While a lot of our focus has been on what the Miami Dolphins may do in the 2021 NFL Draft as it begins on Thursday, there are always moves done by other teams that directly impact Miami. On Wednesday, a rumor surfaced that could fall into that category. According to Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer, the New England Patriots and Carolina Panthers have laid “some groundwork” on a trade that would move New England up to the eighth position in an effort to select Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields.
Over at Pats Pulpit, SB Nation’s Patriots team site, Bernd Buchmasser discussed the possibility of a trade, including pointing out that it does not have to be just Fields the Patriots could be targeting. While writing the Patriots are “searching for a long-term solution at quarterback and might therefore be prompted to act if a players of Fields’ potential slides down the board,” Buchmasser adds, “the Patriots appear to be a prime trading partner.”
He then turns to Patriots head coach and general manager Bill Belichick’s comments during his pre-draft press conference. Belichick explained the possibility of a trade up if an opportunity presented itself, saying, “I’d say normally something would happen and there could very well be a player there that either you don’t expect to be there or maybe he is a couple spots, maybe at 12, 13, he’s still on the board and you really thought that he’d be gone in the top six, seven picks. Then the question comes, do you move up and try to get that player that’s fallen a little bit?”
Buchmasser then writes about all the possible players who could tempt Belichick into that trade, writing, “Said player could be Ohio State’s Justin Fields, or one of the other top-tier passers not fully expected to be picked within the top-5: North Dakota State’s Trey Lance or Alabama’s Mac Jones. All three players have been linked to New England in the pre-draft process, and if one or more of them are available when Carolina is on the clock at No. 8 New England might decide to go get its guy.”
All of that could be great news for the Dolphins. With “some groundwork” in place between Carolina and New England, teams that are interested in Fields, Lance, or Jones could need to look ahead of the eighth pick to ensure they can get their quarterback. The presence of a rumor like this could force a team like the Denver Broncos with the ninth pick to make a move. That move could benefit Miami.
First, if a team wanted to move up, they could look to jump all the way to the fourth spot, making a trade with the Atlanta Falcons. That would almost assure the first four selections being quarterbacks, ensuring Miami, with the sixth pick, of landing either Florida tight end Kyle Pitts or LSU wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase.
If a team does not look to Atlanta’s pick, the Dolphins could then become a potential trade partner. If Pitts is selected by the Falcons, then Chase goes to the Cincinnati Bengals with the fifth pick, Miami could look to jump back a few spots before making a selection of either Alabama wide receiver, Jaylen Waddle or Devonta Smith. Teams knowing the Patriots are looking to move up to eight could force someone to leap into the sixth position to grab the quarterback they want.
The Panthers-Patriots rumor could be a perfect situation for the Dolphins. If teams get nervous that they are going to miss out on the quarterback they want because New England is being aggressive, move teams will be interested in matching that aggressiveness. Miami could perfectly benefit from everyone looking for a quarterback.