Miami’s surge in the second half of the 2019 season was a blessing to some fans, and unfortunate to others. Thanks to surprise wins over teams like the Eagles and Patriots, the Dolphins went from the cat bird seat for a franchise quarterback to a bit of a nerve-racking position at five.
When the draft order was released, it seemed apparent (at least at the time) that most of the teams ahead of the Dolphins were set at QB. Daniel Jones with the Giants, Matt Stafford in Detroit, and Dwayne Haskins in DC. Surely Miami could move up a spot or two and select their quarterback of choice, perhaps Tua Tagovailoa, and not have to give up the farm. Tua declared for the draft, Miami fans rejoiced, and all seemed to be lining up.
Then, the rumors and/or smoke screens started to emerge. Mel Kiper made note that the Lions would be open to drafting a healthy Tua at number three. The Redskins – long tied to Chase Young – reportedly talked with Tua and Joe Burrow at the combine. While Washington seems unlikely to spend another first round pick on a QB in successive years, Rivera wasn’t on board when they took Haskins. And long-time Lions beat writer Mike O’Hara noted the possible interest the team could have in drafting a QB. Add in the fact that the Chargers, who sit right behind the Dolphins at six, and potentially the Panthers and even the Jaguars behind them (depending on how both teams handle their unsettled QB situations) likely have an interest in a franchise QB, and all of a sudden things have started to get a little bit more interesting as far as what it might take to secure a quarterback somewhere higher than five.
However, at the end of the day, Miami simply has the far superior assets to offer a team to move up. I also don’t see the Redskins passing on Young. Thus, the most likely scenario to me is Detroit and Miami working out a trade to move up from five to three to draft their quarterback.
The question is: what would that take?
I think it’s interesting to look at what the market has been for a team moving up into the top three to take a quarterback. Over the last ten years, five teams have traded into the top three to draft a QB.
2012: Redskins move up to two and take Robert Griffin III
Washington moved up from six to two to draft Robert Griffin, III, and at perhaps the greatest cost for the short distance moved. To draft the mostly disappointing RG3, the Redskins handed the Rams the 6th and 39th pick in 2012, a first rounder in 2013, and a first rounder in 2014. Three firsts and a second to move up four spots. Major yikes.
2016: Rams leap from 15th to 1st for Jared Goff
In 2016, the Rams traded up from 15 to the top spot to select Jared Goff. The Rams got the top pick and 4th & 6th round picks (all in 2016), and the Titans landed the 15th, 43rd, 45th, and 76th picks in 2016 and 2017 first and third rounders. All in all, two firsts (including the 15th), two seconds, and two thirds for Tennessee. If you want to say the value of a third is comparable to a fourth and a sixth, then the Titans basically netted an extra first rounder, two seconds, and one third by moving down fourteen slots to fifteen. A relative bargain to move up basically the entire top half the first round, at least compared to what the Redskins forked over for four spots.
Eagles jump six spots to land Carson Wentz
The Rams aren’t the only team that moved up to the top of the 2016 draft. The Eagles jumped from eight to two to take Carson Wentz, giving the Browns the 8th pick, 2016 third and fourth rounders, a 2017 first rounder, and a 2018 second rounder. The Browns sent a fourth round pick to Philly, so the Browns basically netted a first, second, and third over 3 years to move back 8 spots from #2. I think that seems about right, or at least seemingly reasonable for both sides, for a move of six spots up to two.
2017: Bears move up one spot to take Mitchell Trubisky
When all is said and done, this draft will likely be one that defines the Bears for the foreseeable future – and not in a good way. With Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson still in the green room, Chicago felt they needed to move up to secure their guy not named either of those future stars. As a result, the Niners moved down to third and also collected third and fourth round picks in 2017 and a third rounder in 2018. Not a huge price, given the minimal move.
2018: Jets jump from six to three to land Sam Darnold
In perhaps the most similar scenario to where the Dolphins sit now, the Jets moved up to three to take Sam Darnold, with the Colts sliding back to six and collecting two second rounders in 2018 and one more in 2019. Three second rounders – one for each spot they moved up.
So….is there a discernable value of a draft slot in the top five? There is no real set value, and the results have certainly varied over the past decade (with the Redskins’ bounty to the Rams for RG3 kind of being the outlier).
That being said, if I had to predict, the Lions still make the most sense as a trade partner, far and away, as I mentioned before. They can trade down and still land whichever of Jeff Okudah or Isaiah Simmons (or a tackle, I guess) that the Giants don’t take, while adding likely multiple day two picks, at a minimum.
So, if you’re Flores and Grier and you’re looking to move up two spots and draft your QB, what are you willing to do? Can you keep all three of your first round picks and send, perhaps, a package of picks like 39, 70, one of the fifth rounders, and a day two pick next year? I think that seems to have comparable value to recent drafts for a two-spot shift in the top five. No doubt Detroit will put pressure to give up at least one of Miami’s first round picks, so how willing would you be to part with one? Will Miami need to dangle number 26 overall as part of a package to make sure you stay in front of what could be an aggressive LA Chargers brass? And does Miami’s incredible start to free agency make it a little bit easier to move a pick like 26 if necessary?
What do you think is fair value to give up, given the recent history of trades, and what would you be willing to do? Let’s hear it.