When the Dolphins finally finish their first round of interviews for their vacant general manager job -- and there are still multiple interviews to go -- the club expects to pare down to two finalists and meet with both again for another round of interviews.
Expect Cleveland Browns assistant general manager Ray Farmer to be one of those finalists, barring a major surprise.
It seems Farmer, who interviewed on Saturday, has so far been "the most impressive" of the interviews the team has conducted, according to sources familiar with the process.
The Dolphins have interviewed Famer, in-house candidate Brian Gaine, Arizona's Jason Licht, Pittsburgh's Omar Khan, and Tennessee's Lake Dawson on Sunday.
More interviews are expected in the coming days including Philadelphia vice president of player personnel Tom Gamble, Falcons director of player personnel Lionel Vital, New York Giants VP of player evaluation Marc Ross and possibly others.
Multiple NFL sources familiar with the Dolphins' thinking say the team has other candidates whose teams remained in the playoffs through the divisional round which ended Sunday.
It is believed Seattle senior personnel executive Scot McCloughan, formerly the general manager of the San Francisco 49ers, was on the Dolphins radar. One source said the Dolphins still would like to speak to him but his desire to take the interview is in question.
There could also be a mystery candidate, according to a source: San Francisco offensive senior consultant Eric Mangini. His name should not be eliminated, the source insisted, until one party or the other publicly says they're not interested.
Of the remaining candidates who have not been interviewed the two seen as a greatest threats to Farmer as the leading candidate are Ross and Gamble.
The interview process so far has been a success, according to various NFL sources.
Former Kansas City Chiefs president and GM Carl Peterson put together a credible list of candidates and has taken the lead in contacting those candidates. Executive vice president of football administration Dawn Aponte has been the team's liason with the league in requesting permission or putting in notification tickets for the candidates. And Ross has been present and engaged in every interview.
But there is one significant hole in the Dolphins interview team: Peterson has been out of the NFL since 2008 so the abundance of sources he once enjoyed around the league is much thinner now. Ross, who does not dedicate all his time to the running of his team, knows very few NFL people he can call to get outside information on candidates. And Aponte is a neophyte in the personnel part of the game and in judging personnel men.
So while the Dolphins can listen to what the candidates say about themselves, they don't have a wealth of "dirt," according to one NFL source, on each candidate that could balance out glowing resumes and references the candidates give them.
"Who was it that said, 'Success has many fathers and failure is an orphan?' " one NFL source asked rhetorically. "Well, they're getting told by some of these candidates stories about them standing on the table for particular guys and not wanting others. That happens all the time. The only way to corroborate those stories is to know other NFL people and be able to get an honest take on what those guys are claiming."
The interviews have so far taken place at the team's Davie, FL. practice facility but as practices for the East-West Shrine game are set to begin this week and personnel men attend those, the coming interviews may have to move to the Tampa-St. Petersburg area.
The Marc Ross interview, however, may take place in New York -- perhaps as early as Monday.