Over the past several days, there have been some reports swirling around that the Miami Dolphins are seriously considering trading up in the first round of the NFL Draft. According to @NFLDraftBites on Twitter, the most likely trade partner would be the Minnesota Vikings, who have the eighth pick. This same user correctly predicted days before the NFL draft last year that the Dolphins were in serious discussions with the Oakland Raiders about moving up. As we all know, the Dolphins did in fact trade with the Raiders in the first round. Therefore, he has credibility and what he says shouldn't be simply brushed off as a smokescreen.
Who would the target be at number eight? According to this report, that would be Jake Matthews, offensive tackle from Texas A&M. Matthews played right tackle and is considered the top offensive tackle in the draft by the overwhelming majority of draft pundits. Matthews would start from day one at right tackle and would most likely move to left tackle in a few years when Branden Albert moves on after his current contract. The Dolphins could also be throwing Matthews out there as a smokescreen. Some say that the true target is Tight End Eric Ebron from North Carolina. Why keep that name a secret? It is rumored that the Buffalo Bills are in love with him and will pick him in the first round. The Bills have the ninth pick and if they knew the Dolphins wanted Ebron at eight, they may be willing to trade up a few spots to make sure they are able to get him.
With all that said though, would it truly be worth trading up in the draft to grab one of these players? While the draft varies from year to year along with trade value, we can get a good look at past precedence in terms of trades and what one may expect by taking a look at the past history of Rick Spielman, General Manager of the Vikings.
First, let's look at the trade value chart that is used as a reference by almost all of the teams throughout the league. Although this chart has been modified over the past several years and some point values may vary, it still gives us a good indication of what general managers are looking at.
This chart says that the eighth pick in the draft is worth 1,400 points. The 19th pick is worth 875 points. The Dolphins and the Vikings would swap picks, which would mean the Dolphins need to make up 525 points. Their second round pick is worth 400 points, their third round pick is worth 185 points, their fourth round pick is worth 70 points, their fifth round pick is worth 34.5 points, their sixth round pick is worth 21.8 points and their seventh round pick is worth seven points.
Let's do some math.
The Dolphins can trade their second, fourth, and fifth round pick to just about make up the points. If they wanted to hold onto their second round pick, they could trade away their remaining picks but they still wouldn't be able to make up the points. In fact, they would be 207 points short.
Therefore, the most likely scenario would be a combination of this year's picks and next year's picks. I would guess that the Dolphins would want to hold onto their second round pick and would offer a third, fourth, sixth and a second round pick next year for the opportunity to move to the eighth spot. The Dolphins also could dangle a player such as Dion Jordan (although highly unlikely) and hold onto more of their draft picks. The harsh reality though is that it will cost a lot for the Dolphins to move up in the draft with the Vikings.
If you're thinking that the Dolphins were able to move up last year without giving up so much, remember that it was with the Oakland Raiders and general manager Reggie McKenzie was running his second draft. All he wanted was to swap first round picks and get the Dolphins second round pick. On the other hand, Spielman is a shrewd negotiator and isn't known for giving discounts.
Let's take a look.
- In 2010, the Detroit Lions wanted to move back into the first round and grab the 30th overall pick, which of course was held by the Vikings. Spielman made the Lions give up their second, fourth and seventh round pick.
- In 2012, the Cleveland Browns wanted to trade up just one spot from fourth to third overall. Spielman made them give up their fourth, fifth and seventh round pick....to move up just ONE spot!
- In 2012, the Vikings traded their fifth round pick to the Lions in exchange for their 2013 fourth round pick.
- In 2012, the Vikings traded their seventh round pick to the Tennessee Titans for their 2013 sixth round pick.
- In 2013, the Vikings gave up their second, third, fourth and seventh round picks in order to jump back into round one at number 29.
As you can see, Spielman demands a lot of draft picks in return if you want to move up in the draft. You must also remember that Spielman was fired by the Dolphins so that gives him even more reason to hold out for multiple draft picks without any discounts. One other factor that will come into play will be whether or not there are multiple teams interested in moving up to the eighth spot. The more teams there are that are interested means a higher price tag for whichever team wants to move up. If the Dolphins are the only team, it takes away leverage from the Vikings which would be the only scenario where the Dolphins MIGHT save a future draft pick.
With all this information in front of you, the question needs to be asked - would you trade up in the draft for someone like Jake Matthews or Eric Ebron? Will either of them make the Dolphins an immediate playoff contender? Will either of these players, or any other player that might be there at eight, change the face of the franchise for the next decade?
General Manger Dennis Hickey must weigh these factors when considering giving up multiple draft picks to move up. If I was the general manger, I would not look to move up due to the heavy price tag. This draft class is very deep and you can get a good offensive tackle and a good tight end in the first two - three rounds. Of course, if Hickey can get a good deal to move up, you pull the trigger. Based on the past history of the Vikings though, it doesn't seem like that is a possibility.
Matthew Cannata is a columnist for The Phinsider. Be sure to follow him on Twitter: @PhinManiacs