For the first and last time prior to the NFL Draft, which is just 9 days away, Dolphins GM Jeff Ireland met with the media.
So what was the highlight? Well, when asked about a question in regards to something along the lines of drafting players with potential against drafting productive college players (I do forget the actual wording of the question), Ireland actually made a slip up and said something about drafting the best player for this defense. The room burst out in laughter to which Jeff asked what he just said and the reporters pointed out that he said "for the defense." Ireland tried to correct himself, but it was an interesting moment. More on this as I hear it.
Update [2008-4-17 13:22:16 by Matty I]: Here's the actual quote of the slip. Ireland said about the first pick, "You hope that he's a pillar of your defense for a long time." Then everyone laughed and it was pointed out to him what he had said. Ireland responded, "A pillar of your defense or offense, your team." Ireland was asked if that was part of a smokescreen, to which he responded, "I'll let you guys decide." Interesting stuff, but who knows what, if anything, it means. [end update]
Update [2008-4-17 20:33:19 by Matty I]: There were reports, like the one on PFT which claim the Dolphins are circulating a transcript of the press conference, but with a minor change. Rather than the "pillar of your defense" quote, PFT reports that the transcript being circulated replaces "defense" with "team." However, as you can see right here on miamidolphins.com, the transcript does not have a change on it. The phrase "pillar of your defense" remains. So was it a slip or was it planned to make Jake Long and his agent more pressured to sign a lesser deal? We'll find out soon enough. [end update #2]
Other things Ireland said:
"We're not going to talk about strategy at this particular press conference."
(About the old Jimmy Johnson trade chart)
"People still use the draft chart. I don't necessarily know if it applies to the first pick anymore...because you're dealing with the economics."
(More about potential vs production)
"I'm going after the player that best fits us."
(About any phone calls from other teams interested in #1 pick)
"Have I fielded a ton of calls? I've fielded some."
(About any offers to the Dolphins for the #1 pick)
"People are interested. People are always interested in the first pick. I'm not going to tell you what people are asking or offering. But I would think the talks would heat up next week."
He also stressed the idea of the #1 pick having to be the "face of the franchise" and how he has to have excellent character and makeup.
About the current team, Ireland said he likes the team's current depth at safety. He said that tackle is obviously a need (no crap). And about the most recent signing, Will Billingsley, Ireland said, "He's a very fast corner." He went on to explain that he worked out for the team recently and ran very well, which is why the Dolphins decided to bring him in for a look. He was a safety in college, but the Dolphins will look at him as a corner right now.
One last thing that was interesting. Ireland was asked what positions other than quarterback he thinks are important to a team. He said the core positions, in his opinion, are cornerback, quarterback, left tackle, nose tackle, and a #1 receiver.
Thoughts on anything from this press conference below...