That very question is probably what every Dolphins fan is pondering as we sit here two weeks away from the NFL Draft. General manager Jeff Ireland and head coach Tony Sparano are probably wondering the same thing as well. Unfortunately we won't know for sure until the Dolphins are on the clock at pick 15.
It's no secret that the Dolphins want to move down in the draft. They will surly try - as will other teams. And just a year ago, the Dolphins were successful in their attempt to move down from pick 12, dropping to pick 28 in the first round and picking up a second rounder (pick 40) to make up for the second round pick they gave up to acquire Brandon Marshall. This year the Dolphins will again attempt to recoup a second rounder, making up for the other second round pick the team surrendered for Marshall.
This year, however, may be more difficult. At least that's what former NFL GM and current NFL Network analyst Charley Casserly believes. During a conference call with the media, Casserly shared his belief that it's not going to be easy for the Dolphins to trade down this year.
"It will be hard for them to get a second without bouncing back a little ways in that thing," said Casserly. "That could be possible. I just don’t know there will be anybody there people will want to come and get, so I think that’s doubtful."
That's the part of the equation fans tend to forget. There will have to be a team willing to surrender draft picks to move up and grab a player that they covet. This year, in particular, introduces another factor - the fact that teams have more holes than usual heading into the draft due to the delayed start of free agency.
Will teams be willing to part with additional picks that could be used to address various needs in order to nab one particular player in the middle of round one?
I have no idea. Nobody really does. And I'm beginning to think that unless the Dolphins find a trading partner down towards the bottom of round one - say from pick 25 or later - a trade down probably wouldn't even net a second-rounder in return. Say, for example, the Chargers feel compelled to leapfrog over the Patriots to draft either a pass-rushing outside linebacker or a "five technique" defensive end that they believe the Pats might be eying up. The Dolphins would only likely get a third round pick from SD in that particular scenario.
Of course, the Dolphins could then package their two third-rounders to move back into the second round. But the point is that the only direct way for the Dolphins to recover their lost second round pick will likely be to find a trade partner in the bottom seven or eight picks of round one.
That could happen, though. Perhaps the Falcons, fearing that the top defensive ends in the draft could all be gone by pick 27, feel the need to leapfrog the Bucs, Saints, and Jaguars - all teams that could be looking for a defensive end in round one. Or maybe the Bears, in need of offensive line help, decide to move up to 15 to take one of the top tackles in the draft.
The point is that I think there are quite a few potential trade partners that currently sit in the 18 to 29 range who could be looking to move up for the right player. The question I have is how much they will be willing to give up to make that move.