Ireland's First Draft

Some Miami Dolphins fans are wondering, “I waited an entire year for this?”  “This“, of course being the NFL Draft that has concluded.  It marked the first draft run entirely by Dolphins’ GM Jeff Ireland and while it is far from being a successful one or a failure, in some ways it was still Bill Parcells and in other ways it was as far from BP as you could get.  I know that doesn’t make a ton of sense but in reality, there is little other way to explain it.  Outside of calling it simply a “Jeff Ireland Draft“.

We can start with the 15th overall pick when Miami failed to move down after hearing over and over again in the weeks and month leading to the draft that they would do everything they could to get back into round 2.  When the “phones weren’t ringing” Ireland made the safe pick.  Mike Pouncey.  A strong physical center/guard lineman who fits the Bill Parcells mold of bigger is better.  If he turns out anything like his brother Maurkice from Pittsburgh, he will be an All-Pro.

The pick wasn’t met with universal fanfare as Ireland passed on the sexy choice of a QB to shore up a lackluster offensive line.  He passed on Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram for a guy who would open holes for no one currently established on the roster.  It was after day one that Ireland stepped out of the BP shadow and took charge of his team.  

Ireland waited until a small run on RB’s began later in round 2.  Sensing that somewhere between his Dolphins and the 17 picks remaining from round 2 and 3, that the guy he wanted wouldn’t be there.  So he traded up.  Giving up more than most found necessary for Kansas State runner Daniel Thomas. Thomas is a big bruising style runner…much like Marion Barber although he considers himself more in the style of Steven Jackson and Larry Johnson.  He also has fumble issues.  That won’t win over many fans.  To get the runner he desired, Ireland gave up his 3rd, 5th, and 6th round selections.  He got the Washington pick in return in round 2.

With no selections in round 3, Ireland could only wait.  With TE, LB, QB, and WR still needs for his roster, he simply watched teams make selection after selection.  Finally, in round 4 he used his selection on the speedster WR the team sorely lacks.  Edmund Gaits will be Miami’s vertical threat receiver who will line up opposite Brandon Marshall.  It will also mean that Miami will have to dump some of their WR’s when football resumes.  Mike Mayock of NFL Network said that Gaits will be asked to run deep routes until he learns to be an NFL receiver and called him a little raw with a lot of upside.  He also will likely return kicks.

With 3 picks in the books, Ireland managed to fill 3 needs on this roster.  Then, he again sat and waited.  On day 3 of the draft, Ireland added Charles Clay a FB/TE hybrid that could bring into question the future role of Lousaka Polite.  Clay has good hands out of the backfield and is a sharp short yardage runner but he lacks the ability to pick up blocks consistently…so it’s likely Polite has nothing to worry about immediately…and the Dolphins are more than likely to try and make him a full time TE.

Frank Kearse was taken in the 7th round.  A 6′ 4″ 315 pound defensive tackle, Kearse will likely be a developmental player who the Dolphins can groom to eventually make the final roster.  If Kearse was the first defensive player taken, it was the Dolphins last selection, CB Jimmy Wilson who makes the biggest headline.

Wilson spent almost 3 years in prison for a murder that he was eventually acquitted of.  You can read that very interesting story here.

In the end, the Dolphins filled holes on the roster and while Jeff Ireland says the team got better this weekend, it’s hard to really see anyone stepping out and becoming a sure fire stud immediately.  The Dolphins and Ireland played it safe.  They chose players who fit their needs, and took players who could contribute sooner rather than later.  An silent indication that they believe their jobs may not be as secure as many believe.  That winning now is more important than drafting a QB to groom later.

The lack of drafting a QB only heightens and could hinder their attempts to land one when free agency begins again.  The Dolphins will likely have to trade for a veteran or roll the dice on a guy like Vince Young and hope it works.  The benefit that Ireland has this year is that free agency is in front of him and not behind him.  It also will be interesting to see how much Ireland values his draft picks next year.  It’s likely he is going to have to use a couple to get some of his other positions filled.

