Sept. 16, 2012; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Dolphins general manager Jeff Ireland looks on from the sideline during the fourth quarter against the Oakland Raiders at Sun Life Stadium. The Dolphins won 35-13. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE

Ireland vs. Hurney: A Comparison of Embattled GMs

Here’s a list of the last 5 Jeff Ireland drafts to compare to my previous postings of Hurney’s drafting history.

If you’ll recall – or go READ them – the point was that while Hurney rarely missed on a first-round pick, he got very little value in later rounds. Geoff Hangartner was a 5th rounder. James Anderson developed into a very solid OLB after 4 or 5 years, drafted in the 3rd or 4th round. Ryan Kalil was a 3rd-rounder. And that’s really about it.

I thought I’d take a look at Jeff Ireland’s last five drafts, since he has been under fire in Miami for a couple of years now, although “Hard Knocks” helped his image somewhat and it looks like he’s finally drafted a franchise QB in Ryan Tannehill. Let’s see how Ireland and Hurney compare:

2012:

RD SEL # PLAYER POSITION SCHOOL
1 8 Ryan Tannehill QB Texas A&M
2 42 Jonathan Martin T Stanford
3 72 Olivier Vernon DE Miami (Fla.)
3 78 Michael Egnew TE Missouri
4 97 Lamar Miller RB Miami (Fla.)
5 155 Josh Kaddu LB Oregon
6 183 B.J. Cunningham WR Michigan State
7 215 Kheeston Randall DT Texas
7 227 Rishard Matthews WR Nevada-Reno

Tannehill does look like a franchise QB, although it’s early. Martin is a very bright guy but somewhat physically limited and he’s improving as their RT so far. The others? Too soon to tell but no stars yet.

Grade: B. This grade is subject to change, as all 2012 ones are but they got a handful of players that contribute in some fashion, and a possible franchise QB.

2011:

RD SEL # PLAYER POSITION SCHOOL
1 15 Mike Pouncey C Florida
2 62 Daniel Thomas RB Kansas State
4 111 Edmond Gates WR Abilene Christian
6 174 Charles Clay RB Tulsa
7 231 Frank Kearse DT Alabama A&M
7 235 Jimmy Wilson DB Montana

Pouncey went a bit too high at 15 overall for a center, but he has played well and started from day one. Daniel Thomas is a good power back if he can stay healthy. Gates is now a Jet. Clay is surprisingly capable as a fullback/H-back type and has pretty good hands and has shown a bit of a nose for the end zone down close. Frank Kearse is a reserve for the Panthers now. Wilson has appeared in all but 1 game since he was drafted – as a reserve.

Grade: B. Pouncey is a very good starter and so is Clay. Thomas is a situational runner with power. Gates so far is a bust, but Kearse and Wilson stuck as backups and Wilson especially can improve possibly into a nickelback or starter one day. Nice draft, considering no 3rd-rounder.

2010:

RD SEL # PLAYER POSITION SCHOOL
1 28 Jared Odrick DE Penn State
2 40 Koa Misi OLB Utah
3 73 John Jerry G Mississippi
4 119 A.J. Edds LB Iowa
5 145 Nolan Carroll CB Maryland
5 163 Reshad Jones FS Georgia
7 212 Chris McCoy LB Middle Tennessee State
7 252 Austin Spitler LB Ohio State

Odrick had been injured as a rookie and first-year player, but is developing into a solid starter. Misi is a starter at times, but they expected more from him. Jerry is a huge strong guard who seems to be improving with more put on his shoulders and handling it well overall. Carroll I believe is recovering from an Achilles’ tear so give him time to heal and learn.

Grade: C. Jerry is coming along. Carroll and Jones see the field as backups and Spitler – I think – is a special teams guy.

2009:

RD SEL # PLAYER POSITION SCHOOL
1 25 Vontae Davis DB Illinois
2 44 Pat White QB West Virginia
2 61 Sean Smith DB Utah
3 87 Patrick Turner WR USC
4 108 Brian Hartline WR Ohio State
5 161 John Nalbone TE Monmouth (N.J.)
5 165 Chris Clemons DB Clemson
6 181 Andrew Gardner T Georgia Tech
7 214 J.D. Folsom LB Weber State

Davis was a good value at 25, has all the physical tools, but lacks focus and was traded to the Colts where he starts. White is out of the NFL. Smith starts. Hartline was the NFL leader in receiving yards a couple of weeks ago with over 500 and should have a thousand-yard season when all is said and done – that’s a big-time steal. Clemons starts as a safety.

Grade: A. Two starting corners, their best WR on the roster, and a starting safety is a very nice haul with a couple of late-round gems.

2008:

RD SEL # PLAYER POSITION SCHOOL
1 1 Jake Long T Michigan
2 32 Phillip Merling DE Clemson
2 57 Chad Henne QB Michigan
3 66 Kendall Langford DE Hampton
4 110 Shawn Murphy G Utah State
6 176 Jalen Parmele RB Toledo
6 195 Donald Thomas G Connecticut
6 204 Lex Hilliard RB Montana
7 245 Lionel Dotson DE Arizona

Long is an All-Pro. Merling is a career backup. Henne started for 4 years but never did develop into a franchise QB. Langford has been a starting DT since entering the league, now with the Rams. Hilliard is a 3rd-string type.

Grade: C-minus. 2 starters, Long and Langford, plus a reserve DL…fair but not great.

2007:

RD SEL # PLAYER POSITION SCHOOL
1 9 Ted Ginn Jr. WR Ohio State
2 40 John Beck QB Brigham Young
2 60 Samson Satele C Hawaii
3 71 Lorenzo Booker RB Florida State
4 108 Paul Soliai DT Utah
6 181 Reagan Mauia FB Hawaii
6 199 Drew Mormino C Central Michigan
7 219 Kelvin Smith LB Syracuse
7 225 Brandon Fields P Michigan State
7 238 Abraham Wright LB Colorado

Ginn was a bust as a WR but still a very dangerous kick returner. Beck was a massive bust – but so was Brady Quinn, who went in the first round. Soliai was a gem of a nose tackle in the 4th round. Satele and Booker are reserves.

Grade: D. Soliai keeps them from an F here, but you can see here the trap: They’ve tried to get a franchise QB “on the cheap” twice – first Beck then Henne, and missed on both. They tried to get the deep threat WR first, then the QB. Neither worked out, although Ginn has value as a returner.

Conclusion: Jeff Ireland is better at finding mid to late-round talent at times but can be too much of a gambler with this top choices. Still, he more than makes up for a couple of mistakes with gems later in the draft. Ireland’s better at personnel matters and seems to be improving overall. And no, the Panthers should not go after hiring him!

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