With just two weeks left in the NFL season, the Miami Dolphins have a chance to do something no team has done in two decades. If things work out in their favor, the Dolphins could become the first team since 2000 to end the year with a playoff berth AND a top-three pick in the NFL Draft.
Thanks to the trade that sent Laremy Tunsil and Kenny Stills to Houston back in August 2019, the Dolphins were able to acquire the Texans' first-round pick in 2021, among other things. If the season ended today, that would mean that the Dolphins would be getting the sixth overall pick from Houston.
If that ends up being the pick, the Dolphins would certainly be fine with that, but the crazy thing is that there's a chance Miami could end up picking even higher. The Texans are playing the Bengals this week and if Cincinnati somehow pulls off another upset, that would put the Texans on track to earn the THIRD overall pick, which would then go to the Dolphins. To land the third pick, the Texans would have to lose out -- they play the Titans in Week 17 -- and then both the Panthers and Falcons would likely have to win at least one of their two remaining games since both of them currently hold the strength of schedule tiebreaker over Houston (The Falcons play Kansas City and Tampa Bay while Carolina will play Washington and New Orleans).
As for the playoffs, the Dolphins actually control their own fate: If they win their final two games over the Raiders and Bills, they'll make the playoffs no matter what else happens around the league.
Getting to the playoffs in a season where you also land a top-three pick is almost unheard of. The last time it happened came in 1999-2000 with Washington. During the 1999 season, Washington got into the playoffs by winning the NFC East with a 10-6 record. As for the draft, they actually had THREE first-round picks the following offseason. Washington went into the 2000 NFL Draft with the second overall pick, the 12th overall pick and the 24th overall pick (Their original pick).
Like the Dolphins, Washington landed its two higher picks through two trades. They acquired the 12th pick in a deal that sent Sean Gilbert from DC to Carolina. As for the second overall pick, they got that during the 1999 draft when the Saints decided to trade up to the fifth spot to land Ricky Williams. In exchange for giving up the fifth overall pick, the Saints sent eight picks to Washington, including their first, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, and seventh-round selections in 1999 along with their first-round and third-rounder in 2000.
The Saints ended up finishing the 1999 season at 3-13, which gave Washington the second-overall pick, which they used on LaVar Arrington. Washington would also end up picking third that year after trading its two first-round picks (12th and 24th) and two other picks to San Francisco. With the third overall spot, they ended up selecting offensive tackle Chris Samuels.
What this all means is that by the end of the season, the Dolphins could find themselves in a spot that few NFL teams have ever been in.