With the top 10 picks in this month's NFL draft so jumbled (I mean, look at how our mock drafters are breaking it down -- not a whole lot of uniformity there), a team like the Dolphins might be better off staying at No. 12 overall and not trying to trade up in the first round.
But that's not saying Miami won't trade up -- and it's not saying Miami will. Basically, we're still in the spin zone where NFL executives try to set up smokescreens to try to confuse other teams (and fans and media) about their true intentions for the draft. With that, Dolphins general manager Jeff Ireland said this week that his team could trade up, and that it could trade all the way up to the No. 1 overall pick, currently held by the Chiefs.
“I've got enough ammunition to get to the first pick if I wanted to, but I don't see myself doing that, personally,” Ireland said, in the Palm Beach Post.
After losing left tackle Jake Long to the Rams in free agency, the Dolphins could be on the lookout for the next franchise blind-side protector in the first round. Reportedly, they've been enamored with Oklahoma's Lane Johnson, but Texas A&M's Luke Joeckel and Central Michigan's Eric Fisher also figure to go within the first 10 picks (and probably before Johnson).
A guy like Jonathan Martin, whom Miami took in the second round last year and who replaced Long after he was lost for the season in 2012, could move to left tackle permanently. If Miami drafts a left tackle, Martin could return to the right side.
The big question, then, is if one of the three top tackles in the draft still will be available at No. 12. Only one of our mock drafters has the tackle trio lasting past the No. 7 pick, and none predict they'll be available by No. 12. Thus, it seems unlikely.
Maybe, then, a trade up is the right move to make, assuming Miami wants a new left tackle.
“If I get another [Mike] Pouncey and another Jake Long, I would do it every draft,” Ireland said, referring to Miami's 2011 first-round pick and the 2008 No. 1 overall pick. “I wish I had a whole team full of Mike Pounceys and Jake Longs, to be honest with you. I know what I'm getting every single day with those guys.”
For the record, our mock drafters have the Dolphins taking a guard (Alabama's Chance Warmack), a tackle (Alabama's D.J. Fluker) a cornerback (Alabama's Dee Milliner and Florida State's Xavier Rhodes), and a defensive end (Brigham Young's Ezekiel Ansah). Of course, the Dolphins could stay put at No. 12 and probably have little interference from drafting this guy.
But for what actually will happen, well, we're less than two weeks away from finding out for sure.