Thanks to the NFL rules regarding draft position, the Miami Dolphins will be selecting in the 12th spot this year. The NFL awards draft position based on strength of schedule when teams are tied with the same record at years end. This year, five teams were slotted based on their 7-9 record. While the Dolphins won’t have the first pick in this year 7-9 crop, they really are better served picking 2nd from that group.
Most fans would have hoped for that one spot up slotting. The San Diego Chargers are picking 11th after finishing 7-9 as well. Most of the time, the higher you are slotted the better, but given the Dolphins five picks in the first 3 rounds, the second spot is the better option.
The reasoning is simple enough. NFL draft rules state that teams finishing tied will rotate in subsequent rounds. So the team picking 11th in round 1, slides to 16 in round 2, 15 in round 3, 14 in 4, and so on until the draft ends. For the Dolphins, they will move from 12 to 11 in round 2 where they hold two selections in that round. Gaining an early pick in round 2 isn’t as exciting as having a higher pick in round 1 but consider the alternative.
Had the Dolphins ended the season with the best S.O.S they would drop five spots in round 2 as opposed to having to wait one pick in round 1. In round three the team will drop down those five spots but by then you are drafting more for position and need that really having a shot at the best player available if that is the route you opt to take.
Regardless the Dolphins find themselves in good position this year. They will have the 2nd pick of the five teams tied in round 1, first in round 2, then they will have the 2nd again in round 6 and first in round 7. Their longest wait will be in round 3 when they will have to wait for Tampa, New Orleans, San Diego, and Carolina to select before making their first pick in that round. Considering they have two at the moment, that’s not a big deal.
The draft is still 112 days away but there will be a lot of talk regarding what the Dolphins will do when that time comes. For now, there is at least the knowledge that the team stayed in the “mathematical” probability for the playoffs until week 16 and still managed to not play out of the top 15 in draft slotting. While everyone would rather have a late draft pick a 12th slot consolation prize could have been much worse.