If the NFL didn't mandate these pre-draft press conferences that teams are forced to host, I can guarantee you that most teams - especially the Miami Dolphins - simply would not host them. But the league is smart. They know that by forcing teams to hold these media gatherings, it gets people talking about the NFL and forces local newspapers to cover what the general manager said (which is a lot of nothing, to be honest) during the 20 minute chat.
On Thursday, general manager Jeff Ireland held his mandatory pre-draft press conference. And while there's obviously nothing ground-breaking to report (unless you care about Brian Gaine's promotion), a few nuggets are noteworthy. That's where we start this week's "five."
1. Dolphins have "two or three guys" they are targeting with the 15th overall pick. Of course, this assumes the Dolphins do not make a move and either trade up (which Ireland wouldn't rule out, as unlikely as it may be) or trade down to add an additional draft pick or two. Ireland didn't drop any obvious hints as to who those guys are, though. What he said was that he had "a fairly good sense of who I would take at that spot, there’s no doubt about it. I think it could come down to two or three guys."
Ireland added that there are "also scenarios to go up and get a guy if he falls or go down if two or three guys are not there."
Me being the inquisitive person that I am can't help but wonder who these players might be. Who is the guy Ireland would want to go up and get if he falls? And who are the two or three guys they are expecting to choose from if they stay at number 15?
Blaine Gabbert,, A.J. Green, and Julio Jones. I think it's safe to assume that one of those four players would entice the Dolphins to move up in the draft if they slipped a little bit on draft night. As for the two or three guys they are expecting to choose from at 15, I really don't know. The most obvious possibilities are probably Ryan Mallett, Mark Ingram, and Mike Pouncey.
Anyone got any other ideas?
2. Jeff Ireland is very good at sending out mixed signals during these kinds of press conferences. Take the current running back situation, for example. The Dolphins only have two tailbacks on the roster - a fact that Ireland alludes to a few times during his presser. But when asked about if he has to draft a running back because of the team's current situation, Ireland responded, "Not necessarily. I don’t feel that way that I have to. I am going to go into this draft pretty much the way I always go into it. I don’t want to reach for players, just to fill a roster spot."
But a few minutes later, the topic of running backs came up again. This time, in regards to his philosophy on drafting running backs early, Ireland says that he doesn't necessarily believe in the theory that you can find running backs late. You can find many other positions late as well, according to Ireland. And he wrapped up that particular question from a reporter by adding, "I think if you look at the top running backs in this league over time, they’re going to be first and second round picks. I do know that."
So on one hand, Ireland doesn't want to reach just to fill a need. On the other hand, he does believe that the best running backs are high draft picks. So does that mean Mark Ingram is in play at 15? Or is he a reach based on a need?
3. Not sure if it means anything, but Ireland did confirm the team has done extensive homework on Arkansas QB Ryan Mallett. He says that he's spent a lot of time with Mallett. The team has been very thorough in their evaluation of Mallett, "much like we are with every player that we are considering drafting," said Ireland.
"Sometimes when there’s information out there you want to dispel rumors and get as much information that you can with any player out there, and that’s why we went through the process," added Ireland. "He’s a nice young man, very talented kid, got a bright future."
Is that future with the Miami Dolphins? We'll likely know by this time next week.
4. Mike Mayock likes the idea of RB Taiwan Jones going to the Dolphins. I would agree. Jones is an electric running back, something Miami's offense has lacked for some time. He's got home run potential every time he touches the football.
"You want to talk about a guy that every time you put the tape on, it seemed like you got three runs a game of over 50 yards … nobody can catch him," Mayock said on WQAM on Thursday. "Now, I’m not trying to tell you he’s Chris Johnson, because he’s 192 pounds and he’s had some durability problems. But that’s a kid that’s so fast, so quick, he can change the game."
Keep an eye on Jones if he's still on the board in the third round. It's a pick that would just make sense for an offensive that struggles to get into the endzone like Miami's offense does.
5. Could Blaine Gabbert or Cam Newton fall out of the top five? That seems to be a growing possibility. Many are starting to believe that the Cardinals will not take a QB with the 5th overall pick. The same goes for the Bengals at four and even the Bills at three. Why? If these teams in the top five feel like they can get a good quarterback with their second rounder - or trade back into the end of round one - then they will look to fill other needs with their first selection.
That makes me wonder - would the Dolphins, already short on picks, consider trading up for Gabbert or Newton? Maybe. Jeff Ireland did day they are prepared to "go up and get a guy if he falls."