Meanwhile, the position remains unsettled in Miami, despite more than a decade of shopping for a franchise quarterback. It's bizarre that while the search has sometimes smacked of desperation, the Dolphins haven't used a first-round pick to select a QB since 1983.
The move makes sense: Shouldn't a team devote a first-round pick to a quarterback every few years?
"I can't say for the years in the past," says Ireland, who has been with the Dolphins since 2008. "I think there are times that you should try to go after one. But I certainly don't feel like you should be pressured into doing that, either."
Tannehill might be a reach at No. 8. He started just 19 games in college, and last year he threw 15 interceptions while going only 1-4 against Top 25 teams.
"He's a great kid," Ireland says. "He's smart. He's tough. Got a good family background. A lot of good things about Ryan."
New coach Joe Philbin knows quarterbacks - he worked with Rodgers and Flynn as an assistant in Green Bay. And he believes there's talent to be found at the position in the later rounds this year.
"It looks like there are some excellent prospects," Philbin says. "There are some very intriguing guys."
With the Dolphins trying to rebound from a 6-10 season, they need a lot more than a quarterback. Also on the shopping list are a No. 1 receiver, right tackle, pass rusher and safety.
The multitude of needs leaves Ireland little margin for error. The Dolphins have eight selections, including four of the first 73, with consecutive picks early in the third round.
"Certainly your second-, third- and fourth-round picks, those guys need to be either starters or significant role players," Ireland says. "I'm maybe stubborn enough to think I can hit on every single one of them."
It's an especially important draft for Ireland, a survivor from the Bill Parcells regime despite growing fan disenchantment. Miami has finished below .500 each of the past three years, and a succession of offseason misfires and misadventures prompted a small group of protesters to gather last month outside team headquarters.
"If you can be 50 percent in the draft over a period of time, you've done pretty good," Ireland says. "I think where we were when we started to where we are now, we've done a pretty good job of adding some talent to this team.
"Certainly I'm not saying I hit on every single one, because I haven't. There's no doubt about that. Some I have taken some risk on and hit. And some I have taken some risk on, and didn't work out so good."