Some NFL teams understand how the draft works, and some teams just don't.
We're about to find out if the Miami Dolphins fit into the former category or the latter one.
Because in just under three weeks' time, the Dolphins—and specifically general manager Jeff Ireland—will have to decide whether they will trade up from the No. 8 pick overall to ensure the selection of Texas A&M quarterback Ryan Tannehill, in whom Miami has at least significant interest.
Mind you, I am not questioning whether Tannehill is worth selecting at No. 8. The only ones who can decide that are Ireland, head coach Joe Philbin and offensive coordinator Mike Sherman, who just happened to be Tannehill's coach at College Station.
If the Dolphins select Tannehill at No. 8 then so be it. Personally, I see a player who could be a year or two away from starting.
For a general manager who needs to win now, that doesn't make a lot of sense. However, with most of Miami's other offseason moves being aimed at rebuilding, maybe adding Tannehill fits with that strategy.
What Miami absolutely cannot do is trade anything of consequence to a team such as the Minnesota Vikings at pick No. 3 for the right to draft Tannehill.
The draft value chart that NFL teams typically reference suggests that Miami would have to come up with 2,200 points to receive the Vikings' selection. That's Miami's first-round pick (1,400 points), their second-round pick (490 points), the first of two third-round picks (230 points) and their fourth-round pick (84 points) to match up value.
A team with as many holes as Miami (including no suitable No. 1 receiver or a starting right tackle) cannot afford to give up four of their top five picks. It's really that simple.
But, if we need to go further, let's be real. We're talking about Ryan Tannehill here. The 6'4", 222-pound former Aggie has 20 career starts.
He lost four double-digit halftime leads in 2011. That's not to say he won't turn into a good or even great NFL quarterback, but I haven't heard anyone put him in the class of Andrew Luck or Robert Griffin III.
If Tannehill was that can't-miss of a product coming out of high school, then why was he originally converted to receiver by Sherman after he couldn't beat out the likes of Stephen McGee or (far more troubling) Jerrod Johnson?
Why did it take Tannehill until the seventh game of his junior season to finally take the starting job? His statistics in 2011 of 3,744 passing yards, 29 touchdowns and 15 interceptions with a 61.6 completion percentage are good but not elite.
Finally, the best teams don't mortgage drafts to find elite players. Baltimore didn't find the likes of Ed Reed, Haloti Ngata or Ray Lewis that way. New England certainly didn't find Tom Brady that way (OK, so they got super lucky, which is infinitely better than being stupid).
The Packers had a little bit of luck and a lot of patience in the way they drafted Aaron Rodgers. Some smart teams may move around the draft, but they're usually the ones piling up picks, not giving them away for a prospect who has as many questions as answers.
Even if the answers could be particularly beneficial down the road.
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