Miami Dolphins general manager Jeff Ireland and head coach Joe Philbin spoke with the media following day two of the 2012 NFL Draft. The Dolphins selected offensive tackle Jonathan Martin, defensive end Olivier Vernon, and tight end Michael Egnew during the second and third rounds conducted Friday night. The team has released a transcript of the media availability of the two men.
(On Olivier Vernon) - "Obviously we took Olivier Vernon from the University of Miami, a junior, who came out early. We feel real good about him we call him a pressure player, were going to see him play kind of a hybrid position potentially both end positions and we see him having a role in nickel situations as a pass rusher. We had him over here a couple of weeks ago and got the chance to really get to know the kid at one of our Miami workouts, and he really impressed our coaching staff, and myself in particular, as an athlete and a person. (He's) really strong handed and very athletic. From a personal character standpoint he was very upfront about some of his past and I felt really good about having him join our team."
(On Michael Egnew) - "Michael Egnew, the tight end out of Missouri, was a three or four year starter and team captain who caught 147 balls I think. He is very athletic and a very good pass-catching tight end. I saw him at the Senior Bowl and had some time to visit with him there, and he really impressed us at the Senior Bowl because he started playing a tight end position. At Missouri he was really detached most of the time, and I got to see him put his hand in the dirt and come off and hit someone as a tight end, so he has some versatility we fell like and he's someone who we are very interested in working with."
(On the trend of using multiple tight ends in the NFL) - "I like the vision that we're getting a guy that can run down the middle of the field, that's something that Joe (Philbin) and I have talked about in particular. I like athletic tight ends, those guys make plays in this league and Joe has had some experience with some athletic tight ends and so there was a vision that came together in the draft room with this player (Egnew). A couple of weeks ago we sat down and started watching the kid, but we feel like he fits what we are trying to get accomplished."
(On the Dolphins pre-draft interest in Olivier Vernon) - "I really didn't know much about him until I went to the University of Miami Pro Day and my scouts told me to take a look at this guy and pay attention to him. My exposure to the player wasn't as high on Vernon until he came in here, my scouts saying ‘we love him, we love him' but my exposure really started getting more concentrated after I saw him at the University of Miami Pro Day and he came here. That's when I really started studying him from this year and last year and our coaches got involved with it, so it became very clear to me that this was a guy that we should consider."
(On Olivier Vernon performance at the collegiate level) - "You know missing six games this year and really only starting three (games) didn't really have a great amount of production, but we trust our eyes and we trust what we see. We had a good conversation with (Miami Head) Coach Golden. He believes in him, and he's one of our kind of guys, you know we talk in the same language that way, and I saw what he (Golden) sees in him to, so he's a guy I wouldn't be surprised if he has a big year, and a big career also."
(On how the trade with the San Diego Chargers came together) - "We just had the two together and I really wanted to see if I could parlay something in, just to get an extra pick sometime tomorrow, so it was pretty simple. We wanted to take the pressure player first and felt like we might be able to move down a couple of spots and pick up Michael (Egnew)."
(On Egnew being a converted receiver and reaction to those who say his blocking is more getting in the way of teammates) - "I beg to differ with that. What you saw at the Senior Bowl was a guy putting his hand in the dirt and firing off and hitting some people. That scheme in Missouri is not a physical power scheme and you don't really see him put his hand in the dirt there. So it's hard to project when a guy's out in space. He'll get on you, out in space, but he's blocking smaller guys. What you really see and you like about him is his run after catch. He's a physical, 250-pound man that's moving pretty fast. You see the physicality in that regard. At the Senior Bowl he impressed us that way. The willingness is absolutely there."
(On Jonathan Martin and all three picks, but especially Martin) - "I really like the guy (Jonathan Martin, T, Stanford University). When I first watched him, right before the combine, before we went to the combine, what got my attention was his hand usage. I thought his timing on his punch - the things we teach in pass protection, with the punch and the use of the hands - the timing is the key, and I thought it was exceptional. I think his feet are very good. He's got good length in his arms. I'm excited about him. I really liked him when I first watched him. He's a guy that's good in a workout but his film is as good as his workout. It's tough sometimes because you watch these guys and you get intrigued a little bit about how they run the forty or the three-cone and some of those other things, but I thought his film married up well to his workout numbers. He's smart, obviously, he's a high character guy, and I'm excited about him. I think he's a very, very good prospect."
(On if he's happy with the way Jeff Ireland and the scouts have done in the second round) - "I think Jeff and his scouts have done a great job, of course. Absolutely. It's a team effort. These guys, they work their tails off. I came from a place where people feel like it's a very good draft room there...these guys work their tails off. They're very thorough, very detailed, I mean, Jeff's got more cross-checkers - it's impressive to watch those guys work and he listens to the coaches. Everybody chips in, but he makes the decisions. I think it's been a good process, a very good process. Hopefully, and I believe we have, we've added some good, quality players."
