Dolphins’ trades likely eliminate top prospect from draft shortlist

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Kyle Crabbs
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If you were among the group of Miami Dolphins fans who held out hope that the team would target Oregon offensive tackle Penei Sewell with the No. 3 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, yesterday may not have been as exciting of a day for you as it was for many others. Miami shook up the established expectations at the top of the 2021 NFL Draft order with their decision to drop down the board from No. 3 to No. 12 overall — before promptly rebounding and coming back up to No. 6 in another deal with the Philadelphia Eagles.

The net result for the Dolphins? They now own a future 3rd-round pick (2022) and a future 1st-round pick (2023). And they’re still picking 6th-overall in next month’s draft.

But the price to rebound and come back up the order to the No. 6 spot wasn’t cheap — it cost Miami draft positioning on Day 3 of this year’s draft (the teams swapped a 4th- and 5th-round pick) and the Dolphins’ own 1st-round draft choice next year. That much of a premium cost to come back up the board seems to indicate that the Dolphins have someone specific in mind as to who they want to pick with their top choice in this year’s draft. And if Miami were interested in making Penei Sewell their top choice, they likely would not have conceded leverage to both the Atlanta Falcons and Cincinnati Bengals — two teams that will likely have Sewell on their respective shortlists for their own picks at No. 4 and No. 5 respectively.

Yes, Miami could end up seeing Sewell on the board with their pick at No. 6 overall. And the Dolphins may well end up drafting him if a doomsday scenario plays out where Kyle Pitts and Ja’Marr Chase come off the board in succession.

But the messaging around Miami’s trade back and rebound to No. 6 seems to suggest they don’t covet Sewell enough to pass on extra assets into the future. But yet they clearly covet someone, otherwise they’d have stood firm at No. 12 overall with two 1st-round picks per draft in each of the 2022 and 2023 drafts. So if Sewell and their initial target are both on the board, it feels likely we’ll see Miami pass on Sewell yet again.