Talk around the hallways of the Breakers Hotel during the NFL annual meeting this week included whispers of the Cleveland Browns wanting to trade down from their perch at No. 4 in the coming NFL draft. That talk was confirmed when Cleveland general manager Tom Heckert, a former Dolphins personnel man, told the Cleveland Plain Dealer he would consider trading down.
"We're not trading up, I guarantee that," Heckert said. "There's going to be five guys that we really like and we're going to get a really good player at number four. But we could still get a really good player at five, six, seven, eight too."
You must note that Heckert included No. 8. That is the position the Dolphins currently hold and the one where Miami may feel a need to improve upon. The thinking among some league people is that Miami is desperate to draft a quarterback and Ryan Tannehill will be the target.
And rather than wait to pick the Texas A&M player at No. 8, there is a possibility the Dolphins might show some desperation and trade up to get him. Thus, Heckert could be setting the Dolphins up for that deal by talking it up.
Here's the problem: Few people believe Tannehill is a value at No. 8, much less one at No. 4. So the Dolphins, who have so far refused to overpay for a handful of quarterbacks under general manager Jeff Ireland, would be positioning themselves to overpay for Tannehill.
Now, overpay is a relative term. The Dolphins might believe Washington giving up three first-round picks plus other considerations for Robert Griffin III is overpaying. I think it's a great move. GREAT! If you've read this blog for any amount of time, you know I love RG3 and think that was the move the Dolphins needed to make instead of chasing Peyton Manning.
But perhaps the Dolphins have a great feel about Tannehill considering offensive coordinator Mike Sherman was Tannehill's head coach at A&M. Maybe they know something. So maybe they really, really want to make sure they get the player.
I suppose the Dolphins would have to consider getting to No. 4 to ensure their ability to get their guy. Maybe that's the case, but I definitely hope and pray they stand their ground and stay at No. 8.
The truth is the Browns are really the only team ahead of Miami that might take him. Indianapolis is taking Andrew Luck at No. 1. Washington is taking RG3 at No. 2. Minnesota isn't taking a QB there because they drafted Christian Ponder last year in the first round. Tampa Bay at No. 5 doesn't need a QB. Neither does St. Louis at No. 6 -- proven by the fact they passed on a chance for RG3. And I am certain the Jaguars are commited to Blaine Gabbert this year so they're not drafting Tannehill at No. 7.
That only leaves Cleveland as a possibility for Tannehill. And the Browns are willing to drop. Heckert is bluffing the Dolphins, people. I think it will be interesting to see if Heckert and a large Cleveland contingent are at Tannehill's Pro Day Thursday.
Usually that would signal a significant interest by a team in a player. I would expect that's exactly what the Browns would like to show they have in Tannehill to make Miami nervous.
Don't be nervous, Miami -- at least not about Cleveland.
Now the Dolphins might be concerned teams behind them might want to trade up to take Tannehill. The Chiefs at No. 11 need a quarterback and might want to pull ahead of Miami for a chance at Tannehill. That seems to be the only team likely to threaten Miami in this scenario.
So are St. Louis, Tampa or Jacksonville willing to drop back to 11? I guess it depends on their board and the compensation offered. I find it hard to believe KC GM Scott Pioli would pay too much for the chance to move up four to six spots to take Tannehill.
And why do I say this? I guess it boils down to the player not the move. Frankly, I don't see Tannehill as a top 10 player. I think he might go that high. But I think the reason would be because he's a quarterback, the NFL is a QB league, and somebody might be desperate enough to overdraft him.
I just hope that as far as flying up to No. 4 overall, it's not the Dolphins.