In terms of surprising news, Jeff Ireland joining Seattle’s front office is a top ten pick.
The much maligned former GM of the Miami Dolphins is said to be a friend of John Schneider. There’s also an opening after Scot McCloughan resigned as the team’s senior personnel executive earlier in the week.
Officially Ireland has been hired as a consultant for the 2014 draft — although it’d be slightly odd if this was merely a two-week gig. Alex Marvez, who broke the story, says a full time role will be discussed after the draft.
Ireland was a scout in Dallas for six years before becoming Miami’s GM. His tenure with the Dolphins had it’s fair share of controversy. In 2010 he was forced to apologise to Dez Bryant for asking during a pre-draft visit whether his mother was a prostitute. He issued a further apology in 2012 after calling a fan an “asshole” during a game.
He oversaw a regime that allowed the Jonathan Martin/Richie Incognito situation to develop. Former player Joey Porter went public in blaming Miami’s 2012 struggles on Ireland — an unusual move. Porter went as far to say: “I think he’s a guy that’s not trustworthy.” Even more unusual was safety Ryan Clark — at the time with Pittsburgh — tweeting “No one” wants to sign with Miami, insinuating Ireland was the reason.
In terms of team building — there were several gaffe’s. The Dolphins traded for Brandon Marshall but didn’t give him a quarterback to work with. And when they finally drafted a QB in Ryan Tannehill — they traded Marshall to the Bears where he immediately returned to Pro-Bowl form.
They traded Vontae Davis to the Colts, leaving the team weak at corner and needing to spend big in free agency to fill a new hole. They spent a kings ransom on mediocre linebackers last off-season, not to mention the incredible $60m contract they gave Mike Wallace.
They failed to adequately protect their investment in Tannehill — the most sacked quarterback in the league over the last two seasons. They traded up in the 2013 draft to grab Dion Jordan — a player who contributed nothing in his rookie year and is rumoured to be available for trade after just one season.
And in his first draft in charge of the Dolphins he selected Jake Long instead of Matt Ryan. Long had a decent spell before leaving for St. Louis, but Ryan has blossomed into a franchise quarterback for the Falcons. Miami has been desperately crying out for a QB since the Dan Marino days. Ryan could and probably should’ve been the answer.
But these negatives perhaps overshadow what he’s good at — identifying value in the later rounds. He found several late round or UDFA contributors for the Dolphins — such as Davone Bess, Kendall Langford and Brian Hartline. He was the man who gave a chance to Cameron Wake in the NFL. That’s what he’s good at.
In a role as a pure scout for the Seahawks it could end up being a good fit and a huge benefit for this front office. So while it’s easy to focus on the mess in Miami — Ireland could be an inspired appointment for the long term if he identifies a few late round gems.
Thoughts on Teddy Bridgewater
We’ve not spent much time on the quarterbacks this year — and with good reason. The Seahawks don’t need a quarterback. They’re not likely to draft one even in the later rounds following the addition of Terrelle Pryor.
But with less than two weeks to go, I need to put some thoughts down on Teddy Bridgewater.
If the Seahawks were in Jacksonville’s position (picking at #3 and #39) and without a franchise quarterback — I wouldn’t take Bridgewater with either pick.
He’s a neat and tidy quarterback. There are flashes of technical quality where he looks off a safety and throws down the seam. He isn’t a bad decision maker. He’s not a statue in the pocket and he can move around. He’s a thoroughly decent player.
Is he special? Not at all.
The Rutgers game in 2013 is a good example as to why. There are some throws where he hangs tough in the pocket and delivers a strike under pressure. But for every one of those throws, there’s a really inaccurate, simple miss. His accuracy is so up and down. Considering he doesn’t wow you in any way physically (not a great arm, not terribly elusive or good throwing on the run, smallish stature) — he needs to be flawless with the accuracy. Worst of all he doesn’t often improvise — the single most underrated aspect of any quarterback.
He just screams average. There’s absolutely no way I’d stake my job or reputation on him in the top ten. I’d struggle to justify it in round one and at the top of round two I could make a case for two or three other quarterbacks first.
He’s a Twitter favourite and it’s almost sacrilege to criticise Bridgewater on social media. But there’s just nothing exciting about his game. If the NFL is rating him outside of the first round, as appears to be the case, that is totally justifiable to me. He deserves to go in the range Geno Smith and Jimmy Clausen went. I don’t think he’s any more or less likely to succeed than those two.
The pro-day merely confirmed some of the issues you see on tape. Even in shorts and a T-shirt throwing against thin air his accuracy was all over the place. It’s not a case of overreacting to one event and letting it dominate the tape. How can you watch that pro-day and go home thinking, “Yep — that’s my first round pick”. You can’t. The fact is he just didn’t look the part. Not even close.
But the thing that really stuck with me was his reaction to the work out. Mike Mayock on the NFL Network — not one to go over the top on the criticism — made it abundantly clear he wasn’t impressed. And this led to one of the most awkward exchanges we’ve seen leading up to this years draft.
Moments after Mayock’s negative review, Bridgewater took a seat next to him for an interview. Mayock’s body language was a picture as Bridgewater uttered his opening gambit: “I think it went pretty well today, the guys came out and competed and…. (I) just did a great job connecting with the guys on those routes.”
You could almost hear Mayock’s famous ‘Beast Quake’ commentary…
“Are you kidding me?”
The whole interview from that point felt weird. When quizzed what he thought he did well — he answered two of the things Mayock and fellow analyst Kurt Warner had just criticised (footwork, timing).
He sounded like a player who wasn’t aware of what just happened and didn’t really understand what he needed to work on.
Then there’s the glove issue. Bridgewater wore gloves throughout his time at Louisville, but then chose not to for the disappointing pro-day. Does he need the gloves to perform at his best? And if so, what happens if he’s drafted by a warm-weather franchise? Was he under pressure from teams not to throw with the gloves, inspiring his pro-day decision? It’s just another set of questions you’d rather not have to deal with.
There are other concerns. During his appearance on Jon Gruden’s QB Camp he was quizzed on his decision to commit to home-state Miami and then depart for Louisville. He answered by saying he felt uncomfortable joining the Hurricanes after Randy Shannon was fired and didn’t want to play for a coach that hadn’t recruited him. He then admitted he “wanted to give up football” when he didn’t start as a freshman at Louisville — before becoming homesick and almost quitting the Cardinals.
Sometimes you can overreact to these things, but that just set off a major alarm bell to me. How is he going to handle the difficult challenge of the NFL? How will he react if he doesn’t start immediately? What if he’s drafted in round two and asked to sit for a year or two?
Maybe he’s matured and a different person these days — but could you imagine Russell Wilson walking into a room and saying the words, “I nearly gave up”?
Bridgewater for me is one of the more overrated prospects in this class. I agree with Mayock — I wouldn’t spend a first round pick on him. And it wouldn’t surprise me if he drifted into the mid-second where a team can draft him with limited consequences if he fails.