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49 posts from April 2013

April 30, 2013

Dolphins wanted Josh Boyce over Jelani Jenkins

Post-draft stories of players expecting to be on one team and winding up with others are interesting to me.

I have two such stories for you involving the Miami Dolphins.

Both involve Florida Gators and, ironically, in the end the Dolphins ended up not picking a Florida player they liked while landing a Florida player they liked less than someone else. This is the story of former Florida tight end Jordan Reed and former Florida linebacker Jelani Jenkins.

The Dolphins, it seems, wanted Reed. According to a source close to Reed, Miami got on the phone with him during the third round and told him they were going to select him with their second of two third-round picks (No. 82 overall).

So Reed was on stand-by waiting for the 82nd pick and hearing his name called to the Dolphins when he saw Miami had traded the pick to New Orleans. He ended up going with the 85th pick to the Washington Redskins.

The Dolphins obviously thought a deal sending the 82nd pick in exchange for two fourth-round picks (106 and 109) was better value than picking Reed. And that was that.

The Dolphins had a high fourth-round grade on TCU receiver Josh Boyce. They got on the phone with Boyce at the top of the fourth round and told him they were going to select him with the seventh pick of the round, No. 104 overall.

But as soon as Boyce got off the phone with Miami, the New England Patriots called and told him they were going to pick him with the fifth overall pick in the round. The Patriots had acquired that pick earlier in a trade with Minnesota.

The Dolphins resorted to Plan B and picked Jenkins with the 104th selection.

"As soon as I got off the phone the Patriots called me,” Boyce told The Fort Worth-Star Telegram. "You never know. I’m just glad God gave me the opportunity to get drafted. I can go forward from there."

Boyce is a rare blend of size (206 pounds) and speed (4.49) who also happened to produce in college. He caught 66 passes for 891 yards with seven touchdowns in 2012. He had 61 catches for 998 yards and nine touchdowns in 2011. He caught a 94-yard pass against West Virginia last season.

The Patriots, obviously trying to add weapons for Tom Brady, must have seen an opportunity. The fact they snatched Boyce from the Dolphins?

File it under post-draft stories that always come out after the fact.

Read more here: http://sportsblogs.star-telegram.com/colleges/2013/04/former-tcu-receiver-josh-boyce-was-thinking-he-was-headed-to-miami-for-about-two-minutes-just-before-the-new-england-pa.html#storylink=cpy

Bryant McKinnie visit could signal legit interest, or not

I was told last week by a Dolphins source the team would have no interest in Bryant McKinnie as a left tackle option because ...

1. There were weight concerns. (He was overweight much of the 2012 season before finally getting in shape just in time for the playoffs with Baltimore).

2. There were culture concerns. (McKinnie is a vet used to doing things his own way. He's had issues with coaches before. Joe Philbin doesn't love that sort of stuff).

3. There were off-field concerns. (McKinnie hasn't been consistently in trouble with the law or anything. In fact, other than an arrest in 2008 in Miami for getting into a fight and then resisting arrest without violence while at a local club during a night of partying, he's been clean lately. The issue is McKinnie's penchant for partying. He has been known to drop $100,000 on liquor in one night. And, as a reminder, the Miami Dolphins are headquartered very near to Miami and South Beach),

3. He's going to be 34 years old. And if the Dolphins want him on a one-year deal, he's going to cost at least $3-$4 million.

So I was pretty confident the Dolphins wouldn't be interested in McKinnie because I was told as much and because of the reasons outlined above.

Well, Bryant McKinnie visited the Dolphins on Monday.

And aside from making me look dumb, the fact the Dolphins are kicking the tires on the veteran left tackle speaks to a handful of possibilities -- not all of them obvious to the average observer.

Possibility 1. The team is simply kicking the tires to see if McKinnie is even a remote option. The visit Monday was said to include a physical. It's called due diligence. It's a date. It's not a marriage.

Possibility 2. The team is trying to gain leverage as it prepares to take another run at Branden Albert. If general manager Jeff Ireland is going to go back to the Chiefs (again) he can't be perceived as having no option other than landing Albert. So getting McKinnie to visit is good for everyone. It gives the perception that McKinnie is an legit option -- even if he really isn't. And that's good for Miami. And it gives the perception that teams are interested in McKinnie -- even if they really aren't. And that's good for McKinnie's market. So feeler visits help everyone.

Possibility 3. The team is trying to gain leverage on Eric Winston. Remember that aside from looking for a left tackle, Miami has a choice of signing a right tackle and putting Jonathan Martin at left tackle. That would mean needing a right tackle. Winston is the most viable right tackle choice out there but the club and he haven't seen eye-to-eye on what it would take to make the idea work. A little leverage doesn't hurt that process.

Possibility 4. The Dolphins are seriously interested in McKinnie. If this is the option, then the Dolphins see McKinnie as a stopgap guy that played well in the playoffs even as he approaches the end of his career. They would be banking they can milk at least a year out of the guy. By the way, if this is the truth, then the Dolphins are seriously down on Martin as a left tackle option.

McKinnie, by the way, texted the Baltimore Sun and told reporter Aaron Wilson that the visit in Miami went well. Yet, no offer was made and McKinnie might take other visits, namely with San Diego.


I still find it hard to believe Bryant McKinnie is a Joe Philbin kind of guy. I find it hard to believe that Jeff Ireland, who doesn't like adding 30-somethings, much less 30-somethings with a checkered history, hasn't learned his lesson that it rarely goes well.

Remember Chad Johnson. How'd that turn out?

And having said that, the Dolphins indeed signed Johnson. So maybe they haven't learned a darn thing from such experiences.

April 29, 2013

One on one with Jeff Ireland

Following the last round of the draft on Sunday, Dolphins general manager Jeff Ireland agreed to speak with me privately after his open media availability.

This is how it went:

Mando: Your shining moment in this draft?

