Sports Outside the Beltway

NFL Draft 2008 – Round 2 #54 – Miami Dolphins – QB Chad Henne

NFL Draft 2008 Logo The Miami Dolphins gambled that they’d be able to find a quality quarterback late in the 2nd round. It appears to have paid off, as they got the last of the top rated QBs in the class, Michigan‘s Chad Henne, who some think is the best of the bunch.

Scouts, Inc.: 27

Strengths: A thickly built, strong and tough QB. He can be very effective when he has time to throw. Shows the ability to lead his receivers and also knows when to change up velocity. Shows outstanding touch, timing and accuracy on vertical throws. Throws a very catchable ball but also has good overall arm strength. Arm is not elite, but he certainly can make all the necessary throws. Shows good zip on deep out and can fit the ball into some tight windows on intermediate throws between the hashes. Does a good job of reading coverage while dropping back. Keeps the ball high and generally displays good footwork. Not a great athlete but he does get set quickly and has adequate straight-line speed. He is at his best when given time to set up, make reads and step into his throws. Does a great job of selling fakes and is very comfortable working the play-action game. Excellent experience as a four-year starter at highest level. One of the most intelligent prospects in his class. Very hard worker; a film rat. Understands defenses and has made sound decisions throughout his career. Displayed great toughness senior year. Has a warriors’ mentality as he played through a popped out shoulder on multiple occasions during senior season.

Weaknesses: Overall mobility and athleticism are poor. His production is severely hindered when you flush him out of the pocket and force him to make plays on the move. He will never be a running threat. Height is adequate but not ideal. Has some trouble finding passing windows at times. Still improving in terms of overall decision making. Has cut down on key errors but still too streaky in that department. Pressure brings out the worst in him. While he does have good footwork when set, he needs to avoid getting sloppy when on the move. He has a tendency to throw off his back foot when rolling out or when coming off the play-fake, which takes away from his accuracy and velocity. He still needs to learn when to throw the ball away or take the sack rather than throwing the ball up for grabs (see: 1st quarter INT vs. ND in 2006). Release could be more compact, as he tends to drop down and wind-up a bit on longer throws. Durability only became an issue as a senior in 2007.

Overall: In four years at Michigan (2004-’07), Henne started every game in which he played (47). He set school career marks in completions (828), attempts (1,387), passing yards (9,715) and passing touchdowns (87). He has also rushed for three career touchdowns. Despite missing three games as a senior (leg and shoulder injuries), Henne passed for 1,938 yards and 17 touchdowns in just 10 games. In addition to good size and arm strength, Henne brings to the table rare experience as a four-year starting quarterback at Michigan. He’s not the type of quarterback that can carry a team but he does an excellent job of managing games and distributing the ball to his playmakers. He was considered the most durable quarterback in the senior class prior to the 2007 season. However, knee and shoulder injuries have caused him to miss significant time. Henne is the type of quarterback that will shine in pre-draft workouts because he is such a gifted natural passer when he can set his feet and throw unhurried. However, his lack of mobility and erratic decision-making skills when under pressure are legitimate concerns in our opinion. Henne should come off the board in the second round of the upcoming draft. His intangibles, toughness and work ethic will allow him to overcome some physical limitations but his NFL career could be defined by how much he can improve his feet over the next few years.

Rick Gosselin: 25

So, the Dolphins got a quarterback with a 1st round value deep in the 2nd. Bill Parcells is having an amazing offseason thus far, at least on paper. Then again, as a Cowboys fan who watched him take first day bust after first day bust, I’ll wait and see whether these guys pan out.

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