(On how much involvement he sees himself having in developing Martin) - "Not a lot. Again, as I said last night, and I firmly believe this, I'll say it again, the position coach is the lifeblood of the football program here. I believed that when I was a position coach, I believed that when I was an offensive coordinator and I believe it as the head coach. Jim Turner is our offensive line coach. I've got tremendous faith and confidence in him, or I wouldn't have hired him. We all sit together in a room before we step out onto the field. We all agree on what the protection schemes are going to be. We all agree on what the fundamentals of the position are going to be. I don't see myself being involved in that at all. Chris Mosley is our assistant offensive line coach. You hire people to do a job and you expect them to do their job. That's how it's going to be run. Steve Ross isn't coaching the football team; he hired me to coach the football team. Those guys will be able to do a great job with Jonathan Martin."
(On how difficult the switch from the left side to the right side will be for Martin) - "I don't know. We'll find out, we'll get here this weekend and will putz around with his stance and who knows. We'll see. Some guys make it like that (snapping fingers) Steve (Wine), it's not a problem. Other guys it takes a little bit while, the transitions a little bit tougher so we'll start working with him. We're going work with him on. I don't know if he's going to get 100 percent of his reps on the right side anyway. We haven't begun our discussions of that on the depth chart but I know you can never have enough tackles who can protect the quarterback and we feel very good about what we've seen on tape in terms of his ability to protect the quarterback. It's not perfect but I'm excited about it."
(On if Martin is the one you expects the most production from the picks so far ) - "Not necessarily, not necessarily. Again you go through this process when you evaluate players even from our perspective as coaches and certainly Jeff talked about the vision that we have for certain players, which is important, before you select them on your ball club because you want to know how, at least you think how you're going to utilize them. But again, until you really get your hands around these guys it's really hard to sit here and say, ‘Yeah I think this guy's going to step forward and do this, and this guy's going to step forward and do that'. I don't know what the Giants thought Victor Cruz was going to catch 85 passes, I don't know the exact number, so hopefully they all, they all may have chance to contribute and make an impact. Who that is and how quickly and how much, as I told the team yesterday at the end of our mini-camp, that's kind of the fun part about this business and this profession and you know you don't exactly know all the answers. You do your best and you study the film and you trust your eyes at a certain point in time but we'll see how that all shakes out."
(On if Jermichael Finley the type of prototype of what you see in this offense for the tight end) - "I think you have to again, coaches putting guys in the position to be successful. So if we asked Jermichael Finley to block the defensive end every single play and ran right the ball right to his place side leg, chances are we weren't going to have a ton of success. So what we did was we attempted to utilize him the best way we could and (Michael) Egnew, I'm excited about the kid. He's a big skilled player. We like to attack the middle of the field. He's going to be a good player in the red zone. That's an area where I thought these guys here in Miami did a lot of nice things last year. They're staff did. They struggled a little bit in the red zone and this is a guy that I think can help us in the red zone and I think you can use him, he's certainly been comfortable playing outside the box. In a slot and even as a wider receiver like throwing screens through him. They've run reverses with him. I'm not sure the first day we're going to run a reverse to him to be honest with you (laughing). But, and I think he's going be, Jeff mentioned, he's a willing blocker. It's a little bit of a brave new world for him but he's got ability. He can bend. If you can bend and you're willing then you got a chance."
(On what did you see out of Olivier Vernon that stood out) - "I think he's strong. I think he's has some kind natural strength, Omar (Kelly) I don't even know what his bench press, I couldn't tell you and I really don't even care. But when he came here and worked out, he's got some strength, some pop, some snap in his body that again sometimes that's hard to coach. You can watch guys and you can see guys bench press at the combine, but when you see guys move and play football you can tell some guys have some natural snap to their body. They have good leverage. They have good bend and good power. He's got big hands. He's 21-years old. I like this strength. I like the way he worked and I think he's got great potential."
(On how do you feel about the first two days of the draft so far) - "I don't know what kind of answer you feel like I'm going to give you (laughing). I feel great about it. A lot of work goes into this you don't anyways get exactly what you want. When you're sitting here with four picks, you would like to have four first-rounders. But you know that's not going to happen, so we feel great about the four players that we've added to our roster. Again, like I told you, it's a projection business. Some guys are going to contribute quickly, some guys are going to take some time to develop. We have a developmental program in place and firmly believe that with our coaching staff and the vision that their head coach has, these guys are going to become good players and so I feel very good about it."
(On how are you going to address tomorrow) - "Well, our draft board still has players on the board. We feel very good about some of those guys. We're going to try to be patient in some cases and be aggressive in other occasions. Certainly, we have a couple of other things that we want to try to address. We'll see how the board marries to the need."
(On seeing all the DL taking off the board, how much patience did you have) - "Again, I don't know how patient I was. I was probably nervous. I really liked this kid. You did see kind of a trend going with pressure players and pass rushers. I'm not saying this guy is only a pressure player because this guy can play the run too. That's what I like about him. He's a developmental player. Certainly, needs some work and needs some more experience obviously to him. It's hard. Sometimes you try to move up, you try to move down and sometimes you can't. You just have to stay there and take the pick, but in this case we felt like some of his production may have kept him from going a little higher to be honest with you."
(On what went into the decision of not addressing the need at WR, was it just following the board) - "Yes, basically following the board."
(On having a high grade on Jonathan Martin, was it a first round grade) - "No, I'm not going to go there. I just don't think it's fair. We felt like we got the proper value where we took him, absolutely."