"Well, obviously I went after the player [Dion Jordan] I really wanted. That was the highlight, to go up and get the player we really wanted and really coveted and be able to get him at the price we got him was even a bonus."

Mando: Why him?

Jeff Ireland: "He jumps out at me. I don't like to compare players but we do a lot of that in our business. I've seen players like him that have great success. He reminds me of several players that have played that position. They're hard to find. The special ones are hard to find.

"And I think the guy can be special. I think that's why.

"And to follow up with your question, the draft is not only just trying to fill needs. I really don't go into the draft trying to fill this need, then this need and this need. I go into the draft building the board as equal as I can. I put the players up there that are the best football players and then marry needs into the best football players. I understand everybody thinks we have a tackle need. And I would say that's something we need to address whether it's a must or a need. But that player jumped out at me and I felt like I had to go get that player."

Mando: What are you going to do at tackle?

Jeff Ireland: "We'll see. The tackle position is an important position. It's an important position. But I feel like we have some flexibility. There are some options out there. I have some things up my sleeve that might work out. We're going to have to fill the need probably with a veteran guy on the street at some point."

Mando: At left tackle?

Jeff Ireland: "We'll see."

Mando: Why not do the trade with Kansas City for Branden Albert instead of drafting cornerback Jamar Taylor in the second round?

Jeff Ireland: "Because I didn't think it was the right thing for us."

Mando: Why?

Jeff Ireland: "Well, I'm not going into that because I'm not so sure it doesn't work it."

Mando: You mean down the road?

Jeff Ireland: "Yeah. Again, I never say never. I don't want to get into the details of that trade right now when it could or couldn't happen done down the road."

Mando: The moment during this draft you said, 'Dang it, I wish I hadn't done that?' Was it when you traded out of the 82nd pick and then had to trade back in?

Jeff Ireland: "You know, that was not a moment that I said, 'Ahh, crap.' I traded out and got the extra fours. And then there was a run. You have a certain number of players on the board and when you trade out you figure someone is going to be there. You have three or four and you think someone's going to be there. And then all of a sudden, five or six picks, boom, boom, boom, boom, guys went off. And it wasn't only in that round but there were rounds where players on our board were getting picked off like crazy. I felt like I needed to go back in there and get a player we really wanted versus settling on a player."


April 27, 2013

Dolphins add another DB with final pick

I wanted cornerbacks. I got three in this draft with the latest being Don Jones out of Arkansas State University.

Jones, 5-11 and 191 pounds, has two interceptions in his career.

At the Arkansas State pro day, he ran a 4.42 and 4.40 40-yard dash, according to NFLDraftScout.com. He also recorded a remarkable 42-inch vertical jump, which has skyrocketed his draft stock. For his senior season, he recorded an unofficial 72 tackles with one interception and two passes defensed.

Jones missed the 2010 season becasue he transfered to a JUCO due to academic reasons. He had been a running back in 2009.

Jones, who played strong safety, is expected to get the opportunity to play cornerback.

It's a UF day for the Dolphins, Carpenter on notice

The Dolphins have drafted three University of Florida players today, the latest running back Mike Gillislee and kicker Caleb Sturgis were drafted in the fifth round.

Two things:

Dan Carpenter, who struggled through the middle of the 2012 season, is officially on notice that Miami isn't afraid to replace him.

"Coming into the league you know you have to compete against the best," Sturgis said. "I've seen him kick and he's got a great leg. It'll definitely be fun competing against him."

Despite the slump and finishing the year on injured reserve, Carpenter did connect on 16 of his final 17 kicks before getting hurt.

Gillislee, meanwhile, was a rotational running back at Florida. He rushed for 1,152 yards while averaging 4.7 yards per carry.

The happiest guy on the Dolphins?

Center Mike Pouncey, a Florida guy who predicted the Dolphins would pick three Gators player"s.

Wow that's crazy I can't believe I just predicted that" Pouncey tweeted. "I will be handing out gator shirts to all my teammates this coming up week."

The addition of Gillislee puts Daniel Thomas and Lamar Miller on notice. Considered the favorites to win the starting job and then split carries, both now have another player that is a legitimate player who can possibly catch the ball as well as they can.

"I'm just ready to compete," Gillislee said.

Dion Jordan meets the Dolphins

Dion Jordan arrived at Dolphins camp for the first time to meet with coaches, general manager Jeff Ireland, and the media.

The funniest moment of his meeting with the media? He was asked his thoughts on getting a police escort to camp ...

He answered, saying he thought there was "a celebrity showing up."

Funny part is there was no police escort at all.


Anyway, this is the entire press conference:

(On how the flight to Miami was) – “The flight wasn’t bad. (It was a) straight flight. I slept most of the way, so it wasn’t bad at all.”

(On whether the last few days feels like a whirlwind) – “It is a little bit. I’m just trying to take my time and just get everything taken care of before I start camp and things like that.”

(On the things that he needs to take care of before camp starts) – “Well first of all I have to take care of this, the media thing. Then just as far as getting everything situated so when I get in I get acclimated to the city and everything going on here.”

(On what he thought about the motorcycle escort to the facility) – “It wasn’t bad man. It was good, and plus I got to meet the long-time ticket holder. That was a great experience for him I bet, and for me also just meeting somebody who has this much pride for an organization and who has been around for this long.”

(On whether he thought the motorcycle escort was for him or a celebrity) – “I guess I was thinking there was celebrity showing up, but no like I said it was good. I enjoyed it. I’m pretty sure the ticket holder did also.”

(On whether he thinks he needs to add weight to be an effective player in the NFL) – “Everybody that is coming in and getting acclimated to the NFL level, there are a lot of things we need to work on. For me personally, improving my weight and my strength is an area that I am looking forward to getting better at. But you know I understand that it comes along with time and my hard work and taking care of the little things.”

