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Dolphins win coin toss, plus 10 other NFL Combine tidbits

Friday morning update: The Dolphins have won the coin toss with Carolina early this morning and will pick eighth in the first round of the April 26 draft. Carolina will pick ninth.

Among the players the Dolphins could be choosing from: North Carolina defensive end Quinton Coples, Iowa offensive tackle Riley Reiff, Alabama linebacker Courtney Upshaw, South Carolina defensive end Melvin Ingram and Texas A&M quarterback Ryan Tannehill, among others. By being eighth instead of ninth, there's also a better chance - albeit not a great one - that two of the draft's best players at this position - Oklahoma State receiver Justin Blackmon and LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne - could slip to that spot. 

The Dolphins - who finished tied with Carolina and Buffalo at 6-10 - will pick ninth in the second round, eighth in the third, ninth in the fourth, and so forth.


For a long, complete version of what Jeff Ireland and Joe Phibin had to say here in Indianapolis Thursday, see our last post. Beyond what Ireland and Philbin had to say, here are 10 other tidbits of local interest from Thursday’s session with some of the draft prospects and some team coaches and executives:

### Jets coach Rex Ryan had a lot to say, as usual. He began his news conference, unprompted, by saying “obviously it was a huge mistake” to guarantee last February that the Jets would win the Super Bowl. He said he believes the guarantee had something to do with the team’s disappointing 8-8 season.

“I thought it would motivate our team,” he said. “In hindsight, it brought undue pressure on our team. It’s something I’ve been thinking about a great deal. We had a terrible season and I take full responsibility for that. We have a team with potential to do great things.”

### Ryan, on his new offensive coordinator and ex-Dolphins coach Tony Sparano: “I’ve always admired him. I never liked him. I couldn’t put my finger on why.” Ryan finally figured out why: “That guy thinks he’s as tough as I am. He might be tougher.” Ryan said he spends an hour a day with Sparano.

### Neither Ryan nor Arizona Cardinals officials ruled out a run at Peyton Manning. Ryan was asked a couple times why he wouldn’t rule out the Jets pursuing Manning, considering that Ryan said recently that he’s firmly behind Mark Sanchez. But Ryan sees no reason to do that: “We will look at everybody,” he said. “There are 10 free agent quarterbacks I’ve looked at.” A Kansas City radio station said Tom Condon (Manning's agent) has spoken to the Chiefs about Manning, though that would be tampering if true (a big if).

### Denver coach John Fox said “we’re very comfortable with Tim Tebow” but they’re looking “to improve every position.” Tebow will enter camp as the starter, but the Broncos are expected to bring in quarterbacks to challenge him. "Tebow is going to be a great quarterback in this league," Fox said. "How long it takes? I can't tell you." Dolphins free agent Chad Henne, who will be moving on from Miami, is a possibility.

### We asked Fox's Brian Billick who he would take if the Dolphins hired him - Matt Flynn or Manning. Billick didn't have a strong conviction. "If it's Stephen Ross deciding, it will be Manning," he said. "He better be prepared to pay him $28 million, $30 million." Billick likes Flynn but "the league is replete with guys with short-term success and they go someplace else for an entire year and struggle."

### The Dolphins crave pass rushers, and Detroit defensive end Cliff Avril ranks among the best potential free agents. But coach Jim Schwartz made clear the Lions want to keep him. And Arizona GM Rod Graves said he expects to re-sign potential free agent Calais Campbell, the ex-UM standout.

### UM’s Jacory Harris was invited to the Combine not only to audition for himself but also to be a “throwing quarterback” – in other words, the guy who throws to receivers during their auditions. Harris said he doesn’t mind doing that because it gives him extra exposure. T.J. Yates filled that role last year, then ended up starting in Houston this season after injuries to Matt Schaub and Matt Leinart.

Harris said he expects to be drafted – Mel Kiper is among those who disagrees – and that he has been working with former Canes tight end Greg Olsen and former Lions quarterback Drew Stanton.

### The Cowboys are still deciding whether to place the franchise tag on linebacker Anthony Spencer, who would be a potential Dolphins target if he hits the market. “Spencer’s been a very good player,” coach Jason Garrett said. “We’re not ready to make that decision.”

### Tampa Bay coach Greg Schiano, the former Rutgers coach and ex-UM defensive coordinator under Butch Davis, said he feels very good having Davis on his staff as a special advisor. Davis has been given a meaningful role. “Butch is someone I really trust,” he said. “It’s been a huge advantage.” Schiano hired Bryan Cox - who wasn't retained on the Dolphins staff - as his "front seven" coach (as in, defensive linemen and linebackers).

