The Dolphins’ big turnaround is underway. At least, that’s the hope of coach Brian Flores. His team got started on draft night by picking Tua Tagovailoa.
This is the most important weekend of Miami’s earnest rebuilding effort, the franchise’s chance to make the misery of the past year worth it by collecting a group of young players that can lead the team into contention in a division that is suddenly wide open with the dissolution of the Patriots.
Miami is loaded with picks—14 of them–and loaded, too, with trade rumors. With a depth chart that is pocked with holes, there will be plenty of chances to pick foundational-type talent in the next three days.
It starts now with Tua.
Here is NFL.com’s scouting report on Tua Tagovailoa:
He may be pigeon-holed into a spread or RPO-heavy attack, but he’s actually a clean fit in a pro-style attack filled with play-action and roll-outs. He has the release, accuracy and touch needed to work all three levels successfully and can become a more disciplined, full-field reader to piece the puzzle together against NFL coverages. He needs better poise when pressured, but his escapability not only moves the chains, it creates chunk plays in the air and on the ground. Teams assessing his draft value will need to sift through mounting durability concerns and decide whether he is a “face of the franchise” talent without the abundance of talent surrounding him.
Dolphins’ Endless Quarterback Hole
The Dolphins entered the draft in a strange position.
On one hand, they entered last season with the intention of tanking and for the first two months of the season, it was working. They started the season with retread Ryan Fitzpatrick at quarterback and lost their first two games by a combined score of 102-10.
Things were just as ugly after a switch to second-year man Josh Rosen, who had been acquired from Arizona during last year’s draft, started three games, threw one touchdown and five interceptions and gave way to a return of Fitzpatrick.
That brings us to the other hand. Miami improved from there, closing the season with five wins in its final nine games, including Ws over Philadelphia and the Patriots in New England.
In Fitzpatrick’s final five games, he averaged 325 yards passing and threw for 10 touchdowns with only three interceptions.
After considering retirement, Fitzpatrick is likely to be the Dolphins’ Week 1 starter but he will turn 38 this season and is only a stopgap for the team.
That, of course, is nothing new for the Dolphins. Since the retirement of Dan Marino 21 years ago, the Dolphins have had 21 starting quarterbacks, led by 88 starts from Ryan Tannehill (the last quarterback the Dolphins drafted in the first round) with Jay Fiedler (59) second on the list.
It’s been a litany of other teams’ castoffs after those guys: Chad Pennington, Gus Frerotte, Joey Harrington, Jay Cutler, Trent Green, and so on. Fitzpatrick played well but in the grand scheme of things, he’s another castoff in that line.
The Dolphins are hoping, desperately, that Tagovailoa is more than that.
Dolphins’ Current Draft Board
Miami entered the NFL Draft with 14 picks, including three in the first round. Both were most of any team in the league. Here’s where the Dolphins stand now and in the coming rounds:
- 1st Round — No. 5
- 1st Round — No. 18 (via Pittsburgh Steelers)
- 1st Round — No. 26 (via Houston Texans)
- 2nd Round — No. 39
- 2nd Round — No. 56 (via New Orleans Saint)
- 3rd Round — No. 70
- 4th Round — No. 141
- 5th Round — No. 153 (via Arizona Cardinals)
- 5th Round — No. 154 (via Pittsburgh Steelers)
- 5th Round — No. 173 (via L.A. Rams)
- 6th Round — No. 185
- 7th Round — No. 227 (via Indianapolis Colts)
- 7th Round — No. 246 (via Kansas City Chiefs)
- 7th Round — No. 251