(On how excited he is to play with Cam Wake and learn from him) – “Watching a guy like him for a awhile, seeing his talent and understanding how (good) he is at doing his job of getting after the quarterbacks, it just motivates me that much more to step my game up. Being in meeting rooms and and being out there with him on the practice field, I’m pretty sure I will get to see a lot of the little things that he is doing to improve his game.”

(On whether he thinks he has similar attributes to Wake) – “Yes sir. Like I said I’ve watched him for a while and I’ve seen the way he bends and the way he finishes at quarterbacks. That’s something that I’m looking forward to improving in my game, and you know they brought me in here to do that and take care of the role on the other side.”

(On whether he would compare his motor to Wake’s) – “Yes sir, of course. I do feel like I have a high motor. I work really hard, not just when it’s game time but everyday leading up. So when the lights come on and when it’s game time I turn it on, and like I said I am looking forward to improving in that area and being a great compliment to him on the other side.”

(On what he weighs right now) – “I’m at 250 right now.”

(On how tall he is) – “I’m 6’ 7.”

(On how big he eventually sees himself getting) – “I feel like I can play with the same speed and the same motor right around 260. Like I said I am looking forward to improving in those areas and I know it is something that I have to do personally. I am going to take care of that and get ready for the season.”

On whether 250 is the most he has weighed) – “As far as playing weight, yes sir.”

(On how he would rate his run defense) – “I feel like I am very good at the run. I did well at the University of Oregon. I took care of that part, but I guess because of my size, because I’m not 260 already, most people don’t think I can do that. That comes along with my maturity and taking care of things in the film room and at practice and just taking care of my body. I know as time goes along I’ll be able to be that player I’m looking forward to being.”

(On whether this was his first time in New York City and what he thought about the experience) – “It was, me and my family. It was great. The NFL had a lot of cool things for us to do. Probably for me personally the best thing was the NFL Play 60 thing. It kind of just allowed us, me and the other guys, to take our mind off everything that was going on and get out there with the kids and toss the football around. I had a couple playmakers on my team, so it was good.”

(On whether he went to the Statue of Liberty and the Empire State Building) – “No we didn’t get a chance to do that. We got to go to the New York Stock Exchange actually, and a lot of guys enjoyed that. We also got to visit the hospital up there and got to visit a lot of kids. That was a great experience.”

(On what he thought of the fan contingent at the Draft) – “I stepped on the stage and I didn’t know there were that many fans in the building. But I honestly felt really blessed at the moment. It was a pleasure for the Dolphins to make the move that they did, and I can tell that the fans were really excited.”

(On whether there is another player besides Cam Wake that he looks up to) – “Man honestly in this league there are a lot of great pass rushers, and when I got moved to the defensive side of the ball, you know I really didn’t just look at one person. I tried to take a lot of my attributes from a lot of other players. Guys like a Terrell Suggs or Demarcus Ware. You know I even went back and watched a lot of Lawrence Taylor film because the position I played was a lot similar to his. There a just a lot of little things that, as a player, you can get from anybody.”

(On who made the decision to move him from tight end to the defense in college) – “It was between me and the coach. When Coach Kelly went ahead and he got the head coaching job, you know he offered me the job on the defense. He asked me if I wanted to do it, and for me it was just another challenge that I looked at and openly looked at it and took it. It wasn’t something that I was hesitant about. I was really looking forward to it. I knew I was going to have an opportunity to play, and then I just learned and I just went out there and played and tried my hardest.”

(On whether he enjoys talking to the media and the other obligations that being in the NFL demands) – “It’s different man, honestly it’s different. At the University of Oregon the defensive players don’t get much love (laughing), so it is a little different.”

(On playing at Oregon which is known for its offense and how it felt to be on the defense) – “It was good, man. It was good competing against those guys day-in and day-out. I’ve seen some tremendous talent. It was a blessing for me that he did make the move and put me on the defensive side of the ball because not only did I play against some good offensive players, (but) I played with some good defensive players also - you know, my guys Josh Kaddu who’s here in the city now. It was just good. If somebody had to run on the field after they scored in four or five plays.”

(On coming back onto the field quickly after the offense scored) – “It wasn’t bad. Like I said, we prepared because we practiced against them every day. So we were prepared. We had great depth on the defensive side of the ball, a lot of talent. For us, we just had to be ready. It came down to the defense most of the time. We had to get the ball back to them in close games because we knew sometimes it might not go their way, so we really had to be prepared.”

(On Oregon not sending a ton of players to the NFL and if that creates more responsibility for him) – “No, that’s not a responsibility for me at all. Just being now an alum of the University and seeing all the guys that came before me, it’s a lot of talent that came through. We even had a Heisman hopeful for a minute up there. It’s not a responsibility for me at all. It is a great opportunity for me to represent the University of Oregon and have an opportunity to put them on the map. Like I said, just being there, I felt really blessed and thankful. I worked hard and things  are starting to pay off.”

(On if he has any goals in terms of sacks or starts) – “Man, honestly, I’m just looking forward to coming here and helping out this team and improving and taking the next step that everybody wants to do. Like I said, me personally, I have work to do and I’m going to do what I have to do to be the player that I want to be this year and for the next year’s coming.”

(On if he’s ready for rookie mini-camp next week) – “I’ll be ready to go. I’m going to continue to attack the little things that I’ve been doing before. Next week, when I get back out here, I’ll be ready to roll.”

(On if he feels pressure being a high draft pick) – “No, I don’t feel pressure at all. When it all boils down to it, it’s about what you do on the field and, me and the rest of the rookies and whoever gets here, we all understand that. That’s all that matters and that’s what I’m going to take care of. I’m going to take care of what I have to do as a player.”

(On what other sports he played growing up) – “I was a basketball player and also ran track.”

(On if there was ever a time he thought he would have played basketball) – “For a little bit, but my team wasn’t that good. So it kind of took away a lot of motivation. There’s something about football that always stuck with me. Every time it was Fall time, being out there with my guys, that grind honestly kind of just really grows on you and I think I made the right decision.”

