll replace Reggie Howard as the nickel back before too long.

Dolphins defensive coordinator Jim Bates and secondary Mel Phillips both have said they can't recall a cornerback around these parts who has picked up things and progressed as quickly as this guy.


As for Pope, he's already penciled in to be the backup middle linebacker behind Zach Thomas.

He's another guy who has picked things up very quickly. He also can hit.

The only thing he lacks is great size. In fact, he looks more like a halfback than a linebacker, but he looks like a player nonetheless.

Pope should be a big factor on special teams, and the case might be the same with Bua. He's another undersized linebacker who likes to hit and can run.

If there is one worry about the draft class, it's the progress of Vernon Carey, who hasn't been overly impressive thus far.

Offensive line coach Tony Wise said recently that he would pencil in veteran John St. Clair as the starting right tackle and Coach Dave Wannstedt has suggested Carey could be moved to guard if he can't beat out St. Clair and the Dolphins feel he's one of their five best linemen.

That's debatable right now, even with Greg Jerman and Taylor Whitley failing to impress anyone at right guard.

Clearly, the jury is still out on Carey, who has expressed confidence that once the games start, he'll be able to show his real value.

Would be nice. It might add the finishing touches on what looks like a very good draft for GM Rick Spielman.

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