By: Chip Turner
Tonight, the Miami Dolphins traded a 2021 7th round draft pick to the Tennessee Titans for a 2022 7th round draft pick and 2020 first-round pick Isaiah Wilson. This is indicative of two things: First, things went staggeringly wrong for Isaiah Wilson last year. Second, this is something that is becoming increasingly common in Miami; the high-reward, low-risk acquisition of a very talented player.
Let’s take a look at Wilson first, and get the bad parts out of the way. He ended up on the COVID-19 list twice, and incurred a DUI. He also spent time on the non-COVID illness list, fell behind quickly, and only played a handful of snaps for the Titans his entire rookie season. Things started off badly and got progressively worse as the season went on, to the point where he Tweeted that he was “done with football as a Titan.” He quickly deleted the Tweet, but as we all know, the Internet is forever.
As for the good? Isaiah Wilson is a monster. He’s an athletic mountain of a man at 6’7” and 340 pounds. At Georgia, he was absolutely dominant in both the run and pass games at times, albeit with consistency issues. Additionally, he’s relatively cheap; his salaries over the final three years of his rookie contract are $1.1, $1.7 and $2.2mm, respectively. It was suggested that if he’d returned to Georgia for the 2020 season and honed his craft, he could have been a potential top-ten draft pick this year.
In Miami, Wilson will reunite with former Georgia teammate Solomon Kindley on the OL, and his new coach is Brian Flores. Flores and Wilson both attended Poly Prep in the Dyker Heights section of Brooklyn. In fact, Flores’s former assistant Lance Bennett helped recruit Wilson to the school.
As stated above, this sort of move is becoming less and less surprising for the Dolphins. They’ve developed a habit of acquiring high-reward, low-risk players under Flores and Grier. Sometimes they work out, like Zach Sieler and Preston Williams. Sometimes they don’t, like Josh Rosen and Robert Nkemdiche. But the value of the hits far outweighs the cost of the misses. Brian Flores has shown he will move on from mistakes very quickly.
So if the acquisition of Wilson doesn’t work out, Miami will move on in 2022, losing very little more than a couple million dollars in dead cap space. But if it does work out? Miami now has four offensive linemen from the 2020 draft, Robert Hunt can move inside to guard, and the Dolphins suddenly have an OL full of talent that just needs time, seasoning, and veteran leadership to develop.
I genuinely have no idea how this will work out. I do know that I winced a little when Titans GM Jon Robinson publicly called Wilson out twice in February; some people don’t react well to that sort of thing. It was just a week after that Wilson made his ill-advised tweet.
Regardless, the past is the past, something that Wilson would be well-served to take to heart. He now has a fresh start with a coach who gets his players to buy in to his philosophy, and the Dolphins potentially have an absolute steal on their hands.