(On if he paid attention to any of the criticism after he was selected) – “No, I didn’t have enough time to pay attention.”

(On if he’s fueled by doubters) – “Of course. Anybody that gets negative comments about them, it kind of motivates you a little bit more. For me, like I said, I’m just worried about what I have to do next, and the next thing for me is getting ready for rookie mini-camp.”

(On what came to mind when someone asked him about the Dolphins– “It’s a possibility. I didn’t really know what was going to happen and, sitting in that green room, it’s stressful not only for me, but for a lot of players because you don’t know what’s going to happen. And they decided to make that move. I was shocked. I was surprised, but, at the same time, I was happy. I was overwhelmed and I just felt like it was a great opportunity for myself and my family.”

(On if someone asked him about the Miami Dolphins before the draft process what he would think of) – “I would have told them, ‘I really don’t know,’ because I really didn’t know it was going to happen and I’m pretty sure a lot of other people didn’t either.”

(On what he thinks of the new Dolphins uniforms) – “It’s nice. I think it fits the city really well. Like I said, for me personally, at the University of Oregon, it wasn’t about the uniform. It was about the players inside the uniform. We had some great players there and I feel like we’ve got  a great team here also.”

(On what percentage of the time he dropped back in coverage last year) – “I probably dropped into coverage 30-40% of the time last year. But me playing coverage, it benefitted me as an athlete and as a defensive player because I had a great understanding of what was going on around me, and plus I was able to get after the quarterback too, so I had the best of both worlds.”

Dolphins pick UF linebacker, Michigan State TE in 4th

The Dolphins picked up a linebacker and tight end with their two fourth round picks today.

The Dolphins spent a lot of money revamping their linebacker corps in free agency but with their first pick of the fourth round (104 overall) the team picked linebacker Jelani Jenkins.

With the (160th pick the team picked TE Dion Sims of Michigan State.

Jenkins is a WLB. He's very similar to Josh Kaddu who the team drafted last season and is hoping to use more as a pass rusher.

Jenkins missed four games due to multiple injuries in 2012. Durability is a big issue with this player.

Jenkins was a fine cover linebacker in college. He had one interception last season.

"I hope to be able to help out as fast as I can," Jenkins said. "However I can do that, I'll do whatever the coaches ask me to."

Sims, 6-4 and 265 pounds, is a classic tight end type. He's burly. He's lumbering.

He does, however, seem to have good hands.

"I'm an all-around tight end and I can do everything," Sims said. "I came a long way. I've been putting a lot of work in. Blocking and catching is my specialty. I'm a versatile tight end."

In 2010, Sims was suspended from the team for his participation in a theft ring. So there's that.

"It's pretty much in the past and it's behind me," Sims said. "I learned a lot from that situation and not be so naive."

Sims said all the teams he spoke to asked him about the incident and he "told them the truth and the whole story."

Ireland, Philbin discuss Dolphins Friday haul of draft talent

This is how it works: The Dolphins work the entire day at trying to improve their roster during the NFL draft and after all the rounds are complete -- rounds two and three were held Friday -- then both general manager Jeff ireland and coach Joe Philbin leave the team war room and meet with the media.

That meeting on Friday happened around 10:45 p.m. and the two men discussed the additions of Boise State cornerback Jamar Taylor, Tennessee offensive lineman Dallas Thomas and Utah State cornerback Willie Davis.

This is what was said:

Jeff Ireland

(Opening remarks) – “Good evening.  So we obviously gave up the 42nd pick yesterday when we met for Dion (Jordan). So at (selection) 54 we took Jamar Taylor, a cornerback from Boise State.  Great kid.  Prototypical size and speed.  Very smart.  Very physical.  Can play inside and outside.  So we’re very happy to have him.   We took Dallas Thomas at (selection) 77 from Tennessee.  He’s played guard, he’s played tackle.  He’s very versatile.  I’ll let Coach (Joe Philbin) address where he plans on playing him.  But, you know, big, big physical kid.  I’m looking forward to having him on the team.  We traded the 82nd pick and then back into the third round with Green Bay and selected Will Davis, another cornerback out of Utah State.  Another prototypical left cornerback that can play inside and outside.  Very skilled athlete.  Doesn’t have a lot of experience.  He’s kind of been through the junior college route.  Really came on the scene this year.  Played at the Senior Bowl.  Had a great look at him there and looking forward to him to developing fast.  So at that point I will open to any questions.  Then, obviously the trade that tonight (sent), Davone Bess to Cleveland.  As I told you last night, it was kind of a dead issue as I left the building yesterday.  It heated back up again today and we went ahead and did the trade."

(On the rationale behind trading out of the third round and then later trading back into it)– “Well, we had a couple of players there and when you have a couple of players you feel like there’s value there that you know you’re going to get one so we traded back (and) picked up (an) additional fourth.  (We) saw some corners go off, you know there, and I felt like we need to go back in there and get him.  So that’s what happened.  Lost a couple of players on board at that point and felt like we needed to go back in and get him."

(On what stood out about Jamar Taylor)– “Well, like I said, he’s a great kid.  You know what you love about him is he’s very smart.  He’s very physical.  He’s got very good ball skills.  He plays with a great awareness, instinct and so just a combination of all the things he can bring the intelligence, the character, the speed, the physicality, the ball skills. Those are all things that obviously we covet in a cornerback position.  And I felt like he had those things.  Specifically after combine, I mean we put everybody on the board and so I don’t think there was anything out of the ordinary."

(On if Dallas Thomas will play guard or tackle) – “I’m going to let coach address where he’s going to play him, but I think he can play either way."

(On needing to create more takeaways and how Taylor and Will Davis will help with that)- “I think both Will and Jamar have very good ball skills.  Taylor is very physical.  He can get it out.  He can go up and get it or he can knock it out with forced fumbles and PBU’s (pass breakups) and Will, he’s kind of a very, very good at getting the ball out from a PBU standpoint.  Both those guys have very good ball skills in my opinion.  I think they’re both going to be play makers."

