The Miami Dolphins have been connected to acquiring a running back quite frequently recently. Although, Minnesota Vikings Dalvin Cook doesn't appear the only back the Dolphins have their eyes on. Multiple outlets have put out that the Dolphins have an interest in trading into the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft on Thursday.
Would the Miami Dolphins trade into the first round?
It sounds possible that the Dolphins would be willing to trade back into the first round. Longtime football writer Peter King hinted at it in his mock draft from Monday. King wrote, "The Dolphins don’t pick till 51st overall, but if there was some way to climb into the twenties to nab explosive back Jahmyr Gibbs, coach Mike McDaniel would love to do it." NFL insider Benjamin Allbright tweeted the same notion on Wednesday.
Certainly this could all be normal NFL Draft buzz. However, general manager Chris Grier let it be known in his pre-draft press conference that the Dolphins have had conversations with teams in the backend of the first round.
"We've had a couple of teams in the bottom half of the first round reach out about saying they would be interested in coming down possibly if their guys aren't there, and if we'd be interested in moving," Grier said.
There's a chance the groundwork is already laid for the Dolphins to move up if Gibbs is there. But what would it look like?
What would a trade into the first round look like?
First of all, what teams could Miami even make a deal with? The final three picks of the first round belong to the New Orleans Saints, Philadelphia Eagles and Kansas City Chiefs, three organizations the Dolphins have made deals involving draft picks in the past four drafts. If the Dolphins were to make the move, acquiring pick 29, 30 or 31 seems the most likely.
Unless Miami is planning on sending next year's first in exchange for someone's late first this year, the team will likely use a package of picks starting with the 51st overall pick. What else would it take to move up? The closest example in recent years of moving up from the 50s to the end of the first round is actually the trade that allowed the Baltimore Ravens to select quarterback Lamar Jackson.
In 2018, the Ravens sent the 52nd overall pick along with 125th pick and a 2019 second-round selection to Philadelphia Eagles for the 32nd overall pick and 132nd pick. Essentially the Ravens gave up two second-round picks and a fourth-round pick swap to move up 20 spots and into the first round.
Now Miami, which doesn't have a fourth or fifth-round pick in 2023 nor a third or fourth-round pick in 2024, will have to get creative. Using the Pro Football Network mock draft simulator, a trade for the 51st, 84th overall picks and Miami's second-round pick for the 31st and 122nd (Miami's original pick used in the Tyreek Hill trade) overall picks got a deal done. Is that realistic? Guess we'll see.
Is Jahmyr Gibbs worth a first round pick?
Most general managers across the league have admitted to only having about 15-20 first-round grades throughout the 2023 draft class. Whether or not you want to get into the running back value debate, Gibbs is a very talented running back and could easily be a top 30 prospect on teams' board. It is a near consensus that Gibbs to the second-best back in the class behind Texas' Bijan Robinson. King and ESPN's Jeremy Fowler have also reported that certain teams have Gibbs over Robinson.
If Miami were to trade up for a player, most fans would prefer it to be an offensive lineman. However, head coach Mike McDaniel has admitted to wanting to put skill-position players around quarterback Tua Tagovailoa over spending resources on the line. If McDaniel really wants a running back that is a skillful receiver and has a plan for him, he should be trusted. It's also become clear that he wants that type of back after falling out of his chair last year due to missing out on Rachaad White.
The Dolphins will need to give up draft capital for trade for Cook, and he'll want an extension. The Dolphins aren't exactly swimming in money and have other young players such as Tagovailoa, Christian Wilkins, Jaylen Waddle, Jaelan Phillips and Jevon Holland needing second contracts in years to come. It will take more draft capital to get Gibbs than Cook but he'll be cheaper, younger and doesn't carry an injury history.
It sounds crazy spending so much on a running back, but getting Gibbs in the first round does make some sense. Gibbs would come with a fifth-year option and easily franchise tag him in his sixth year without exerting a ton of money for him, similar to how the New York Giants are handling Saquon Barkley. Will the Dolphins make the trade? Probably not, however, Gibbs would add another fun element to the Miami offense and hard not to trust McDaniel's plan if the team makes it work.