The Case for Cody

We're still a week away from the annual scouting combine in Indianapolis and more than two months from the 2010 NFL draft, but that doesn't mean it's too early to start discussing and dissecting prospects who might look good in a Dolphins uniform. In this installment, we examine Alabama defensive tackle Terrance Cody.

Let's start with the obvious, which is that the Dolphins have a significant need for a nose tackle this offseason.

It would be great if they could pry Vince Wilfork away from New England, but the likelihood that he won't be re-signed by the Patriots or hit with the franchise tag is microscopic.

San Francisco's Aubrayo Franklin might have been a good second option, but he's going to get franchised if he's not re-signed to a long-term deal.

Get the picture? Nose tackles are very hard to find and teams that have a good one aren't going to let them get away.

The Dolphins had a very good nose tackle last year in Jason Ferguson, but his season was cut short because of a quad injury sustained in the Week 11 victory at Carolina.

Ferguson is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent come March 5 and it would make sense for the Dolphins to re-sign him. But Ferguson is 35 years old and he's talked about the possibility of retiring.

Even if he comes back, the Dolphins need to find a better backup/successor than Paul Soliai, who for all his physical gifts has never shown the consistency to become an effective NFL player.

Hence the need for a nose tackle.

Enter Terrance Cody.

Look at all the draft lists ranking prospects, and you generally won't find Cody among the top five defensive tackles. Rather, he'll be behind guys like Ndamukong Suh, Gerald McCoy, Dan Williams, Brian Price and Jared Odrick.

But when it comes to pure nose tackles, there's nobody better than Cody.

Alabama's defense, which led the way to a national championship in 2009, features a lot of good NFL prospects — Rolando McClain, Kareem Jackson and Javier Arenas, to name three — but don't think for a second that Cody didn't make everybody's job easier by occupying two blockers on every snap he was on the field.

There's a reason Alabama didn't allow a 100-yard rusher in Cody's two seasons at the school.

The man is a fabulous run stopper, obviously helped by the fact he's huge.

In fact, the knock on him is that he's too big. He showed up at the Senior Bowl weighing 370 pounds and NFL scouts would like him a little leaner.

The concern is that because of his weight he'll wear out in the NFL, something we saw happen at times with Keith Traylor when he played nose for the Dolphins.

There's also a knock on Cody that he's one-dimensional and that he'll only help a team on run downs. And the problem with that is ...?

It's simple, you can't have a good 3-4 defense without a good nose tackle. So what if Cody comes off the field on third downs? His addition would make a huge difference for the Dolphins' defense.

The weight issue probably is overblown, too. Come on, you don't think there are many 370-pound nose tackles in the NFL right now? Check out Casey Hampton — who, by the way, is another free agent nose tackle likely to be tagged by his team. If he's not 370, he's not far.

Besides, it probably wouldn't be that difficult get Cody down a few pounds.

The question now is to go about getting Cody. The Dolphins pick 12th in the first round and then have the 43rd overall pick. If Cody is there at 43, this pick is an absolute no-brainer.

The problem is that Cody is expected to be drafted somewhere between 12 and 43, which means the Dolphins either spend their first-round pick on him or probably have to forget about him.

Here's a great scenario for the Dolphins: They trade down from the 12th overall pick to, say, somewhere around number 25, pick Cody and then get an additional pick or two in the process.

Cody at number 12? That clearly would be seen as a major reach. Then again, the Steelers picked Hampton 19th overall in 2001, and that's worked out pretty well for them. So who knows?

The bottom line is we'd love to see the Dolphins get Cody and their defense would be much better with him in the lineup.

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