The Spielman scorecard

Rick Spielman left the Dolphins on Friday after five seasons, including one when he was in charge of the team's personnel decisions. So what kind of job did Spielman do during his time with the Dolphins?

That Spielman leaves after the worst season in franchise history -- technically 4-12 is better than Miami's 3-11 finish of 1966 but the circumstances made 2004 much worse -- doesn't reflect very well on him.

And a lot of the major personnel moves the Dolphins made in 2004 haven't panned out as of yet. The most glaring was the trade of a second-round pick to Philadelphia for quarterback A.J. Feeley, a former third-stringer with the Eagles who struggled last season and will enter this year battling veteran Gus Frerotte for the starting job.

Then there was trading up one spot in the first round of the 2004 draft, at the cost of a fourth-round choice, to select offensive lineman Vernon Carey, who spent his rookie season as a backup despite the struggles of the offensive line.

Those were the two major mistakes -- at least, they are so far.

A lot of people also took issue with the trade of holdout defensive end Adewale Ogunleye to Chicago for wide receiver Marty Booker and a third-round pick.

We happen to like Booker, so we're calling that one a wash at worst. Remember, Ogunleye didn't exactly do a whole lot in Chicago last year once he was away from Jason Taylor.

Trading a No. 3 pick to St. Louis for running back Lamar Gordon looked like a need move at the time because Ricky Williams had left the Dolphins in a lurch, but Gordon had a history of injuries before coming in and, sure enough, he was gone for the season after the third game of 2004. Now, Gordon is an afterthought after the drafting of Ronnie Brown -- and an expensive one at that.

Spielman deserves credit for the selection of cornerback Will Poole in the fourth round last year because Poole has the look of a big-time player if he can bounce back from the knee injury that probably will cost him the 2005 season.

Spielman also scored with the seventh-round selection of linebacker Derrick Pope, who had an impressive rookie year.

It was former head coach Dave Wannstedt who called the shots before last year, but Spielman had input nonetheless and unfortunately the Dolphins' drafting wasn't that impressive.

The Dolphins had some nice picks in WR Chris Chambers and TE Randy McMichael, but missed badly on premium picks like CB Ben Kelly (3rd round), CB Jamar Fletcher (1st) and G Taylor Whitley (3rd), and the jury is still out on 2003 second-round pick Eddie Moore, who was the team's top pick despite bigger needs than another linebacker.

Since Wannstedt and Spielman came to Miami, things got progressively worse for the Dolphins, which doesn't really say much for either one.

In Spielman's case, his legacy in Miami will be negative unless either Feeley or Carey develops into a quality starter. And that's looking particularly good right now.


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