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Tags: Bill Parcells Charles Clay Daniel Thomas Edmund Gaits Frank Kearse Jeff Ireland Jimmy Wilson Miami Dolphins Mike Pouncey

  • Marco

    This team really doesn’t have too many issues.

  • Ian

    The Phins need to give Henne at least one more chance, especially with a new O-coordinator and an o-line with more depth. I hope they bring in Marc Bulger to compete with and mentor Henne. He apparently is in really good shape too.

  • Brian Miller

    Bulger I hear is going to sign with Arizona…kind of a handshake deal is supposedly in place. I think Henne deserves a shot as well but let’s remember, he is an FA after this season, has not done much to warrant an extension yet, and the Phins need a veteran to push him. If they sign a veteran, and that veteran wins the job, Henne won’t be re-signed and will be a free agent next year.

  • jake

    Really marc bulger? Y do we juss get marino to cum back and give him a shot at it. That’s all miami has been doin for years is gettn washed up qbs to help steer the team str8 to the ground. Hopefully ireland and sparono will b fired soon and we will get a new age coach who will open up the passing game. All their doin down there is beating a dead horse

  • Ian

    Yes, really, Marc Bulger. Most people thought Pennington was washed up, but look what he did for the Phins in his first year. Bulger will be a lot cheaper than Kolb, Hasselbeck, Palmer, etc. He’s a former Pro-Bowler. He learned from Kurt Warner. I think part of the Bulger’s recent problems have been that he played for a terrible Rams team (at the time) and he has been battling injuries. He’s in good shape now. He’s a pocket passer and I think he’d be a great addition. The best free agent QB is VY, but the last thing the Phins want to do is breakup their locker room. Bulger gets my vote.

  • Donny

    What about Alex Smith? The 9ers moved to get thier guy, Kaepernick. Smith and Henne will both have a chip on thier shoulders and the flashes of potential they have both showed only doubles the chance that one of them will meet thier potential. It would be a very good competition at the least.

  • Rob H

    So what great player should they have gotten that they didn’t get? Are you saying Ryan Mallet should have been drafted? A lot of teams passed on him. Are you saying we shouldn’t have given up a 5th and 7th round pick to secure the RB we liked? I wish you were more explicit in what exactly you are complaining about.

  • Brian Miller

    I was clear on what I didn’t like. I thought that giving up a 3rd, 5th, and 6th round pick to move up 17 spots was overpaying regardless of what the value chart says, especially for a guy that didn’t seem to grade out over the other RB’s still on the board. Ireland himself said he saw RB’s coming off the board so he made the move. Which means he likely felt that he was going to lose out. I think that was a panic move IMO. I didn’t and still don’t agree with giving up 3 picks for a runner who isn’t an explosive game changer.

    • Ian

      Brian – the Phins gave up two picks, not three – their 3rd and 5th round picks. While I don’t disagree with you that they gave up too much, Thomas was selected as the 5th RB and Mike Mayock had Thomas as his 3rd ranked RB. Given Mayock’s ability to assess talent and that it was a draft that’s full of talented RB’s in a position that isn’t as valued these days, maybe it wasn’t so bad. I personally would’ve went in a different direction, but as Phin fans, we can’t do much other than hope Ireland and Sparano know what they’re doing.

  • jeremy

    I hope Ireland doesn`t trade away any of next years picks. Vince will come with a price tag but could be cut. Same for Hassleback.
    Once upon a time we had a QB who took us to the Superbowl and the next year we drafted a first round QB named Marino. I think thats our future. One more year of Henne as the permanent starter then onward and upward.However to get a stud starter we may have to make a trade similat to what Atlanta just did.

  • onole1

    I can’t remember who it was but they were saying that Cincy was interested in drafting Thomas in round 3, so if Miami wanted himthey had to move infront of them.