Dolphins make tackle Long top pick
[quote:683fb407f6]After weeks of speculation, the Miami Dolphins made their intentions with the top pick in the NFL Draft known.
Hometown: Lapeer, MI
» More: 2008 NFL Draft coverage The Dolphins signed former Michigan offensive tackle Jake Long on Tuesday, making him the top overall pick in Saturday's NFL Draft. NFL Network's Adam Schefter reports the contract is valued at $57.5 million over five years, including $30 million in guaranteed money.
Miami general manager Jeff Ireland made the announcement from a team press conference, along with Long and head coach Tony Sparano.
"I'm very excited and honored to be able to be a part of the Miami Dolphins and this organization," Long said. "I want to thank my agents and the Miami Dolphins for getting this deal done so now I can just concentrate on football."
The Dolphins have been in negotiations with the representatives for Long, discussing contract parameters while attempting to keep their intentions with the top pick hidden.
"Jake was our guy from the beginning," said Ireland. "I don't make it a habit of telling you what's on our board, but he was on top of the board from the beginning. … There wasn't a whole lot of debate. We all felt comfortable with the player."
The draft will be the first in Miami for the regime led by executive VP of football operations Bill Parcells, Ireland and Sparano after the Dolphins went 1-15 last year. Miami has nine picks, including four of the first 64.
The 6-foot-7, 315-pound Long was a two-time All-American and a three-time Big Ten Offensive Lineman of the Year. He started 40 games during his college career, and finished second in the voting for both the Lombardi Award and the Outland Trophy last season.
By agreeing to the deal prior to Saturday's draft, the Dolphins were able to avoid a prolonged holdout and ensure Long will be at training camp on time, a problem that has plagued past top overall picks. Last year's No. 1 pick, JaMarcus Russell, missed all of training camp before signing a $61 million contract with the Oakland Raiders.
"It's really important for us to know that Jake is going to be on the field for us, on time, when training camp begins in July," said Sparano. "That was critical for us."
Long will become just the second offensive lineman to be taken with the top pick in the NFL Draft since 1970, joining Ohio State's Orlando Pace, who was selected by the Rams in the top spot in 1997.