(On why he traded Davone Bess) – “Why trade Davone Bess? Well obviously we did some things in the offseason that made us feel a lot better about the position. I’ll let coach (Head Coach Joe Philbin) address some of the things as well, but we feel very good about the group we have with Mike (Wallace) and Brandon (Gibson) and Brian (Hartline) and Rishard (Matthews), so it felt like we had a little bit of value there that we could move on from. I wish Davone the best actually."

(On whether the Brandon Albert trade is still on the table) – “You know, never say never. I mean I don’t want to lead you guys on to anything, but I don’t think that’s going to really amount to much. I’ll give you my personal opinion. Like I said there is really nothing more to it today than there was yesterday."

(On whether Will Davis is more of a project and if he can play some safety) – “I don’t believe (so). I see Will as more of a corner. I think he can play inside and outside, but his corner skill set is probably not that of a safety. I think he is more of a corner. And is he more of a project? I think guys develop in different stages in their career. Obviously with his experience level you would think that he may be a little bit of a developmental player, but I think the guy has the skill set to play in this league. I think that with the great coaching that we have and the players around him, he will develop fast."

(On whether he feels that he has his five starters on the offensive line with Dallas Thomas now in the fold) – “Well that’s yet to be determined. He's going to be one of the guys that is competing for a spot. I feel very good about where Dallas is going to play, but coach is going to say, ‘hey it’s a competitive position,’ obviously, and we may not be done yet. We’ll see."

(On what he saw in Dallas Thomas that made him think he can help this offensive line) – “We spent a lot of time watching him play in 2011 and 2012. I personally made a school call there, and I love the versatility. In certain games he can play guard, he can play tackle. Obviously the versatility. When you see a big guy that can pull and move his feet and play guard and tackle on the left side, that’s pretty unique. So obviously the versatility was one component."

(On whether he thought he was going to revamp the defensive backfield going into tonight) – “Not necessarily. You don’t really know how the board is going to fall. Obviously I thought this was a pretty good corner draft and that’s basically how the board fell. You had some good corners on the board and they’re core positions; the corner position, the tackle position, the guard position and obviously defensive end. Again I think they are prototypical players, size players, they’re very good character guys, and they are core position players."

(On his comments earlier about there being a position that he really liked, and whether he addressed that position today or has yet to do so) – “Well today is over, and I liked today, so I’m going to like tomorrow too. But, it was a certain area of the draft that I certainly liked today for sure. It was more or less the second round, but a lot of players were picked off our board just about where we had them. It was a good day. I feel really good about it."

Joe Philbin

(On Dallas Thomas’ versatility) - “Same thing Jeff said – we watched on film both years. Obviously, this year, he primarily played at the left guard and the year before tackle. So we like his versatility. We liked his athleticism. We thought he had a pretty good technique and I think he has a bright future. He’s a fluid athlete. We like his size and we thought he was well-coached at Tennessee. So we’ll see. We’re going to start him on the left side. I’m not sure where yet. We’ve got to see how the weekend unfolds and take a look at things, but we’re excited about him."

(On how the competition Thomas faced at Tennessee helps him transition to the NFL) -  “Yeah, it’s good film to watch. We threw on last year, we watch him against South Carolina, at LSU. This year, I think we watched him against Florida, Georgia and those type of teams. You get a look at him against different fronts, different schemes. It’s a great coaches league, the SEC. So I thought we got a good look at him."

(On his thoughts on trading Davone Bess) - “I wish him the best of luck in Cleveland. He worked his tail off for us. He played well and he had a great attitude the two weeks in the offseason program and I wish him well."

(On if he doesn’t know yet where he wants Thomas to play) - “We’ll see. You’ve got to get your hands on people a little bit. We’ve seen him play both positions. I think he’s got ability at both spots. We’ll see how the depth chart unfolds."

(On if he feels good about the defensive backfield)  -  “I like the two players that we took today, absolutely. I like them a lot."

(On if Thomas is polished at both guard and tackle)- “He’s a pretty good technique player. Like I said, I think Harry Hiestand did a very good job with him. I think Sam Pittman was his line coach this year. Those guys are very, very good college football coaches and you can see that on the tape. He takes a good first step typically. He’s not perfect. He has good hand usage and we like those things about him. He moves fluidly. It doesn’t look like he’s real herky-jerky. We think he has a chance."

(On why Tennessee wouldn’t keep Thomas at tackle) - “Again, I didn’t coach Tennessee. You’d have to ask those guys."

(On if he talked to Tennessee’s coaches about why they moved Thomas around)

Philbin: “I didn’t really ask that question."

Ireland: “They had a young recruit that they really liked and they were moving him from tackle to guard as well.”


April 26, 2013

Dolphins trade back into 3rd, pick DB

The Dolphins were done with their evening, it seemed, when they traded away their second of two third-round picks. And then they traded back into the round and picked CB Will Davis of Utah State.

The Dolphins traded with Green Bay to get the 93rd overall pick. They gave up 109, 146 and 224 overall in the exchange.

"I had a good feeling about the Dolphins but once they made their last pick and then traded out of their pick, I didn't know," Davis said. "It was kind of disappointing. But then I got the call they traded back in and, I tell you what, I'm ear to ear smiling right now."

Davis has played inside and outside as well as special teams.

Mike Mayock had a fifth-round grade on Davis.

Dolphins pick OT Dallas Thomas in the third round

The Dolphins have selected offensive lineman Dallas Thomas in the third round of the NFL draft.

He has played both left tackle and right tackle. In 2012, he played guard.

"I can do it all. I can play left or right tackle," Thomas said.

Thomas said his move to guard proves his versatility. It can be argued it shows coaches wanted improvement at the tackle spot.

Thomas will have to fit into Miami's zone blocking scheme.

"I think I can fit in any type of offense because I'm athletic enough to get the job done," he said.

