The Miami Dolphins have a boatload of picks in next month’s college draft, and most of Dolphin Nation agrees that they probably won’t end up using all of them to select players who will be on the team’s roster this year. However, what if they end up using only slightly more than half of them? We need to brace ourselves for this being a real possibility. Why? There are several reasons. For one thing, there are already so many new faces on the team that the coaching staff still has their work cut out for them in trying to determine which players from last season are keepers and which ones no longer fit into the team’s long term plans. Just because the Dolphins were one of the worst teams in football last season doesn’t mean they don’t have at least one player who wasn’t a high pick who could still be a future star. Adding twelve to fourteen new guys to the pile only complicates things for Flores and Co. As crazy as it may sound, there may very well be at least one player from last year’s team that eventually earns a Pro Bowl invitation, and he probably won’t be a member of the Dolphins if and when that happens. Although it always happens to some extent anyway, the last thing the Dolphins want to do is develop young talent for other teams to win games with.
Secondly, adding a huge number of new draftees who are all coming into the league the same year will result in a logjam a few seasons from now, when they all come due for new contracts at the same time. Of course some of them will have been cut, traded or extended before then, but the front office doesn’t want to give up any leverage in contract talks unnecessarily. There is a natural progression to the way NFL teams acquire and evaluate talent every year, with some players who are drafted or signed as UDFA’s being ticketed for the 53 man roster, the practice squad or the waiver wire, and having twice as many draftees, before the undrafted free agents are even considered, greatly complicates the decision making process for the team’s brain trust, and would almost certainly result in some players slipping through the cracks and becoming future stars, or at least major contributors, for other teams.
Finally, we shouldn’t underestimate the extent to which the ‘Patriot Way’ has arrived in Davie. This means a solid OL and DL/front seven and no wide receivers in the first round. It also means that the team will always be open to moving down at any and every point in the draft, and adding future picks. The New England Patriots have been fleecing teams for years this way, trading picks and/or aging players for future first round picks. Defensive lineman Richard Seymour was the sixth overall pick in the 2001 draft, and after playing a major role in the Patriots’ first three Super Bowl wins, was seemingly untouchable. Despite his contributions, however, New England traded Seymour to the then Oakland Raiders for the 17th overall pick in the 2011 draft, which turned out to be offensive tackle Nate Solder. On at least one occasion, the Patriots have traded a second round pick for a first rounder the following year. And although the Dolphins don’t figure to be major players in the free agency market this year, they’ll still probably add a few lower profile guys, which means they will have that many fewer roster spots available for the new draftees to compete for. When the dust clears, look for Miami to have several more draft picks for 2021 and maybe even 2022, as they try to keep the pipeline of young talent coming to the Dolphins running at full force. There has never been a more exciting year for the Dolphins, which means there has never been a more exciting time to be a Dolphins fan. That’s the wrap for today, have a great week, everybody.