The Miami Dolphins started the 2019 season with a record of 0-7 and the tank was on. The team struggled to win games and was scheduled to feature one of the worst rosters ever assembled.
The Dolphins traded away Minkah Fitzpatrick and Laremy Tunsil, which was met by cries of tanking from people around the league. That Dolphins team, though, got on the right track with two-straight wins and ended the year with a record of 5-11.
Heading into the 2020 season, the Dolphins were expected to be a better team, but no one could foresee the team being one win away from the playoffs. On the other hand, the Texans finished with a record of 10-6 in 2019 and the Dolphins received the 26th pick in the draft, which was used to trade down and select Noah Igbinoghene, a cornerback out of Auburn.
With the 2020 season reaching the end, the Texans and Dolphins have drastically switched roles — in just one season. With the acquisition of Tunsil, Houston was expected to have everything it needed to be a consistent playoff contender with Deshaun Watson at quarterback.
The trade is scheduled to help a team compete for the playoffs as on the NFL’s best teams for years to come, however, it isn’t the Texans. A year after going all-in for Tunsil, the future of the Texans is looking bleak.
Not only does Houston have a record of 4-11, but the Dolphins have the team’s first and second round picks.
The #Dolphins can make the playoffs with a win and will have a Top 5 thanks to the #Texans. I wondered if a playoff team had ever had such a high pick. Answer? Not since 2003. @NFLResearch explains: pic.twitter.com/WDysaU3ZRY— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) December 28, 2020
Who could’ve thought these two teams would’ve reversed roles so quickly?
The Dolphins find themselves in one of the rarest positions in sports. Not only are they chasing the playoffs, but top-tier talent in the NFL draft to help the team re-load for a 2021 playoff run — and beyond.
Miami could use the pick on offense tackle Penei Sewell, who is viewed as a franchise cornerstone. In theory, drafting Sewell costs much less than the two-first round picks, second round pick and large contract given out to Tunsil following the trade.
The team could also draft an elite talent at receiver, or trade down to keep the supply of draft picks loaded for years to come.
The Dolphins and Texans are both in unique positions and Houston’s pick could drop outside of the top-five with a win over the Titans on Sunday. However, things are certainly looking bleak in Houston. For Miami, it will be some time before we uncover the true ceiling of this franchise under Flores and general manager Chris Grier.