Dolphins' Choice Is Obvious

At this time last year, there was no need to try to predict the Dolphins' first-round pick because Jake Long already had been signed, sealed and delivered. It's no so easy this time with the Dolphins having to settle for the 25th overall selection instead of the No. 1 choice. Maybe Bill Parcells' past can offer some insight into what the Dolphins will do.

As all Dolphins fans know, Parcells currently is with his fifth NFL team — the Giants, Patriots, Jets and Cowboys preceded the Dolphins — and this will be his 21st draft.

Looking back at Parcells' first-round picks through the years, it's clear a pattern emerges. Keep in mind that former Giants GM George Young had final say in some of those drafts in New York, although it's safe to assume Parcells' voice was heard nonetheless.

Given that wide receiver is a major need for the Dolphins this year, it's already been pointed out that Parcells teams have drafted only two wide receivers in the first round: Mark Ingram by the Giants in 1987, Terry Glenn by New England in 1996.

But let's go beyond that fact and really break down Parcells' drafts.

We'll start with the ratio of offensive and defensive players. In Parcells' 21 drafts, he has had 19 first-round picks (two in 1987, but none in 1998, 1999 and 2004). Considering Parcells' reputation is as a defensive coach, it might come as a surprise that only 10 of his No. 1 picks were spent on defensive players, compared to nine for offense.

Breaking it down by position, another trend emerges. The 19 first-round picks are divided up like this: 5 linebackers (including college defensive ends who were converted to 3-4 OLBs); 4 offensive linemen; 3 defensive backs; 2 running backs, wide receivers and defensive lineman; and 1 quarterback, Drew Bledsoe selected by New England first overall in 1993.

Next we look at the conferences Parcells' picks came from. Being that he likes hard-nosed, physical football, it's only logical the Big Ten would dominate the list and, boy, do they ever.

Of the 19 Parcells first-round picks, nine (almost half) came from the Big Ten. The next conference on the list is the SEC with three, followed by the ACC and the Pac-10 with two apiece.

Last but not least, we look at schools. Tops on the list is Ohio State with three Parcells' first-round picks: Glenn, tackle William Roberts in 1987 and linebacker Bobby Carpenter in 2006. The only other schools with more than one are Michigan and Michigan State.

So if we're going by history, it becomes obvious who the Dolphins' first-round pick this year will be.

Just remember the numbers: Defense, linebacker, Big Ten, Ohio State. Yes, according to the Parcells trend, the pick will be James Laurinaitis.

And it fits, too. Laurinaitis is a clear first-round talent, he's totally the type of player Parcells likes, he probably will be available at No. 25, and he would fill the need for a big-play inside linebacker.

It's too easy.

To find out more about Laurinaitis before the Dolphins pick him, check out this Q&A he did with NFL analyst Ed Thompson.

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