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How the Miami Dolphins Can Have a Successful Day One in the NFL Draft

The Miami Dolphins currently hold three 1st round draft picks in this year’s NFL Draft. Their total of 14 available selections is the most in entirety of the league.

All of this draft capital means the Dolphins have the ability to take complete control of the direction of the night, and if they play their cards right, they can change the perception of their franchise for the foreseeable future.

Now let’s discuss how the Fins can make their stamp on the night and ace the 2020 NFL Draft.

I plan to break this draft into two scenarios for Miami. Scenario A deals with a situation in which Alabama QB Tua Tagovailoa is available for the taking and the Dolphins plan accordingly. 

Scenario B will cover a situation in which a team trades up to take Tua and leaves the Dolphins desperate to change their pre-draft strategy. 

Scenario A: “Tua is Miami-Bound”

The Dolphins hold the 5th, 18th, and 26th picks in the first round of this year’s draft. Despite recent reports that they may be looking outside of Tua Tagovailoa, I think it is abundantly clear that he is still their main guy.

As expected with the 1st pick, Cincinnati takes LSU QB Joe Burrow, Washington takes star Ohio State edge rusher Chase Young with the 2nd selection, and Detroit decides to settle at 3 with Ohio State cornerback Jeffrey Okudah.

There is a total possibility that the Lions and Dolphins agree on a trade that moves Miami up to #3, but I believe this will not make much difference in the overall direction in the draft. What I mean is in order to trade up from 5 to 3, I believe it’ll require, yes, the fifth pick, but potentially their second-round pick (39th) as well or potentially even less, which frankly is not a trade of obscene value.

Assuming no trade happens though, the Giants are likely to take LB-DB Isaiah Simmons out of Clemson or OT Tristan Wirfs out of Iowa – so no QB. That leaves the Dolphins at 5 taking their guy in Tua Tagovailoa, who will hopefully change the direction of their franchise for many years to come. 

Assuming Miami lands Tua at 5, I do not anticipate any moves up from 18, and this is especially true if they indeed trade up to 3. What I do see as a true possibility is trading up from 26 to the early/middle of the first round as a way to secure one of the higher-ranking offensive tackle prospects. 

I believe Miami will target and land one of either S Xavier McKinney out of Alabama or S Grant Delpit out of LSU. I don’t see how they do not address their most glaring hole on the defensive side of the ball with those two prospects likely still on the board by that point. 

Don’t be surprised if they trade up from 26 with a team willing to do so such as San Francisco at 13. I think there is a strong likelihood that we will see a trade between these two clubs, as it will give the Dolphins that OT for the future and it will help the 49ers increase their very low draft capital. 

Assuming no trade happens involving pick 5, I see a trade going something like Miami giving up picks 26, 39, and a future 4th or 5th rounder for the 49ers 13th and 176th selection (5th round). It may seem like a bit of a stretch on the part of the Dolphins, but they have leverage here. Given their expansive draft capital, they can afford to lose some value. 

Scenario B: “Tua to LA”

In a surprise move on draft night, the Los Angeles Chargers have agreed to trade up from the 6th pick to the 3rd to take their franchise quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. This leaves the Dolphins needing to adapt and change the draft strategy they had going into the night.

I believe this is when the Fins need to keep their heads up and pick strategically. By that I mean not to make the impulse pick and take the next-best QB left on the board, who will likely be Oregon QB Justin Herbert, but rather draft with need in mind.

I would argue the need for a strong OT is just as bad if not worse than that of a quarterback, and they should draft accordingly. With the fifth selection, I see them taking OT Tristan Wirfs if he is still available or taking a gamble on OL Jedrick Wills Jr out of Alabama.

This puts pick 18 at play for a potential trade depending on how the stock for Utah State QB Jordan Love is come draft night. If it is looking likely that he can fall into the late-first round or potentially early second, I think they stick with 18 and draft a safety.

If they feel like they need to trade up one or two spots from 26 to take Love, I anticipate them doing so, but I believe they are more likely to snag him at 26.

My argument for taking Love over Herbert is simple. Yes, Herbert is the more polished of the two, but can be argued to be seen as more of safe pick rather than the best one.

I believe that despite his struggles turning the ball over at Utah State last season, Jordan Love has shown he has the accolades to succeed in the league given good protection and the right weapons. Miami has an abundance of WRs and are looking to shore up the running game, so they have the weapons for Love to succeed. 

I also believe that head coach Brian Flores and the Dolphins front office truly think that the contention window for Miami is one that is still coming and are anticipating it being a long one. With that in mind, taking the high-risk/high-reward guy that they can afford to sit a year to help develop is the right move to make here.

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