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Jeff Ireland address Friday night's Dolphins draft picks; Stephen Ross speaks out

Some quick comments from Dolphins general manager Jeff Ireland on his three picks Friday:

### On Boise State cornerback Jamar Taylor: "Great kid.  Prototypical size and speed.  Very smart.  Very physical.  Can play inside and outside.  He plays with a great awareness, instinct."

### On Utah State cornerback Will Davis: "Can play inside or outside. Very skilled athlete. Doesn't have a lot of experience. Really came on the scene this year.

"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.” 

### Ireland said Tennessee offensive lineman Dallas Thomas would play on the left side, but he was non-committal about whether he will play guard or tackle. He said the coaches would determine that.

“We spent a lot of time watching him play in 2011 and 2012. I  love 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."

Ireland suggested he doesn't expect a trade for Kansas City's Branden Albert, but he also said nothing was going on with Davone Bess a day before was traded. He wouldn't rule out a trade for Albert.

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Dolphins owner Stephen Ross made some interesting revelations and comments in a studio appearance on Dan Le Batard’s show on 790 The Ticket today. Among them:

### “This organization is functioning the best since the Shula days, [because] I picked the head coach with Jeff Ireland. People see this organization is really on the uptick.”

### On Ireland: “People wanted to blame our losing on somebody, and he was the easy person to blame it on. I believe in Jeff, and you’re seeing today what Jeff Ireland can really do. This past year is the first year, under my [ownership] this organization is coming into its own.”

### He said No. 1 draft pick Dion Jordan reminded the front office of Jason Taylor and DeMarcus Ware.

### He said during his first year as owner, “Everybody had me walking on eggshells... or we were going to lose Bill Parcells.”... He disagreed with Le Batard's assertion that Parcells is a fraud: "I have a lot of respect for the guy. I like the guy. He didn't stay with it for personal reasons."

### On his trip to visit then-Stanford coach Jim Harbaugh when Tony Sparano was still the team’s coach: “I got blasted for Harbaugh. He turned out to be a pretty darn good coach. It wasn’t like I was looking in the wrong direction. Everyone said, ‘This guy doesn’t know what he’s doing.’… I learned a lot. I knew this guy would be a great head coach. We have one now.”

Ross said he quickly learned he was being used by Harbaugh's agent. Soon after, Harbaugh became head coach of the 49ers.

### Ross criticized former coach Tony Sparano: “The way Tony reacted to [the Harbaugh interview] damaged the whole organization. He could never put it behind him. I don’t think he was right head coach for Miami Dolphins. I didn’t hire him. We’re a much better organization today than then.”

Sparano was upset that Ross interviewed Harbaugh while Sparano was still employed, then was rewarded with a one-year extension that apparently didn’t soothe his feelings as much as Ross expected it would.

By the way, Ross openly questioned Sparano's coaching decisions around confidantes. He thought Sparano's teams played below their talent level.

### He said his pitch to Peyton Manning during free agency last spring included a role with the Dolphins after he retired. “I got to know Archie Manning. I tried every angle. You have to be tenacious. I thought we had a shot at him. We went up to Indianapolis. I then flew him from Indianapolis to North Carolina, to Duke, and he and I spent some time together.

“I know the reason why he made the decision. I made an offer I thought would get him there [with a post-playing career role that Ross did not specify on the radio]. He wrote me a letter: ‘I would love to come with you, but I guess that would mean I have to play for you.’

He said one of the main reasons Manning chose Denver was “his familiarity with the coaches and their [offensive] systems. He didn’t know our coaches or our system.”

### When Manning returned to Miami after meeting with the Dolphins and other teams, TV reporters cascaded on him, and helicopters followed his car back home.

“The helicopters really spooked him,” Ross said. “He wants privacy. He takes his profession very seriously. He didn’t want all that in Miami. There were a number of factors why we didn’t get him.”

### Ross revealed the team “hired five quarterback experts” last offseason to study available quarterback options. The reason? He said the Dolphins wanted “to leave no stone unturned, because we couldn’t make a mistake.” He said his experts liked Andrew Luck No. 1, Robert Griffin No. 2 and Tannehill third among quarterbacks in the 2012 draft.

### He said Tannehill “will turn out to be a great quarterback.”

### He said: “I don’t know if there’s a fair argument against” the team’s public financing plan. The Miami-Dade referendum is scheduled for May 14.

### What if the stadium financing plan is voted down? "There isn't a backup plan. If we don't get it, I'll have to figure it out."

### Why not pay for the whole project himself? "I'm paying much, much more than the percentage I would possibly benefit. It's not the community paying me. It's the tourists who stay in the hotels who are paying."

### He admitted he "absolutely" wishes there wasn't a vote on the issue. "The county commission could have voted for it, but we agreed to a referendum because of the Marlins deal. It's not even close to the Marlins [ballpark] deal. If it were close to the Marlins deal, it wouldn't even be [given] to the voters. Why should anybody be against it? If you really love Dade County, you shouldn't be against it. They're the beneficiaries."

### If fans feel hopeful about the team, does that help with the vote? "I would hope so. [But] I will be judged on if we have a winning team, not on the stadium. If we fail [with the stadium], I'm still trying to put a winning team on the field.... The challenge is great, but we're going to succeed."

### Please see our last post for analysis from pundits on the Dion Jordan pick; some players the Dolphins checked out at key positions; and an agent ripping the Marlins.

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