Seahawks hire Jeff Ireland & thoughts on Bridgewater

April 26th, 2014 | Written by Rob Staton

Jeff Ireland... now of the Seattle Seahawks...

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.

44 Responses to “Seahawks hire Jeff Ireland & thoughts on Bridgewater”

  1. Colin says:

    Sigh. One more good player to be in round 1. We need all the Bridgewater hype we can get.

    Maybe Derek Carr will take his place in round 1.

  2. Stuart says:

    Rob, I always appreciate how you point out the good and the bad of each person you are talking about.

    Ireland-Yikes, it sounded horrible at first (that was your job with the Seahawks BTW). But, the part about him being a late round talent evaluator sounds good. Keep him at R-6, R-7 and UDFA.

    Maybe in the early rounds run the choice by him, if he likes it, don’t do it…Basically go opposite here…

    Bridewater-For fun I looked up the last 8 drafts or so, the drafted QB list. A quick estimate would be 25% drafted make any kind of an impact at all. Bridgewater may end of being on the 75% side who did zero.

    He is a very young man and you can’t fault a person at his age for being indecisive etc. Who wasn’t? Well, there is Russell Wilson…

    The glove thing is strange. Maybe his agent told him to use/not use the gloves for his workouts? This way if the workouts were bad, he could always blame it on the whole glove thing? Actually, that would have been a smart move if it was actually pre-meditated. Hmmm…

    • Dan says:

      What I really like with Ireland is that his most successful late-round gems have been WRs. Something the team will be relying on over the next few years with the Harvin contract.

      • CC says:

        That is an interesting point given that Tate is the only successful drafted WR (Kearse Baldwin UDFA). So if we can get some help at evaluating WRs I’m okay with that. We also do not know the whole dynamic at Miami – the owner Ross could have been overruling him on picks as well.

    • Trenchtown says:

      Jason Fitzgerald at Over the Cap argued quite persuasively that Ireland’s biggest problem was that he didn’t seem to have any vision in building a team. He does an okay job of evaluating talent but not necessarily talent that fits the scheme or surrounding players.

  3. Mark says:

    One of the quarterbacks, I think it’s Bridgewater, has a really funky looking throwing motion. Enough to make me feel unsettled.

    I hope Ireland is only a consequence of the extra 2 weeks before the draft and getting another opinion. This nepotism is what held the Seahawks back for many years.

  4. Michael (CLT) says:

    Amen. Bridge water is career backup material. 5th round sounds right.

  5. kigenzun says:

    Hiring Jeff Ireland is one sppoky move…

    I don’t know what to say, which is pretty unusual… lol.

    I hope 2 weeks is all we need.
    If asked to decide his future with the Seahawks, I say its a Thumbs Down.


    • Arias says:

      The more I look into Ireland’s draft record, the more I like the move. Yes he did miss on Dion Jordan with #3, but he does appear to have an eye for DL talent in the mid rounds, and if there’s one area the Hawks have to improve upon it’s doing a better job evaluating and drafting defensive lineman. Of the 9 defensive lineman they’ve drafted so far to play defense, it speaks volumes that none has become a full time starter or even cracked the rotation. This could change if one of the redshirted boys can show some promise on the field this year, but until it does this is the biggest hole in the much heralded Seahawk drafting acumen.

      Ireland has hit on some mid round defensive linemen like Koa Misi, Kendall Langford, and Olivier Vernon, the latter of whom was drafted in the 3rd round last year and had 11.5 sacks as a rookie. That’s a better track record than this FO has ever shown, so good eye on Schneider who is probably aware of this facet of Ireland’s talent as a scout and is taking a chance that everyone else under the sun probably wouldn’t consider because, at first glance, his drafting really hasn’t looked all that impressive over the last 5 years as GM. The Seahawks are also probably one of the few teams that can let any PR hit from hiring Ireland slide off them like water.

  6. kigenzun says:

    Spooky! Spooky!

  7. Connor says:

    I never liked Irelands personality, he always came off as a blowhard to me. I remember when the Dolphins were on Hard knocks he immediately rubbed me the wrong way, just the way he conducted himself. I understand him and JS worked together and are buddies, but I hope he doesn’t stick around. This must of been how Niners fans felt when they traded for Gabbert, just kind of embarrassing.

    • Colin says:

      I remember FOX sports doing some articles on him in 2012- pretty much went so far as to say he was clueless and in over his head. I think it’s good to get another voice in on things, but I’m glad he’s not in a position of authority over personnel.

  8. CougHawk says:

    Speaking about late round prospects, Hawkblogger mentioned that the Seahawks might be interested in a corner that is under 6′ tall. Looking at bargains in the middle to late rounds, I think Lamarcus Joyner from Florida State is an intriguing prospect. Although he doesn’t have size or speed, he is a play-maker on the defensive side of the ball. I think he is this years version of the Honey Badger, playing corner and safety equally well. He led the national champions in sacks this past season with 5.5. He was an All American at both positions. He started 41 games in a row to finish off his career. I watched the FSU vs. Clemson game earlier this year and he forced 2 fumbles and had a pick. Also, he had many monster hits, just ask Kenny Stills and Michael Floyd. Looks faster than the 4.5 time he posted at the combine.

