The Dolphins ended up with one of the fastest, most explosive defensive players in Thursday’s first round of the draft by trading up to No. 3 for Oregon end Dion Jordan.
But the original plan wasn’t to go defense. It was to get faster and more explosive on offense, according to a high-ranking source who was inside the room with the Dolphins’ decision-makers.
The team entered the night with the No. 12 pick and one player circled on the draft board — West Virginia receiver Tavon Austin, a 5-foot-8 speedster who gained 2,900 all-purpose yards and scored a touchdown four different ways in 2012.
If Austin were available at 12, the Dolphins were going to take him. And if not, the Dolphins were prepared to take Notre Dame tight end Tyler Eifert.
But the Dolphins viewed Austin as a luxury, not a need, so they didn’t want to trade up for him. General manager Jeff Ireland had inside information that St. Louis would try to trade up for Austin and, if not, the New York Jets would take him ninth. Ultimately, the Rams traded up to No. 8 and drafted Austin.
So with Oakland on the clock at No. 3, Ireland turned his attention to the No. 1 player on his board — Jordan, who should instantly improve Miami’s inconsistent pass rush. While watching NFL Network, Ireland noticed that Oakland’s phones were quiet, and he called the Raiders with about five minutes remaining before their deadline.
Ireland offered No. 12 and a second-round pick for the Raiders’ No. 3 pick, and Raiders GM Reggie McKenzie declined and hung up. But he called back a minute later and agreed to the deal, as long as it was for the Dolphins’ 42nd overall pick, not the 54th.
Ireland agreed, and the Dolphins got their new pass rusher.