May 20, 2024

With April 1 looming just around the corner, attention in the football world is turning towards the NFL draft. The Miami Dolphins, having navigated a financially tight offseason, might have completed their last signing prior to the 2024 rookie selection, given their cap constraints. Big offseason moves across the league are expected to be scarce from March 29 through May 1.

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As draft season approaches, the pivotal question for the Dolphins revolves around their first-round pick, positioned at No. 21 overall. Speculation varies: some suggest bolstering the offensive line, while others propose finding a replacement for Christian Wilkins on defense. Head coach Mike McDaniel could also opt to add another offensive playmaker, with several enticing wide receiver prospects available when Miami makes its selection.

However, another possibility emerges for Dolphins’ general manager Chris Grier at No. 21, as highlighted by Bleacher Report writer Alex Ballentine on March 28. Ballentine boldly predicts that the Dolphins will trade back from this spot. He suggests that the 21st pick could be pivotal for cornerback selections, particularly with the Philadelphia Eagles and Minnesota Vikings following at picks 22 and 23, both with cornerback needs. Notable prospects like Cooper DeJean and Kool-Aid McKinstry could still be on the board at that juncture.

Ballentine’s prediction is grounded in the Dolphins’ constrained salary cap situation. Miami’s offseason has been marked by tough decisions necessitated by cap management, exemplified by handling players like Wilkins, Robert Hunt, Xavien Howard, Emmanuel Ogbah, and Jerome Baker. Grier has mainly resorted to bargain signings in free agency to address roster gaps.

Given their limited draft capital, with only six picks and just two in the top 150, the Dolphins rank low in draft assets according to Tankathon’s metrics. This scarcity makes them a logical trade partner for teams seeking to move up into the early 20s. Therefore, it’s reasonable for the Dolphins to entertain offers from teams willing to part with picks to secure their desired player.

It’s worth noting that the Dolphins lack a third or fourth-round pick in the 2024 draft. They forfeited their 2024 third-round pick as part of a penalty related to tampering violations involving Tom Brady and Sean Payton, as well as allegations of intentional game losses in the 2019 season to improve draft position. Additionally, Miami traded away their 2024 fourth-round pick. As a result, with a need for youthful and affordable depth, the Dolphins are likely to explore all avenues in this year’s NFL draft.

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