Centre? Midfielder? Trade up/down? What the Dolphins can do in the NFL Draft

Miami Dolphins general manager Chris Grier was drafting plans with his staff when one man in the group came up with the only thing they needed to do Thursday night after trading for superstar wide receiver Tyreke Hill this offseason.

“One of the guys said we’d just watch Tyreke’s highlights in the draft room to feel good,” Grier said at his pre-draft press conference last week.

The Dolphins traded first- and second-round picks in this week’s draft as part of a five-pick package in favor of speedster Hill, who has been selected to the Pro Bowl for all six professional seasons with the Kansas City Chiefs.

In a way, Hill is Miami’s top pick in this draft, which runs Thursday night through Saturday. He is a recognized elite talent in a position the Dolphins are most likely to fill in an early pick, that is, before acquiring Hill and granting him a four-year, $120 million contract extension.

After Miami’s first-round pick from the 49ers continued to decline and San Francisco ran for the NFC Championship game last postseason by dropping to No. 29, Hill represents far more confidence than any receiver or potential player who probably a franchise. chosen towards the end of the first round.

“It’s not fair to compare any of these kids to Tyreek’s skill set,” Grier said. “They’re a talented class of receivers, but obviously we can’t really compare them to Tyreke at all and what we think he’s doing in this offense and how fit he is.”

Now that the Dolphins have also signed the best free agent player, Terron Armstead, and considered other required positions, they can relax until they are scheduled to make their first pick late Friday night, No. 102 at the end of the tournament. third round, compensatory pick from the 49ers. It’s one of four remaining Miami picks, along with Saturday’s picks: one in the fourth round and two in the seventh.

If the Dolphins didn’t trade to get into one of the first two rounds or pick early in the third, it would be the first time Miami was left without a pick in the top 100. The last time the Dolphins didn’t pick in either of the first two rounds was the 2002 draft in which center Seth McKinney was selected 90th overall in the third round.

What will the Dolphins decide to do with the first pick at 102?

Without a pressing need or a clear hole in the starting lineup left on the roster, they can choose the best available player they would like to develop with some positional preference for those two mid-round picks.

With Armstead set to play left tackle and after signing defenseman Connor Williams, Miami could go center to compete with Michael Deiter.

Boston College center Alec Lindstrom trained in British Columbia with new Dolphins offensive line coach Matt Applebaum. There is a connection there. Some other opportunities: Zach Tom of Wake Forest, Brock Hoffman of Virginia Tech, Luke Fortner of Kentucky, Donovan West of Arizona State, Luke Gedeke of Central Michigan, Thayer Munford of Ohio State, Spencer Buford of UTSA, Ed Ingram of LSU, Jamari Salier from Georgia, Marquis Hayes from Oklahoma, Cam Jurgens from Nebraska, Logan Brass from Wisconsin.

“It’s a pretty good offensive line group,” said Grier, who could still be looking for a defense or a tackle. “I think there is some talent all the way from tackles, defensemen, centers, all the way to the middle of the rounds. I think you can find some good players.

How about a midfielder? The Dolphins were thought to be interested in the inside linebacker being able to team with Jerome Baker on that defense. They brought back Elandon Roberts, Duke Riley and Sam Eguavoen, but who’s to say they don’t find a gem in the middle of a draft?

When Miami still had a first-round pick, one Georgia linebacker, Nakobe Dean, was linked with the Dolphins as a potential pick. Another one, Channing Tindall, could be selected in the middle of the round. Or Brandon Smith of Penn State.

An edge rusher can also be a possibility. Miami’s powerful defense has always been able to use another paired with Jaelan Phillips, defenseman Emmanuel Ogba and winger Andrew Van Ginkel.

After bringing in Chase Edmonds and Raheem Mostert as running backs to go with the return of Miles Gaskin and Salvon Ahmed, the Dolphins may still be looking for a young running back to include in the competition to take on new coach Mike McDaniel’s famed running game. .

With Hill, Jaylen Waddle and Cedric Wilson Jr set to make the top three, one could be found to work with the second division, which currently consists of Lynn Bowden, Preston Williams and Trent Sherfield.

If the Dolphins were to trade for an earlier pick, it would likely require them to send some of their 2023 draft equity. They have five picks in the first three rounds, two in the first and two in the third next year. That draft capital could be valuable if Miami wants to replace Tua Tagovailoa with an established top-tier quarterback next offseason, or if the franchise feels like he’s in a different place.

The two players in the seventh round should not be seen as prospects that are immediately expected to contribute. None of the players the Dolphins drafted with two seventh-round picks in the last draft, running back Jerrid Dokes and tackle Larnel Coleman, played in the regular season in 2021. Given this, Miami can look forward to a prospect with high growth potential. , which can be developed in the system, getting a chance to compete for a place in the composition.

After the draft, the Dolphins will also sign a number of rookies as undrafted free agents. Although Miami often has long-range shots, last season Miami had three players added in this way – wide receiver Preston Williams, cornerback Nick Needham and offensive lineman Robert Jones. Everyone should be back next season. Others, including linebacker Sam Eguavoen and cornerback Trill Williams, were once undrafted and later landed in Miami.