The Miami Dolphins’ scouts celebrated when they saw Alabama defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick on the draft board when they were slated to pick. Fitzpatrick had won over the Dolphins’ front-office during the pre-draft process.
But as they prepared to make the selection, Dolphins owner Stephen Ross provided opposition to the move.
He did not want the team to make a pick at No. 11.
“A well-placed league source tells us that the Dolphins had the pick of Alabama safety Minkah Fitzpatrick all ready to go at No. 11 when owner Stephen Ross stepped in and implored his team to trade back, both to acquire more picks and to save money on the first-rounder. Ross’s football people talked him out of it, and the Dolphins went ahead with the Fitzpatrick pick.”
Fitzpatrick had won over Miami in a moment when he probably didn’t know the team was watching, according to a feature by Yahoo Sports. Dolphins national scout Ron Brockington stumbled upon Fitzpatrick at the Crimson Tide’s facility six hours before kickoff for Alabama’s game against Tennessee in 2017. Fitzpatrick was on-site early to study film by himself. Brockington snapped a photo, and sent it to Dolphins general manager Chris Grier, who is in his third year in the position. That affirmed much of what they already knew about the prospect.
And that also informs, in part, why the team’s “football people” were intent on talking Ross out of a trade down the draft board. Fitzpatrick was considered by some to be one of the top three defensive players in the draft. And he fell to Miami at No. 11. Even if Ross loved a trade offer or doesn’t like the paycheck that came along with Fitzpatrick’s draft status, he may come to love the player as much as the scouting department.