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2 posts from March 27, 2013

March 27, 2013

Highlights: Dolphins GM, CEO talk to fans

The Dolphins put general manager Jeff Ireland and CEO Mike Dee on the phone with season ticket holders this evening. They talked for 30 minutes and for me the three most interesting things are covered below:

Ireland was asked if he could share his draft plans for the upcoming NFL draft. He gave the name of the player the team is drafting and that player is ...

Yeah, just kidding.  

"I've got a lot of ideas and I have a strong idea of what I'm going after, but I just can't tell you," he said. "Certainly as I've said before, I believe in drafting core positions ..."

That means QBs, WRs, LTs, CBs, and pass-rushers.

"I like drafting when the core position meets a need and it meets the grade," Ireland continued. "And I try not to reach for a need position if I don't have to. We don't draft vertically, we draft horizontally and that's a whole different story to explain that. But we definitely have a plan. We definitely have guys we've targetted. We definitely have a certain number of players we've targetted. But we don't put, there's 255 draft picks that will selected, but we don't put that many players on the board. We grind through this. We eliminate it down to a specific number that we feel like is the number we want to go into and then we even cut that down even further to guys we're targetting.

"So we certainly have a plan."

Ireland said the Dolphins start draft meetings Tuesday and will go 21 consecutive days in those meetings leading up to the draft that begins April 25.

"There's a lot of work being done these next 21 days," he said. "Stand by and see what we do."

Ireland was also asked about the perpetual Dolphins problem -- the offensive line. He was asked his thoughts on it, including today's addition of free agent guard Lance Louis:

"Where I'm at with the offensive line right now is we don't play until August," Ireland said. "We don't go to camp until the middle of July so it's going to look differently in July and August than it does right now. So we're still tinkering in free agency with a couple of offensive line positions. Tinkering means we may or may not [do something] for the media that is listening. And certainly we have the draft. We have five picks in the top 82."

If the Dolphins want to sign more free agent OLinemen such as Eric Winston, they can use their $15.7 million worth of space (as of March 26) which profootballtalk.com reported this afternoon they have remaining. (The team will pick up an extra $7 million of space after June 1).

"And a third idea you can trade for one ... So it's something I'm still looking at. You don't lose a player like Jake Long to free agency and not feel that so we're going to address the offensive line as a whole as we go forward and we just have to stand by and see what we do."

Dee was asked about my Tuesday story that mentioned the Dolphins are willing to sign a relocation waiver for 30 years with Miami-Dade County as part of the complex package for getting public funds to upgrade Sun Life.

The question was whether the Dolphins might consider leaving South Florida if the deal with Miami-Dade County and the Florida legislature and, yes, voters fails to finance the upgrades as the Dolphins hope.

"Steve Ross has made it clear he will never think of relocating the Dolphins on his watch," Dee said. "And win, lose or draw on this stadium effort, Steve spent a lot of his formative years in the Miami area. He loves it here, that's why he bought this team. We're not going anywhere while Steve's the owner."

Yes. And ...

"Now Steve's 73 years old and he thinks and Jeff knows this, he thinks he's going to live to be 110. But at some point in the next 30 years he'll probably not be the majority owner of the team. So we believe the right time to address the stadium issue is now while the owner is willing to significantly invest in private funds to make it happen. He's a guy that wants to lock in the franchise here for the next 30 years so that any successor that buys the team from him or at some point takes over would be unable to relocate the team. The alternative to that is if we're not able to move forward on the stadium front, Steve is at some point not the owner, you're going to be looking at the possibility of a whole new stadium for three times the cost of what we can modernize this facility for and have a facility that would serve the community for 50 years. That's unheard of.

"This isn't a situation where we're saying if this doesn't happen we're out of here. We're going to be here but we'll be hard-pressed to figure out what we do best as a long-term solution."

Dolphins logo talk PLUS Salguero mock draft pick

It's logo talk this morning.

As you may know, I confirmed Tuesday that the logo leaked via instagram on the Internet last week is no fake. It is the real deal. It is the Dolphins new logo .

And my column in today's Miami Herald gives you some insight that I gathered relative to that logo being unveiled in a month.

But here is something that wasn't in the column that I've saved for you here:

The Dolphins uniforms will be aqua and orange. That means all white sometimes. That means aqua jerseys and white pants sometimes. I suppose it can even mean white jerseys with aqua pants sometimes. But there will be no alternate jersey in 2013.

No orange.

And thankfully, no orange on orange.

By the way, I was on NFL AM this morning representing the Dolphins in the program's mock draft. (Why NFL AM couldn't get a better representative, I don't know). Anyway, this is the mock I was given as picked by experts and beat writers in the cities where the teams are located.

1.      CHIEFS – LUKE JOECKEL, OT  TEXAS A&M

2.      JAGUARS – EZEKIEL ANSAH, DE  BYU

3.      RAIDERS – SHARRIF FLOYD, DT FLORIDA

4.      EAGLES – ERIC FISHER, OT CENTRAL MICHIGAN

5.      LIONS – DEE MILLINER, CB ALABAMA

6.      BROWNS – GENO SMITH, QB WEST VIRGINIA

7.      CARDINALS  - CHANCE WARMACK, OG ALABAMA

8.      BILLS – CORDARRELLE PATTERSON, WR TENNESSEE

9.      JETS – DION JORDAN, LB/DE ORGEON

10.    TITANS –  BARKEVIOUS MINGO, DE LSU

11.    CHARGERS – LANE JOHNSON, OT  OKLAHOMA

So with the No. 12 overall pick and with no option to trade down I selected Washington CB Desmond Trufant.

Here's my logic: The Dolphins need a cornerback. They lost two three-year starters since the beginning of 2012 and have no real replacements right now. I don't buy the Dimitri Patterson talk for one minute. Cornerback is also an elite position so I don't mind upgrading with such a high pick.

Milliner is gone but I've got Xavier Rhodes and Desmond Trufant on the board.

I went with Trufant.

He's smarter. He's more instinctive. He's more fluid. He is a much, much, much superior system fit than Rhodes. Rhodes is the pick if you're wanting a press corner. The Dolphins don't want that. They want a man who can play zone, play combo, quarters, all of it. That's Trufant, who by the way, comes from football pedigree as his brother Marcus plays for Seattle.

Rhodes is bigger at 6-1 but Trufant at 5-11 5/8ths is plenty big. He's also more willing in run support. He runs very well. And he has great ball skills.

Was he the best available player (BAP)? No.

Star Lotulelei was still on the board. But the Dolphins need a cornerback of the future more than they need a defensive tackle with a heart condition that grades higher.