Earlier today, Miami Dolphins GM, Jeff Ireland held his final pre-draft press conference. As you would expect, Ireland did not come out and tell the world exactly who he’s interested in the upcoming draft. He did divulge that he may move up in the draft…. or could move down…or could stay right where he is and use all 11 picks. He also said that he hasn’t completely decided which player he wants to select with the #12 pick, but he’s narrowed the field down to a few players. No, he didn’t give us anything breaking news worthy, but the key to this type of press conference is to read between the lines. So, I’ve decided to take the line-reading out for you and translate Jeff Ireland’s comments from today’s presser. For the full video of the press conference, go to Dolphins.com.
Ireland: “I think going into the draft or coming out of free agency, at least this part of free agency has helped us from…to have a little bit more idea of just being able to do what we do in the draft. And hopefully that’s just to pick the best player available that marries a need and not have to reach for anybody.”
PhinNation Translation: I’m not a professional public speaker, but I play one on TV. (seriously, transcribing this press conference almost caused me to stab myself with a rusty fork). In this quote, Ireland is esssentially saying that his good work in free agency, filled many of the Dolphins needs, providing them the ability to take the best player available, that matches a need. More on this is a second.
Ireland: (What is your strategy for taking the best player available?) “We don’t draft vertically, we draft more horizontally. And so, I don’t go through the board and say ‘this guy over this guy and this guy over this guy’. I don’t do that. I have the draft more horizontally, by position and by round. So if you’re in a position where you have a guy, at guard..and a need a guard and he’s up there. But you have 2 other players at the same value…you might take the guard because it’s a position of need…..The value marries the need.”
PhinNation Translation: The Dolphins do not draft the best player available. Ireland’s draft strategy is to select the highest rated player available……that fills a need. I find it VERY concerning that he used ‘guard’ as an example here, although it does explain the horizontal vs. vertical draft method. I’m find with the Dolphins selecting a guard later in the draft. But please, do not use one of the premium picks on an interior linemen, ESPECIALLY not at #12 overall.
Ireland: (Will Jonathan Martin move to left tackle?) “I’m going to let my coaching staff decide, at the end of this process, where Jonathan Martin plays. I think what we do have is a flexible player ,a versitile player that can play left, can play right. I think his development has been good, I think he has a long way to go to play right or left, to be a really really good player that’s what we want him to be. We have all of our options open, still free agents on the street, still guys on the trade market that are available, and we have the draft that is 2 weeks away, that we could go that route as well. We’ll be active in one of those pieces and maybe more.
PhinNation Translation: This comment has ‘I DON’T TRUST JONATHAN MARTIN AT LEFT TACKLE, AS MUCH AS I TRUST REX RYAN’ written all over it. Letting the coaches decide says nothing. Of course the coaches will decide where he ultimately plays. But if the Dolphins trade for Brandon Albert or draft one of the big 3 left tackles in the draft, do you really think the coaches will put Jonathan Martin at left tackle? His moves the rest of this offseason will determine where Martin plays. Martin, by the way, was ranked by ProFootballFocus as #76 out of 80 tackles in the NFL last season. We’ve been saying for months now that the Dolphins lack of signing a starting right tackle (cough, Eric Winston, cough) is directly tied to the fact that they do not believe Jonathan Martin is capable of being a starting left tackle in the NFL. (continued on page 2, CLICK HERE)