, Florida (PressExposure) February 27, 2009 -- The Miami Dolphins plan to build the team off of the draft this season, with only occasional use of free agency. They are at the Scouting Combine this week taking notes and preparing for the draft.
"This time last year we were just kind of getting into things and were in kind of a rush and hurry to try to find out what's on the roster and what's available to you," General manager Jeff Ireland said on the 16th , during an interview with Kim Bokamper on Dolphins Tonight. "A year passed and a year into it we feel pretty good about what we know about the team and we know where we're focused in on."
The Combine has been compared to a job fair for college graduates hoping to get drafted in the fall. The coaching staff gets to evaluate them, not only on what they can do on the field and in pads, but what they can do without the pads. They are physically tested with drills to show their strengths and weaknesses. They are evaluated medically and on their interview skills to give the teams a broader view of their skills.
The Dolphins staff have already released two free agents, G Matt Mcchesney, and LB Kelvin Smith.
They have acquired LB Cameron Wake and are in several negotiations with Dolphins players who will be free agents when the period starts on February 27th, including LB's Channig Crowder, Derek smith, and Quentin Moss, RT Vernon Carey, CB Andre Goodman, WR Tab Perry, C Al Johnson, RG Ike Ndukwe, and S's Yeremiah Bell and Renaldo Hill.
They have not assigned anyone to their restricted free agent list, with the exception of RG Ike Nduke and LB Quenting Moss who will be an exclusive rights free agent. They haven't placed a franchise tag on anyone, and revealed that they don't plan on using a tag this year.
Tony Sparano hopes that by bringing the team from 1-15 in 2007 to 11-5 last season will be enough to bargain for free agents when the time comes. "We're not going to be able to address all of our needs from a free-agent standpoint," Sparano said. "That really isn't our philosophy. It never has been. Our philosophy is plain and simple. We want to build it through the draft. That's always been (Executive Vice President-Football Operations) Bill (Parcells') philosophy. It's always been (General Manager) Jeff (Ireland's) philosophy. And it's what I've sort of been raised in."
Last year the Dolphins drafted 29 new players, and though it's doubtful the number will be that high again, Sparano still has a lot of spaces to fill. "Let's not confuse this whole thing," Sparano said Thursday afternoon at the NFL Scouting Combine, being held Thursday through Sunday at Lucas Oil Stadium in downtown Indianapolis. We won 11 football games this year, but we knew when we walked in the door this was going to be a two- or three-year deal to get it right exactly the way we want it."