David Moulton: Dolphins draft will define GM Ireland's future

DAVID MOULTON
David Moulton

David Moulton

Not tough to conclude this is the biggest draft for the Miami Dolphins this century. With no playoff wins in 13 years and only two winning seasons since 2003, it’s long since time for the Dolphins to be contenders again.

It’s definitely the biggest draft of Jeff Ireland’s career. If the players he selects don’t play well right away, he will be gone.

The embattled Dolphins general manager needs a left tackle, at least one cornerback, a safety, a tight end and, if possible, another running back. Good thing then that the Dolphins are one of two teams (the 49ers are the other) with five picks in the first three rounds of a decent and deep draft. Most NFL people say the strength of the draft is from pick 20 to 80. This theoretically screams “Don’t trade picks to move up.” With one first-round pick (12th), two second-rounders (Nos. 42 and 54) and two thirds (Nos. 77 and 82), stay put and take five good, solid players.

There has been speculation that the Dolphins are trying to trade a second-round pick to Kansas City for 28-year-old left tackle Branden Albert, and then pay him $45 million over five years. Seems like a mistake to me.

If they did trade up, the only deal I’d like to see is to package their first-rounder with a second-rounder, move up nine spots to take whichever “franchise” left tackle remains — say Central Michigan’s Eric Fisher. Yes, you give up an extra pick, but Fisher is five years younger and $30 million cheaper than the man he replaced (Jake Long) or the Kansas City alternative.

If the Dolphins do make the Albert deal, I hope they then trade their first-round pick to someone like the 49ers, move down in the first round, and reacquire the pick or picks they lost. Ireland has had a pretty solid offseason of free-agent acquisitions so far. Who has faith he’ll get it right these next few days when the pressure’s on?

Not me.

Big Bucs: It’s tough to find fault with the Bucs on the Darrelle Revis deal, if he is healthy. They acquire the best cornerback in football for first- and third-round draft picks. Even better is they were able to structure his contract so that it’s holdout proof.

Revis has to behave and play like an elite player or the Bucs can cut him with no salary cap penalty.

I did not think the Bucs could get Revis to agree to a deal like this. Bucs GM Mark Dominik deserves a lot of credit for this, even if it doesn’t work out, for it’s a trade for Tampa Bay that’s more than worth the risk.

Less Ten Talent: What’s the one thing you definitely will not see in the first round of Thursday’s NFL draft? A player taken from the Big Ten. Wow! If the projections are even close to being right, for the first time in 60 years, the first round will not include a player from the Big Ten.

Furthermore, according to Dane Brugler of nfldraftscout.com, the current draft projections have as many or MORE players taken from Conference USA in the first three rounds of the NFL draft than the Big Ten.

I realize everything is cyclical, but that’s a talent drop-off of epic proportions for the conference that ran the sport just last decade.

Conference hopping: Did the ACC just end the conference realignment merry-go-round of the past few years? The ACC is joining the Pac-12, Big 12 and Big Ten in passing a resolution ensuring that if a school leaves between now and 2027, they will lose their television revenue for every year during that time. There goes everyone’s incentive to leave where they’re currently at.

Home sweet home: This is a big week for the Everblades. Series tied at 1-1 with top-seeded Reading but hosting the next three against the Royals on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. Since the start of last year’s Kelly Cup playoffs, the Blades are 13-1 at home. Can it continue? If so ...

David Moulton co-hosts “Miller and Moulton in the Afternoon” weekdays 2 to 6 p.m. on Southwest Florida’s ESPN Radio (101.5 FM Bonita/North Naples; 105.1 FM Naples/Marco Island). His freelance column appears Sunday, Wednesday and Friday.

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