Ireland: Wide Receiver A Strength Of Our Team

Posted Apr 11, 2013

Dolphins GM sees more flexibility with 11 draft picks thanks to position upgrade.

Today’s NFL is all about offense and Miami Dolphins General Manager Jeff Ireland feels a lot better about that side of the ball headed into the 2013 NFL Draft thanks to his wide receiver moves during free agency.

Last year, Ireland and Head Coach Joe Philbin went all in on quarterback Ryan Tannehill in the first round and were intent on giving him more weapons to work with this season. So they signed the top wide receiver on the market, Mike Wallace, re-signed their own guy in Brian Hartline, added the versatile Brandon Gibson and snatched former New York Jets tight end Dustin Keller.

“I think it gave us a lot of flexibility in the draft,” said Ireland during his pre-draft press conference today. “Obviously, I think we helped ourselves at the wide receiver position getting Brian back, adding Mike and Brandon to Davone (Bess) and some of the young players we have. That obviously helped us there. I think that’s a strength of our team now, or one of the strengths of our team.”

Hartline is coming off of the first 1,000-yard season of his career and has developed a very strong rapport wit Tannehill, while Bess has established himself as one of the best slot receivers in the league and showed last season that he can also line up outside. Rishard Matthews was a seventh-round pick last year out of Nevada and came on strong at the end of his rookie campaign, as did Armon Binns.

Of course Wallace has one of the best yards-per-catch averages over the past four seasons and is the deep threat the team had been lacking. Gibson made one of the most acrobatic catches of the season against the Dolphins at Sun Life Stadium and brings an added skill set to the group, so there isn’t a real of sense of urgency to go after a receiver on the first night of the draft.

“I like the unit that we have. I think we have some complimentary skill sets that make us a lot better than where we were last year,” Ireland said. “I think there are some good players at that position (in the draft), and to say I’m going to be active early at that position, I can’t say at this point. I do like where our wide receiver position is obviously and again I think the complimentary skill set is what we’ve been able to add to what we already had on this football team. I think it is the strength of our football team.”
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