But the draft?
It has been a wasteland to anyone looking for Dolphins greatness.
Obviously, finding greatness in the draft involves luck. The Patriots found Tom Brady in the sixth round. The Jets found Darrelle Revis in the middle of the first round. No one on either team stood up on draft day and said, “We’ve filled our Hall of Fame quota today.”
But why is it the Dolphins — once so capable of plucking greats such as Dan Marino and Mark Clayton and John Offerdahl and Dwight Stephenson and Richmond Webb and Troy Vincent — have hit such a long dry spell?
It’s not all about a lack of luck. Trust me, it’s not. There has been a good amount of institutional failure introduced into the process, and that resulted in Miami picking Vernon Carey over Vince Wilfork or John Jerry over Jimmy Graham or, yes, Long over Matt Ryan.
But this year, Ireland has a new and grand opportunity. Because he has so many picks and other teams are so willing to trade, he can basically maneuver into any spot he wants to get any player he wants.
“I have enough ammunition to get to the first pick, if I wanted to,” Ireland said. “But I don’t see myself doing that, personally. I don’t know. It depends on what’s there.”
The first pick isn’t always the best. And unlike last year, when the first two picks offered two franchise-defining players, this draft doesn’t have an obvious sure-fire star among the top prospects.
But just like last year, this draft has hidden treasure. Somewhere. It’s inevitable. There’s a Russell Wilson lurking. Somewhere another Jared Allen, picked in the fourth round, or another Elvis Dumervil, another fourth-round pick from a draft since forgotten, will be available to the Dolphins.
If that guy is defensive end Ezekial Ansah, then Ireland should trade up to get him. If that’s tight end Tyler Eifert or cornerback Desmond Trufant or safety Kenny Vaccaro, then he can stay at No. 12 in the first round or drop some and still get his man.
If it’s Texas defensive end Alex Okafor in the third round, then the Dolphins will have two chances to get him.
“The fact we do have 11 draft picks and five in the top three rounds, that’s important,” Ireland said. “It doesn’t come around very often that you have that kind of clout in the draft. We need to take advantage of it. It’s very important.”
It is truly important — because the Dolphins sure could use a difference-maker or even a Pro Bowl player coming from this draft.