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ESPN: Dolphins’ 2021 draft picks part of Tua Tagovailoa decision

NFL: New York Jets at Miami Dolphins Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Do the Miami Dolphins have their franchise quarterback, the man who will finally solidify a position that has been in flux since Dan Marino retired after the 1999 season? We will all start to get the answer to that question today as rookie Tua Tagovailoa starts for the first time. It is an exciting day for Dolphins fans, and a start that could be the first in a new era for one of the league’s preimier franchises.

It will be the first start in an evaluation process, as well. The Dolphins hold two first-round picks and two second-round picks in 2021, selections they received from the Houston Texans for Laremy Tunsil and Kenny Stills last year. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, those picks were a factor in Miami making the decision to bench Ryan Fitzpatrick and move on to Tagovailoa.

Because they have Houston’s first-round pick, the Dolphins could be in prime position for one of the draft’s top-rated quarterbacks, be it Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence, Ohio State’s Justin Fields or North Dakota’s Trey Lance,” Schefter wrote Sunday. The Texans have fired their head coach already this season, have only one won game on the year, and are believed to be positioning themselves as sellers ahead of next week’s trade deadline. Miami could be using Houston’s pick early in next spring’s Draft.

Schefter adds that a source close to the Dolphins agrees those picks factored into the quarterback change:

The Dolphins need to know what they have in Tagovailoa as they enter the 2021 draft with two picks in each of the first two rounds, courtesy of their trade last year that sent left tackle Laremy Tunsil to the Texans.

“That’s definitely a part of it,” one source close to the Dolphins’ thinking told ESPN, regarding Miami’s recent decision to replace popular veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick with Tagovailoa. “Whoever told you that is right.”

The Dolphins have made their move for 2020, starting their rookie quarterback and paving the way for the start of something special in South Florida. But, the Dolphins are also figuring out their plan for the 2021 Draft, just in case Tagovailoa does not work out the way everyone hopes.