2018 NFL Draft: Inside the Miami Dolphins’ process for making picks

Adam Gase gets “in it heavy” on draft preparation at this point in the year. (Allen Eyestone/The Post)

DAVIE—While vice president Mike Tannenbaum and general manager Chris Grier sat in the Dolphins’ auditorium giving the vaguest possible answers about their plans for next week’s NFL Draft, Adam Gase was locked into an office upstairs scrutinizing film of prospective picks.

Grier is the head man for the team’s draft organization, a logical role for him after 20-plus years in college scouting, and Tannenbaum gives his input as well. Gase enters the process around mid-February, though he attended the Senior Bowl to watch quarterbacks Baker Mayfield and Josh Allen in January this year, and helps nail down the selection when Miami whittles down its options as its slot approaches.

“Everyone always wants to know who’s making the final call, (but) the three of us work great together,” Grier said. “You’ll always have two or three guys you like and you make the decision on whoever fits best.

“Obviously we don’t know what’s going to happen being at No. 11, but we’ve talked through trade possibilities, who might be there, who may not be there. For us, the big thing is the communication and talking about what we think is best for the Dolphins. Adam plays a big role. Mike and I have to get players that he wants and he feels fit best for what he wants to do offensively and defensively.”

Grier technically gets the ultimate say on who the team picks, but all three men maintain there is rarely, if ever, disagreement about who to take. Gase gives input but defers to Grier’s expertise.

The draft starts next Thursday with the first round, where the Dolphins currently have the 11th pick. Tannenbaum is open to trading up or down if a prudent trade opportunity emerges.

Miami picks No. 42 in the second round and No. 73 in the third Friday, then it has two fourth-rounders, a sixth and two sevenths Saturday.

This is Tannenbaum, Grier and Gase’s third draft together, and Gase described it as an “easy” process a year ago. He said when the Dolphins are three picks away they typically have five players under consideration and have them pre-ranked in order of priority.

Last year, as their No. 22 pick neared, they targeted Missouri defensive end Charles Harris first and Florida linebacker Jarrad Davis second. Davis went 21st to the Lions, allowing Harris to fall into Miami’s lap.

“When the pick’s coming up, we’ll start getting together and looking at the board and seeing who’s there,” Grier said. “Most of the decisions have been made. By Monday or Tuesday we’ll have an idea, but there’s always a wrench that gets thrown in from someone on draft day.”

Gase likes to work systematically on his part of the draft preparation and usually asks for five players the scouting department recommends at a particular position so he can review them and give his opinion.

With the amount of effort he puts into scheme and strategy for the upcoming season, as well as a plan for next month’s Organized Team Activities, there’s a concerted intent not to overload him with draft homework.

“We could sit here and run all these different scenarios with Adam,” Tannenbaum said. “But until you’re just a couple picks away, we’re not sure how it’ll unfold.”

[Five first-round targets for Miami Dolphins in 2018 NFL Draft]

[What the Dolphins think of skill players in this year’s NFL Draft]

[Frank Gore’s on a mission with Miami Dolphins]

Check out The Palm Beach Post‘s Miami Dolphins page on Facebook