DAVIE, Fla. -- Miami Dolphins general manager Dennis Hickey has no problem sticking out his chest when he talks about his most prideful accomplishment during his years in Tampa Bay's front office.
"Probably just the recent success of some of the draft picks that we've had whether it be trading up to get (running back) Doug Martin and him being a Pro Bowl player and top running back, or trading up to get (linebacker) Lavonte David, a Miami kid whose been a great player and will continue to be a great player," Hickey said, "in having that consistency and developing young players and bringing in talented guys into the organization.
"I'm proud of where I left the organization."
Hickey is confident he can make the carefully-measured decisions necessary to upgrade the Dolphins.
The fact Hickey has high regard for his ability to spot, draft and develop talent might help ease the minds of Dolphins fans who think procuring quality players has been a major problem for the franchise recently.
Hickey, Tampa Bay's former director of player personnel, presided over free agency and the draft for the Buccaneers.
Presiding over the entire operation, however, was Mark Dominik, Tampa Bay's former general manager and Hickey's boss.
Dominik is now rumored to replace Brian Gaine as the Dolphins' assistant general manager.
It makes sense. Dominik knows Hickey well. The two played football together at Lawrence (Kansas) High School. Hickey played football at Coffeyville (Kansas) Community College and later at Tulsa. Dominik attended Kansas, but didn't play football.
The two reunited with the Buccaneers with Hickey eventually becoming Dominik's "right-hand man."
Now it'll be up to Hickey to be in charge of an organization, and perhaps Dominik becomes Hickey's "right-hand man."
Among Hickey's strengths, and presumably one reason he got the job with the Dolphins to replace former general manager Jeff Ireland, is his penchant for hard work.
"He's going to be one of your throwback grinders," Dominik said. "He's a heavy film watcher, and has a very strong work ethic that I think people will really appreciate there."
Hickey was a college scout for Tampa Bay from 1998-2009, working the Midwest schools. It was during that time he met Joe Philbin, who was serving as Iowa's offensive line coach (1999-2002). Hickey would regularly scout Iowa's players.
"Joe Philbin saw Dennis Hickey come through his house as a scout, learned what he was about, how he worked," Dominik said.
As well as being adept at spotting talent, Hickey also apparently had an aptitude for getting information about prospective draftees when he talked to college coaches.
"He got accurate information because people trust him," Dominik said. "When he goes to a school he can talk to a coach to get accurate information about the kid's character, his background. That's pivotal when we were trying to make our choice."
Hickey, who described himself as a "young sponge," noticed something about Tampa Bay's organization during those days, especially when they won the Super Bowl XXXVII (following the 2002 season).
"In leading up to it what I saw first was the coaching staff, there was a clear vision," he said.
So that'll be one of Hickey's initial missions with the Dolphins -- define the vision, and pursue it through free agency and the draft. The vision will be determined once the Dolphins' coaching staff tells Hickey what type of players they need.
If Hickey is as advertised, the Dolphins should notice an upgrade in talent this year through free agency and the draft.
Hickey wasn't the Dolphins' first choice for general manager. He might have been their third choice. But Dominik said that doesn't mean Hickey isn't qualified.
"I think that's one thing that sometime gets lost," Dominik said. "He's been a pro personnel assistant, a pro scout, became a (director) of college (scouting), director of player (personnel), and now he's a general manager. So he's earned his way through."
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