This Dolphins draft is as much about quantity as quality only in that the team has to find a way to stave off the Patriots with their legion of five picks in the first three round and the Bills, which have only three picks the first three rounds but are taking their turns at the top of those rounds.
The Dolphins have a first round pick (15th overall) and are not scheduled to pick again until the third round with the 79th overall selection. The Pats will have picked five times by then.
I gave this long consideration as I set out to do my Dolphins mock for the first three rounds.
Having thought about it, I decided the Dolphins must move heaven and Earth to get back that one of two second round picks they used in the trade for, ahem, Brandon Marshall. And that's why my mock includes a trade back for Miami.
I believe the Dolphins will have the opportunity to trade back and for my purposes today I am saying the trade back partner is New Orleans. The Saints, you see, are a team on the cusp of playing for another title. They are thisclose to getting back to Super Bowl caliber. And so they need quality, not quantity. They want to get higher in the draft to pick a more dynamic player, and likely a defender in this defender-rich draft.
So for our purposes I'm making a trade for Miami.
(Full disclosure: This is just done in fun and as speculation. This is not based on anything sources are saying has been discussed or will happen. Just want to let everyone know that because the Internet can be a freaky place.)
I envision the trade as follows: The Dolphins trade their first round pick (No. 15 overall) and their third round pick (No. 79 overall) to New Orleans. The Dolphins get the Saints' first round pick (No. 24 overall), their second-round pick (No. 56 overall) and one of their third round picks (No. 88 overall).
What does this accomplish. It gets the Saints nine spots higher in the first round ostensibly to pick a better player. It moves the Dolphins down to a place in the draft I believe the value for what they're looking for -- running back, offensive line, wide receiver -- is greater.
Yes, the Saints lose their second rounder. But they have two third-rounders anyway. Yes, the Dolphins have to drop back in their third round. That's the price of dropping in on the previously closed-to-them second round.
And so here we are, at No. 24 overall in the first round.
With the 24th overall selection in the 2011 NFL draft, the Miami Dolphins select: Mike Pouncey (Center) of the University of Florida. I hate the pick. And I love the pick. I hate it because Pouncey will never score touchdowns. But I love it because it is a value selection at No. 24 -- five spots lower than where his brother Markice went to Pittsburgh. I also love it because the Dolphins need a center to solidify their offensive line. The position has been unsettled since 2008. Joe Berger is nice but his best asset to the team is as a backup. Pouncey could be the starter for the next decade.
With the 56th overall selection in the 2011 NFL draft, the Miami Dolphins select: Daniel Thomas (Running back) Kansas State. Mark Ingram will be gone by this spot. So will Mikel Leshoure, whom I would think the Dolphins will consider in the first round but pass on because he's not a value at No. 15 nor No. 24 for that matter. So it's the next best guy on the board at Miami's greatest position of need. Ryan Williams is also a candidate here, but I just think Thomas is bigger, quicker and fumbles less. Don't hate.
With the 88th overall selection in the 2011 NFL draft, the Miami Dolphins select: Traiwan Jones (Running back) Eastern Washington. I'm more excited about this running back than the previous one, but this one is too risky to take in the second round. Jones is a bullet. He ran a 4.30 on the Miami scouts' stopwatches at his Pro Day two weeks ago. He is a home run waiting to happen and the Dolphins need some of those on offense and special teams. By the way, the Dolphins have doubled down on draft picks before, picking two cornerbacks in the 2009 draft. I hope Arkansas tight end D.J. Williams will be here when Miami picks but he probably won't be. I love that kid. He reminds me of Keith Jackson.
I know, I know, you're going to wonder why I didn't address the QB spot. Well, this doesn't mean I'm on board the Chad Henne bandwagon. If you read my columns, this blog and listen to my radio show, you know that already. But I wait to address it in free agency. I go get a veteran.
OK, that's a lot to chew on. And there is much work for you to do. It is your turn to give me your Dolphins mock for rounds 1 through 3. If you believe the Dolphins will trade, you have to use that scenario in your draft as I did.
We will do rounds 4-7 next week.