Many believe that the Dolphins will take Texas A&M quarterback Ryan Tannehill, but it’s really all just guesswork at this point.
Jeff Ireland, who finalized the team’s draft board with his staff late Wednesday night, does know who it will be if the chips fall in his favor.
“We’ve got a real firm grasp on who we’d like to take,” Ireland said. “Now whether he’s there or not, that’s part of the strategy we’ll have to get into this weekend.”
This strategy accounts for the different types of things that can change so quickly. Because the draft process–and the draft itself, of course–is such a fluid process, it can be difficult to gauge what will happen with players, especially when they make a noticeable postseason rise or fall on draft boards.
“I’m always cognizant of who’s rising too fast,” Ireland said. “We’re in the business of getting good football players, and that’s what we’re trying to get accomplished here on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
“For the most part, the ones that you’re really studying, those guys don’t change a lot from December to April.”
Once a team’s draft board begins to take shape, they can begin to schedule visits with a few dozen prospects. These usually take place in the weeks preceding the draft and can help a staff get a good sense of a specific player’s makeup.
“It’s about getting that last taste in your mouth about who that person is,” Ireland said.
With all of the external attention that’s placed on the pre-draft process, things can quite distracting. Everyone, it seems, becomes an expert during draft season. Former NFL GM and current CBS Sports analyst Charley Casserly recently acknowledged that he would start paying attention to a handful of trustworthy mock drafts right before the draft. Ireland has a similar approach, noting that he “pays zero attention” to mock drafts until the final week.
During that final week, though, they can help give a good sense of what teams in the same vicinity may do and test how the war room would react in any given situation.
“We’ll have some different scenarios of how we mock,” Ireland said. “It gives us an idea on how to think fast, and it’s kind of like the sand of an hourglass. You can flip that over and you only have about ten seconds to make a decision.”
This will be the second time Ireland is running the draft, but the first time he’s working with Head Coach Joe Philbin. The schemes and philosophies Philbin wants to implement may be different, but it won’t change Ireland’s approach too much. He said it’s still about “marrying” the vision of the coaching staff with the work that the scouts have put in over the past few months.
“If you paint me a picture of the player you want,” Ireland said, “we’ll find him and we’ll try to get him on the football team.”
The opinions, analysis and/or speculation expressed by The Finsiders Blog represent those of individual writers, and unless quoted or clearly labeled as such, do not represent the opinions, policies or desires of the Miami Dolphins organization, front office, coaches and executives. Writers' views are formulated independently from any inside information and/or conversation with Dolphins officials, including the coaches and scouts, unless otherwise noted.