Rick Spielman: Eddie Moore vs Anquan Boldin (2002)
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Ethan Skolnik wrote:
Spielman declined an interview this week, citing a policy not to speak publicly during the season. But, in a December conversation with my former colleague Alex Marvez, now of FoxSports.com, Spielman spoke of his strong relationship with coach Brad Childress and called the Vikings ownership group "the best in the league." He also gave credit to someone with whom he sometimes sparred with the Dolphins, during their short shared time.
"We implemented a system on how we do pro and college (talent assessment) all the way down the line," Spielman said of the Vikings. "A lot of it was stuff I picked up through the years, but a lot of it was stuff I learned from Nick Saban, too, and what he brought from that tree. We structured a lot of things from down there. He had a lot of great ideas."
Saban's ideas didn't translate into a long, successful tenure here. Neither, for that matter, did Spielman's.
Few questioned whether Spielman was organized and disciplined enough. He put in the hours, and his scouting books were a sight to behold. The question was whether he had the eye, instinct, and maturity – players, even those who respected his personal story (which included his adoption of African-American children), mocked his tradition of quarterbacking during warm-ups.
But he was also unfairly blamed for some blunders. Eddie Moore over Anquan Boldin in 2002? That was Wannstedt's call; Spielman ranked Boldin as a late first rounder, Moore a mid-third.
Then came 2004, and a tragically sloppy power shift. Dan Marino was named senior VP of football operations without understanding what the job entailed. Spielman, without any pre-press conference warning, was elevated ahead of the coach (Wannstedt) who had hired him.
You know the rest. Spielman overestimated Feeley's upside and toughness, and that cost the Dolphins a second round pick. He fell victim to a bluff, and gave up a fourth-rounder to move up a slot to draft Vernon Carey, as Vince Wilfork fell to the Patriots. Ricky Williams, whose arrival had represented a triumph of Spielman's tenure, quit four days before training camp. That sent Spielman scrambling, in part to protect the beleaguered coach who needed a winning season. That's the Rams got a gift third-rounder for Gordon.
Carey, Williams, Brown, Crowder, John Denney and Yeremiah Bell are the only current Dolphins acquired while Spielman was with the Dolphins.
"I always liked Rick," said Bell, a sixth-rounder in 2003. "He was the guy who brought me in, he gave me a chance."
The Vikings gave Spielman another chance and, so far, are better for it.