When you look at the moves the Miami Dolphins have made since the start of free agency, one thing becomes absolutely clear; the Dolphins are setting themselves up to take complete advantage of the 2013 NFL Draft.
Since the off-season began, the Dolphins have been busy adjusting their roster. They made a huge splash in the free agent market, filling several holes with some of the best talent available. Every move they have made has had an effect on what team needs will look like when they begin the selection process on April 25th.
For years, fans of the Dolphins have been calling for the head of general manager Jeff Ireland. There are still those that will never support anything he does, but for the most part, it seems as though the critics have entered a holding pattern, waiting with bated breath to see the results of the last two off-seasons.
The reason for the stay of execution is plain to see. Starting with the hiring of head coach Joe Philbin, things have begun to change drastically around the Dolphins facilities. Attitude was no longer tolerated and several key players who held sway over the locker room have found themselves shown the door. This results in a team Philbin can start to call his own.
Now, the GM and Coach will head into the draft room with more freedom to maneuver than ever before. They have addressed weakness at the wide receiver position and gotten younger at linebacker. They have added depth on the both sides of the line, signing guards and tackles, and now it sounds as though they may have a free agent cornerback on the hook.
They still need to strengthen the left side of the offensive line, but they could actually be comfortable going into the season with Jonathan Martin protecting Ryan Tannehill’s blindside. Martin was ranked among the worst in the league last season, but the Dolphins have stood firm in the faith of the second year offensive lineman.
Even if Miami does sign a cornerback in free agency, they will want to add a couple more through the draft. Both starting safeties were among the top 25 defensive backs in the league last season, but they could add depth there as well as at corner.
No matter where there is need, Ireland is setting things up so he can simply select the best player available with as many picks as he possibly can. It is really a best case scenario for Miami, enabling them to control the draft rather than the draft controlling their picks. It will allow the draft team to select talent and to address need when the two goals intersect.
Regardless of what a person feels about Ireland, one would be hard pressed to debunk the scheme put into play over the last two off-seasons. The Dolphins are a better team than they were last year, and that team was better than the team the year before. An expert game of strategy has been put into play and it is hard to not give it the respect it deserves.