We all remember where we were when news broke that the Dolphins traded the No. 8 pick in exchange for the Eagle’s No. 13 pick, Byron Maxwell, and Kiko Alonso. I was in Florida, walking around Disney World more consumed by the trade than mouse ears. On paper, the Dolphins made out in the trade. Despite how you feel about Byron Maxwell, he was a poor fit in Philadelphia. Statistically, Maxwell had the best season of his career in 2015, recording 64 tackles and 2 interceptions. His skill-set appeals much more to Vance Joseph’s style of defense. You know who else possess the skills to succeed in Miami’s new defense? Kiko Alonso. Alonso showed how good he can be during his rookie season when he combined for 159 tackles as a rookie in Buffalo. Injuries may be a pre-existing issue with both players, but the Dolphins expect both to play a prominent role in 2016.
Clearly, the Dolphins currently have the No. 13 pick in this year’s draft. If they stay at their current spot, the team will take a huge risk expecting an elite player to fall. As the draft gets closer, we now see exactly how valuable the No. 8 pick in this year’s draft is. With two quarterbacks going top two, it is a near certainty a great player or two will fall to No.8. I know some of you may ask, "Houtz, won't it cost a lot to trade back up to No. 8?" After all, the Eagles and Rams gave up a king’s ransom to move up to their current positions. Nonetheless, it really would not cost a lot for Miami to move up. According to the NFL Draft trade chart, the eighth pick is worth 1,400 points. The 13th overall pick is worth 1,150 points, a difference of 250 points. Thankfully, the Dolphins third-round draft pick is worth 230 points. Miami can throw in a seventh rounder if necessary, but that is all it would take to move up to No. 8. The only negative to trading up to No.8 is the third-round draft pick they would have to surrender.
Elite players at No. 8
Instead of waiting patiently for a player to slip to No. 13, the Dolphins now have their choice of whichever elite player falls out of the top seven. If I were to predict the Top 7 players selected Thursday night, here is how it might look.
1 Los Angeles Rams – QB Jared Goff, California
2 Philadelphia Eagles – QB Carson Wentz, North Dakota State
3 San Diego Chargers – DE DeForest Buckner, San Diego Chargers
4 Dallas Cowboys – CB Jalen Ramsey, Florida State
5 Jacksonville Jaguars – LB Myles Jack
6 Baltimore Ravens – OL Laremy Tunsil
7 San Francisco 49ers – DE Joey Bosa
A lot could change up top. The Cowboys could like Zeke, Jacksonville could take Bosa and maybe even Myles Jack falls helplessly to No.8. That’s not to mention the great players that weren’t already drafted, including Ronnie Stanley, Shaq Lawson, and Vernon Hargreaves. Here is a brief rundown on players that could be available at No. 8.
Myles Jack, LB, UCLA
It is uncertain whether or not Myles Jack’s knee will be a cause for concern later in life. However, he’s an elite talent and could be available when the Dolphins pick. He would immediately become the anchor in the middle of the Dolphins’ defense.
As I type this...
This quote to me from Myles Jack today about his knee can hardly be comforting to teams. pic.twitter.com/A6BwGYb6lu— Bart Hubbuch (@BartHubbuch) April 27, 2016
Ezekiel Elliott, HB, Ohio State
The Dolphins should have never let Lamar Miller walk, but they did. After spending most of the offseason searching for a starting running back, the Dolphins failed to sign Chris Johnson and CJ Anderson. Elliott would immediately be one of the league’s best-running backs. He is a three-down running back and would be the perfect fit in Adam Gase’s offense.
Vernon Hargreaves, CB, Florida
Miami needs a cornerback to play opposite of Byron Maxwell. Despite lacking ideal size, Vernon Hargreaves would be a match made in heaven with the Dolphins. VH3 is the draft’s best cornerback outside of Ramsey and has the ability to shut down opponent’s #1 wide receiver. He would be the perfect fit for the Dolphins’ secondary.
Ronnie Stanley, OT, Notre Dame
Throughout his four-year career, Ryan Tannehill has been knocked on his ass a lot. Miami hasn’t done a good job of protecting him either. Dallas Thomas would have a hard time making a roster anywhere else, and Brandon Albert can’t stay healthy. Ronnie Stanley would be an immediate upgrade on the offensive line. Stanley could start at left or right tackle, moving Albert/James inside.
Shaq Lawson, DE, Clemson
Miami is severely lacking young defensive pass rushers. Cameron Wake and Mario Williams are both north of thirty and the Dolphins can’t rely on Andre Branch and Dion Jordan. Lawson is an elite player and would immediately take the burden off the veterans. He’s great at setting the edge and a natural pass rusher. He would be the perfect fit in Miami’s wide-9 defense.
As for negatives, the only negative is giving up a third-round draft pick.
Whether or not you agree with trading away draft picks, the gap between the talent at 8 and 13 is immense. The Dolphins have been stuck in mediocrity for several years now and could use an impact player to help the team now and in the foreseeable future. Whether or not the Dolphins decide to trade up, the team will have to land an immediate starter in the first round of this year's draft.