Ireland's Class of 2013 Is An Epic Fail
By Joe Scumaci
The Miami Dolphins made noise in September, ripping off three wins in their first three games of the 2013 season. Behind the scenes, owner Stephen Ross quietly extended general manager Jeff Ireland through 2014 after his contract was going to be up after this season.
Since the 3-0 start, the Dolphins have lost four straight games and the wheels appear ready to fall off. They'll look to save their season with a Thursday night home affair against the scolding-hot Cincinnati Bengals.
Cincinnati has posted a top-10 offense through eight games and one of their stars has been RB Giovanni Bernard, a first-round pick out of the University of North Carolina. He has contributed nearly four yards per carry, 26 receptions and four TDs.
Why am I telling you about Cincinnati's rookie playmaker? Well, probably because I cannot impress you much with any of Miami's draftees from the 2013 class. To say the least, Jeff Ireland's 2013 draft class has been a failure. Plain and simple.
On Sunday, No. 3 pick Dion Jordan played 18 snaps. Jordan has one sack and has made some big plays for Miami in limited time, but it has been baffling to Dolphins fans why the rookie DE isn't used more. It is way too early to tell if Jordan will live up to the hype that made Ireland trade a second-round pick to move up to third overall, but it would be a disappointing rookie campaign if this all we can get from him each week.
Second-round pick Jamar Taylor, third-round pick G Dallas Thomas and fourth-round pick, CB Will Davis, were all inactive in Week 8. When cornerback Dimitri Patterson went down for a few series, his replacement, nickel back Nolan Carroll was burned on a touchdown pass to Aaron Dobson.
Why wasn't Taylor active? Will we ever get to see Will Davis? Is Dallas Thomas not ready to help an offensive line that is leading the league in sacks allowed? They are legitimate questions that start with, and needed to be answered by, Jeff Ireland and the Dolphins coaching staff. K Caleb Sturgis, a fifth-round pick, missed a field goal on Sunday that would have extended Miami's lead to 20-3, but instead seemed to swing momentum back to New England. Taylor, Thomas and Davis have combined to appear in one game, with Taylor filling in for the injured Patterson in the loss to New Orleans.
Maybe it is a process and the Dolphins hope to develop the young talent they have invested in these draft picks. But it is very frustrating when fans see a talent like “Gio” Bernard of the Bengals helping his team immensely. Other rookies who have made an impact have been Tavon Austin and fifth-round pick, now starting RB Zac Stacy of the St. Louis Rams. The aforementioned Aaron Dobson and undrafted rookie Kenbrell Thompkins haven't been overly productive, but are working hard to get on track with Tom Brady in New England.
Ireland had no constraints when it came to spending money this offseason, bringing in free agents like Dannell Ellerbe, Mike Wallace, Phillip Wheeler and Brent Grimes. He made a desperate trade last week for left tackle Bryant McKinnie to try to shore up the Dolphin's weakest link, their offensive line.
If this Dolphins team cannot find itself and start winning some games, Mr. Ross will not be happy. His patience for a winner is running thin and someone will have to be blamed for missing the playoffs after a 3-0 start and most recently, a disastrous loss after leading 17-3 at halftime in Foxboro, which dropped the Dolphins to 3-4.
If Miami can't turn it around soon, we could see someone else making the final decision on future draft days.