One question down, one to go. Bill Parcells has gotten his guy as GM. Now we just have to wait to see what these two decide to do with Cam Cameron. And before we get into our new GM, there's an interesting report that was brought to my attention by "finguy23." Apparently, a UK news site is reporting that Cam Cameron is going to be fired very soon. In fact, this article says Cameron will be fired "later tonight." Now, it was posted on Wednesday at 7:50 pm UK time. That's 2:50 pm EST. It's now past midnight on the east coast and there has been no new news reported on Cam's future. This article also says that Jeff Ireland "is expected to be named general manager tomorrow after Huizenga signs off on the deal." About 30 minutes later, Ireland's hiring was made official. So this site clearly isn't too far off with their information. I just wonder how a UK site would know about Cam's fate without any of the local papers or national media reporting the same thing. Meanwhile, ESPN's John Clayton writes in his blog that a decision on Cam's future is expected by Friday. I guess we shall just continue to wait.
Now onto our new GM, Jeff Ireland. As most you know, Ireland's most recent gig was as the Cowboys' VP of college and pro scouting. But let's go back to the beginning and give a brief overview of Ireland's career in football.
From 1988 to 1991, Ireland was the placekicker for the Baylor Bears. Upon graduation, Ireland was hired by North Texas as their special teams coach. Then in 1994, Ireland began his career as a scout for the National Football Scouting Combine. He spent 3 years there before becoming an area scout for the Kansas City Chiefs. Then in 2001, Ireland accepted a position as a national scout for the Cowboys. He kept that title until 2005, at which time he was promoted to their VP of college and pro scouting.
While being a national scout for the Cowboys from '01 through '04, the Cowboys only had 2 first round picks. But they hit on both, selecting Roy Williams in 2002 and Terence Newman in 2003. But they also found some mid round gems like Jason Witten and Bradie James, and even found a late round gem in 2004 by drafting Patrick Crayton in the 7th round.
In 2005, Ireland's first draft a VP, the Cowboys were very successful. Dallas hit on their first 5 draft picks. They were DeMarcus Ware, Marcus Spears, Kevin Burnett, Marion Barber, and Chris Canty. And we can't forget about 7th round pick Jay Ratliff, who has started 14 games in the 2007 season for the Cowboys.
However, 2006 and 2007 weren't quite as successful for Ireland and the Cowboys. Their 2 first round picks from those 2 drafts, Bobby Carpenter ('06) and Anthony Spencer ('07) are not starters, though both do see action in Dallas' linebacker rotation. However, they have found some solid reserve players, such as Anthony Fasano, Jason Hatcher, Pat Watkins, and James Marten. They did find a very good kicker in 2007, though. Nick Folk has converted on 84% of his FGs, including being 24/26 from inside 50 yards.
We also can't forget about some of the key free agent signings that the Cowboys have made since Ireland was promoted to VP of college and pro scouting. Dallas, the past 3 offseasons, has signed free agents like Akin Ayodele, Anthony Henry, Leonard Davis, and Ken Hamlin. All 4 of those players start and contribute to the success of the Cowboys.
All in all, 38 of Dallas' 53 players were brought in while Ireland served as VP. Of those, 12 of them are starters. And another is their kicker, who technically isn't considered a "starter." Not too shabby, I suppose.
I also wanted to quickly look at the positions that seem to be targeted by both Ireland and Parcells. These two were together as the key decisions makers for 2 seasons (2005 and 2006). The Cowboys drafted 16 players over the course of those 2 years. Of those 16 players, 10 of them are on the defensive side of the ball. In fact, 5 of their 6 first-day picks were either a linebacker or defensive end. And of their 6 offensive players selected, 3 of them are along the offensive line. What might this mean? It's clear that both Ireland and Parcells are big into building a team from the inside out. Exactly half of their 16 picks are players who play on the line, either offensive of defensive. So that could very well mean the Dolphins will look to address both of these units in the 2008 draft. I know it's early, but it seems like the smart money for what the Dolphins will do with the #1 pick (if they do not trade out of the spot) will be on Glenn Dorsey, Jake Long, or Chris Long.
Regardless, it's great to know that one of the key questions this offseason has been answered. However, will Ireland be an upgrade? It remains to be seen. His past drafts look promising, but many in the business also believe Randy Mueller is a good drafter as well. So in regards to Ireland, I'll take the "wait and see" approach.
Now we just need to know who will be coaching the Dolphins in 2008...