The Miami Dolphins are expected to select Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa with the fifth-overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. It seems like common knowledge at this point, even if the Dolphins themselves rightfully do not admit that plan. It is a foregone conclusion that Tagovailoa will be headed to South Florida for the next chapter in his football career.
Except, what if that does not happen? What if someone jumps ahead of Miami in the draft order to select Tagovailoa before Miami even has a chance?
In his latest 2020 NFL Mock Draft, SB Nation’s Dan Kadar projects exactly that. The Los Angeles Chargers make the move from the sixth position to third overall, swapping positions with the Detroit Lions. The Chargers, who are moving on from Philip Rivers this offseason, select Tagovailoa, taking him off the board for the Dolphins.
Kadar does not stray too far from Miami’s need for a quarterback, however. With the fifth pick, he sees Miami moving from Tagovailoa as a target to Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert. He explains, “While the Dolphins might be tempted to move up for Tagovailoa, there could be some strategy to holding at No. 5. Herbert got better as last season progressed and did well for himself at the Senior Bowl. He’s not a rah-rah player like Burrow or Tagovailoa, but not all quarterbacks need to be that type. Instead, Herbert goes about his business and makes plays. And if the Dolphins decide they don’t like him, they could go after another quarterback next year, when they still have two first-round picks.”
It is not a bad way to look at the Draft for the Dolphins right now. They could land a 2018, 2020, and 2021 first-round quarterback as they continue to try to find the right player for their system and for their future. If Josh Rosen (selected in the top ten in 2018 by the Arizona Cardinals, then traded to the Dolphins during the 2019 Draft) and Herbert - in this scenario - do not work out, the Dolphins do have the resources to take another chance next year.
Herbert is a polarizing prospect, especially in Miami. He has been compared to Ryan Tannehill - Miami’s last first-round quarterback selection in 2012 - and that comparison feels frustrating for many Dolphins fans. After seven seasons with Tannehill, the Dolphins moved on from him because they just could never find the success they needed. Of course, Tannehill went to the AFC Champsionship game as the starter for the Tennessee Titans last year and earned his first Pro Bowl appearance after leading the league in yards per attempt and passer rating.
Is Herbert the right move for Miami? Could they select Herbert with the idea that they can take another first-round quarterback in 2021 if Herbert does not impress this year? Is that a waste of first-round picks, or is it smart use of resources for the Dolphins who need to finally find a franchise quarterback for the first time since Dan Marino?
While a Herbert pick will spark debate among Dolphins fans, Miami is not done in the first-round after that pick. Kadar comes back with the Dolphins’ 18th overall pick to add LSU edge rusher K’Lavon Chaisson. He writes, “If five offensive tackles fly off the board before the Dolphins pick, they could fall back on a defender at No. 18 and go after a blocker with their third first-round pick. Although the Dolphins have loaded up on defenders this offseason, Chaisson could be brought in purely as a speed rusher off the edge.”
Miami has spent a lot of time looking at the defense in free agency this offseason, but the need for a pass rusher is still there and Chaisson makes a ton of sense with this selection if they cannot get one of the top offensive linemen.
The Dolphins are then able to get their offensive tackle with the 26th pick, according to Kadar, who has them adding Houston tackle Josh Jones. He explains, “For as much love as this year’s wide receiver class gets, the offensive tackle class should get just as much. This OT crop is extremely top heavy, but there are six or seven who could be selected in the first round. That’s good news for the Dolphins, who could potentially land a starter with their third first-round pick.”
If you have followed me this offseason, you probably know I love Jones as a late first-round pick for the Dolphins. I think he has the potential to be something special and I think he could be an immediate starter for a rebuilt Miami offensive line.
What do you think of Kadar’s latest mock draft? Will the Chargers jump MIami? What do the Dolphins do if that happens?