Click on a just about any “mock draft” link and 95% of the time you will see the Miami Dolphins are mocked to take a left tackle. When you find one that doesn’t have the Dolphins taking a tackle, the mention the Dolphins moving up to take, you guessed it. A tackle.
The Dolphins have needs at corner, pass rushing end/outside LB, OT, TE, and safety. Despite the other positions, OT has gained the most legs. The Dolphins are rumored to be looking to trade up as far as 3rd with the Oakland Raiders in the hopes of landing one of the top two LT’s. Luke Joeckel or Eric Fisher. Failing to land one of the two, the Dolphins reportedly want to move up and take the third best tackle, Lane Johnson.
Is Jeff Ireland, who is looking at a career defining season, coming off a spending spree free agency period, facing a stadium referendum with Stephen Ross, going to spend the 12th overall pick and maybe more to draft an offensive lineman? A player who will not touch the ball. Not tackle a ball carrier. Not score a TD?
It seems to me that there is simply too much talk about the tackle position. Ireland spoke to media this week and even added more fuel to the bonfire that he wants to upgrade the line. That he would love to find another Mike Pouncey or Jake Long and that he would take them every draft if he could. Does this sound like the Jeff Ireland of previous drafts? Me neither.
This time of year is all about smoke and mirrors and maybe Ireland is playing a different card this season by leading the masses to think he is going the tackle route in hopes that the other NFL teams think he is full of it. Maybe he will indeed use one of his other four pick in rounds 2 and 3 to move up and lock down yet another franchise left tackle.
What Ireland needs most however is someone who will be a play-maker. Someone who will get the fans excited to wear their jersey. As an article on the Miami Herald stated, the Dolphins need someone who will be here for a long time. They need another face like Jason Taylor. Or a Zach Thomas.
Ireland has done well the last two seasons with finding players in the draft. Pouncey is getting better and is already on the verge of Pro-Bowl caliber play. Ryan Tannehill is taking the reigns of team leadership and the fate of Ireland and the coaches rest on his shoulder. It’s easy to say that Mike Wallace fits that hype player but it is a different type of support that one finds with an incoming free agent rather than a draft pick.
Fans support arriving players from FA but they didn’t grow with them. They didn’t watch them mature into the players they have become. Rookies hold much more favor with fans. They watch them get drafted, watch them hit training camp, pre-season, their first game. They watch them become an NFL player.
Ireland will be challenged in this draft to find “THAT” player. The question is who that player will be. Will it be the rumored LT that the Dolphins need to replace departed Jake Long? Or will it be a play-making game changer?
Guess we will know in another two weeks.