Jeff Ireland Roars Back In 2012 Draft!


Before the 2nd round of the 2012 NFL Draft started, I was trying to make myself feel better about the Miami Dolphins’ first round selection, Ryan Tannehill.  I recalled the long touchdown run Tannehill made against Oklahoma State.  I reminded myself that his former Texas A&M coach and now Phins’ Offensive Coordinator, Mike Sherman, knew everything about Tannehill so the decision had less risk.  I told myself that if the Dolphins didn’t draft Tannehill in the first round, they would have likely missed out on Brandon Weeden as well.  The pick made sense.  That was a good pick.  That was a good pick.  That was a really good pick.  You get the picture.

Then Dolphins’ GM Jeff Ireland selected Stanford Offensive Tackle Jonathan Martin in the second round.  I love that pick.  Here’s a guy that instantly becomes your starting right tackle and can even cover Jake Long’s position, if needed.  He was arguably the second best tackle in this draft and had a first round projection.  While everyone raves about his arm length, he comes from a long line of intellectuals.  The three generations before him had Harvard students, and while Harvard offered him the opportunity to continue the family tradition, he chose Stanford, a fine academic institution in its own right.

In the third round, the Phins chose University of Miami OLB/DE Olivier Vernon and Missouri Tight End Michael Egnew.  Vernon is a true junior, who only played in six games last year.  He has the physical attributes to succeed in the NFL and might end up being an under-the-radar quarterback-hunting bargain.

Egnew is really a 6’5″, 252 pound receiver, with 4.6 speed.  He is not a blocker, hence his tight end rating is lowered but again, the Phins drafted him to catch passes.  The good news is that scouts think he can develop into a Jermichael Finley or Rob Gronkowski type.

Then we get to the fourth round.  The Phins trade up and grab the most explosive running back in this draft, Lamar Miller!  Are you kidding me?  Many believed the Hurricane star, who rushed for 1272 yards last year, would be a late first rounder.  He is a burner, with speed in the high 4.3, low 4.4 range.  Beside straight-away speed, he possesses tremendous quickness and can catch the ball.  While this wasn’t a “need” position, Ireland took the best player available.  In my mind, he was the best player available since the Giants were on the clock in the first round.

So, here’s how I see it: In 2012, the Miami Dolphins had three selections in the first round and took a potential franchise quarterback, Ryan Tannehill, a solid offensive tackle in Jonathan Martin and a homerun-hitting running back, Lamar Miller.  Everything else is icing on the cake.

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