There's only one question for
It's simply this: What has he learned these last five years?
They've been pockmarked by draft mistakes, free-agent issues and problems that have translated into four straight losing seasons. Few general managers survive such a run. Ireland has.
So what lessons are learned as another
1.Don't trade the 12th overall pick. Come on, we're not going to have this discussion again this off-season, are we? Ireland traded out of the 12th pick in 2010. He got
But look what opportunity was missed. With the 14th pick, Seattle took safety
When you trade down from a high spot, you lessen the odds for greatness. And great players are what the Dolphins lack. Forty-one percent of this year's
2. With any Top 15 pick, choose someone who can score touchdowns through the air, rush the quarterback or make game-changing plays on defense. Defense and running games aren't winning titles anymore. That game's gone. Baltimore scored 12 post-season touchdowns. Ten were passes. Six were at least 20 yards.
Baltimore and San Francisco are built and coached as traditionally as any contending team, too. Both teams scored in the 30s in the Super Bowl. San Francisco had nearly double the rushing yards (182-93) as Baltimore.
Until the last draft, the Dolphins' blueprint was backward. Take Ireland's 2011 draft. His first two picks were old school:
Look what San Francisco and Baltimore did with those picks. San Francisco took pass-rushing defensive end
3. Get a red-zone target. Who did
Baltimore beat San Francisco because
4. Choose free agents judiciously for fit and impact. For Irelands' first three years, the Dolphins spent wildly. And dumbly. Who can forget giving center Jake Grove a guaranteed $14 million? Or getting exactly what they feared and overpaid for in the trade for
Ireland now has the salary cap under control. His last two off-seasons of small, free-agent activity suggest his ideas differ from
Baltimore and San Francisco again showed the winning model is to build through the draft with significant add-ons. Baltimore signed receiver
5. Speed wins. Again, the Parcells Way was big and strong. Ireland has tried, by increments, to change that the last two drafts. But the reason the Dolphins have trouble causing turnovers is end
Baltimore general manager