As fans we don’t like the fact that the NFL Draft was delayed to Mother’s Day Weekend. Albeit “mom’s” day isn’t until Sunday and the draft is over on Saturday but the weekend as a whole for mom might take a wee bit of a hit. Or maybe not. I mean there are a lot of mom’s out there who very well may find the NFL Draft a great present this weekend. For the rest of us however, the draft delay has not been a pleasant one.
From more and more mock drafts to rumors and media speculation the extra two weeks have done nothing more than raise anxiety level. Aside from the real good news of training camp coming two weeks early, the move of the draft isn’t being well received around the NFL circles. Most NFL clubs don’t like the delay. For the Miami Dolphins the timing of the NFL’s move, due to a pre-scheduled event at Radio City Music Hall (that actually got cancelled), should be a good one for GM Dennis Hickey.
Hickey is in his first year and was hired “late” if you will. He came to Miami after a rather bizarre search by Stephen Ross and Dawn Aponte with Joe Philbin leaning over everyone’s shoulders. Jeff Ireland himself wasn’t fired until January so the hiring of Hickey on the 26th of the new year month put the Dolphins new GM in a bit of a bind.
Free agency started a little over a month for Hickey. He still had to review film of the team, talk with the coaches, and get ready to spend more of Stephen Ross’ money. The draft would follow a quick month later. Hickey had to talk to Jeff Ireland’s scouts who remained on staff. Talk more with individual coaches and watch more game film. Sure he had done a lot of this work while with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but this was a different organization, different systems, and different coaching styles.
Two weeks isn’t much. It’s a “fortnight”. In a fortnight, King Tommen will marry Margorie Tyrell for all you Game of Throne fans. In other words it’s a short period of a whopping 14 days. For Dennis Hickey that two weeks is extra time. Time to interview a few more draft prospects, talk to a few more college coaches, watch a few more hours of game film, and of course game plan for Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.
This draft is not a simple one for Dennis Hickey. It’s not unprecedented for a GM to be one and done. A bad draft and a bad season could spell the end for both Hickey and HC Joe Philbin. While Hickey won’t enter the season on the proverbial hot seat nor should he, changes made at the coaching position could impact the GM if that new HC is a high-profile coach who wants his own control. That is another year away or rather eight months but the reality is that what happens now could impact what happens later.
Finding not only the right players to fill your needs but players who make your team better is important. Seeing how your roster will be shaped by a player that you reach for to fill a need versus a player who can make an impact at a position you don’t need could be the difference in a game or a season or a coaching change. For years we watched Jeff Ireland draft and criticized his choices early and applauded his choices late in the draft. It only bought him time.
Like Ireland, the question for Hickey is will “his” players play? Jeff Ireland’s draft class of 2013 made no impact on the field. That was Joe Philbin’s call. This year, Hickey has to make sure that doesn’t repeat. On paper the Dolphins could come of the draft looking very good but we all know that paper means nothing in the NFL. Hickey will control his first draft but he has been around them for 18 years and is probably ready and knowledgeable to call the shots. Having that extra two weeks however won’t hurt him one bit. In fact, it’s a good thing he had it.