Miami Dolphins football czar Mike Tannenbaum heads to Alabama’s Gulf Coast next week for the Senior Bowl, an annual all-star showcase that unofficially kicks off the NFL Draft season.
During the next three months, Tannenbaum and his staff will learn everything they can about the hundreds of draft-eligible players, in part to ensure they don’t repeat the mistakes of the team’s past.
A critical factor: Making sure there’s consensus in the building on the team’s first-round pick, which hasn’t always been the case.
“When you acquire a player, you have to have a vision, from the assistant coach to the coordinator to the college scouting director,” Tannenbaum said, appearing Friday morning on 790 The Ticket. “I look at some of these [successful] NBA organizations, and I think they do a really good job of that. Adam [Gase] and I have talked about it, and [general manager] Chris Grier, too. We want to select players that we all believe in collectively.”
This is no abstract issue.
Dion Jordan is an extreme example of what can go wrong.
The Dolphins traded up in 2013 to take Jordan third overall, despite misgivings within the building. The doubters ended up being right; Jordan has been an epic bust.
In the three years since, Jordan has missed nearly as many games because of suspension (22) as times he has actually been on the field (26).
Jordan is a three-time violator of the league’s substance-abuse policy and is still serving a yearlong suspension that cost him all of 2015. The ban is expected to run at least through April 27.
The Dolphins have been tight-lipped about their plans for Jordan — his suspension will seemingly keep him out of the beginning of the team’s spring conditioning program.
Jordan is in Stage Three of the NFL’s substance-abuse program, which means he is subject to as many as 10 drug tests a month.
Plus it’s no sure bet that he will be activated, even if Jordan has been clean the last year.
Jordan’s reinstatement is solely at the discretion of commissioner Roger Goodell, according to the league’s policy.
The NFL declined comment when asked specifically about Jordan’s status for 2016.
Tannenbaum, meanwhile, was not asked directly about Jordan on 790 The Ticket on Friday morning.
But he did discuss quarterback Ryan Tannehill at length, and how Gase, the Dolphins’ new coach, intends to get the most out of him. Although Gase is known as a quarterback-fixer, Tannenbaum stressed that he would be the coach of the entire team, not just Tannehill.
“Obviously, Adam’s footprint will be on Ryan’s development, but as far as day-to-day development, that will be Bo [Hardegree] and coach [Clyde] Christensen,” Tannenbaum said.
Hardegree is Tannehill’s new position coach. Christensen will serve as the offensive coordinator for the Dolphins.
Tannenbaum suggested that although Tannenhill met with Gase during the interview process, the young quarterback’s opinions were not part of the equation.
“I pride myself on having an open door,” Tannenbaum said. “That being said, Ryan has to compete every week just like the rest of those guys. I tell that to players all the time. You may be competing against the practice squad player, but these guys are innately motivated. That’s why they are here. That’s why they were selected. Ryan’s our quarterback. We believe in him, and no one puts more pressure on him than himself.”