    • Rob Staton says:

      I think it’s more about length than height — long body, long arms. Justin Gilbert has all sorts of holes in his game — but he’s 6-0 with 33 inch arms and is really long. I think that’s more the ideal body type than necessarily getting those 6-2/6-3 guys all the time.

      Joyner for me is a marginal starter at the next level and more likely a backup safety and special teams demon. Fun player to watch but limited. They may well add a slot corner at some stage but I think it’ll be in the usual R4-6 range.

    • Ben says:

      There’s no such thing as “this year’s” Honey Badger. There’s one and ONLY one, and no one will ever be close!!

      Yes I’m an LSU homer, but damnit if I don’t want my SEC boys playing up for my beloved Seahawks. We play in the toughest division in college hands down and should be raking in these guys from Bama and Louisiana.

      Ok I’m done being biased, I know there is talent elsewhere, but I hope we get as many of my LSU boys up in Seattle as possible. I was doing happy dances when we got Wiliams, Simon, and Spencer last year!!!

      • Coughawk says:

        Hey Ben, any time you make your argument personal, it becomes discredited. I bet you have never even attended college, so I understand why you are such a “true fan” of LSU and the SEC. Have fun watching SEC games in your mom’s basement.
        Rob, are there any big time safeties that have arm length under 32 inches? I believe there is one in Seattle by the name of Earl Thomas. (31 1/4 in.) his tackling seems fine to me.
        Could you elaborate on the aspects of Joyner’s game that makes him limited? Besides size and speed? Pete and John look at what players can do rather than what they can’t. Why not have a special teams demon?

      • Kenny Sloth says:

        I feel like Honey Badger has probably peaked. He seems pretty easy to scheme against. Not very rangy. He’s like. A lesser Polamalu. Crazy instinctive. Tenacious. Lacks a lot of flexibility and closing speed I want to see in the secondary.

    • CC says:

      Keep an eye out for Torin Harris – likely UDFA about 6′ but with a 41 inch vert – 40 time was a bit slow, but he played at USC and I’m guessing Petey is familiar with him.

      • John says:

        Noticed Harris while watching Uko’s tape a long time ago. Kept making plays and I was surprised to find out he was a likely UDFA (according to Pauline’s rankings). From what I’ve read seems to be really inconsistent and just started to flash his potential this year. Maybe someone that didn’t take to Kiffin well and Carroll will be able to get him to live up to his potential.

        • CC says:

          I think if he had run a better 40 time he would be drafted. If he ends up as a Seahawk, I think he could be a nice find.

          • Steve Nelsen says:

            Torin’s athleticism as measured by SPARQ is off the charts. Perfect Seahawk type pick.

  9. James says:

    Guys….Ireland only left the Dolphins in January. He brings an entire years worth of another organization’s scouting insights/draft board with him. Absolutely invaluable as a cross reference. The guy drafted well (Tannehill to begin with)….I was impressed by how much talent was on that team this season, when earlier they appeared in chaos in the HBO show. He is a primo scout and talent evaluator, just not a good GM.

    • Colin says:

      And he won’t be in a position of authority over personnel. I think many people are making much ado about nothing.

  10. Seth says:

    I live in Louisville and I can tell you that it hilarious the reaction here to all the Teddy talk. Once you get them to stop talking about basketball all they say is that they don’t get what the scouts want. They bring up Brian Brohm and him staying and the scouts saying he should have left and now since Teddy left the scouts are saying that he isn’t good enough and they get mad and confused. Maybe this will be the wake up the city and school need to start becoming a football school. You can only talk about college basketball for so long right?

  11. Burner says:

    Rob, what did you make of Bridgwater’s performance against the much touted Florida D in last years Sugar Bowl? If he drops to the second round someone is going to get a serious bargain.

    As for Ireland, it’s a big meh from me. He’s not going to be given any real power so I wouldn’t worry about us handing out out ludicrous contracts to one hit wonders like he did in Miami.

    • Rob Staton says:

      I thought he played very well against Florida last season. Very well. But that great Florida defense was somewhat exposed the following season. Heck — they lost to a small school team at home that didn’t throw a single pass in the entire game.

  12. Arias says:

    I don’t think there’s any worry about Carr replacing Bridgewater in round one. Carr has serious promise in spite of playing for Fresno. He’s got footwork issues that need correcting but his ball placement is decent and he’s got the best arm of the top prospects. He’ll definitely go in the first.

    Shocking about Bridgewater’s response to Mayock during his pro day in a scene that screams cluelessness. All I can say about that is WOW.

  13. CC says:

    I feel a bit bad for Bridgewater – he probably shouldn’t have been considered such a high choice in the first place. He has small hands – 8 inch compared to RW’s 10 inch hands which isn’t going to make his days as an NFL QB better. He, like many other good college QBs end up out of the league in a couple of years.

    • Arias says:

      If he had a decent pro day his stock would have rebounded. Instead it made guys like Mayock second guess him and go back and rewatch the tape. I’m sure he’s not the only one that had to check their notes and reassess. Bridgewater blew it by being so unprepared.

