Jeff Ireland, calm, tanned and comfortable, talked about the draft with the media today. I was impressed with how at ease the Dolphins general manager was compared to how he's been at past pre-draft pressers.
And everything he said was not spin or vague or purposefully unclear.
At this time last year, Ireland knew he was picking quarterback Ryan Tannehill. Today, two weeks before the April 25-27 draft, he said he doesn't know who he's picking but has "pretty good idea" about a number of players he really likes. He said he's got three or four candidates.
Ireland and coach Joe Philbin still have several positions to discuss before they nail down whom they really want.
Offensive line will be addressed in this draft. Ireland said he's comfortable with Nate Garner. He said he thinks Jonathan Martin can play either left or right tackle and that coaches will make that call. But ...
"We're going to try to upgrade the offensive line as a whole," he said.
I asked him (inartfully, I might add as I stumbled and bumbled) about spending more high resources on offensive line. The Dolphins have spent a lot of resources on offensive over the years --including first-round picks on Mike Pouncey and Jake Long, a second on Martin, a third on John Jerry. You get the deal.
Ireland said he's not worried about doing it some more.
"If I get another Pouncey and a Jake Longs I'd do it again," Ireland said. "I wish I had a whole team of Mike Pouncey and Jake Longs."
Ireland said he has not begun to talk to other teams about trade-up or trade-down scenarios so the rumors that pretend to know this stuff is going on ... take it with a grain of salt.
Having said that, Ireland said he has the "ammunition" to get up to the first overall pick if he wannted to.
Ireland is very optimistic about cornerback Brent Grimes. The unrestricted free agent addition is "almost to the point in his mind" that he can participate in the offseason conditioning program.
Perhaps that's the reason Ireland says he doesn't have to pick a cornerback high. (But he might).
Ireland confirmed that Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o, who visited the Dolphins Wednesday and today, is on the radar.
"I think Manti is a good football player that is going to be drafted," he said. "I wanted to spend some time with him."