The National Football League Draft looms on Thursday evening in Kansas City, and the Miami Dolphins find themselves in an interesting but familiar position. The Dolphins currently own four picks (51, 84, 197, 238) in this year’s draft and need to fill holes at running back, tight end, offensive line, and linebacker. There are several avenues in which General Manager Chris Grier can go to continue building for Head Coach Mike McDaniel. Having a limited number of picks is nothing new to Grier and McDaniel, as Miami had just four picks in last season’s draft, where they took Channing Tindall (Linebacker/102), Erik Ezukanma (Wide Receiver/125), Cameron Goode (Linebacker/224) and Skylar Thompson (Quarterback/247).
Rumors are running rampant that the Dolphins are interested in trading up and back into the first round to draft Alabama running back Jahmyr Gibbs or potentially making a deal with Minnesota Vikings to acquire Dalvin Cook in a draft day trade. In either scenario, Miami upgrades its running back room, which currently features Raheem Mostert, Jeff Wilson, Salvon Ahmed, and Myles Gaskin.
Given the various avenues that Miami can take on draft day, let’s look at what the Dolphins can do by standing pat, trading up, or trading down to restock draft capital. For this exercise, I’ll be using the PFN Mock Draft Simulator.
Scenario One – No Trades
This scenario aims to examine what is available when it comes time for the Dolphins to make each of their four selections in the 2023 NFL Draft. The Tyreek Hill and Bradley Chubb trades have left the organization low on draft capital and high on talent, which in my opinion, with the right talent is the way to get into the Super Bowl contender conversations, and the Dolphins have their eyes set on more than just a playoff berth in 2023.
Pick 51, Darnell Washington (Tight End/Georgia) – Waiting to take Gibbs at pick 51 could be costly for the Dolphins, as in this simulation, the Detroit Lions selected the running back at pick 48. On the board at 51 are three players that could all make an impact immediately for Miami, and I’m looking at Darnell Washington (Tight End/Georgia), Joe Tippmann (Center/Wisconsin), or Zach Charbonnet (Running Back/UCLA).
I selected Washington due to what he’d be able to bring to McDaniel’s offense, being able to dominate as a blocker while also providing an outlet for quarterback Tua Tagovailoa in the passing game. McDaniel’s scheme seemed to phase out Mike Gesicki during the 2022 season. The Dolphins did extend Durham Smythe on a two-year deal, but adding a versatile blocker and receiver at the tight end position just continues to add layers to the Dolphins’ offensive attack.
My Final Mock Draft! https://t.co/PTMrogHzgD
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Pick 84, Matthew Bergeron (Offensive Tackle/Syracuse) – A three-year starter for the Orange, Bergeron has experience at both tackle positions. During his time at Syracuse, Bergeron was one of the premier linemen in the ACC, earning all-conference recognition in both 2021 and 2022. In 686 snaps, Bergeron was penalized just three times and allowed only five sacks, while the Syracuse offense in several offensive categories with him anchoring the line.
Pick 197, DeMarcco Hellams (Safety/Alabama) – Hellams took some time to develop during his collegiate career for the Crimson Tide, becoming a starter as a junior in 2021, but excelled during the 2022 season under Head Coach Nick Saban. As a senior, Hellams ended the season with the team lead in tackles (108) and was credited with seven pass breakups. Listed at 6-1, Hellams joins a defensive back position group that includes newly acquired Jalen Ramsey (6-1), Xavien Howard (6-1), Nik Needham (6-1), Kader Kohou (5-10), Jevon Holland (6-1), and Brandon Jones (6-1), giving Defensive Coordinator Vic Fangio plenty of options in the secondary to throw at opposing quarterbacks.
Pick 238, DeWayne McBride (Running back/UAB) – THE definition of a late-round sleeper but with tremendous upside in a Mike McDaniel offense. McBride finished his junior season with 1,713 yards, ranking first nationally after the regular season, while averaging 155.7 yards per game and 7.35 yards per carry. McBride was honored as the Conference USA Offensive Player of the Year and was named as a Second-Team All-American, according to Walter Camp, The Sporting News, and Pro Football Focus.
