The Miami Dolphins enter the 2011 NFL Draft with 8 draft picks and no Tuna sandwich’s. In other words, tonight we get a chance to learn exactly who Jeff Ireland is. Earlier this week, Bill Parcells finally took the credit for the failed Pat White experiment, to which many had blamed Ireland over. Truth is, this is the first time Jeff Ireland runs the show.
In Dallas, Ireland, then a senior player director, often butted heads with Bill Parcells and owner Jerry Jones when he thought someone else made more sense for the team. Ultimately it was someone elses decision. Sometimes Parcells gave in, sometimes not, sometimes Jones intervened and sometimes not.
Tonight, no one will.
With the Phins absent a second round pick, it’s likely that the Dolphins will use all of their alotted time to work the phones in an attempt to trade down and gain that pick back. If that fails, and it’s very likely that finding a willing trade partner will be hard, Ireland will have one of the biggest decisions of career to make.
Will he go running back with Alabama star Mark Ingram? Will he go offensive line with Mike Pouncey? QB? Take your pick. While everyone assumes that QB is on the Dolphins radar, how important is the position to Ireland if he can’t get into round 2? Is it enough to use the 15th overall pick on a QB that most feel would be a reach?
When the first pick is gone, Ireland will have to concentrate on the rest of his board with the knowledge that free agency could start any day. What players are on his board are as mysterious as what positions Ireland views as a draft priority.
It’s very possible that the Dolphins may not make a selection until late tonight. Should they trade down. Either way, the draft and Jeff Ireland’s spotlight are about to begin shortly.