Reporting Tim Kephart
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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – When Jake Long signed with the St. Louis Rams Sunday night, it ended not only his tenure at left tackle, but also completed the abysmal failure that was Bill Parcells’ time as the head of the Miami Dolphins.
Parcells’ first decision with the team was who to draft with the number one overall pick in the 2008 NFL Draft. Parcells decided he didn’t want to try to sign quarterback Matt Ryan and instead drafted left tackle Jake Long with the number one overall pick.
Parcells had a long-history of not taking quarterbacks early and his first draft was no different. Since then, Matt Ryan has helped lead the Falcons to deep runs in the playoffs. Long is no longer with the Miami Dolphins.
To be fair, Long was a Pro Bowl-caliber tackle for his first three years before breaking down over the past two years.
Past Long, the 2008 draft was a complete failure looking back at it. The Fins drafted: Phillip Merling, Chad Henne, Kendall Langford, Shawn Murphy, Jalen Parmele, Donald Thomas, Lex Hilliard, and Lionel Dotson.
Out of that group, Merling made more headlines for his off-the-field antics than on-field play. Henne was a complete disaster as the starting quarterback for the Fins and Langford left Miami for St. Louis last year. Thomas has since bounced around the league as a journeyman offensive lineman.
Parcells ran the next draft as well and out of all of his picks, only wide receiver Brian Hartline and Chris Clemons remain with the team. The biggest busts were quarterback Pat White and wide receiver Patrick Turner, neither of which made a meaningful contribution in the NFL.
The 2009 first and second-round picks, cornerbacks Vontae Davis and Sean Smith were either traded (Davis) or allowed to leave in free agency (Smith).
Out of a total of nine picks in 2009, just two picks remain with the team in 2013. Out of the nine picks in the 2008 draft, none of the players are still with the team. In other words, Parcells picked 18 players over two years and just two have stayed with a team through five years, an 11 percent success rate.
For comparison purposes, the Baltimore Ravens in 2008 drafted: quarterback Joe Flacco, running back Ray Rice, linebacker Tavares Gooden, and defensive back Tom Zbikowski with the teams’ first four picks. In 2009, Baltimore selected offensive tackle Michael Oher, linebacker Paul Kruger, and defensive back Lardarius Webb.
By the time Parcells’ had reached Miami, the game had long since passed him by as both a coach and an executive. Still, Parcells parlayed his time in Miami to a huge payday and eventually into another job as an NFL expert at ESPN.
Meantime, Miami fans are still waiting and hoping that Ireland’s big spending ways in free agency, multiple early draft picks this year, and a solid draft class last year can finally right the ship that Parcells left run aground in a sea of mediocrity.