Scenario Two – Trading Up
Leading into Thursday, there are rumors that the Miami Dolphins COULD trade up into the first round, and the assumption there is that Miami selects Jahmyr Gibbs, but what if Grier pushed all his chips in and went for Bijan Robinson?
Trade – Miami sends Pick 51, 2024 1st, and 2024 2nd to Pittsburgh for Pick 17.
Trading up to land one of the most elite prospects in the 2023 draft is a message to the entire league that the Dolphins are serious contenders for the AFC title and the Super Bowl. Adding Bijan Robinson to an offense that already includes elite weapons in Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle for Tua Tagovailoa makes this Dolphins team nearly unstoppable and one of, if not the, most talented offensive units in the league.
Trade – Miami sends Pick 51, 2024 2nd rounder and cornerback Noah Igbinoghene to Seattle for Pick 37.
As previously mentioned in the previous scenario, Gibbs nearly fell to Miami at 51, but rather than wait, Grier makes an aggressive move without selling the farm to get his RB1. Gibbs is the latest Alabama running back to enter the NFL. Originally committing to Georgia Tech, the running back had a solid sophomore campaign for the Yellow Jackets as a running back and kick returner, recording 746 rushing yards and four touchdowns while adding 470 receiving yards and two touchdowns, in addition to 589 kick return yards with a score. Gibbs transferred to Alabama in 2022 and dominated, leading the Crimson Tide with 926 rushing yards and seven rushing touchdowns and adding a team-high 44 receptions.
Pick 84, Tucker Kraft (Tight End/South Dakota State) – By trading a first and a pair of seconds to land Bijan Robinson OR two second-rounders to draft Gibbs, there wasn’t much ammo left for another trade-up in the draft. Kraft was the best player available, according to the PFN Simulator, and has displayed the ability to be an impact blocker while possessing the ability to be a playmaker still. Kraft can develop behind Durham Smythe as a third-round pick without feeling pressured to be a day-one performer for Miami.
Pick 195, Juice Scruggs (Center/Penn State) – Scruggs was a two-year starter under Head Coach James Franklin for the Nittany Lions and offers the ability to play at any spot on the interior offensive line. Scruggs has the potential to push for a starting spot, possibly at left guard.
Pick 238, Antony Johnson, Jr. (Safety/Iowa State) – A veteran for Iowa State, Johnson started 54 games during his collegiate career. Johnson transitioned from cornerback to safety, so he has the potential to be another versatile piece in Defensive Coordinator Vic Fangio’s aggressive Dolphins’ defense.
Scenario Three – Trade Down
With only four picks in the 2023 NFL Draft, General Manager Chris Grier could determine that trading back and restocking draft capital could be a path to long-term competitiveness with the star power on the roster.
Trade Offers – Atlanta offers Pick 75 and a 2024 2nd for Picks 51 and 197 OR New Orleans offers Pick 71 and Denver’s 2024 2nd for Picks 51 and 197.
With those being the only two options to choose from, according to the PFN Simulator, the best offer for the organization is to accept Atlanta’s trade. By doing so – and following the exercise – Miami passes on O’Cyrus Torrence (Guard/Florida) but adds a second-round pick in 2024 while sliding 24 spots.
Trade Offers – Dallas offers Jourdan Lewis and Pick 90 for Pick 75 and 238; Countered with Picks 75 and 234 for 2024 2nd
After acquiring pick 75 from the Atlanta Falcons, the Dallas Cowboys came calling and offered pick 90 and cornerback Jourdan Lewis for picks 75 and 238. I countered the deal by pairing picks 75 and 238 and received Dallas’s 2024 second-round pick, giving Miami three second-round picks in next year’s draft.
Trade Offers – Baltimore offers Pick 86 and 2024 4th for Pick 84 and 2024 5th OR Washington offers Picks 97 and 118 for Pick 84 and 2024 5th
Given the choice between these two offers, I accepted Baltimore’s, where I only moved down two spots in the 2023 draft but jumped a full round in the 2024 draft. After acquiring three future picks – two 2024 second-rounders and a 2024 fifth-round selection – the only pick I have available in the 2023 draft is 86. The top player on the board, that also fits an area of need, is offensive tackle Matthew Bergeron (see above).
Let me know what you think of the draft opportunities for the Dolphins, and as always, Fins Up!