The first draft of this latest Miami Dolphins rebuild will get underway Thursday with more holes to fill than draft picks who can plug them. But general manager Chris Grier and head coach Brian Flores are both optimistic they will accomplish certain goals before the process is complete.
According to sources within the Dolphins building the Dolphins fully intend to address their dire need along the defensive front seven, but those sources caution that might not necessarily happen in the first round.
In that first round, the Dolphins believe there are very good front seven options but Grier could be tempted to take an offensive lineman, and specifically a right tackle, if that player has a better grade than the defensive players available when Miami picks.
It’s fair to foresee a run on front seven talent in a draft that features maybe five elite front seven players. And if there’s a run on that talent, the Dolphins might well be looking at a highly rated offensive tackle such as Jawaan Taylor, who the team loves.
The Dolphins are scheduled to pick No. 13 overall in the first round. The operative word is “scheduled.” Because the Dolphins have spent the past week working trade scenarios in both directions — up and down — in case the need or opportunity arises.
The trade-up scenario is highly unlikely while a trade down would be a major temptation under the right circumstance.
So you just read the last few paragraphs and probably wondered, “What about a quarterback?”
The Dolphins would like to add a quarterback this draft but the first round is not certain to be the time to do it unless, say, Kyler Murray is available at No. 13. That isn’t expected to happen.
The team likes Ohio State’s Dwayne Haskins and Duke’s Daniel Jones but also has a plan in place for making a run at Arizona quarterback Josh Rosen under the right circumstances. Those circumstances include the Cardinals drafting Murray and making Rosen available in a trade.
Rosen, a top-10 pick in the 2018 draft, would be the odd man out in Arizona but he would be seen as a possible future franchise-type quarterback in Miami.
The Dolphins adding Rosen is not a certainty because the Cardinals likely wouldn’t bargain away Rosen cheaply. And Miami likely isn’t giving up its first-round pick for Rosen, either.
But if the market is anywhere between rounds three and five for Rosen, the Dolphins will definitely be interested.
Speaking of trades, the Dolphins could move veteran safety Reshad Jones during or immediately following the draft, per sources.
Yes, Grier last week said, “Reshad is going to be here.”
He also said Ryan Tannehill was the Dolphins quarterback before he was traded. And he said the team could keep defensive end Robert Quinn before he was traded to Dallas. And he said the team is not tanking, before undertaking one of the greatest roster purges in franchise history.
So some things are said merely for public consumption. And sources insist Jones would be available in trade if he agrees to rework his contract in exchange for being sent to a team of his liking. Jones, by the way, would love to play for the Atlanta Falcons but that doesn’t guarantee a spot for him there.
Jones skipped the team’s recent voluntary minicamp — the first camp Flores held as Miami’s coach. The player instead chose to work out with his private trainer just a few miles from the team’s training facility.
Moving on ...
The Dolphins are hoping to come out of this draft with multiple starters.
“That’s always the goal, to at least come out with hopefully three starters and hopefully the rest will be gravy,” Grier said.
And while the focus has been on offensive line, the defensive front and quarterback, it would be a mistake to stop there.
Because the Dolphins roster is in serious need of upgrade at practically every position. And Grier and Flores recognize they are not drafting players to win it all in 2019 but rather to win it all years from now.
So do not rule out the addition of players at practically every position — especially cornerback, and even linebacker if an elite talent falls to them.
(The Dolphins used a second-round pick on Raekwon McMillan in 2017 and a third-rounder on Jerome Baker in 2018 and like both, but if Devin Bush or Devin White fall to them, the upgrade would be hard to ignore.)
The Dolphins know they have just a few young, core players.
They have left tackle Laremy Tunsil. They have cornerback Xavien Howard. They have safety Minkah Fitzpatrick. The team believes all three are outstanding now and have a place on the roster for years in the future.
This draft, the team believes, must add to that short list of young core players.