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Saturday, May 10, 2014
Dennis Hickey shows his trader side

By James Walker

DAVIE, Fla. -- On Friday, the major complaint in South Florida was that the Miami Dolphins didn't pull off a trade to move down in the first round of the NFL draft for more picks. General manager Dennis Hickey, in his first year, went the conservative route by staying at No. 19, where he took right tackle Ja'Wuan James. Many felt Hickey played it too safe.

But "Conservative Dennis" morphed into "Trader Dennis" on Day 2. Hickey resembled a busy stock trader on Wall Street by unexpectedly working out three deals in one day.

Jarvis Landry
The Dolphins' Day 2 haul included LSU receiver Jarvis Landry.
Here is the breakdown:
By the end of the night, Hickey traded with every NFL team in the state of California. It was a bold move from Miami's first-year general manager and a complete 180 from the strategy we saw Thursday.

"Productive day; it felt like a day on the trading floor," a relieved Hickey said Friday night after finally catching his breath. "A lot of movement. I really have to say a special thanks to the people in the draft room working the phones. For every trade that's consummated, there's about 12 to 15 calls that are made before you actually get one. It's a lot of work."

Hickey was Miami's mystery man coming into this draft. He was on the staff of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for 18 years under different regimes and never had final say on personnel. Therefore, it was difficult to pinpoint how much credit Hickey deserved for Tampa Bay's hits and misses over that span.

We learned much more about Hickey's draft personality in the past 48 hours. He's not afraid to play it safe, which he did in Day 1. Hickey also isn't afraid to shake things up, as evidenced by three Day 2 trades in a matter of hours. That kind of flexibility is a good trait for a general manager.

Of course, all of this wheeling and dealing means little if Hickey doesn't hit on these selections. He says he believes he drafted a competitive and reliable receiver in Landry, who played second fiddle to college teammate and first-round pick Odell Beckham Jr. at LSU. Asked to describe his role in LSU's receiving corps compared to Beckham's, Landry said, laughing, "I was the reliable guy."

Turner comes from a small school but has flexibility to play guard and offensive tackle. His best shot for playing time is at guard, where he can compete with Sam Brenner, Nate Garner and Dallas Thomas for a starting job.

Time will tell if both Day 2 rookies pan out for the Dolphins. But Hickey deserves credit for manipulating the draft board to get players he covets.