### Iowa left tackle Riley Reiff, projected to go to Miami in some mock drafts, said he has played only one game at right tackle (in his redshirt freshman year) but envisions no problems switching to that side if he’s picked by a team that’s set at left tackle, such as the Dolphins. "I'd be happy to move over,'' he said. Reiff was very complimentary of Ken O'Keefe, Iowa's longtime offensive coordinator who was recently hired by Philbin as receivers coach.


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Jacory will be confused without any defenders to throw the ball to. He didnt sent an NCAA career record for INTs on his own


whatever, Rex. You're a stupid coach. Just coach your team, quit trying to stack it so you don't coach anybody.


Thanks a lot Jacory for all the hype at the U. What a disapointment....

Wrex N Effect Ryan

Sucking on feet makes you tough.


With the eight pick the Dolphins select...No one at all. They should just go ahead and trade down for a late first rounder (Tannehill perhaps?) and nab an early second rounder (Cordy Glen, Whitey Mercilius, etc.)

If they do end up taking that pick, I'd be happy with Coples, Ingram or even the Safety Barron from 'Bama if he's as good as advertised.


Let's not underestimate what happened this morning with the coin flip that the Dolphins won to take the 8th overall pick. They now have a lot more leverage whether they decide to move up or down or stand pat. Teams that may want to jump ahead of the Panthers to acquire a defensive linemen may ask Miami for a trade. They can also now really be in play to move up(but I don't think they should) to get RG3. You can never have enough options. They also have one notch up throughout all the other rounds. This is huge.

Franciscan Otterman

There are 10-15 players in any draft that you know will be anywhere from good to great right away in the NFL. After those top 20 or so, there is no way for us as fans to know who will and who won't be any good. So "draft" guy, yeah I'm talking to you. Dont start telling us about these obscure players from some div 2 program that you think will be a "steal" in the 4th round. Just stop it. You have no idea what you're talking about. The Dolphins should NOT trade down. If anything, they need to consider trading UP.


For the moment I am on the Coples bandwagon at #8. As a DE in a 4-3 and with the players already here the Fins could have a dominant D Line. Starks and Odrick have the ability to be great DTs. The Giants did did a pretty good job in the SB with that defensive philosophy against a team that has given us problems for yrs.


When the Dolphins won the Toss this morning with Carolina, I expected them to defer.


If we take Manning... I'm just gonna crap. It would be as shameless a move as when McCain choke Palin for VP... it's public pandering at BEST - done only to sell tickets - all with a ridiculous price tag and huge down side. I say throw out the rule book, pull a 'Didka' and trade the entire draft to move up to get RG3 AT ALL COSTS!!! How many more decades must we go before having someone we can count on for more than 2 years?!?! We need to put a legitimate play maker at that position - and with the skill players we already have on offense... and a VERY good defense - it makes us a division contender right away - and for years to come. Getting Manning will puts us right back in THIS position 2 years and $50m later. (Ross is a buffoon - as long as he's the owner and TRIES to be a football guy... we're doomed!)


Sorry CanadaMike
RG3 will not be around in 2 to 3 years even if we got him. He would run to Free Agency and get out of here. Or get hurt and be on the disabled list. Don't believe all the hype he won't be a franchise QB.


Fins just need a good QB from somewhere.Until they get one............................the rest of the picks will just be mediocre in comparison.This has been going on since Marino.... last was playing and playing rather well.....in the good old days.


Signing a washed up Manning and saving Irsay the $38 Million for his freaking horseshoe is not the answer. But we will do it no matter what.


If Manning can throw the ball you have to get him if available. Anyone who says different is a fool. he is the only proven QB on the list. RG3 will not make it in this league, a better pat white is all this guy is, and once he gets really hit he too will be timid just as white was. If not Manning then Flynn should be the choice. If we cant land Flynn then trade down a few spots and get Tannehill at a better valued pick. its that simple now sit back and wait for it to unfold. Id be happy if Manning came if he can throw. Perhap Wayne will join him!

Kasey Tiger

Markus, I love Manning but he is done and we will not know if he can throw until after the draft and free agency is done. So you want to wait and see? I say no. I saw RG3 in his last game bowl, he was great. He is the real deal, trade up and get him.


I am confused by this entire process. Don't we wait to see who is signed in free agency before deciding draft picks?


The only draft Jacory needs to worry about is that draft in his apartment when he leaves the window open. Thanks again for nothing.

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