The Miami Dolphins are about to acquire what should be a premium player in the first round of the NFL draft, which takes place later this month, courtesy of a 6-10 finish in 2017. If San Diego kicker Younghoe Koo hadn’t missed a chip shot field goal at the end of their week two contest, the Dolphins would be likely be picking four or five spots higher, but because this year’s draft is projected to have as many as four quarterbacks selected in the top ten, Miami is in good position at number eleven.
As for the idea of the Dolphins taking a QB in round one, forget it; it ain’t happenin’ -- not without a costly trade up, anyway. However, if we assume that USC’s Sam Darnold, UCLA’s Josh Rosen, Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield and Wyoming’s Josh Allen, are picked somewhere in first ten picks, along with Penn State RB Saquon Barkley, that means Miami will be able to select one of the following six players when their turn comes at eleven: North Carolina State defensive end Bradley Chubb, Notre Dame guard Quenton Nelson, Georgia linebacker Roquan Smith, Virginia Tech linebacker Tremaine Edmunds, Alabama free safety Minkah Fitzpatrick or Washington defensive tackle Vita Vea.
Although a trade down has been widely talked about among Dolphin fans, that appears to be an unlikely scenario at this point, simply because all four of the top QB’s, and Barkley, will probably be gone by about the eighth pick or so. Now, if a team picking farther down the board wants one of the aforementioned six players more than the Dolphins do, then the possibility of a trade down might develop, but when you talk about trading down, you have to remember one very important thing: year in and year out, there are far more teams interested in trading down than there are in trading up, unless that team needs a franchise quarterback, and there is still one available they think could be the guy.
Of the six players remaining, Bradley Chubb will almost certainly be gone when Miami gets on the clock; of the other five guys, I’d like to see the Dolphins come away with one of four players: Nelson, Smith, Vea or the guy I think Miami should go all out to get -- Fitzpatrick. We can argue that linebacker is a greater need than free safety, but the ‘Mink Master’ could solidify the Dolphins’ secondary for the next decade or so and enable them to finally atone for passing up the opportunity to draft Earl Thomas back in 2010. Because it’s harder to identify breakdowns in pass coverage by the free safety than by a linebacker or a corner, most fans predictably don’t view safety as a major need for Miami, but you can bet that the Dolphins’ front office most assuredly does.
Not only that, but since most mocks now have Fitzpatrick going to Tampa Bay at number seven, and Fitz is a non quarterback, Miami probably wouldn’t have to give up very much to move from eleventh to sixth, maybe a third rounder this year or a second next year, etc. Sure, the Dolphins have a lot of holes to fill, but they’ve also had a veritable revolving door at the free safety position for the past four or five years, and Fitzpatrick would enable them to emphatically slam that door once and for all. Alright, so perhaps you can’t really slam a revolving door, but you get the idea.
Regardless, with the talent that’s available in the draft this year, the Dolphins would almost have to try to screw this pickup. We don’t know what they’ll do in rounds two through seven, but they should be able to land a real stud in the first round. As always, I’d like to hear from our readers, in terms of who they’d like to see Miami select with the eleventh overall pick three weeks from now.