Jeff Ireland speaks candidly about the Miami Dolphins 2012 NFL Draft process

By Jeff Everette

The 2012 NFL Draft is just a few days away, and Miami Dolphins General Manager Jeff Ireland is holding his cards close to his vest.  During a pre-draft press conference this week, the GM alluded to several different options that may come into play on Thursday, including trading up in the draft.  Or, the team might possibly trade down.  They may grab a quarterback with the first pick, or they may go in another direction.  Yes, Ireland threw a possible hint at just about every scenario that he could.

It is smart of course, and he is surely not the only GM playing games with the media.  Just look at what is at stake, when one pick, one player, one position could mean the difference between creating a dynasty, or contending for the first pick in next year’s draft.  The pressure Ireland is feeling must be intense, but he shows nothing but confidence as he talks about drafting strategies, all the while knowing, if he fails to secure one of the top prospects with the 8th pick, it is likely the citizens will come hunting for him like the towns people did Frankenstein’s Monster.

One prospect that Ireland may not see as the top prospect he has been hyped up to be is Ryan Tannehil.  The GM explained that the draft boards are usually pretty much set at the end of the college football season.  The fact that Tannehil had a good showing at the NFL Combine, and a strong performance at the Texas A&M pro day, caused the young quarterback to sky rocket up draft boards everywhere, which is something the Dolphins GM says he is not taken in by.  He said Tannehil is “a nice young man, smart, and from a good family,” but he was unwilling to tip his hand any further.

The general thought among draft analyst is that the Dolphins will pick Tannehil if he is there when the 8th pick comes up, some going as far as to predict a trade with the Minnesota Vikings for the third pick,  jumping ahead of the Cleveland Browns, who have the 4th pick and are reportedly interested in Tannehil as well.

All of this focus and attention on the Fins grabbing an unproven QB could be nothing more than a smoke screen for the team’s true intentions; replacing Pro Bowl talent, Brandon Marshall.  All though Ireland stated that there was more wide receiver talent in the draft than at any other position, it would not be a surprise if they used the 8th pick to fill the void created when they traded Marshall to the Chicago Bears.  The only receiver that stands be drafted that high is Oklahoma State standout, Justin Blackmon.  It may seem foolish to pick a WR so high in a draft that has so much depth at that position, but Blackmon is the best of the bunch, and he the Dolphins would be able to cash in on his talent immediately, as opposed to waiting a year or two for Tannehil to develop.

Whichever direction Ireland goes on Thursday, he is sure to be criticized by the multitude of Dolphin fans that see him as the problem in Miami.  The fan base seems to be as split on who to draft as they are passionate about Dolphin football.  This puts the GM in a tough spot, pushed around between public sentiments and doing what is right for the team.  This seems like it would be a tough spot for a person to be in, but Ireland handles it with strong assurance.  There may be a lot of negative opinion on the man, but he does not appear to be shaken in the least and if he is, he’s hiding it as well as he is cloaking his intent for Miami’s first pick.

Jeff Everette is the featured columnist for the Miami Dolphins on Rant Sports.  You can follow him on twitter@jeverettesports, or like his facebook page: Jeff Everette- Rant Sports for all of his latest articles.

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