Yes, the Miami Dolphins have 11 draft picks to use this coming April. They only “have” to use to two. The supplemental picks in rounds 4 and 7. The rest they are free to trade.
While 11 is a big number and something that the Dolphins’ GM Jeff Ireland has said is part of his plan, according to a source I spoke with, Ireland isn’t likely to draft 11 players but instead between 8 and 9. Which if true means the team has intentions to trade up. Somewhere.
Ireland traded up two years ago to draft RB Daniel Thomas and has moved down twice in the first round. The question is will they attempt to move up this year to acquire a player in the top of the first round? Ireland needs a top playmaker to come out of this draft. He has added the speedy Mike Wallace but outside of that his offensive off-season has not been anything special.
Many seem to point to the Dolphins interest in LT. Eric Fisher and Lane Johnson have been rumored as drawing a lot of interest from Miami but while LT is a major position of need, Ireland’s entire off-season has not been a normal practice. Ireland told a group of season ticket holders VIA a teleconference that he has addressed the WR position and still has the draft. While it could be a smoke screen, the Dolphins still lack some elements of firepower on offense. Even with the additions of Wallace and Keller.
Most glaring to me is the TE position where Keller is coming off an injured season and behind him are two guys who haven’t played a full game and another who is better as a flex option than a true TE. The Dolphins are reportedly interested in Gavin Escobar of San Diego State but little has been rumored about any interest in Tyler Eiffert or Zac Ertz.
Earlier today it was reported that the Dolphins will play host to Notre Dame LB Manti Te’o, a player not likely to be a serious target unless he falls into round two or the Dolphins come away impressed enough to think about options to move up. The Dolphins could play this role very well.
What would Dolphins fans think if the Dolphins used their 12th pick on say a top edge pass rusher and then, should a guy like Tyler Eiffert fall to the mid-20’s move up from round 2 to take him as well. The Dolphins could trade their first or their 2nd pick in round 2 and an additional pick outside of round 2.
The team may also look to acquire the top remaining CB’s on their boards. The issue that Ireland is going to have to face is that he has holes and the picks to do it but timing will be everything. Ireland has said that he drafts horizontal which means he puts the needs at each position and ranks the players at those positions rather than one long board with players ranked as BPA from top to bottom. A “vertical” drafting system.
Ireland could walk away from the first four rounds netting a left tackle, two corner-backs, a TE, offensive guard, and an edge pass rusher. With six picks before their first supplemental pick the Dolphins are poised to make a splash, and they will need to.