Brian Flores and GM Chris Grier talk about the Dolphins draft and Rosen trade
Can a draft be both hugely consequential and boring at the same time?
It can if you’re the Miami Dolphins.
On paper, they did some truly significant things the past three days.
They selected what they hope will be a cornerstone defensive lineman in Christian Wilkins.
They traded for a young, talented (albeit flawed) quarterback in Josh Rosen.
They acquired a precious second-round pick in the 2020 draft.
They took fliers on third-day projects Andrew Van Ginkel (a linebacker out of Wisconsin), Chandler Cox (the Auburn fullback) and Washington running back Myles Gaskin.
And they added two potential starters on their offensive line (Wisconsin’s Michael Deiter in Round 3 and Ohio State’s Isaiah Prince in Round 6).
Yet, for huge chunks of the 15-hour draft, the Dolphins were an afterthought.
They had just six selections, and only three in the first 201 picks.
Hundreds of talented players who could help (and help now) were simply not an option. The Dolphins just did not have the ammunition.
Never again, Chris Grier all but pledged Saturday after the picking was done.
Beginning in 2020, when the Dolphins will have as many as 12 picks, the Dolphins plan to shop in bulk.
But first, they needed to hit the reset button for the final time in an offseason that has largely been about cleaning up past mistakes.
They took some pain in 2019 — going without picks in the second and fourth rounds — to set themselves up for next year and beyond.
“Us going forward, we always want to have the opportunity to move up or down in any draft,” Grier said. “For us, adding picks for next year, as we started going through it, the compensatory part, we’re building here together. .... For us, going forward, the plan was to get as many picks as we can going forward to build this thing right. And then after that, we’ll see where it goes.”
Grier was determined to secure that additional second-rounder in 2020, which will allow the Dolphins to move up for a quarterback in the first round, if the need arises.
That’s why the Cardinals were never going to get the 48th overall pick in a trade for Rosen. Grier knew his only chance to get a premium pick next year was to package a premium pick this year, which he did in a deal with the Saints.
The Dolphins also coveted another 2020 first-round pick, but the value when Wilkins was available at 13 was too great to move down.
“I think he’s full of energy,” coach Brian Flores said of Wilkins. “First off, he’s a great person from a great family. Really like that about him. He’s got a humility about him and he’s a good football player. Athletic, good strength, does a lot of things well on the football field. But again, in order to reach his optimum level, he’s going to have to come in here and do things right, what we expect him to do. If he does those things, he’s got a chance to do some good things.”
Grier wanted to emerge from this weekend with at least three starters, and appears to have done that in Wilkins, Rosen and Deiter.
But major issues remain.
The Dolphins’ defensive ends are Charles Harris, Jonathan Woodard and Jeremiah Valoaga. They two combined for a whopping two sacks in 2018.
Prince, career backup Zach Sterup and possibly Jesse Davis are the Dolphins’ only options at right tackle.
And the Dolphins, up to now, have been hesitant to spend in free agency.
But that should change soon.
Starting in two weeks, the Dolphins can sign any free agent and not have it affect their 2020 compensatory picks (projected to be a third-rounder and a fifth-rounder).
“We’re going to be aggressive to fill the roster how we feel fit,” Grier said. “Brian and I have talked about that. After June 1 cuts as well, and look at all trade options throughout the summer.”
Grier added: “We’ve made some progress. We feel good about the players we added, the guys we added today. They’ll come in and compete. We feel better, but there’s still work to do. We still have time to add people post-draft here and free agents as we go through the spring and summer. We’re not where we want to be, but we’re happy with where we are.”