 The Dolphins, meanwhile, have traded the pick (82) to New Orleans for (106) and (109). Both the new picks are fourth rounders.

Dolphins draft Boise State CB Jamar Taylor

Well, I wanted a cornerback. The Dolphins got one.

The club just used the 54th overall selection and their only second round pick to draft Boise State cornerback Jamar Taylor.

Taylor is 5-11 and 192 pounds. He's a three-year starter at Boise. He's supposed to have great instincts.

It's really exciting. I'm happy coaches gave me a shot and look forward to coming down there and contributing to the team," Taylor said.

He said he loves playing man defense. He said he looks forward to helping the team.

"I don't know how it's going to work out," Taylor said. "I'm going to go down there and try to contribute and and do whatever the coaches tell me."

Taylor says he plays like he's got "a dog in me."

"I play with a swagger. I play kind of chippy. I love to talk stuff," he said.

Dolphins would have taken Eifert at No. 12; Bess gone

As we go forward in the second round of the current draft, some news about Miami's plans in the first round continue to leak.

A high-ranking club source moments ago told various media members that the Dolphins would have drafted Tavon Austin in the first round of the NFL draft had the club stayed at No. 12 and the West Virginia player been there.

Of course, Austin wasn't going to be there. So what would the Dolphins have done had they stayed at No. 12 and Austin was gone?

They would have drafted tight end Tyler Eifert, the source said.

Interesting, sort of.

Of more interest, the NFL Network is reporting the Dolphins have completed the expected trade to the Cleveland Browns.

The Dolphins are expected to get a fourth-round pick out of the deal but other compensation is included.

{Update: The Dolphins and Browns actually just swapped fourth round picks. Miami goes from 111th overall to 104th overall. The clubs also swapped fifth-round picks.]

Adam Beasley of the Miami Herald is reporting Bess will get a three-year extension from the Browns.

What to look for tonight: Deal for Bess, need for CB

The second and third round of the NFL draft happens today.

So what can we expect?

Well, the talks between the Kansas City Chiefs and Miami Dolphins about a Branden Albert trade have not yet borne fruit at this hour. Truth is they have reportedly not progressed much, if at all.

Me? If I'm Jeff Ireland I don't bother with this issue until after the draft. If Albert is available today, he'll be available after the draft, particularly following Kansas City's drafting of tackle Eric Fisher at No. 1 overall on Thursday.

Give them a draft pick next year.

The news on a possible Davone Bess trade is more substantial. Although Ireland said nothing was going on with the Bess issue Thursday, I have just gotten word from the Dolphins that the process is proceeding.

It seems as if Bess will indeed be traded before the weekend is over and possibly by tonight.

I have no details beyond that.

Now, the draft itself. The Dolphins hold the No. 54 overall selection in the second round. They have two selections in the third round -- 77th and 82nd overall.

The areas of need?

Tight end. Offensive line. Cornerback.

About the cornerback spot, Ireland refuses to acknowledge that it is a need.

“What do I think about my need at cornerback? Well I don’t know that it is a huge need," he said. "I certainly would like to address the secondary at some point, but we’ll have to see how the draft goes.”

If Ireland is comfortable with Brent Grimes (coming back from Achilles' surgery) and Richard Marshall (coming back from back surgery) and Nolan Carroll and Dimitri Patterson, he is trippin'.

That group is a house of cards waiting to collapse. If they all remain healthy and all play at their career best, then the Dolphins won't be terrible at the position. But how often does that happen? How often does everything that must go right, actually go right?

The Dolphins need to draft a cornerback.

Some of the corners the club has shown interest in during the past few weeks include Boise State’s Jamar Taylor, Oregon State's Jordan Poyer, SE Louisiana’s Robert Alford, Mississippi State’s Darius Slay, California’s Steve Williams. All remain available.

History says corners taken after the second round typically don't make a positive impact. That would could mean today is Miami's final chance this offseason to address the position.

If they don't, it is my belief this issue will be troubling to the team in 2013.

Dolphins may have other veteran LT options

Branden Albert might not be the only left tackle available in a trade.

Because left tackles went at No. 1, No. 2 and No. 4 in the first round of the NFL Draft Thursday, one assumes that the left tackles already on Kansas City, Jacksonville and Philadelphia have been at least put on notice that someone is knocking on their door as a possible replacement.

We know the Chiefs would like to replace Albert. He's been on the trade block for a month now.

Well, are you aware the Jaguars and Eagles, which also picked left tackles Thursday, already had left tackles in place?

As ESPN's John Clayton notes, Jaguars left tackle Eugene Monroe is in the last year of his contract. Even though he might play the season at left tackle, it would seem unlikely the Jaguars would pay him big money after taking Luke Joeckel with the second overall pick.

Sooo ... Monroe might be available in trade.

In Philadelphia, where new coach Chip Kelly drafted Lane Johnson with the fourth overall selection, Jason Peters is coming off an injury and expected to return for 2013. Peters, a former Buffalo Bills left tackle, is scheduled to make $12.8 million a year but that club just made his long-term job security an issue.

Sooo ... Peters might be available in trade.

The point is, if general manager Jeff Ireland is as smart as, well, me, he'd be on the phone with both the Jaguars and Eagles today. He'd be trying to find out if either Monroe or Peters is available now. He'd be looking for LT options outside of simply trading for Branden Albert.

Maybe the mining expedition finds nuggets. That's all he needs.

Understand, if the Eagles or the Jaguars say either of their veteran left tackles is available, immediately the Chiefs lose (more) leverage in their attempt to trade Albert because now the market has multiple LTs available.

The Dolphins don't have to necessarily trade for the other available LT, but they have to present themselves as a team with more options today than they had yesterday at this time.

You reading this, Jeff?

Hop to it!

Albert might be had for 54th overall selection

The old adage is you don't find starting left tackles in the second or third round of the NFL draft. The Dolphins might be able to do exactly that -- sort of -- today.

