None of the candidates who interviewed for the Dolphins general manager position has more experience scouting college players than Dennis Hickey, who took the job after two others turned it down and at least four others declined interviews.
Though he never made the final call on draft day, Hickey was very much involved in the Buccaneers’ draft decisions, particularly over the past nine of his 18 years with the team — six as director of college scouting (2005-2010) and the past three as director of player personnel.
How much say did Hickey have in draft selections?
“Fairly significant,” said Mark Dominik, who was Tampa Bay’s general manager from 2009 until his firing at the end of this season. “Dennis got me educated on players.”
Dominik on Monday praised Hickey’s ability as a talent evaluator, and the Buccaneers had some hits in the NFL Draft during the nine seasons when Hickey was a key piece of the front office.
But like all teams, they also had some key misses, including four second-round picks that didn’t meet expectations.
“The record isn’t what we wanted,” Dominik said of the 28-52 mark in his five years as GM. “But we were doing something right in the players we drafted and signed.”
A look at those nine drafts that Hickey was closely involved with, the first four under former GM Bruce Allen and the past five under Dominik:
The Buccaneers also took guard Arron Sears (35), who was very good for two seasons before developing a neurological condition that ended his career; selected a four-year starting safety in Tanard Jackson (106); and over-drafted journeyman safety Sabby Piscitelli at 64.
ESPN reported that new Tampa Bay GM Jason Licht planned to evaluate Hickey before deciding whether to keep him.
Patriots personnel director Nick Caserio declined to comment about the Dolphins’ assertion that he wanted the job but did not take it because the Dolphins would not allow him to “clean house” and immediately fire coach Joe Philbin.
ProFootballTalk.com reported that Caserio likes Philbin and planned to keep him, but the Dolphins dispute that.
The Dolphins also said that Tennessee Titans player personnel director Lake Dawson was willing to retain Philbin but insisted on having the right to dismiss him after the season. ESPN reported that Dawson did not ask for that authority, and Dawson did not offer clarity Monday.