As we all know, Jeff Ireland and Company are sitting in a position of power with their 11 total draft picks. Whether they want to move up or down, they have more than enough firepower to do so.
Nevertheless, the mystery that is Jeff Ireland has yet to provide anyone with any sort of direction as to where the 'Phins are headed, if anywhere at all.
Since we are now quite literally on the cusp of the 2013 NFL draft, I’ve broken down the No. 12 pick in all of its glory.
Do I still think there is a good chance for them to trade out of that slot? Absolutely.
So before I entertain the vigorous evaluation of the 12th overall pick, let’s take a look at a couple of possible trade scenarios.
Trade Up With the Cleveland Browns to No. 6
There are two possible situations in which this might happen:
1. Lane Johnson somehow falls out of the top five
Although I don’t consider this likely (I predict he'll go to the Philadelphia Eagles at No. 4), we have to keep in mind that this is the NFL draft.
Dan Marino once fell to the Dolphins at No. 27, so seeing the third offensive lineman off the board fall a few spots wouldn’t be all that surprising.
But why move up to the sixth spot in particular? There isn’t a chance Johnson makes it past the Arizona Cardinals at No. 7.
2. Dee Miliner is the cornerback of their dreams
Knowing Ireland, this could also be the definition of what we call a smokescreen.
Considering Sean Jensen of the Chicago Tribune tweeted the Browns are interested in Davone Bess along with the Dolphins' arsenal of picks, it'd be extremely easy to make the move.
Trade Down with the Dallas Cowboys to No. 18
However, they may feel the urge to slide up a few slots to be certain they land one of the aforementioned players.
Enter the Miami Dolphins, who may not be overly thrilled with their options at No. 12.
By sliding down to No. 18, the Dolphins will still have the chance to draft Tyler Eiffert, D.J. Fluker or one of the best available cornerbacks.
The best part about this move: the fact that the 'Phins add an additional pick or two in the process.
The 12th Overall Pick
This may not be as exciting as one of the trade options, but it is still a very possible move for the Dolphins’ front office.
If the ‘Phins sit tight at No. 12, their pick is obviously contingent upon what the board looks like at that point in time.
Listed below are the Dolphins' best possible options with the 12th overall pick simply separated by offense and defense, for now.
DE Dion Jordan
DT Star Lotulelei
DT Sheldon Richardson
CB DJ Hayden
OG Jonathan Cooper
WR Tavon Austin
TE Tyler Eiffert
Jeff Ireland’s big board is horizontal by design; it’s no secret. So, the first step is placing these athletes into their proper tiers.
I truly feel that Dion Jordan is a cut above the rest, so we’ll leave him in a category all to himself.
In my opinion, Lotulelei and Cooper both clearly grade out at a level above Tyler Eiffert, which means we can immediately separate them into two distinct groups.
That leaves Sheldon Richardson, D.J. Hayden and Tavon Austin.
One could easily make an argument that these guys deserve to join the likes of Cooper and Lotulelei. However, it’d be just as easy to have them slotted in the same tier as the tight end from Notre Dame.
Strictly based off of the direction I’ve seen the Dolphins moving and the composition of these athletes, I believe that all three of them slide their way into the upper level.
That means we can scratch Tyler Eiffert off the board right off the bat, and my sincerest apologies go out to all of the analysts and fans who have had him slotted at No. 12 for weeks now.
From the endless Twitter chatter I’ve seen over the past few days, I also feel confident enough to say that both Dion Jordan and Tavon Austin will be off the board by the 12th pick. Scratch ‘em.
That leaves Lotulelei, Richardson, Hayden and Cooper.
Of those, I think it’s highly likely that Jonathan Cooper will find a home somewhere in the top 10, which leaves us with the two defensive tackles and the Houston cornerback.
Here’s where things get tricky.
Cornerback is visibly the bigger need at this present moment in time. However, the Dolphins have two veteran defensive tackles with expiring contracts in 2014.
If I’ve learned one thing from their offseason acquisitions thus far, it’s that the front office is strategically planning ahead with each and every move.
That being said, I’m writing off D.J. Hayden. Between his return from injury, the depth of the cornerback class in the second and third rounds, and the potential asking prices of both Randy Starks and Paul Soliai next year, I see no other option.
We’re now left with the two big boys, Star Lotulelei and Sheldon Richardson.
Being that Lotulelei has received medical clearance and was once considered the top pick of the draft, he would seem like the obvious choice.
Not to mention, it’s entirely possible that he may be graded a tier above all of these players, Dion Jordan excluded.
Then again, Richardson is clearly the better athlete of the two individuals.
Based off of the current trends of the Dolphins organization and a close comparison of the two talented players, there is only one way to go.
If the Miami Dolphins stay put, Sheldon Richardson will be the 12th overall pick of the 2013 NFL draft.