The NFL Combine is currently under way in Indianapolis and Miami Dolphins GM Jeff Ireland has everyone in his scouting department and coaching staff there in attendance.
The idea is to have as many eyes on as many prospects possible in order to gather as much information attainable in order to best analyze a player and the depth of certain positions.
With the draft almost 2 months away, this strategy is tantamount to the total plan that includes making a splash in Free Agency.
With the amount of starters the Dolphins have hitting the Unrestricted market, their Brass has to be conscious of having to replace, deepen, and fortify not only the positions in which they lack talent but the ones where they are thin at too.
That’s where having the best assessment possible of a draft class and the depth of quality at all positions is key.
Because if its determined that Offensive Line is the strongest and deepest unit in the draft, then why spend big money on resigning Jake Long, when that money can be best spent on a impact player like Steeler’s FA WR Mike Wallace that the draft may lack.
Which looks like a realistic possibility when you consider the talent present at the combine with Tackles blazing 4.7 40’s.
The point is this, the Dolphins can’t make their moves aggresively and swiftly till assesing the information gathered from the combine.
There are a multitude of combinations that can take place when acquiring talent and some of them may involve positions shifts.
Like if the Dolphins determine Defensive Tackle is stronger and deeper than Defensive End in the draft and move to sign a FA like the Bengal’s DE Michael Johnson and let UFA Randy Starks walk.
A move like that would require kicking Jared Odrick inside and replenishing the unit’s depth in the draft with the continued development of Kheeston Randle.
So outcomes in Free Agency will depend on evaluations here at this combine, and when you see Ireland’s opening moves in the beginning days of free agency, you’ll see a GM actively pursuing talent that he feels he can’t get in the draft.
For me, if I were in Ireland’s shoes, I would resign WR Brian Hartline, FS Chris Clemons, TB Reggie Bush, and DT Randy Starks while letting CB Sean Smith, LT Jake Long, TE Anthony Fasano, and DT Tony McDaniel walk.
I would make a splash in the receiving core and pass rush in free agency with a combination from the likes of WR Mike Wallace, WR Greg Jennings, TE Jared Cook, TE Martellus Bennett, DE Michael Johnson, OLB/DE Paul Kruger, OLB/DE Connor Barwin, and OLB/DE Anthony Spencer.
For projection sake, lets say the Dolphins come out of Free Agency with Mike Wallace and Paul Kruger, my priorities for early in the draft would then be to fortify my offensive line, find corners who catch interceptions, and anyone with Skilled SPEED!
Whatever the outcome, it’s been entirely too long since this franchise mattered when it came to winning, it’s about time an offseason resulted in a turning of the tide for the better.