Miami Dolphins general manager Jeff Ireland has spent much of this offseason denying reports of unrest inside the organization. He was at it again Monday, refuting rumors that owner Stephen Ross is the driving force behind the team's interest in drafting Texas A&M quarterback Ryan Tannehill.
"Steve is very engaged, but he's also very supportive in leaving the decisions to the draft up to me, and coach (Joe) Philbin, and our scouts and football staff," Ireland told PFT Live on Monday. "... I don't feel at all any pressure to draft a need position or anything like that ... and I don't feel pressure from the owner, and he's not pressuring me for that matter.
"I don't know where that's coming from. He allows me to make the football decisions, he's always allowed me to make the football decisions, along with my head coach and our staff. He understands the process, he understands the thought process, he stands by our draft analysis, and he knows the kind of preparation that goes into it -- and he's fully supportive of us making the best pick that improves our football team the best."
Ireland admitted Ross throwing out suggestions, but in the forum of a discussion, not heavy-handed "recommendations."
It really doesn't matter who's hot on Tannehill. He would help the team put to rest an awkward offseason of courting -- and being rejected by -- a string of free-agent quarterbacks, but the rookie does not project as a Day 1 starter, so the Dolphins would need to buy into his long-term value -- if he's even there at No. 8. Ireland is setting the table for a countless spread of scenarios.
"We've got to be prepared really for anything," he said. "... I do feel like ... that there's a really good group of players in the top 10. You know, sitting where we're at, or if there's a guy we really want, we can go up, or ... even move back ... I like where we're sitting at right now."