Draft bounty makes Mueller’s ouster a mixed bag

By Hugo Guzman  |   Monday, December 31, 2007  |  Comments( 2 )

Miami Dolphins
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Former Miami Dolphins general manager Randy Mueller exited stage left Monday and VP Bill Parcells is likely hard at work selecting Mueller's successor. Several names have been floated out as possible options, including Green Bay legend and Parcells' personal friend Ron Wolf, though the retired GM squelched those rumors shortly after sitting alongside Parcells during Miami's 38-25 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday. Still, the general consensus is that Parcells is going to pick one of his people.

Though questioning Parcells' decision-making would be pointless, one thing deserves to be asked: Did Randy Mueller deserve to be fired?

Mueller's detractors will be quick to point out his gaffes in free agency and trades, such as the signing of high-priced linebacker Joey Porter and the acquisition of Trent Green. Another name commonly mentioned is disappointing tight end David Martin. However, a closer look at these moves seems to absolve Mueller of any significant wrongdoing.

For example, it is known that trading for Green was attributed more to head coach Cam Cameron, who helped develop Green in Washington, than it was to Miami's now-lame-duck GM.

As for Porter, he started the season slowly while attempting to recover from arthroscopic surgery, but the ex-Steeler steadily improved as the year progressed, finishing with 38 tackles (32 solo), 4.5 sacks, two interceptions and a forced fumble.

Even Martin, who is unimpressive as a starting tight end, is far from a debacle when you consider that he finished with just five fewer receptions and one fewer touchdown than expensive predecessor Randy McMichael, currently in St. Louis.

And there's also the matter of kicker Jay Feely, who was Mueller's most subtle but fruitful pickup of the last offseason. Feely replaced longtime Dolphins kicker Olindo Mare, and he enjoyed his best year as a pro, converting 21 of 23 field goal attempts. Meanwhile, with New Orleans, Mare posted his second atrocious season in a row and will likely be out of football soon.

Granted, there is definitely room for argument in terms of Mueller's ability to bring in the right veterans; although, to his credit, he did help amass a number of extra draft picks during the last offseason and in the upcoming draft. What's much harder to argue is the impact of his draft selections in 2007.

Five of Mueller's selections either started or saw significant playing time at some point in the season, including all four of his first-day choices. Second-round center Samson Satele looks as if he'll be the anchor of the offensive line for years to come. Offensive skill players Ted Ginn Jr. and Lorenzo Booker flashed tremendous playmaking ability and speed, something that has been lacking in Miami's offense for years. Even fullback Reagan Maui, though still raw, has proven to be a solid run blocker.

The jury is still out on Mueller's most important draft selection, quarterback John Beck, and depending on Parcells' opinion of the former BYU standout, it may have proven to be Mueller's final undoing. With that in mind, it is possible Parcells had a different general manager in mind entering Miami, even if Mueller did pick the right QB.

And though Mueller might be getting somewhat of a raw deal in that regard, it is hard to argue against Parcells' track record.

So fair well, Mr. Mueller. Thanks for the memories and the draft picks.
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About Hugo Guzman

Trying to bring an objective approach to NFL analysis.
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