What’s normally viewed as throw away picks due to the low percentage of 7th round picks making the team. It looks like Jeff Ireland and his staff are putting together a pretty good track record for unearthing late round gems.
In Sunday’s game against the Falcons, three of Ireland’s 7th round picks each had their individual moments of shining on the biggest stage.
With the game hanging in the balance and Miami in need of a big play to turn the tables in their favor, there was this year’s 7th round pick Don Jones running down on punt coverage and blowing up Atlanta’s Harry Douglas to force a fumble that would be recovered by Long Snapper John Denny.
This play turned out to be the pivotal moment of the game for the Dolphins shifting momentum in their favor, because without this big play, the Dolphins were dead in the water.
As the game proceeded, the next big contribution came from last year’s 7th rounder, Rishard Matthews. Catching 4 passes in the fourth quarter, with a couple of big ones on the game winning drive that included a key 3rd down conversion, his contribution was huge in a game that saw star Wideout Mike Wallace only catch 2 passes.
Then with the lead in hand after Ryan Tannehill’s magnificent game winning drive, there was Jimmy Wilson, a 7th rounder from 3 years ago, coming up with an interception of Matt Ryan to close out the game and secure a hard fought victory.
All these contributions were key to the Dolphins victory and part of the reason why Ireland’s contract was extended, because for all of Ireland’s character faults, the guy has assembled a talented roster. Shoot, even another big time contributor, Charles “Big Play” Clay was a 6th rounder that is coming into his own, further validating Ireland’s and his staff’s eye for talent. Sure Ireland has had his early round misses and yes there are still holes on this team but not one single roster in this league is without it’s flaws.