Good move or not?

The Dolphins dove into the supplemental draft pool for the first time in franchise history on Thursday when they selected USC DT Manuel Wright in the fifth round. The question now is whether the Dolphins wasted a pick in next year's draft or got themselves a steal.

We'll say this for new head coach Nick Saban, he's not afraid to take chances. And he apparently isn't one of those coaches who's looking for squeaky-clean guys.

We say this because published reports indicate Wright was arrested in April of 2003 on three misdemeanor charges, including assault with a deadly weapon.

That might not be that significant in itself, but is worth mentioning a few days after Randy McMichael's weekend arrest in Georgia.

In terms of football player, everyone seems to agree that Wright has loads of potential, but the jury is still out on whether he'll ever fully achieve it.

He was a backup his two years at USC, although playing behind Mike Patterson and Shaun Cody is nothing to be ashamed of.

There are a lot of question marks surrounding Wright, from his ability to maintain his weight, to his work ethic, to his consistency, to his bad performance in the bench press during his workout for pro scouts last week.

But there's also a lot to like. The guy has great size (6-6, 329), is a tremendous athlete and just toys with offensive linemen at times (just ask Oklahoma, against whom he had 2.5 tackles for loss in last January's Orange Bowl).

The big key to the selection of Wright was where the Dolphins got him. Earlier reports had suggested Wright might be drafted as high as the third round, and that would have been too high a pick to give up for someone with so many questions as Wright.

But surrendering a fifth-round choice in next year's draft isn't nearly as significant. If Wright doesn't pan out, it will not have cost the Dolphins that much.

It's like last year's David Boston trade. No, the Dolphins didn't get anything out of him in 2004, but all they gave up was a sixth-round choice -- and sixth-round choices don't generally become major contributors in the NFL.

So from this vantage point it appears the Dolphins made the Wright move on Thursday, in more ways than one.


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