With the draft fast approaching, its becoming increasingly probable that the Miami Dolphins will select Ryan Tannehill out of Texas A&M at number 8. Now, with Ross voicing his opinions on the young thrower, along with Miami's promises to upgrade the QB position this offseason (Not to mention missing out on Manning/Flynn, and Mike Sherman's history with Tannehill), you can see how the Dolphins have been backed into a corner. The way I'm simply choosing to look at our predicament? It's not in the cards.
We've signed the ex-Jag David Garrard, who is an experienced WCO QB, has been to the playoffs and a pro bowl, and experienced success at the NFL level. Splitting reps with him is Matt Moore, the competition brought in for Henne a season ago. Moore started the majority of the season for Miami a year ago, and fared very well down the stretch. He was more in sync with the receiving corps after a shortened off season and a month of back up reps than was Henne, the original starter, from the moment Moore took the field. The point I'm trying to make, however, is that the team performed at a higher level with Moore under centre. The team went .500 with him, posting a 6-6 record, with four of those loses being by a field goal or less. Conversely, other than the 19-17 win in the regular season finale against the New York Jets, Miami's other 5 wins were by at least a 7 point margin, with the an average winning spread of 19.8 points during those 5 games. Miami was a competitive team a season ago, but there is no use in looking to the past and what could have been. We need to look at this logically, and with a top 10 pick, you can't consider a player who is the 3rd best at their position in this draft class. Reaching rarely pays dividends, and with the potential for a coveted prospect to fall to us at 8, whether it be Trent Richardson or not, gives the team many intriguing options, least of which is drafting a quarterback to sit on the bench for a team with little to no offensive weapons, and many holes on the defence to fill.
Miami has been used as leverage more often than not this offseason, in the case of Alex Smith, Peyton Manning, you can even throw in Flynn and Fisher. Sitting at 8 when a guy like Richardson, Claiborne, or Floyd/Blackmon could become available, would give Miami a top ranked prospect in line with their top ten selection, or present the option to trade down and stock a couple more draft picks in the latter rounds. I'm honestly more comfortable with some of the mid first round talent at this point than Tannehill, players like Whitney Mercilus, Nick Perry, or David DeCastro would be great roster additions should the Dolphins trade down. Along with the trade down selection, the front office has more freedom in the middle rounds with additional picks, and can use them to position themselves to take the players they want, or sit on the picks and add as much talent to the roster as possible with upwards of 10 selections.
The question becomes, however, that if Miami is on the board at 8, and Tannehill is available, while the other "top 6" are gone, what to do? First of all, if theres one surprise before the Dolphins pick, which there should be, I don't see that scenario playing out. There will be another player on the board who presents better value than Tannehill. The team can still try and bargain with the #8 pick, specifically with talented organizations who may be a player away from making a run, say a Mark Barron or a Michael Floyd perhaps? Think about the move Atlanta made with Cleveland last year in the draft to get their man, Julio Jones. Teams that boast a talented roster, and have only a few weak positions amongst their starters, are willing to pay the price in draft picks to get the man they think will send them over the top. That being said, these teams are typically the ones that made a playoff run last season, and as such are sitting on a draft pick in the bottom of round 1. I think the team Miami should try and trade with at this point would be Denver, sitting at #25, and in a win now scenario. They could look to add either Barron or Floyd at #8, both of whom should still be on the board, or could have another player in mind altogether. Consider the recent retirement of Brian Dawkins, and their weakness on the D-Line. Now think about the patriots defence, a sub par unit in 2011 that was exploited in the playoffs consistently, despite having one of the most dominant offensive lineups in the league. John Elway would surely have recognized this flaw while getting destroyed by New England in the playoffs a season ago, when Tim Tebow was his QB. Well, after the Peyton Manning addition, their new offence is a polar opposite to what it was when Tebow ran the option. They have players to rush the passer, which is significant, and now trading up for Fletcher Cox, Mark Barron, or an elite outside threat like Floyd is the final offseason move Elway has in his pocket. He's made a lot of noise this offseason, and I think is one move away from really finalizing the Broncos roster, all we gotta do is make him realize it!
Lets try and make the most out of this draft. If we don't have a prospect worth the #8 pick when were on the clock, the roster is too weak in a number of positions (Made prevalent after the reports on this past mini-camp, see Miami Herald article for the analysis) for us to use such a valuable pick on a reach QB, who has limited experience and success at the Collegiate level, will need to sit and as such will not be an immediate contributor, and has not been dominant in the fourth quarter (When you see the defeat margins from last season, we need a QB who excels when the game is on the line. Tannehill did not do so at the College level, what makes you think he'll do it at an NFL level.). His Touchdown to INT ratio is under 2.0 on top of it, which, in this day and age, does not warrant a top 10 selection. Our roster is bare on the offence and defence, and as such, Tannehill will inherit a team where he is expected to be the best player on the offence, after all we're using a top 10 pick on him, correct? The way I see it right now, he's looking at the 3rd string position if we do choose him. With a wild card like Moore on the roster, theres no guaranteeing Tannehill will out perform him, not to mention Garrard. Joining our roster where he has little talent around him to work with, and if he is thrust into the starting role when the team fails to win next season, could be a horrible recipe for disaster. Consider how recent QB's that have fallen into this situation have fared. Colt McCoy, Christian Ponder, Blaine Gabbert, even as far back as Tarvaris Jackson, another athletic QB I feel is similar to Tannehill. I would rather have the success rate of Andy Dalton, Cam Newton, and others who came in to less fatal situations, and as such made the transition to the NFL much easier. We could seriously benefit from upgrading the roster this year, which we have the potential to. Personally, aside from Cam Newton, I would take Matt Moore over any of those QB's I just mentioned, further backing my position.
To wrap it up, we need help across the board right now. Selecting an elite talent to upgrade the pass rush, line, or receivers, or potentially trading down to add as much depth as possible, are both superior idea's to drafting Tannehill. That being said, whatever way we go tomorrow night, I'll embrace the newest member of the Miami Dolphins, and it will be my personal belief that we made the best selection of the evening. Thats how a true fan thinks after all!
Thank you for reading, and GO PHINS!