General manager Jeff Ireland of Miami and general manager John Dorsey of Kansas City are scheduled to speak today before the start of the draft's second round. The two talked during the middle of the first round on Thursday, according to Dorsey, and that's when they agreed to reconvene today.

"We'll see what happens," Dorsey said. "That's kind of where we're at."

The conversation between the two GMs will be about trading left tackle Branden Albert from Kansas City to Miami.

The clubs have been going back and forth on Albert for several days and throughout that time it has been speculated the Chiefs were trying to get the higher of the Dolphins' two second-round draft picks to make the deal. The Dolphins never offered that pick, apparently, and might not have made any significant offer involving a second round pick at all.

Interestingly, the Dolphins traded away the higher of their two second-round picks, No. 42, in order to move up in the first round and take DE/OLB Dion Jordan. They have the 54th overall selection remaining and Dorsey didn't seem upset at the idea that could be enough to acquire Albert.

"Would I make that trade if it was offered to me? I don't know," Dorsey said. "That's an unknown. Until something happens, I really don't know."

The offer may be forthcoming. Of course, if the Dolphins want to play hardball, they might offer a third-rounder, of which they have two. Perhaps they want to offer a 2014 pick.

This much seems possible: Miami can get Albert for the 54th overall pick if they offer it.

If they do that the Dolphins might just find a starting left tackle in the second round.


If you're interested in what I think about the Dolphins landing Jordan on Thursday, go here. To me the pick is obviously of primary importance. But what I truly love is the utter guts of identifying a player and throwing caution to the wind to go get him.

It's a bold move.

It's a cowboy up move.

I cannot guarantee Jordan will be a hit. But as I reported early Thursday afternoon the Dolphins were willing to bet on Jordan enough to trade up to get him because they see the potential for greatness there.

I like that.


Continue to come back throughout the day. Indeed, do not leave. There will be major updates throughout. I'm working on Miami's third-round selections.

You can also follow @ArmandoSalguero on twitter for real-time updates. Do it!

April 25, 2013

Do not underestimate value of Dolphins dealing

As I was asking Jeff Ireland whether he thought he got something of a bargain in trading from the No. 12 overall selection to No. 3, Dolphins owner Stephen Ross was over to the side nodding enthusiastically about the idea.

"I think thqt the reason that I made the call [to Oakland] was I felt like it was a buyer's market," Ireland said. "I felt like they did want to get out of there and I felt like you don't get anything for not asking."

Ireland asked and received.

But to understand what a bargain he got consider the old NFL trade value chart.

The chart says the No. 3 overall selection is worth 2,200 points. Miami's No. 12 overall selection is worth 1,200 points.

The Dolphins threw in the No. 42 overall selection (2nd rounder) which is worth 480 points.

So for a 2,200 point pick the Dolphins paid 1,680 points total. They won this trade by 520 points.

Yes, this was a buyer's market move.

By the way,the Rams traded up from No. 16 overall to No. 8. That's eight spots. And for that move, the Buffalo Bills got a second-round pick and a seventh rounder and the teams swapped third rounders.

So basically the Dolphins went up nine slots to a much higher perch -- an elite slot, really -- and it could be argued they gave up less than the Rams did to move eight slots much further down in the draft. Certainly it was a cleaner deal by Miami.

Good job.

Dolphins trade up to pick Dion Jordan

The Dolphins just traded up from the No. 12 overall pick to the No. 3 overall pick to draft defensive end Dion Jordan.

The Dolphins think Jordan a latter day Jason Taylor.

The club gave up the No. 12 pick for Oakland's No. 3 and added the No. 42 overall pick -- the higher of Miami's second rounder. Bargain!

"I'm going to bring tremendous athletic ability," Jordan said.

Jordan is one month into a three-to-four month recovery from shoulder surgery. He might not be ready for the start of training camp in July. The Dolphins expect he'll be ready for the start of the season.

For me, Hayden if the pick is defense, Eifert or Austin if the pick is offense

I want the Dolphins to pick D.J. Hayden. There's no denying that. I've made the case in the newspaper and I think the need is obvious.

Let's face it, the NFL is a passing league and the Dolphins secondary has been frustratingly inconsistent.

They made Kevin Kolb seem like Joe Montana.

They let Andrew Luck break the NFL record for most third down conversion passes.

And more problems loom because Matt Ryan, Drew Brees, Tom Brady (twice), Phillip Rivers, Ben Roethlisberger and Joe Flacco are all on the schedule in 2013. You have to be able to overcome that kind of firepower quarterback play with dynamic pass defense.

But ...

What if the Dolphins go offense? What if the Dolphins continue their offseason upgrade of the offense that included Dustin Keller and Mike Wallace?

Well, a right tackle at No. 12 would be terrible. A guard? Terrible. A running back? Not happening.

Thinks two players: Tavon Austin and Tyler Eifert.

If you are any kind of frequent visitor to this blog you know I believe the Dolphins have underestimated the importance of tight ends for years. They let Anthony Fasano's mediocrity lull them into a false sense of satisfaction. This while the Patriots went crazy turning tight ends into some sort of newfangled weapon.

Eifert would turn that tide back for Miami. He's got prototypical size at 6-5 and 250. He's not fast but he's not slow. He presents a matchup problem for linebackers and some safeties, although he doesn't separate with the consistency I'd expect. His hands are good. He's a good and willing blocker.

Austin, meanwhile, is more a dream pick. It's likely not going to happen. He's probably going to go higher than No. 12. Dolphins general manager Jeff Ireland doesn't like little guys and Austin is 5-8. He's only just a slot guy. His arms will prove too short to be a factor along sidelines.

But the guy is a playmaker. His tape makes your heart skip a beat. He's dynamic. He is a boom or bust pick, but if he succeeds, he's going to be great. I'd make a leap at being great over a chance to be good.


Trades involving 2nd-round picks have been terrible

The Dolphins and the Kansas City Chiefs are in a stare down contest over a trade for left tackle Branden Albert.

