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Diamonds in the Rough: Team Building in the CAP Era

Diamonds in the Rough: Team Building in the CAP Era

Godchaux is a prime example of getting good production from low cost additions

Godchaux is a prime example of getting good production from low cost additions

Diamonds in the rough: Cost effective depth is key to healthy CAPs

Despite the record, the Miami Dolphins found some real diamonds in the rough this past season. Low cost players who are key to the team’s future success.  The Phins FO took all sorts of heat for their screw ups this season… and rightly so. But despite the big letdown of 2017, you must remain objective… if you want to see a situation clearly. And thus I’m here to point out some of the good news from 2017 …there actually is some.

PhinsNews Flash!:  FO graded “excellent” in back-end acquisitions

PhinsNews defines our “diamonds-in-the-rough” as cost effective acquisitions that made solid, even notable, contributions. Our list of such 2017 “gems” include:

  • Jesse Davis
  • Chase Allen
  • Stephone Anthony
  • Cameron Malveaux
  • Davon Godchaux
  • Vincent Taylor
  • Cody Parks
  • Jake Brendel
  • Sam Young

Are there any pro-bowl players in that list? At the moment, no. However, building a good team requires much more than just a hand-full of “stars”. It begins and ends with a solid foundation built on quality, cost effective depth.  In the CAP era, the only proven way to achieve this is through low-priced, productive acquisitions. In total, all of the above listed players made less than $7mill …roughly the equivalent of Jullius Thomas’ salary alone! Now ask yourself this question.

Who produced more “bang for the buck”?

While Brendel is unsigned and Young is a Free Agent, the rest of these players will likely be on the Phins roster in 2018. That’s a good thing–especially if they can rinse and repeat with another good crop of inexpensive–but quality–additions.

Let’s put the magnifying glass on some of these “diamonds”

With 5th & 6th Round Picks plus a UDFA, the Dolphins acquired Godchaux, Taylor, and Malveaux, respectively. In all, they contributed 63 tackles, 1 sack, and 1 forced fumble in 799 defensive snaps for a total of $1.76 million. By comparison, Ndamukong Suh had 48 tackles, 4.5 sacks, and 2 forced fumbles in 883 defensive snaps for a price tag of 26.1 mill. Obviously, A LOT of what these three were able to do came about because of Suh. But then consider the cost per tackle produced in this light:

“diamonds'” 63 tackles @ $28K each vs. Suh’s 48 tackles @ $504k each!

Moreover, this same level of production wasn’t there in 2016 with Earl Mitchell, Leon Orr, Julius Warmsley, Chris Jones, and Mario Williams who in 974 snaps had the production of 29 tackles and 1.5 sacks… for about $12mill. Consider the comparison of 2016 to 2017: 2247 rush yards allowed and a 30th ranking compared to 1768 rush yards allowed and a 14th ranking. Our “diamonds in the rough” played a large part in that improvement.


NFL1000 SCOUTS has Taylor ranked #77 DT overall, stating: “The rookie is a quality rotational piece”; Godchaux #36, “He’s difficult to move on double-teams once he gets a hold of the point man, as he demonstrates diverse block-destruction ability”. Compare that to Jordan Phillips, the former 2nd Round pick, ranked at #56. Much better value from the “diamond-in-the-rough” compared to the latter… at least at this point.

I think Phillips will take another step forward in 2018 and get closer to his potential. But either way, per head sportsbook see Godchaux as a steal and a prime example of a “diamond in the rough”

Good things happen when you nail the ‘diamonds-in-the-rough’

Though Malveaux didn’t rank in the top 75 in his position, I’d like to focus on him. He came off the practice squad late and is a bit of an ‘unknown soldier’ to some Fin Fans. I have a feeling that may change in 2018. I’m not saying Malveaux will have a John Randle like rise from obscurity, but his presence will be noticed far more this coming season.

Compare Malveaux to Tampa’s Ryan Russel, #75 on the aforementioned ranking of Defensive Ends, with 456 snaps in 7 starts. Russel, a 5th round pick in his 3rd year posted 17 tackles and 2 sacks in 2017. Malveaux had only 107 snaps with zero starts posting 5 tackles and 1 sack. That’s 26/1 for Russel and 21/1 for Malveaux, numbers we like.

Malveaux’s Pro Day / Personal Workouts numbers were recorded as such:

40 time: 4.69 / Vert 37.5 / Broad 10.5 / Short Shuttle 4.67 / 3-cone 7.51 sec

Yeah, private times are almost always a little better than they are at the combine, but these are nothing to sneeze at for a guy Malveaux’s size–even if a bit padded.

When you watch film on this “diamond”, the potential is undeniable.

At 23yrs old and 6’5” 276, Malveaux’s a big man with room to grow. His strength and effort is outstanding, and despite his size, he flashes a bit with his speed and agility.

Run defense is where Malveaux (jersey #75) excels as his strength overwhelms his opponents. But his athletic talent makes him more than just a big lug.

Malveaux’s strength also translates into his pass rush. Despite his limited snaps, he applies a fair amount of pressure. At the moment, he’s a one-trick, bull-rush pony. The last play in this clip is impressive as he sacks Tyrod Taylor one-on-one in a roll-out boot. He didn’t bite… nice job.

Of course, everything isn’t gravy in his game. While Malveaux’s strength seems a cure-all in run defense, when faced with quality technique, backed by a strong pass blocker, his pass rush gets neutralized. But he’s still a young buck and there’s plenty of time.


Given the fact that he came to the roster without the expenditure of a pick for half a million in cap space, this is one of several winning moves that gave Miami a much improved, quality, situational and rotational DL than it had in 2016.

The FO gets a thumbs-up on defensive line acquisitions in 2017

If you add in draft toppers Harris, McMillan and Tankersly, that’s six quality defensive players acquired who will likely be on the roster in 2018… not bad indeed.

BUT… but… as competent as Miami was in their small-ball moves, they did poorly in their big purchases: resigning Alonzo and Bushrod, then acquiring Cutler, Thomas, and Timmons.

On a good note, it was mostly Chris Grier and his staff that identified the good additions, and mostly Mike Tannenbum and Adam Gase who were responsible for the bad moves. The key to this regime and the Phins future will be can Gase and Tannebaum learn from their mistakes, and can Grier replicate his success? Less than a month untill that evaluation begins. Go Phins!!!


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  • Steve

    How well the Organization listens is key!

    Our failure has been let’s do it our way. WHICH CRASH AND BURNED EACH SEASON.

    1. Let’s not plan to have a serious back up QB that can win. But let’s make sure we have a Backup that will not be a threat i.e Any position.




    A question that Stephen Ross should asked his own staffing.

    What do we need to win, don’t say what he what’s to here. A dress the issues.

    The Eagles did not planned one running back but 3 prime time backs and i.e. etc. Positions to succeed.

    • admin

      Yes men are bad… but yes men usually only get 3 years… Eagles are well run. Us, it appears, not so much.

      • William

        Phins scouting system is screwy. They can repeatedly find RBs and DLs in the bottom rounds but can’t find OL anywhere but the top. Even there, with 3 first round picks, we’re still struggling. You’d think Grier would recognize this and fix it. But he’s a product of the scouting system himself. It needs an overhaul led by an outsider, and it needs it now.

        • admin

          You’d think… I was ready somewhere that over the course of his time with the Pats he has drafted, and signed over 500 DB’s and they consistently have a bad group aside from the studs they had before he arrived. Guess everyone has there blind spots…. sucks that the OL is ours..

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