Former Indianapolis Colts executive and now ESPN analyst Bill Polian is hard at work during this draft season, despite the fact that he’s not working for an NFL team. Polian has great insights to this time of year, and if you don’t have access to ESPN’s Insider features, let me be kind and share a little bit of this with you.
Polian’s recent feature here is on potential trade scenarios in the first round, and one scenario he brought up as the “first big pivot point” of the draft was the Miami Dolphins trading up to the number three pick with the Minnesota Vikings in order to select Ryan Tannehill. It appears that unless the Dolphins are the aggressor, there is a good chance someone could leapfrog them with Jacksonville or maybe even St. Louis in order to try and take the former Texas A&M QB, but I think this trade makes sense.
The question here is not what the Dolphins would do with this pick, but what the Vikings would potentially do and how this trade could absolutely shake everyone’s mock drafts. The Vikings are widely expected right now to take USC offensive tackle Matt Kalil, so if they traded down to the 8th spot, it’d be a bit of a shocker. Furthermore, where would Matt Kalil land? I don’t think there’s any way he’d be getting past the St. Louis Rams, so the Vikings here would have to be targeting someone like Michael Brockers or maybe even Justin Blackmon. Maybe there is another player who could fit with the Vikings. According to Polian, they need to spend whatever first round pick they wind up with on a left tackle:
The most likely competition for Tannehill is the Cleveland Browns at No. 4 overall. That means to assure themselves of selecting Tannehill, the Dolphins would need to move up to the No. 3 pick in a trade with the Vikings. In my mind, this is a trade you must make if you’re the Dolphins. There is no reason to gamble and hope that he falls to No. 8. With the new CBA, Tannehill’s position as a QB and his contract wouldn’t be an impediment to moving up to No. 3 to select him. And even if the Browns do pass on Tannehill at No. 4, there’s no guarantee a team such as Kansas City won’t trade up to take him.
With the Dolphins owning a plethora of reasons to trade up, does their potential trade partner — the Vikings — have an incentive to make a deal? In short, yes they do. Minnesota has a clear-cut need at left tackle, and at the top of the draft there are two such prospects who could fill that void: Matt Kalil of USC and Riley Reiff of Iowa. Given the current draft order, it’s likely the Vikings will be able to get at least one of them with the Dolphins’ No. 8 pick.
In any event, this is interesting food for thought. The Vikings have so many needs that trading down and still getting a top notch player seems like a no-brainer idea for them. For the Dolphins, it seems too much of a no-brainer to think they’d go after a quarterback as well, and do whatever it took to get him, even if he wasn’t their first, second, or even third option this offseason.
All of this will play out as the draft approaches, only 15 short days away from right now.