The Dolphins know what Albert expects to be paid and continue to go forward with talks. They're not blinking about either the $9.8 million franchise tender currently on Albert or the potential asking price in a long-term deal, contrary to an ESPN report. That is secondary right now.

Every report on the topic says the problem is over a second-round pick the Dolphins must pay to KC for Albert. Apparently the Chiefs want not only a second-rounder but Miami's first of two second-rounders -- the No. 42 overall selection as opposed to the No. 54 overall selection.

So this trade happening ... or not ... will ride on the decision of Dolphins general manager Jeff Ireland's plans for his second round picks.

Which begs the question, what is it with the Dolphins and second round picks?

The second rounders have often been used as trade bait by the Dolphins the past decade or so. And rarely has the use of those resources returned a dividend.


In 2004, the Dolphins gave up a second round pick to Philadelphia for A.J. Feeley. The idea was to have Feeley, the Eagles backup at the time, become Miami's starting quarterback. Not only did Feeley fail to win the starting job in 2004, he was terrible in the 2005 preseason and new coach Nick Saban traded him and a sixth round pick to San Diego for Cleo Lemon. Verdict: LOSS.

In 2006, the Dolphins gave up a second round pick to Minnesota for quarterback Daunte Culpepper. They did this after they decided Culpepper was a better injury risk than signing Drew Brees as a free agent. Culpepper, outstanding before blowing out his knee in 2005, was never the same. He played only a handful of games in 2006 before getting into an argument with Saban and eventually being shut down. He was cut by the Dolphins in the spring of 2007. Verdict: LOSS.

In 2007, the Dolphins tendered receiver Wes Welker as a restricted free agent. The New England Patriots, seeing an opportunity and on the advice of Nick Saban, wanted Welker. They dealt a second rounder and a seventh-rounder to the Dolphins for Welker. Welker went on to become a Pro Bowl fixture. The Dolphins used the second round pick on center Samson Satele, who played only two seasons for Miami. Verdict: LOSS.

In 2008, the Dolphins were in the middle of a franchise revamp and the only real asset of high merit on the roster was Jason Taylor. But Taylor, wanting a Super Bowl ring, didn't want to go through another roster revamp. He asked, through his agent, to be traded. The Dolphins did just that to the Washington Redskins for a second round pick in 2009. Taylor failed in Washington and was cut and returned to the Dolphins in 2009. Verdict: WIN.

(Even in victory, the Dolphins failed because the pick they gained from Washington was used to pick Pat White. And he was off the team within a year.)  

In 2010, the Dolphins wanted to add a bigtime playmaking wide receiver. They identified restricted free agent Brandon Marshall as that player. They gave up not one, but two first round picks to the Denver Broncos for Marshall. He played two seasons with Miami, leading the team in receptions both years and going to the Pro Bowl in 2011. But he had the same off-field issues in Miami he had in Denver. He also argued with teammates such as Chad Henne, Igor Olshansky and Vontae Davis. He was traded a year ago. Verdict: LOSS.

In 2012, the Dolphins apparently tired of Davis having troubles with maturity and other things. He also showed up sloppy out of shape to camp that summer. The club shipped the former first round draft pick to Indianapolis for two second-round and conditional sixth-round pick. Well, the Dolphins have that pick to use this draft. The second is not quite as high as the Dolphins figured because the Colts played well in 2012 and were a playoff team. The Dolphins also didn't get the sixth-rounder because Davis did not play the required 60 percent of the down for Indy that the pick required. The Dolphins have the No. 54 pick from Indianapolis to use. Verdict: INCOMPLETE.

Obviously history has no tangible impact on what is likely to happen on this issue. But history should warn you that the Dolphins have had a gift for losing when making deals involving second-round picks.

Latest: A couple of new possibilities emerge

You guys know I love D.J. Hayden. I have today in The Miami Herald and in private conversations with sources implored the Dolphins to take the Houston cornerback with the No. 12 overall selection.

For those of you that have said Hayden at No. 12 is too high, I present to you today's report from ProFootballtalk.com which states that the Raiders, eager to trade out of the No. 3 spot, are eyeing Hayden as their pick after a trade-down.

And PFT.com is reporting that one source said that many teams view both Hayden's game film and his medical file as better than Alabama cornerback Dee Milliner.

So there is that.

Now this:

The Dolphins are not completely averse to the idea of trading up if, if, if it is for the right guy.

The right guys?

1. Luke Joeckel.

2. Dion Jordan.

I am told that if Joeckel does not go No. 1 to the Kansas City Chiefs -- a very, very strong possibility because they are leaning 60-40 in favor of Eric Fisher -- then the Dolphins will make calls to see about landing Joeckel if he falls to say, No. 3 and Oakland.

Understand that it would take a mint for Miami to go from No. 12 to No. 3. It would probably include next year's No. 1 pick and I don't know if Miami is willing to do that. But if the Branden Albert trade falls through and suddenly Joeckel is dangling out there, Miami may consider it.

By the way, on Albert, the clubs continue to talk (reportedly) and the holdup continues to be draft pick compensation.

Albert remains the preferred choice for the Dolphins. But if that falls through and Joeckel drops, that door opens.

Another player the Dolphins really like who may drop is defensive end Dion Jordan.

Many mock drafts have Jordan, the Oregon Duck, going to Jacksonville at No. 2. But what if he doesn't?

What if Jacksonville picks an offensive tackle? What if Jacksonville prefers Ezekiel Ansah?

Then Jordan will be dangling at No. 3 and Oakland. And as I just stated, the No. 3 overall pick is for sale. The Raiders want to trade down to add picks and remake their team.

Well, the Dolphins have a lot of picks and a desire to add a dynamic pass rusher if possible. Jordan, the club believes, can be a dynamic pass-rusher.

Does that mean the Dolphins will mortgage the draft and possibly part of next year's draft to make the move? Probably not. But can anyone say it definitely, absolutely will not happen?