5 Creative Moves the Miami Dolphins Can Pull on Draft Day
Offensive tackle, offensive guard and linebacker are three of the most notable needs, but the Dolphins can also use upgrades at wide receiver and tight end. They are also in need of future replacements at safety and running back as well.
Last year, Jeff Ireland got creative and traded up to the third overall pick to draft Dion Jordan.
While the success of the pick still remains to be seen, there's no doubt that the Dolphins got great value in the trade.
When May 8 arrives, we will see if Dennis Hickey has any similar tricks up his sleeve, but in the meantime, let's take a look as some of the most creative moves the Dolphins can pull this year on draft day.
Trade Down in the First Round
Creative doesn't always mean something unexpected, because it's no secret that the best move the Dolphins can make is the most obvious one.
This draft class is widely considered to be one of the deepest in nearly a decade, which means it's wise to try and stock up as many picks as humanly possible.
The best-case scenario for the Dolphins is that one of the top quarterbacks falls to them at 19.
If this happens, Dennis Hickey should pick up the phone and immediately give Cleveland Browns general manager Ray Farmer a call to see if he would be interested in trading up to draft his quarterback of the future.
According to the NFL trade value chart, the Dolphins' No. 19 pick is worth 875 points.
A trade down with the Browns should give them the No. 26 pick (700 points) along with one of the Browns' two third-round picks—either 71 (235) or 83 (175)—depending on how desperate the team is.
Another option is the San Francisco 49ers, who are absolutely loaded with draft picks.
The 49ers have six picks in the first three rounds and could be looking to turn some of those selections into an elite first-round talent.
Moving back to the 30th overall pick (620) could in turn net Miami the 61st overall selection (292) as well.
Of course, the Dolphins shouldn't just trade back just for the sake of making the trade.
However, it's quite possible that one of the team's top first-round targets will still be there at the back end of the first round, most likely either Zack Martin or Morgan Moses.
Stockpiling picks and still getting your man is the type of draft scenario general managers dream about.
Trade Up in the First Round
Of course, there is also always the possibility of the Dolphins targeting a specific player and doing whatever it takes to get him as well.
While this scenario isn't as likely, if Hickey can get the type of value that Jeff Ireland did last year, then it would be a solid move.
However, the main question is exactly who the Dolphins would be willing to trade up for.
There's no way they would pay the extraordinary price it would take to get high enough for Sammy Watkins, Greg Robinson or Jake Matthews.
It's also very unlikely that they would trade away valuable picks to move up to draft one of the other top prospects like Mike Evans, Eric Ebron, Justin Gilbert or Anthony Barr.
Realistically, there are only two players the team may be willing to trade up for and that is Taylor Lewan and C.J. Mosley.
If Lewan begins to slide and falls into the early teens, the Dolphins may take the opportunity to trade up and draft one of the elite offensive tackles in this draft class.
Meanwhile, Mosley is the best inside linebacker in the draft and would solidify Miami's biggest defensive need.
If the Dolphins believe strongly enough in Mosley, they may trade up a few spots to ensure that they can get their guy, even if it costs them an extra pick down the line.
Trade Dion Jordan for a Top Pick
If the Dolphins are looking for a creative way to stockpile picks in this year's draft, trading Dion Jordan would be right at the top of the list.
Smart? Absolutely not.
On the surface, it may seem like a good idea to snag a first-round pick for a player that was only on the field for 29 percent of the teams snaps in 2013, according to Pro Football Focus (subscription required).
However, it simply doesn't make sense to trade away a player that was drafted No. 3 overall after just one season, regardless of how disappointing it was.
After all, Jordan was just 23 years old and produced in limited time, despite battling an injury and being completely misused most of the year.
Throw in the fact that trading away Jordan would cost the Dolphins $10 million against the cap, thanks to the signing bonus he was paid, and any trade would defy virtually all logic.
Unless a team comes in and blows the Dolphins away with an amazing offer, the chances are somewhere between slim and none that Dennis Hickey actually pulls the trigger on trading away Jordan.
Draft Playmakers in the First Two Rounds
There isn't a mock draft out there that doesn't have the Dolphins drafting an offensive lineman in at least one of the first two rounds.
Offensive line is the team's biggest need, so it's natural to assume that they will address it early in the draft.
However, the Dolphins could also go in a completely different direction and draft game-changing players in the first two rounds.
In the first round, C.J. Mosley would be the top choice, if he fell to Miami at 19.
A case has already been made as to why Mosley would be a perfect fit for the Dolphins, as inserting him as the starting middle linebacker would give Miami an elite-level defense.
In the second, the team could opt to go for a playmaker on the offensive side of the ball.
Whether it be a tight end like Jace Amaro or Austin Seferian-Jenkins or a wide receiver like Martavis Bryant, Cody Latimer, Allen Robinson or Donte Moncrief, there are plenty of high impact players that can be found in Round 2.
In this scenario, the Dolphins can draft the best available offensive tackle in the third round—Ja'Wuan James, Billy Turner and Jack Mewhort would be the top options—and then follow it up with another lineman in the fourth or fifth round.
The third-round lineman could be plugged in as the starting right tackle and the second offensive lineman can compete for the opening left guard position, along with Sam Brenner, Dallas Thomas and Nate Garner.
The downside to this scenario is that the Dolphins are still leaving question marks on the offensive line by not addressing the problem early on.
However, providing that they can hit on their picks, the Dolphins could still upgrade the offensive line and add two explosive players on each side of the ball in the meantime.
It's a bold move for sure but it could be one that, if done correctly, could instantly turn the Dolphins into an extremely dangerous team in 2014.
Draft a Quarterback in the First Three Rounds
If there was one move that could send shock waves straight through Davie, Florida, it would be the one that Omar Kelly of the Sun-Sentinel mentioned:
I was told last week it is a strong possibility one of the draft's first-round quarterbacks will be there when Miami's on the clock on May 8th. Dennis Hickey, who has no allegiance to Tannehill, could be forced to make a franchise-altering decision.
As previously mentioned, creative doesn't always mean smart when it comes to the NFL draft.
While the idea of drafting a quarterback early in the draft seems illogical, it is understandable if the front office doesn't believe in Ryan Tannehill.
As Kelly mentioned, Hickey inherited Tannehill as his starting quarterback, and he may not be comfortable with the idea of placing his job security on Tannehill's shoulders.
If Hickey sees a player he likes more, it is possible he decides to hitch his wagon to someone else.
With that said, drafting a quarterback early and failing could set this team back another decade.
With Tannehill entering the most crucial season of his young career, the Dolphins need to build the best team that they possibly can around their young quarterback and do everything they can to help him succeed.
Wasting a high draft pick on a quarterback, just in case Tannehill fails, is as counter-productive as it gets.