The Miami Dolphins’ search for the heir to Dan Marino in South Florida has been a long and labored one. Miami has kissed a lot of frogs while searching for its prince — many of whom didn’t last more than just a handful of games as the starting quarterback. The closest Miami has come to replacing Marino over the last 20 years was Ryan Tannehill, a former top-10 draft selection who showed promise over his first three seasons before failing to further develop as a player — ultimately leading to the Dolphins’ decision to part ways with him this past offseason.
Tannehill is now in Tennessee, quarterbacking the Titans. And the Dolphins are once again looking for the answer. The popular pick for Miami’s next move is Alabama QB Tua Tagovailoa, who has been widely considered the country’s top QB prospect and a shoo-in to be the first overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft.
But with the Dolphins now two games ahead of the Cincinnati Bengals in the win column, landing the No. 1 overall pick now seems like a pipe dream. And with it go the chances of drafting Tagovailoa — right?
Miami’s hopes of drafting Tagovailoa are still very much alive and well, thanks to two developments since the summer. Miami deserves credit for one, while the other is a gift from the football gods.
The Dolphins’ massive pooling of draft capital, specifically first-round picks, has put them in position to bend the draft order to their will — short of pulling Cincinnati off of holding the top pick. If Washington or either New York team ends up in the No. 2 hole, Miami can easily swing a deal. Is that ideal? No, of course not. But if this is the price to pay for positive momentum and player development, so be it. This isn’t a luxury the vast majority of NFL teams can afford in rebuilding years. But it is for the Dolphins because of the arsenal of picks they have at this disposal via their trades of Minkah Fitzpatrick and Laremy Tunsil.
The other development is the arrival of LSU’s Joe Burrow on the scene. Do not dismiss the possibility of the Cincinnati Bengals opting to target Burrow, given his status as a two-year starter, his growth over two years at LSU, his origins as an Ohio prep prospect and his eligibility to participate in the Reese’s Senior Bowl, which will provide him with a huge opportunity to make a strong impression on a Bengals coaching staff who will get first crack at coaching the game.
If Cincinnati drafts Burrow, Miami can make its move for Tagovailoa. And if Cincinnati drafts Tagovailoa, Miami should gladly make its move for Burrow.
The “gloom and doom” of Miami being out of position to fix the quarterback position over two wins is misplaced and, most importantly, inaccurate.
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