Dolphins General Manager Dennis Hickey took a break from evaluating college players Friday to conduct the annual pre-draft press conference at the Doctors Hospital Training Facility at Nova Southeastern University.
After a media session that lasted approximately 23 minutes, it was back to evaluating players so Hickey can meet his goal.
“I’m a big believer in proactive decision-making and making decisions leading up to the draft,” Hickey said. “Draft day should be calm. The only variable is the trade element. That’s why we try to make decisions and work through the players leading up to it. That’s part of the process that’s been going on for the last three or four months here since I’ve been on the job is just working through that.”
A little more than four months after being hired by the Dolphins, Hickey is getting ready for his first draft with Miami.
The draft, formally known as the annual selection meeting, kicks off Thursday at 8 p.m., with the second and third rounds scheduled for Friday night, and the last four rounds slated for Saturday.
Hickey said the evaluation process is almost complete.
The Dolphins currently hold seven selections in the 2014 draft, with their own pick in each of the seven rounds.
The goal, Hickey says, is to add quality players regardless of position, more specifically Dolphins type of players.
“We want talented players to help us win on the field,” Hickey said. “But we want good teammates, guys who will contribute to our community and all the things that we stand for. Tough, smart, disciplined. Really, you can sum it up by (being) a good teammate. That’s kind of how we look at it.
“We’re always looking for good players. This year’s need is next year’s surplus. You want to build for the short term, but you also want to build for the future and that’s by getting good players and adding good players to what I feel is already a really strong roster. I can’t tell you excited I am walking through the halls, interacting with these guys and just talking with them, and the look in their eye. They’re so hungry and excited for the 2014 season.”
As for finding players who fit the offensive and defensive schemes the Dolphins will employ, Hickey said one of the first things he did upon arriving in South Florida was get together with offensive coordinator Bill Lazor and defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle to get those specifications.
“It’s changed it a little bit, altered it,” Hickey said. “It is what it is. You just kind of adjust your schedule accordingly. It pays a little bit at certain times. There’s a lot more opportunities for injured players (where) maybe in the past, if it was a week ago, they wouldn’t have been able to work out if they’re (now) healthy enough to work out. That’s probably the biggest change with that.”
“I want players to be successful and get opportunities. Sometimes the health, depending on their medical situation, maybe they’re not able to work out prior to the draft, it gives them a couple of extra weeks. There’s pros and cons with it, it is what we deal with it and we control what we can control.”
Hickey, however, has no problem admitting he can’t wait for the draft to get here already.
He said he probably would arrive at team headquarters around 6 a.m. on the first day of the draft.
“I probably won’t be sleeping much the night before,” he said. “I’m excited. This is a great opportunity. We’re always trying to add good players. This is the next process. Free agency is still ongoing. It’s not as active as it once was in the process, but this is the next opportunity and I’m really fired up about the players we’re going to add to this team.
“It’s all about evaluating each player independently, not only evaluating the player’s talent but also the player’s make-up, adding into that the medical evaluation and with that we come up with a Dolphins value and we rank according to that Dolphins value and that’s how we’ll pick players.
“The goal is for draft day to be calm and measured. Already go through all the tough decisions and we’ll feel good, we’ll be prepared, we’ll be confident and ready to go. Eight o’clock can’t get there soon enough.”