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What If: The Dolphins Traded Down Instead of Up in the 2013 NFL Draft?

Instead of Dion Jordan, how about Kyle Long or Desmond Trufant and retaining our 2nd rounder?

2013 NFL Draft Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images

Our esteemed leader, Mr. Kevin Nogle dropped the first installment in this series last week. I’m not typically a “what if” kind of guy. I mean, I have 4 kids. Keep it moving.

But when it comes to the Miami Dolphins, I have plenty of time to go down the rabbit hole of madness.

I’ll admit my bias from the very get-go: I’m a trade-down kind of guy. I believe in the research I’ve seen and I believe in my heart of hearts that, in general, you’re better off trading down. That’s not to say there isn’t variance within individual years - trading down carries risk with it as well. Over time, in the long run, you’re gonna get better dividends by trading down in my opinion. Trading down is a luxury some teams aren’t afforded, but if you can, my belief is that you pounce on that opportunity.

And trading up can yield dividends, don’t get me wrong. Especially in the ravenous market for QB’s, or if you consider a move like the Atlanta Falcons made for Julio Jones, trading up can be a move of both desperation and wisdom, just depends on getting the player right.

2013 is a savory intersection of my theory versus how things have shaped in the NFL landscape since then. 2013 is some of the best evidence to trade down and the Miami Dolphins were in a perfect scenario to do so. With hindsight being our savior, the 2013 draft class undoubtedly has more impact and skill in the latter half of the 1st round. In other words, the players drafted 17-32 are better than those drafted 1-16.

Let me be perfectly clear, from a draft capital standpoint, we won the trade with the Oakland Raiders to get to #3. We gave up a 2nd rounder, that’s it. But the most important caveat? We got the player wrong. Trading up is completely dependent on this point, and teams simply make too many mistakes to trust the ”trade up theory” regularly.

I digress.

What if we didn’t move up for Dion Jordan, but rather moved down into the the latter half of the draft? By my estimation, we would have had more than a 50% chance of getting a damn good football player. Plus, we would‘ve kept the 2nd round pick we traded to move up and acquired more draft capital by moving down in the 1st round. Did you know Le’Veon Bell, Kawann Short, Jamie Collins, Travis Kelce, Larry Warford, Tyrann Mathieu, Keenan Allen, and Jordan Reed were all drafted between the pick Miami sacrificed to move up (pick #42) and the end of the 3rd round in the 2013 draft? (I know finding success in the draft isn’t that easy, it’s a “what if” article!)

Say we pick Kyle Long. Well, it‘s very unlikely we choose Dallas Thomas in the 3rd round, and roll the dice on a different position. In this scenario, Dion Jordan and Dallas Thomas don‘t step foot in Davie, otherwise known as addition by subtraction.

Say we pick Desmond Trufant or Xavier Rhodes. It‘s unlikely we spend a pick on Jamar Taylor and Will Davis (but will admit that either could’ve been picked at their respective draft slots). Still, an extra Day 2 pick is opened up to invest in a different position while we‘ve added draft capital by moving down.

What’s this all mean? We entered the draft with #12 overall, 2 2nd round picks, and 2 3rd round picks. Jamar Taylor has had the most successful career up to this point of the 4 players Miami selected. Even the smallest ripple in the choices we made in the 2013 draft could have shaped our future roster building. Dion Jordan was a luxury pick at the time. I liked the pick. I won’t hide from it. I saw the Sports Science segment on him. It made me drool.

However, the domino effect of not selecting Dion Jordan at #3 would’ve possibly yielded Jamar Taylor, Dallas Thomas, or Will Davis not being on the team as well, all players who did not find success in Miami. Maybe we whiff on a different player, or maybe we decide to use a 2nd rounder and give some competition to Daniel Thomas with this guy from Michigan St. named Le‘Veon Bell. Impossible to tell the total effect of this “what if“ scenario, but certainly fun to think about the Butterfly Effect of the NFL.


What if the Dolphins traded down in the 2013 draft?

This poll is closed

  • 50%
    We would’ve blown it in some other way
    (321 votes)
  • 4%
    No effect
    (27 votes)
  • 28%
    We’d be a much better team
    (183 votes)
  • 16%
    Shut up, SUTTON. It’s dead season and you should practice shutting up. What ifs are stupid.
    (108 votes)
639 votes total Vote Now