Mark these dates on your Dolphins calendar
Get that out and bring a Sharpie with you.
These dates are important to the Dolphins, and to you also, because you are a big Dolphins head fan: March 14 and March 18.
On March 14, which is Friday, Michigan will hold its pro day. And the Dolphins will have a full contingent of scouts and coaches and likely even general manager Jeff Ireland on hand to watch Jake Long do his thing in front of EVERYONE for the final time.
Long is expected to lift and go through pass blocking drills at the Wolverines' pro day in hopes of improving his draft stock.
Four days later on March 18, both Boston College and Virginia will conduct their pro days. And a split squad (baseball term) of Miami folks will be at both places to focus on BC quarterback Matt Ryan and Virginia defensive lineman Chris Long.
The pro day event will be particularly important for Ryan because, well, he hasn't really shown much so far in leading up to the draft. He passed on playing in the Senior Bowl and didn't provide a complete workout at the scouting combine. So he'll have to go through all the paces at BC to show scouts he's worthy of being mentioned as a top 5 selection and possibly THE top pick.
Now I don't think he'll be the top pick because, call it instincts, I don't see the Dolphins making that investment on a quarterback with so many question marks about him -- such as decision-making and mobility for starters. But again, Ryan is being thoroughly scrutinized by Miami.
At Virginia, Long is considered the most likely No. 1 overall pick. He's good, he's got a great motor, he comes from Pro Football Hall of Fame stock being Howie Long's kid, and his college coach is Al Groh, who is very, very, very tight with Bill Parcells.
So every sign is pointing to Long as the guy if Miami keeps its No. 1 overall pick. But ...
Long has to show he's getting better physically as the draft draws closer because many of the other guys certainly are. Ohio State's Vernon Gholston, for example, improved his combine 40-yard dash time from 4.67 to 4.6 and even 4.59 on some stopwatches. His vertical jump at his workout was a winged 42 inches.
Considering Gholston and Long had pretty much the same production and project to play the same position in the NFL, Long has to show he is in the same physical league even though at the combine he was not as fast (4.75) and not quite as impressive on the bench press. Long seemed more fluid in coverage drills, but that's more objective.
So there is a lot at stake in the next few days.
Of course, if you ask me, the Dolphins should also be marking March 25 on their calendar. That's when Darren McFadden will have his pro day in Fayetteville. We'll see then if he stands pat on his unofficial combine timing of 4.33 in the 40 or if he's a competitor and tries to do better.