Jeff Ireland has been the Dolphins general manager since 2008. And next week, as the general manager, he'll put hs evaluaton skills to the test by picking a new set of players for the Dolphins in the annual NFL draft.
But how has the evaluator done? How would the evaluator evaluate himself?
“Well, it’s a team effort," Ireland said during the Dolphins annual pre-draft conference Thursday. "Bill (Parcells) and I conducted a couple drafts together. I’ve conducted one here solely by myself with my team upstairs obviously. Certainly, I’m not responsible for all of it. When you look back and you made some good picks. Depends on how you look at it. If you look at the future or past of the draft and you say 50-55% and you say if you can be 50% in the draft over a period of time, you’ve done pretty good.
"I think where we were when we started to where we are now we’ve done a pretty good job of adding some talent to this football team. Certainly I’m not saying I hit on every single one because I haven’t. There’s no doubt about that. Some I have taken some risk on and hit. And some I have taken some risk on and didn’t work out so good, but that’s just part of the draft.”
One looks at Ireland's first-round picks and they have not been bad. They have been good. He picked starting center Mike Pouncey in 2011 and he picked starting cornerback Vontae Davis in 2009. (Parcells has told me he did the draft in 2008 and 2010 and Ireland did it in 2009 while he was still there.)
The early round picks after No. 1? Probably early to decide.
Pat White was a disaster, although that was a total organizational failure. Sean Smith is a starter. Daniel Thomas is still an unknown quantity.
“I think all the picks are extremely important but certainly second, third, fourth round picks, I mean those guys need to be either starters or significant role players," Ireland said. "I’m a firm believer that you can find talent in the fifth, sixth and seventh and obviously free agency. So every pick, there’s a lot of thought that goes into each and every one of them.
"I’m maybe stubborn enough to think I can hit on every single one of them. So, we spent a lot of time this time of the year on fifth, sixth and seventh round and free agency. Those guys are up there right now grinding away at the free agent board as well.”
Ireland believes he can hit on everyone. That is a good attitude because you don't want a loser who is expecting a disaster after the second or third round. But ... maybe that's not something you actually want to say publicly. Sets one up for critique.
“I’ve got some good guys and some guys are still developing I would say (Charles) Clay and Reshad Jones and Chris Clemmons," Ireland. "Those guys are still here and they’re still developing. I think we drafted a kid last year in the seventh round, Jimmy Wilson, that I think is going to be a pretty good player.
"Time will tell with John Jerry and Koa (Misi). So Pat Turner’s still playing in the league. He’s not on our roster, he’s still playing in the league so we’ve got to do a pretty good job this year. I’m looking more in the future than in the past.”
OK, so how do you evaluate the evaluator?
[RADIO NOTE: Ireland will be on my radio show, Armando and Perkins, at 7:30 this morning. You can listen in South Florida at 640-AM on your dial. Or you can watch the show by clicking here. If you miss the early-morning interview, we'll replay the interview at 9 a.m.]