The Miami Dolphins have already been busy in the 2021 NFL Draft, trading out of the third position, back to the 12th spot, then back up to the sixth-overall pick. Rumors over the past few days have the Dolphins considering another trade, with the common though that Miami could trade back to add additional picks either this year or in 2022. Now, however, there is some speculation that Miami could be looking to trade up, but not from the sixth spot, but rather from their second first-round pick, the 18th-overall selection.
On Thursday, Denver Broncos general manager George Paton held his pre-Draft press conference. During it, he made two mentions that could signal some of the Dolphins’ Draft plans.
“We haven’t made any calls yet to move up,” Paton said, via Mile High Report. We’ve received calls to move back. Being a first-year general manager really doesn’t impact whether we would move up or not. If we feel a player can help us and can upgrade us, and if we feel he’s worth going to get, we’re going to go get him.”
He later mentioned Dolphins general manager Chris Grier as someone with whom he has spoken. “I haven’t spoken with all of them. I spoke to Chris yesterday, but he wasn’t giving me any words of wisdom. We’re kind of competing. You take something from everyone you’ve been around...”
Paton was the Dolphins’ director of pro personnel from 2001 through 2006 while Grier was working as an area scout, national scout, and assistant director of college scouting for Miami. The two have a previous relationship, so making calls to each other should not be unexpected - but if you take Paton at his word either (a) Miami called about a trade back, not the Broncos calling about a trade up so Paton is technically telling the truth, or (b) Miami and Denver are talking about a potential trade up for Miami, trade back for Denver.
If it is option b, the Dolphins could be looking to move up from the 18th position to the Broncos’ ninth spot. What would be the cost of Miami landing a second top-ten pick this year? It might not be as expensive as it might seem.
Miami has the sixth, 18th-, 36th-, 50th-, and 81st-overall picks spread over the first three rounds. The Broncos’ ninth pick, according to the draft pick value chart developed by Pats Pulpit’s Rich Hill in 2018, is worth 387.01 points. Miami’s 18th selection is 286.72 points. The 100.29 point difference could be made up with the 50th-overall pick, worth 115.00 points. The Broncos end up with slightly more value according to the chart, but Miami is adding two of the top ten players in the 2021 NFL Draft, without endangering future draft picks this way.
If the Broncos were to balk at that pick, Miami could go with the 18th and 36th picks, for a total of 452.69 points. The 65.68 point overpay could be covered by the Broncos’ 71st pick, worth 68.30 points according to Hill’s chart.
Could Miami make a move to the ninth position by giving Denver the 18th pick and the 50th pick? Could they make the trade with the 18th- and 36th-picks, with getting the ninth- and 71st-picks in return?
Miami could also be looking to the ninth position if the board falls poorly for them in the first five picks. The discussions with Denver could be potential trades both ways for the Dolphins. If they do not like how the board has played out, and the Broncos are looking for a quarterback, they could use these preliminary discussions to set up a possible trade back. Then, should the Dolphins use the sixth pick, they could have a trade set up with Denver to jump up from 18. The Broncos could be perfectly placed for whatever Chris Grier wants to do this year.