How today’s NFL games can affect Dolphins’ first-round draft pick and 2022 schedule

 How today’s NFL games can affect Dolphins’ first-round draft pick and 2022 schedule
Dolphins owner Steve Ross and general manager Chris Grier at Hard Rock Stadium on Nov. 7, 2021 in Miami Gardens.

The Miami Dolphins’ draft position in the first round of the upcoming draft is not affected by the team’s own result in Sunday’s season finale against the Patriots, a 4:25 p.m. kickoff at Hard Rock Stadium.

Remember, there were two trades with the Philadelphia Eagles and San Francisco 49ers last offseason that moved Miami off of the 2021 draft’s No. 3 pick, which was previously acquired from the Houston Texans, back to No. 12 and then up to No. 6, where Jaylen Waddle was eventually selected.

In the trades, the Dolphins’ 2022 first-round pick went to the Eagles, while Miami’s place is tied to the 49ers’ finish.

While the Dolphins play against the Patriots, fans can root for a San Francisco loss to the Los Angeles Rams and New Orleans Saints win over the Atlanta Falcons in the same 4:25 p.m. time slot. If both occur, the 49ers are left out of the NFC playoffs.

That would mean San Francisco’s pick going to the Dolphins would be a top-18 choice. If the 49ers qualify for the postseason, the selection would be upward of that number, and it could go very deep into the end of the first round if San Francisco is then able to pull off a wild-card round upset. If the 49ers win a playoff game, the pick going to Miami will be 25 or worse.

Dolphins’ 2022 opponents

Sixteen of the 17 Dolphins opponents in 2022 have been settled, with the last to be determined on the “Sunday Night Football” game between the Las Vegas Raiders and Los Angeles Chargers.

The loser of the Chargers-Raiders game will host the Dolphins next season. This is because AFC East teams play against an AFC West team that finished in the same position in its division next year. Miami is locked in at No. 3 in the East, and the loser between Los Angeles and Las Vegas will be the third-place finisher of the West.

The same concept goes for the AFC South, as the Dolphins will host the Texans, who finished third in that division.

The rest of Miami’s schedule: The annual home-and-home against AFC East foes the Patriots, New York Jets and Buffalo Bills; the entire AFC North with the Pittsburgh Steelers and Cleveland Browns at home and Cincinnati Bengals and Baltimore Ravens on the road; the entire NFC North with the Green Bay Packers and Minnesota Vikings at home and Chicago Bears and Detroit Lions on the road; and the extra 17th game of the regular season will be a trip to San Francisco to take on the 49ers, who finished third in the NFC West, like the Dolphins did in the AFC East.

If Chargers-Raiders ends in a tie, Las Vegas finishes behind Los Angeles and the Raiders host the Dolphins in a regular season game for a third consecutive season.

Dates for all matchups are yet to be announced.

Dolphins-Patriots inactives

If the Dolphins are willing to let Mike Gesicki walk in free agency because they feel rookie Hunter Long is ready to step up in the tight end rotation, they’ll have to base it off of mostly practice reps for Long.

Long was one of the five healthy inactives announced by the Dolphins prior to kickoff, along with running back Salvon Ahmed, wide receiver Preston Williams and linebackers Vince Biegel and Darius Hodge. No Dolphins players entered Sunday with an injury designation, while cornerback Noah Igbinoghene and safety Sheldrick Redwine were the only two on the reserve/COVID-19 list.

Long was inactive for 10 games in his rookie year. He played seven, started two and finished with one reception for 8 yards.

The Patriots had two key defenders already announced as out prior to Sunday, safety Kyle Dugger and linebacker Dont’a Hightower. The only three other inactive players for New England were quarterback Jarrett Stidham, tight end Devin Asiasi and running back J.J. Taylor.

This story will be updated.

Tribune News Service

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *