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Why I traded down in Dolphins' mock draft

ESPN.com held its annual reporter mock draft on Tuesday. Each team reporter made a first-round selection representative of what is expected in Thursday’s NFL draft.

The Miami Dolphins entered the draft with the No. 19 overall pick – but it didn’t stay that way for long. By the end of the night, I traded Miami’s pick to the New Orleans Saints in an effort to acquire more selections later in the draft. The eventual pick was Virginia offensive tackle Morgan Moses at No. 27.

Here is how the entire scenario came to fruition:

  • I initially had no intentions of trading my first-round pick. I was confident players on our draft board would be available at No. 19. But ESPN.com Saints reporter Mike Triplett contacted me over the weekend with significant interest. He had an eye on a pair of wide receivers as his top two targets for New Orleans: Brandin Cooks and Odell Beckham Jr. Neither player was a target for the Dolphins. So it made it fair game to discuss a trade.

  • In our discussions, I mentioned to Triplett my desired targets at No. 19 were offensive tackle Zack Martin and middle linebacker C.J. Mosley. Those were the only two players the Dolphins would not trade the pick for. But if both are off the board, I’m all ears. From there, we discussed compensation.

  • Initially, I asked for New Orleans’ first-round pick (No. 27), third-round pick (No. 91) and two fifth-rounders (No. 167 and No. 169) for the No. 19 overall pick. After some negotiation Saturday, we settled on New Orleans’ first-, third- and sixth-round (No. 202) picks. The trade, of course, was conditional and based on whether Martin and Mosley were off the board for Miami and Cooks or Beckham were still available for New Orleans.

  • The draft board played out perfectly to work out the trade. Martin was taken No. 16 overall by the Dallas Cowboys and Mosley was taken No. 17 overall by the Baltimore Ravens. Beckham was taken at No. 18 by the New York Jets, but Triplett and the Saints still wanted Cooks and made the trade.

  • The best available players on my board in order were Moses, USC receiver Marqise Lee and Nevada offensive lineman Joel Botonio after 19 picks. I was fairly confident as least one of these players would fall to 27. It turns out I had a choice of Moses and Botonio with the Saints’ former pick, and I took Moses to fill the right tackle spot at No. 27. I felt much better taking Moses later in the first round and acquiring two additional draft picks, as opposed to taking Moses at No. 19. The Dolphins now have a second-round pick and two third-rounders to build their team on Friday. It was a good day of work as Miami’s mock general manager.

Will a similar scenario play out for the Dolphins general manager Dennis Hickey this week during the real NFL draft? We will find out Thursday evening.