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News » Parcells regime prepares for second Dolphins draft


Parcells regime prepares for second Dolphins draft


Parcells regime prepares for second Dolphins draft
DAVIE, Fla. (AP) - There's a difference of opinion at Miami Dolphins headquarters regarding this weekend's NFL draft, which is nothing new.


General manager Jeff Ireland says his discussions with football czar Bill Parcells and coach Tony Sparano about draft decisions always generate debate.

"We have disagreements on a daily basis," Ireland says. "The system that we have works that way, because we are always debating each other: What if ... hypothetically ... devil's advocate ...

"That's why I think we work well together - because no one's feeling gets hurt when we argue."

The trio first worked together with the Dallas Cowboys and is preparing for its second season in Miami. Last year's draft helped the Dolphins improve from worst in the NFL in 2007 to first in the AFC East in 2008, but there's more work to do.

On that point, the Parcells regime is in agreement.

"We're still in the rebuilding process," Ireland says. "We have needs at a lot of different positions."

Most glaring are deficiencies at cornerback, receiver and outside linebacker, and the Dolphins are expected to focus on those positions in the first two rounds Saturday.

Because the Dolphins went 11-6 last year, including the playoffs, they must wait until the 25th pick in the first round, their lowest opening selection since 2003. They have two second-round choices, Nos. 44 and 56 overall, and nine selections in the seven rounds.

Ireland, Parcells and Sparano have spent weeks assessing how to use their picks. What happens when they disagree?

"We just have to sit in a room and convince each other," Ireland says. "There is some persuasion going on, and sometimes the proof is in the pudding when you turn on the tape. You sit in the room, and you nudge."

The trio won't ask new owner Stephen Ross to break any ties, although he's expected to be on hand Saturday.

"He is our owner and we want to educate him on what we know, because he is trusting us to put the board together," Ireland says.

While the Dolphins are as tightlipped as any team about their intentions, there's been speculation they're leaning toward taking a linebacker in the opening round. Ireland says the talent pool is deep at cornerback and receiver, meaning Miami might be willing to wait until the second round to address those positions.

And the Parcells regime puts a premium on size.

"Bill and Tony and I think the only way to be dominant in this league is to be big, be strong and be powerful," Ireland says. "One of the keys to our success is to be big."

Clay Matthews, Southern California's 240-pound outside linebacker, has been paired with Miami in some mocks drafts. A late bloomer with NFL bloodlines, Matthews had 4 1/2 sacks as a senior, and the Dolphins are eager to upgrade a pass rush that relied heavily on Joey Porter last year.

"It's very important we find somebody who can do that other than Joey," Sparano says. "You can never have enough pass rushers. And right now we don't have enough."

Parcells has a successful history of drafting linebackers for his 3-4 scheme, including Carl Banks, Pepper Johnson, Tedy Bruschi and DeMarcus Ware. If Miami passes on an outside linebacker this weekend, it could signal the return of free agent Jason Taylor, who made the Pro Bowl six times in 11 seasons with the Dolphins before Parcells traded him to Washington a year ago for two draft picks.

The Dolphins also need a cornerback to replace Andre Goodman, who departed via free agency. They're eager to upgrade a receiving corps that includes Ted Ginn Jr. and Greg Camarillo, but lacks a true No. 1 wideout.

The team will likely shore up depth in the offensive line on the second day of the draft. And Miami is in the market for a young nose tackle, because starter Jason Ferguson is 34. But Ireland says that's a tough position to fill.

"They are hard to find," he says. "How many guys do you see walking around the street that are 6-4, 320? There are just not many."

In the wake of the team's first playoff berth since 2001, Miami has made no big splashes in free agency - the most significant acquisition was center Jake Grove. The Dolphins remain intent on building through the draft, as they did last year with the addition of top overall pick Jake Long at tackle, quarterback of the future Chad Henne, and defensive ends Phillip Merling and Kendall Langford.

Ireland says he's better able to assess needs than a year ago, when the Parcells regime had been in Miami only a few months.

"I know this team a lot better going into this year's draft after going through a season with these players," Ireland says. "Nothing really changes in your preparation for it, but you know where your holes are."



Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: April 22, 2009

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