With NFL games beginning to resemble something more like flag football, and scoreboards being lit up like pinball machines, many Miami Dolphin fans are wondering how soon the team will move to acquire its quarterback of the future, and how much the front office is prepared to ante up in doing so. And who can blame them? It’s clear that the league is moving toward a less physical, more aerial type of game. This is why we see so many holding penalties being called in the running game, while oncoming pass rushers are often practically tackled by offensive linemen with no response from the officials.
So, the question is, not whether, but how high, Miami will select a quarterback in either or both, of the 2019 and 2020 drafts. With the emphasis being placed on the position, and the difficulty of finding and developing a potential franchise QB, we shouldn’t rule out the possibility of the Dolphins expending two or more high picks to facilitate this goal. Teams have used multiple first round picks on different quarterbacks before. The San Diego Chargers selected all time draft bust Ryan Leaf with the second overall pick in 1998 and then went on to draft future hall of famer Drew Brees 32nd overall in 2001. But the Chargers still weren’t done; they would select Philip Rivers with the fourth overall pick in 2004. We can argue that the Chargers should simply have kept Brees, but his other worldly numbers in the Crescent City are more the result of head coach Sean Payton’s offensive system than anything Rivers has failed to do out West. Fifteen years on, the six foot five, 228 pound Rivers has thrown for nearly 55,000 yards, compiled a 95.6 rating and been to eight Pro Bowls.
Under Jimmy Johnson, the Dallas Cowboys made celebrated UCLA quarterback Troy Aikman the first pick of the 1989 draft, yet just three months later, they took former Miami Hurricane Steve Walsh in the supplemental draft that Summer. Since the Cowboys went 1-15 in Aikman’s first season, Dallas had to give up what turned out to be the first overall pick in 1990. It’s better to be lucky than good, however; the Indianapolis Colts and New York Jets selected Illinois quarterback Jeff George and Penn State running back Blair Thomas with the first two picks, and neither of them did much of anything for either team. Dallas later snookered New Orleans into giving them a first, second and third round pick for Walsh, which, along with the bounty they reaped from the Herschel Walker trade, they used to lay the foundation for their three Super Bowl wins. Although it would take another eight years, the Colts were bad enough and fortunate enough to have the first pick in the draft in 1998, which to no one’s great surprise, they used to select Peyton Manning. This is why I keep harping on the importance of the Dolphins losing a boatload of games this season: just one draft slot can mean the difference between a Super Bowl championship, which Manning brought the Colts, and unmitigated disaster, which the number two pick, Ryan Leaf, became for the Chargers about five minutes after Manning’s name was called. More than twenty years later, the now Los Angeles Chargers are still scraping and scratching for that elusive title, despite having an almost certain future hall of famer in the aforementioned Rivers.
And so, with two weeks remaining for this year’s version of ‘Let’s Make A Deal’, Dolphin fans the world over hope that Miami can either finally find their own franchise quarterback or accumulate enough ammunition to select him a year from now. Unless of course, they decide to do the two step tango and double dip at the quarterback position. We know they’ll take at least one QB in this year’s draft; the question is, how high?