The Miami Dolphins are expected to select a quarterback this Thursday in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft. Most of the speculation is focused on Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, though there is some discussion that Miami could favor Oregon’s Justin Herbert due to health concerns with Tagovailoa. What will Miami do on Thursday night? Their plans for the rest of the Draft could be the key to choosing the right first-round quarterback.
Could the Dolphins go into Thursday with the plan to add a second quarterback later in the Draft? Would that be the right move?
Miami is expected to start the season with Ryan Fitzpatrick under center. After his 2019 season for the Dolphins, Fitzpatrick has earned his chance to start for the entire season, with the possibility that a rookie like Tagovailoa would serve as the backup, especially if the Dolphins are concerned about his health - including a fractured and dislocated hip from last season - and want him to redshirt for a year.
A veteran starter. A rookie backup. And Josh Rosen? Miami traded for Rosen during last year’s Draft, eventually pushing him into the starting position for three games. After it became clear Rosen was not ready for that role, Fitzpatrick moved back atop the depth chart and Rosen essentially disappeared. Now, a year removed from that trade, Miami has to figure out what to do with Rosen.
The answer may be to simply see if anyone is interested in him for any price. In his 2020 NFL Mock Draft, NBC Sports’ Peter King has Miami moving up to the third position to grab Herbert (and then the New England Patriots trading up to the 13th spot to select Tagovailoa). It is Rosen, however, that is worth discussing. Number seven in his “10 Things I Think I Think” section of the post, King suggests a trade to the Jacksonville Jaguars.
“I think if I were Jacksonville, I’d offer my fourth-round pick, 116 overall, to Miami to send Josh Rosen up I-95 to be a Gardner Minshew safety net,” King writes. “Two reasons: As the Washington head coach last year, Jay Gruden was bullish on acquiring Rosen from Arizona; Gruden’s the offensive coordinator for the Jags now. And no matter how confident the Jags are in Minshew, they certainly can’t be positive that he’s the long-term solution at quarterback. There’s no good reason why Jacksonville shouldn’t spend a minimal amount on an insurance policy who’s never had the kind of chance the 10th pick in the draft should have had.”
The Dolphins do not seem sold on Rosen, and a trade of him for any sort of return could help Miami continue the rebuild of their roster.
And could allow Miami to not take just one shot at quarterback this year.
Flash back to the 2006. The Dolphins were interested in free agent quarterback Drew Brees, who was looking for a bigger commitment than the San Diego Chargers, who had selected Eli Manning then traded him to the New York Giants for Philip Rivers in the 2004 Draft, were willing to offer. Miami was concerned about Brees’ health after the quarterback sustained a torn labrum in his throwing shoulder as well as rotator cuff issues the previous season, with multiple doctors expressing concern that he would not fully recover from the injury. Miami passed on Brees, who continues to start for the New Orleans Saints and, since joining the Saints, has been selected to 12 Pro Bowls, been a First-Team All-Pro selection, four time Second-Team All-Pro selection, two time NFL Offensive Player of the Year, the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year, seven-time season passing yards leader, four time season passing touchdown leader, and won Super Bowl XLIV and was the game’s MVP (in Miami, of course). He is currently the NFL leader in all-time passing yards, passing touchdowns, and completion percentage. Medical concerns scared off the Dolphins, and it has clearly been a mistake on their part.
Will injury concerns scare the Dolphins from Tagovailoa? There is an easy way for the team to mitigate the risks associated with selecting him.
Assume the Dolphins select Tagovailoa and his injury concerns turn into actual injury issues. Miami would be right back to looking for a young quarterback around whom the team can be built. Unless the team does something this year to give them an additional prospect.
Miami has 14 draft picks in this year’s Draft. Why not use two on quarterbacks?
Two weeks ago, I wrote the same thing. The Dolphins should consider using a second- or third-day pick on a quarterback. The Washington Redskins did it with Robert Griffin III and Kirk Cousins in 2012, providing them a backup to groom alongside their presumed franchise quarterback. Injuries derailed Griffin’s time in Washington, while Cousins, selected in the fourth round, assumed the starting role and was franchise tagged twice before signing with the Minnesota Vikings in free agency. The Redskins used multiple picks to give themselves a better shot at finding the quarterback that could lead the team. Miami should consider doing the same thing.
The 2020 NFL Draft is supposed to be one that defines the future of a franchises with the sixth-highest win-percentage in league history, despite two decades of being stuck in mediocrity. If they want to find the quarterback that will lead them back to relevance and back up the win-percentage rankings, they need to continue to take chances with draft picks. Tagovailoa could be risky, so adding a second quarterback could be the insurance policy needed.
A player like Jalen Hurts makes sense. The Heisman runner-up could prove to be a steal of a draft pick, and he could be the right player to backup Tagovailoa. In his four seasons in college, Hurts thres for 9,477 yards with 80 touchdowns and 20 interceptions, including 3,851 yards with 32 touchdowns and eight interceptions last year as well as 1,298 rushing yards on 233 carries.
Hurts and Tagovailoa were teammates, competing for the starting job at Alabama before Hurts transferred as a graduate student to Oklahoma. The two have a relationship and can continue to build upon that if Miami were to select both.
Hurts is believed to be a second-day prospect, which could entice Miami when they are on the clock three times Friday night. Miami has six picks in the first 70 selections of this year’s Draft, which could give them the flexibility of selecting a risky player with a high reward then mitigate that risk with another selection at the same position. A player like Hurts would seem to be a perfect fit for the Dolphins. The team could also look at Washington’s Jacob Eason or Georgia’s Jake Fromm to fill that role, but Hurts feels like the right player for Miami should they double-down on the position.
Whatever the case, if Miami selects Tagovailoa, a second quarterback during the Draft could be the right move.