  14. Madmark says:

    My 1st 2 picks was going for Martin and Moncrief for my early draft, just after the superbowl. Then I change after seeing Bitinio after the combine and watching film on him. I guess what I’m saying is usually your 1st thought are correct. Before the combine and pro day the film from the previous year is usually correct. Now that I thought about the situation, I changed up my draft a little not by changing my player but more by figuring out where I can get them. A example is with Terrel Pryor for a 7th I am definitely not drafting a QB. I’ve already decided like Kip that the player I want in this draft is Donte Moncrief. he’d played on a crummy team and what I saw was a great athlete trying to cope with a injured QB and a incompetent offensive scheme.
    Donte Moncrief is my 32 pick. On a 5 year lock with Harvin I’m gold in the WR department for the next 4 to 5 years.
    I think Ja’Wuan James is a Tom Cable pick and that makes me all right with it at 64. I’m thinking that Bowie is going to take Carpenters spot at LG. Later in my draft I’m going to push the competition for OL because this really is a good year for later round offensive lineman,
    No 3rd round pick and I can live with that if Harvin is healthy.
    In the 4th I’m going with Ed Stinson from Alabama who could play reds tech 5 on run and backup Mebane to push the pocket. Extremely strong but not the quickest guy in the world.
    Antone Exum is a man to man corner for one year but he played 3 years as a free safety and is perfect to coach up to replace Maragos.
    At pick 172 I don’t know why Trai Turner is still here at pick 172 but if he is I have to take the guard from LSU and before the season over we will have pushed the envelope on the OL for the future.
    The last pick is Marquise Flowers 6″ 3″ SS/OLB Pete wanted this guy but he went to Arizona. His pro Day numbers are a lot like Kams. We could use that raw guy to coach him up for a will spot or backup to Kam when Jeron is gone after next year.
    throw in a Zack Moore DE/LEO from Concordia(MN)
    Eric Shultz G/T Utah ST.
    well I watched a lot of film and at this point of picking my guys and to be honest I’m done with the evaluation this is my draft for better or worst.

    • CC says:

      Moncrief or Bryant at 32 is just fine with me. If we could get James or Richardson at 64 I’d like that too.

      A guy I like who I haven’t heard any buzz about is James Gayle from VTech for a mid round DE/Leo 6’4″ 260 4.60 40 and Kareem Martin 6’3″ 270 4.63 40.

      I still think Dominique Easley is in play at 32 mostly because of the Quinn connection.

      Flowers and Khari Fortt are both Seahawky LBs – both are quick off the ball.

      For safety, keep an eye out for Jeremy Deering – a WR who became a safety 6’2″ with a 4.4 40 – likely an UDFA.

  15. Cameron says:

    Russell Wilson did quit on football. He hasn’t said ‘I almost quit on football’ because that would be a lie.

    I am amused when folks make a big deal out of such things. Bridgewater was what, 19 years old? I know did straight up stupid stuff at 19, much less thinking of ‘quitting’ on things.

    As for his play; I feel he has been thoroughly devalued at this point. Some team is going to get a good player for a steal. I don’t think he’s going to be a star in this league, but he’ll still be an upgrade for at least a dozen teams. The things he excels at you just can’t easily teach. I’m talking about poise and presence in the pocket, and the ability to throw a catch-able ball with a defender in his face. Watch Blake Bortles in those situations. It aint pretty.

    Teddy will be a game day player. By that I mean he’ll be the kind of guy to stink out the joint all week in practice, but when the pads go on he makes plays. I still think bottom of the 2nd is his floor.

    • Rob Staton says:

      Cameron — let’s be fair, there’s a bit of a difference between being drafted by Major League Baseball and going to camp to see if you want to take that opportunity or continue with football. That’s not a guy quitting the sport, that’s a guy acknowledging that opportunities to play professional sport don’t come around too often. And after taking that camp in the MLB, it reaffirmed how much he wanted to make it work in football despite all of the odds stacked against him as a 5-10 quarterback. That’s a very different story.

      I think it’s a legitimate question to ask. What happens if he doesn’t start straight away? If he’s willing to consider quitting aged 19 because he isn’t playing immediately, how much has changed now that he’s 21? I don’t think it’s harsh to want a franchise quarterback who lives and breathes football — and wouldn’t back down from a challenge because you don’t start immediately.

      And as for throwing with a defender in your face — that’s a nice quality to have. But it pails into significance when you’re missing wide open throws under no pressure. Unfortunately, that’s what you see from Bridgewater far too often — and it showed in a big way at the pro-day. I agree that the bottom of the second is his floor — but I wouldn’t touch him in the first round.

  16. Ray bones says:

    Interesting article on Ben Gardner today. Non combine invitee but posts some impressive pro day numbers; 4.24 20yd shuttle, 6.98 3 cone**, 39.5″ vert (wow) and a 10’2″ broad! All at 270lbs, sounds pretty explosive! Great college pruduction too. Thoughts anyone?

    • CC says:

      WOW – those are some numbers! But are you letting everyone know about him so that in a week, he’ll be listed as a high rounder like every other guy who we talk about here? :o)