If the Miami Dolphins badly want to land an upper-echelon defensive end, linebacker, guard or safety that starts to slide in the first round of the NFL Draft next Thursday night, don’t be surprised if Executive Vice President Mike Tannenbaum aggressively trades up.
And if there are more than enough players of both need and talent that are likely be available at a slot lower than number 22, don’t be surprised if Tannenbaum moves back to pick up more draft choices.
Tannenbaum has shown for years he’s not afraid to wheel-and-deal.
“Sometimes you get a trade offer that’s hard to say no to,” Tannenbaum said.
Almost every season he ran the New York Jets, Tannenbaum made some kind of draft-day trade.
Last season, Tannenbaum moved Miami back from 8 to 13 in a pre-draft deal that landed linebacker Kiko Alonso and cornerback Byron Maxwell.
“We’ll always make whatever decision we feel is best,” Tannenbaum said. “Typically you get calls both ways, maybe three in front of you and three behind you. We have our trade charts… So when a trade becomes available, we’ll measure that opportunity against the board. What our needs are. Of course that’s going to be a little bit of a balance. We’ll see what happens.”
The Dolphins actually lean heavily on their analytics department, which helps provide lists of players who are more likely than not to appear in a particular higher or lower cluster.
The Dolphins liked what they felt would be available at 13 last season (not that anybody could have forecast Laremy Tunsil’s precipitous fall). But that helped the club feel better about moving back.
Tannenbaum, a predraft news conference, credited general manager Chris Grier for his thoroughness. For example, Tannenbaum said Grier insisted the club interview Tunsil in Indianapolis last year.
“At the time, Tennessee had the first pick, a lot of rumors that he was the first pick in the NFL Draft,” Tannenbaum recalled. “We had Branden Albert at left tackle and eight gazillion other needs and that process gave us a lot of confidence that, here he is at 13, so it was an easy decision for us.”
Does Tannenbaum enjoy the exhilaration of working the phones on draft day?
Of course he does.
“I think to work in this business you have to enjoy everything about it,” Tannenbaum said. “I enjoy going to Mobile (Alabama). I enjoy getting to know these guys. It’s a privilege. You really have to enjoy the journey to spend as many hours as we do. And you know I’m fortunate to be able to do it.”