Dolphins recent history in trading up is not good


There’s a lot of talk that the Dolphins are inquiring about making a trade up in the draft, presumably to grab a quarterback. However, moves that Miami has made to move up in recent years has not turned out well.

The Miami Dolphins will be selecting in familiar territory on Thursday at the start of the 2018 NFL Draft – outside of the top 10. Sure, 11 is higher than they’ve been in years past, but there’s a price to pay for being mediocre. You’re normally not good enough to make the playoffs, and you’re not bad enough to pick atop of the draft class.

Miami’s 2017 season with a 6-10 record has the team looking for solutions after finishing 10-6 with a playoff berth just a year prior. What Miami really has their eyes set on in this 2018 class is a quarterback. Yes, the team still has Ryan Tannehill, and after restructuring his contract he’s locked in financially for the next two years at least, but this class possesses some franchise potential players, which are not always easy to find.

Plus, we don’t know what to expect from Tannehill coming off a torn ACL, and the fact he hasn’t played a game since December 2016. Even before that it’s always been a question as to how good Tannehill really is, and if he really can be a franchise player.

This off-season, the Dolphins have not been shy in expressing their interest in Baker Mayfield and Josh Rosen. It’s very unlikely, however, that either player will be available to them at 11 though. There are several mock drafts out there that have either Mayfield or Rosen falling to the Dolphins so there is the chance. Once the draft is underway though, we can expect other quarterback-thirsty teams to try their hardest to jump ahead of Miami and others to snag one.

If Miami doesn’t land a quarterback then the next best thing would probably be to land one of the top linebackers. The Dolphins would be happy if either Roquan Smith or Tremaine Edmunds were available to them, but both players are expected to hear their names called within the top 10 as well. There are a select few other players that could fall to Miami, but if quarterback or linebacker is what they are targeting in round one then chances are they are going to have to move up to get it.

I’m normally the type of guy that believes Miami should find a way to trade down and pickup additional picks, and I still feel that way for this draft as well. The Dolphins still have several needs, and they could really benefit with an extra pick or two, especially if the players atop their board are already gone by the time they come around to pick. With that said, I will say though that if they are going to trade up then this is the draft to do it.

I’m really only okay with it, however, if the thought process is to grab a quarterback. Yes, it would cost more in assets as Miami would likely have to jump somewhere within the top 6. They could probably get a linebacker by jumping somewhere within 7-10, and it wouldn’t cost them as much, but I’m higher on some of the linebackers lower on the board than most, and I believe that some really good ones could be had later on if they play it right.

It’s very hard to find a franchise quarterback, however, so sometimes you do what you gotta do to get it done. There are quarterbacks all throughout this draft, and although many of them have been linked to Miami, those types rarely ever work out. If Miami wants a game-changer for the future it’s likely going to cost them, and I can live with that.

Even though we know the cost would be high, it doesn’t mean Miami should sell the farm either. The Dolphins haven’t done well in recent years when trading up at any point of the draft. Granted, none of those have been to move up in order to take a quarterback, but Miami has come out looking foolish in nearly every scenario.

The Dolphins most recent moves to trade up came in a pair of trades of the 2016 NFL Draft. On Day 2, in the 2nd round, Miami made a move with Baltimore to move up four spots to the 38th overall selection. The Dolphins used that pick on Xavien Howard, who yes, is really starting to come into his own, but the question is, ‘Was it necessary’?

Honestly, no. The Dolphins management admitted that they believed a run on cornerbacks was coming, and that they had to move up in order to get Howard. The run never came, however, as the next corner wasn’t taken until 54th overall (Mackensie Alexander). The Ravens pulled one over on Miami, and it cost the Dolphins an additional 4th round pick (107th overall).

In that same draft on that very same day, the Dolphins doubled-down on their bad maneuvering with an even worse move to trade up. Miami agreed to trade their 6th round pick, along with their 2017 3rd and 4th round selections in 2017 to Minnesota in exchange for their 3rd round pick. As we all know, the Dolphins used that pick on Leonte Carroo, a wide receiver they didn’t need who has been one of the biggest busts in team history.

In 2014, Miami racked up some picks in separate trades, but they did make the move with Oakland to move up in the 3rd round to take Billy Turner. We all know how that turned out.

The trade that fans remember the most is when the Dolphins moved up in the 1st round of the 2013 draft. Now, the trade itself was an outstanding one made by then former GM Jeff Ireland. The fact that he moved Miami all the way up to #3 overall, and all it costs them was their 1st and 2nd round picks (12 and 42, respectively) that season was an absolute steal. The problem was the selection. It was widely assumed that when the trade was made, Miami did it with the intention of taking the eventual Pro Bowler Lane Johnson.

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The Dolphins shocked everyone though when Dion Jordan‘s name was called. Jordan is still trying to make a name for himself in the league, but he’s probably Miami’s biggest bust in team history given where he was taken. The Dolphins later gave up three mid-to-late round selections to move up and take CB Will Davis that year.

Miami made one of their best trade up moves from this decade in 2012 when they traded their 4th round, 6th round, and 2013 6th round picks to slide up a few spots and take Lamar Miller. Miller was a fan favorite by many. A lot of it had to do with him being a former Miami Hurricane, but like they’ve done with so many others, the Dolphins decided to move on from Miller when it came to re-sign him in 2016.

In 2011, the Dolphins made it known that they liked Daniel Thomas so when the opportunity came for them to move up and get him they did. Miami sent Washington their 3rd, 5th, and 7th round picks that season in exchange for Washington’s 2nd (62 overall). Thomas became nothing more than a sub-par running back, and is really only classified as a bust because Miami moved up to get him.

Over the years, Miami seemed to be the only team ever interested in him. He had three career stints with Miami before the Dolphins cut him for the final time prior to the 2016 season, and he is now out of the league.

The Dolphins did make a small move in 2010 that landed them Reshad Jones, which continues to pan out very well, but history does show how bad it’s been overall for an extended period of time when they try to do too much. In this case, it’s much different because we’re now talking about trading for a franchise quarterback. Quarterbacks are a totally different atmosphere in terms of trades.

Still, Miami must make sure that they’re making the right deal for the right guy if they do, in fact, pull the trigger on a trade to move up. A wrong move for the wrong guy could set the Dolphins back even further for years to come. Dolphins fans have already waited long enough for a winner.