Here’s how Dolphins plan to approach ’19 NFL draft
DAVIE — While Miami Dolphins general manager Chris Grier and new coach Brian Flores say they plan to entertain the idea of drafting quarterbacks in the 2019 and 2020 NFL drafts, they both seem to share a clearcut vision of how they plan to approach the 2019 NFL draft in less than a month.
Miami has a number of glaring needs at many positions, perhaps with safety and linebacker as the only positions that may be considered filled.
The Dolphins need pass rushers, defensive tackles, a new starting right tackle and interior offensive linemen, a No. 1 wide receiver, another running back, and of course, a franchise quarterback.
Flores and Grier know they will surely not meet all of those needs in the draft or free agency this offseason. But, they hope to get off to a nice start during the 2019 draft, which will be held April 25-27 in Nashville, Tenn.
“I think as we go through the draft process — and Chris and I have talked about this over and over and over again – we’re going to select the players that we feel are the best fits for the Miami Dolphins,” Flores said during NFL meetings last week in Phoenix, regarding his roster’s current makeup and Miami’s draft philosophy.
“It could be a quarterback. It could be offensive line. It could be defensive line. It could be running back. It could be any of the positions on the field. Every position is important. Obviously, the quarterback position is of the utmost importance. So if we see somebody we like and we think we can develop and can contribute to this team, and if he’s there and we can get him, then that’s the right fit.”
The Dolphins own a draft pick in each of the first five rounds, including the No. 13 overall pick in the first round, with two seventh-round picks in the 2019 draft.
They Dolphins have also accumulated 10 draft picks in the 2020 draft, one in each of the seven rounds with an extra fourth, sixth and seventh round pick thanks to trades of former quarterback Ryan Tannehill and defensive end Robert Quinn.
Miami could also acquire more draft picks in future deals either in 2019 or 2020, and compensatory picks in 2020 for the free-agent departures of players such as right tackle Ja’Wuan James and longtime defensive end Cameron Wake.
The Dolphins also have their 2021 and 2022 lot of future draft picks in tow.
Simply put, the Dolphins have assets and flexibility to see their extensive rebuild through in a diligent fashion.
If it comes down to it, they could aggressively compile a convincing trade package to move up in the drafts if there is a player they covet most. But that could come with a steep cost the Dolphins must consider, too, Grier said.
“People made a big deal about 2020, but that’s also where the market has taken us as far as acquiring those picks, and compensatory picks as well,” Grier said. “So we’ll have a lot of flexibility to do stuff, whether it’s this year’s draft or next year’s draft.”
Still, many Dolphins fans and national pundits will be watching to see how Miami handles the quarterback position.
Could Ohio State’s Dwayne Haskins or Missouri’s Drew Lock fall to Miami in the first round after Oklahoma’s Kyler Murray becomes the presumable No. 1 overall pick?
Could the Oakland Raiders at No. 4 and Denver Broncos at No. 10 make a splash at the QB position causing the Dolphins to look elsewhere?
Would West Virginia’s Will Grier be available in the second or third rounds for the Dolphins if they pick a heralded defensive lineman or offensive lineman in the first round?
And how do the group of potential 2020 quarterbacks, including Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa, Oregon’s Justin Herbert and Georgia’s Jake Fromm, factor in Miami’s plans after the 2019 draft and season?
Grier, Flores and the Dolphins have less than a month before the 2019 draft to ponder these decisions and dictate the future fate of the franchise.
“Whether it’s this year or next year, we could maybe take one both this year and next year,” Grier said of drafting a quarterback in 2019 and 2020.
“It’s a position you can never be satisfied until you have the guy you really feel can give you a chance to win a championship.”