The Miami Dolphins are still one of those teams that are consistently mentioned as a team looking to move up in the NFL Draft. They need to stay where they are.
Many believe that the Miami Dolphins need to trade up to get a quarterback. The argument is that the Dolphins did not “tank” their season in 2019 simply to take the leftovers after the first four teams pick.
That argument also begins and ends with “The Dolphins have the draft capital to do whatever they want”. Well maybe, but let us be realistic here. The Dolphins have, for the first time in a very long time, maybe ever in their history, have the opportunity to change their team in one big swoop. You don’t do that by trading up for Joe Burrow or Tua Tagovailoa.
The common line of thinking is that it would take at least the Dolphins 5th, 26th, and first of two second-round picks to move up to number two or three in the draft. Working off that train of thought, let’s look at a mock draft that involves trading up and one staying put. Put away your love of Tua Tagovailoa and any other QB and look at this in a rational way.
In our first draft scenario, the Dolphins trade their 5th, 26th, and 39th picks to the Lions and draft Tua Tagovailoa at number three overall. The 39th pick is the Dolphins’ first pick in round two.
At pick number 18, the Dolphins go offensive tackle and take Andrew Thomas. When the Dolphins would have been on the clock, at pick 26, Running backs are all still on the board, defensive end still has Yetur Gross-Matos, safety Xavier McKinney is still on the board as well as offensive lineman Cesar Ruiz.
At pick 39 safety Ashtyn Davis who may become the best safety in this class is on the board as is Antoine Winfield, Jr., J.K. Dobbins, and quarterback Jacob Eason who many believe has the same ceiling as Jordan Love. With the Dolphins 2nd pick in round two, we took Lloyd Cushenberry, an interior offensive lineman.
In the above scenario, the Dolphins are not really losing much by trading down. Two starters but a quarterback is taken. Now, what if they stay put at five? Remember, the lack of QB’s in the above scenario is because the Dolphins opt to move up to number three.
In this second look, we don’t trade up. I ran this simulation in two ways. One, the Chargers move up to number three and take Tua Tagovailoa but we can also assume that maybe they like Justin Herbert more. Either way, in all the simulations that were done, the Dolphins had their choice at five of one of three QB’s. Tua Tagovailoa, Justin Herbert, or Jordan Love.
For the sake of those who are ready to jump off a bridge if the Dolphins pass on Tagovailoa in favor of Herbert, we are going to say Tua is the pick here but regardless, the Dolphins land one of the quarterbacks they are rumored to covet.
At pick number 18, the Dolphins have their choice of Jedrick Wills, who I think will be drafted higher, Austin Jackson, K’Lavon Chaisson, CB Trevon Diggs, and A.J. Epenesa. In this scenario, I chose Chaisson. The thinking here is that the shift in offensive tackle value falls well for the Dolphins who now can take a tackle with their next pick in round one.
With pick 26, that the Dolphins have since they did not trade up with the Lions, Miami takes Austin Jackson, the offensive tackle from USC. The Dolphins had their choice of Jackson or Cesar Ruiz here but I think they will focus on the outside before addressing the center position.
With pick 39, a selection that will be needed to trade up as well, the Dolphins take Lloyd Cushenberry, LSU center. Miami needs to build the interior of the offensive line as well and Cushenberry can play both center and guard. He might be available with the Dolphins second pick but for now, I think they would lean towards the interior than somewhere else right now.
Also on the board, OT Isaiah Wilson, safety Xavier McKinney, and both of the top running backs. I chose interior offensive line because I think someone of value drops to may next pick in round two. Also, I don’t believe that McKinney falls to the Dolphins in round two so I discounted the fact that he was still on the board.
Finally, pick 56 to round out the first two rounds without moving to trade up. I like what I have on the board right now. Tyler Biadasz and Prince Tega Wanogho on the offensive line and running back J.K. Dobbins. I also like safety Ashtyn Davis here as well. I think this is where the Dolphins would target a runner though so I took Dobbins.
The two compared are similar but the overall picture shows that the Dolphins should not be as aggressive early in the draft because frankly, they don’t need to be. Tua Tagovailoa has as much health concerns as Justin Herbert has with his game. One can be coached, the other can’t.
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The top five spots in this year’s draft is not going to be four quarterbacks. If it is, the Dolphins would have Chase Young and he is considered the best player in the draft. Joe Burrow will go one, and if the Chargers move up to two to take Tua and say the Jaguars, Raiders, or someone else jump up to three or four to take Herbert, the Dolphins still have Jordan Love and if another team jumps up for Love at pick four, the Dolphins would can still draft the best players available and look to 2021 round one or take Jalen Hurts or Jacob Eason in round two.
The point is while things with the draft can get crazy, the notion that three teams are going to trade up ahead of the Dolphins is pretty much guaranteed not to happen. It can, I admit that, but it would be wildly speculative to believe it will.
The Dolphins don’t need to trade up for Tua Tagovailoa or Joe Burrow or Justin Herbert. All three of them and Jordan Love are all solid prospects with each having a varying degree of risk vs. reward. The question then becomes, are any of those four worth giving up two additional starters to obtain? I don’t believe they are.