The NFL Draft is finally here and, safe to say, the Dolphins are heading into the most important weekend of their 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.
Miami is loaded with picks—14 of them, the most of any team in this draft. That includes three first-round picks. 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.
The drama will start early, too. The Dolphins hold the No. 5 pick in the draft but are rumored to be considering cashing in that pick so that they can move up and select … well, no one is quite sure.
They could keep trying to push to No. 1, as some rumors hold, and take Joe Burrow, the franchise quarterback that the team has so desperately needed since Dan Marino hobbled off into the Florida sunset. Or they could move to No. 3 in a deal with Detroit that would land them not a quarterback but a burly left tackle. Of course, they had an excellent left tackle, Laremy Tunsil, but dealt him away to Houston last year. If they make the deal up, the presumption is they’d do so for one of three top prospects: Andrew Thomas, Jedrick Wills, or Tristan Wirfs.
But tackle and quarterback are only two of the Dolphins’ many, many needs. The defensive line needs a load of help and the secondary needs depth. The Dolphins also have little to offer for running backs, as quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick led the team with 243 rushing yards last year.
There’s a lot to do. But there’s some hope. This team started 0-7, after all, but finished 5-4 in its last nine games. Despite the holes, the Dolphins, at least, have lots of picks.
The Dolphins Need a Quarterback–Badly
The quarterback question is the one that will dominate and the persisting rumors that the Dolphins are still after Burrow–and that they could trade up to address a position other than QB–is an indication that the team is shaky on its two primary non-Burrow options here: Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa and Oregon’s Justin Herbert.
Tagovailoa is the better prospect and if all things were equal, he’d likely be the No. 1 overall pick here. The Dolphins could grab him and take a chance that he will be as electric in the pros as he was while at Alabama. Things are not equal, however. Tagovailoa has three strikes working against him—that would be the three surgeries, which includes his most recent surgery, on his hip. Or as Rex Ryan claims, his five surgeries.
If the Dolphins don’t take Tagovailoa, there is a real chance he could be in for a big slide on the night.
Herbert is a fine prospect and could be a very good NFL quarterback. The Dolphins could do worse than playing it safe and taking Herbert, who has been compared to Carson Palmer and Joe Flacco—that would represent a giant upgrade over the Dolphins’ recent pool of passers.
You could look at it as though, in Tagovailoa and Herbert, the Dolphins have two good options at a position they badly need to fill.
Or you could look at it as the Dolphins apparently are looking at it—they have two choices they don’t really want so they’d rather run off, take a lineman and hope that, in the future, no one will remember that they could have had Herbert or Tagovailoa.
The Full Slate of the Dolphins’ 14 Picks
Here’s a look at where the Dolphins are scheduled to pick, barring any trades:
- 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