Dolphins Sign ‘Strong-Armed’ QB After NFL Draft: Report

Dolphins sign UDFA quarterback Gavin Hardison after NFL draft.

Getty The Miami Dolphins have come to terms with undrafted quarterback prospect Gavin Hardison following the NFL draft.

The Miami Dolphins have a new quarterback joining the organization in 2024, undrafted prospect Gavin Hardison out of UTEP.

NFL Network insider Tom Pelissero announced the agreement just after the NFL draft’s conclusion on April 27, sharing Hardison’s QB ranking and scouting report with fans.

“A four-year starter, Hardison (6-1 7/8, 206) had his final college season cut short by Tommy John surgery on his throwing elbow in November,” Pelissero’s report read. “He’s an intriguing arm, but he’s hurt [and] he’s not extremely accurate,” an AFC coordinator said.

Continuing: “He’s tough as [expletive]. I don’t even know if he’ll be cleared (medically). But at least he showed arm talent that is different from some other guys.”

According to NFL Network, Hardison ranked 19th for the entire 2024 QB class. He was projected to be a seventh-round selection or a priority UDFA and in the end, the latter obviously occurred.

Dolphins’ Signing Gavin Hardison Profiles as Longshot QB Project With Unique Arm

As Pelissero’s update noted, Hardison’s major selling point is his “strong arm that produces excellent bucket throws” according to a Pro Football Network scouting profile ahead of the draft.

PFN analyst Ian Valentino described Hardison as an “experienced player who has elevated the UTEP program since arriving.” And that’s all because of his “effortless velocity” and gunslinger mentality.

“It’s undeniable that Hardison is more intriguing than his raw stats suggest,” Valentino stated at the time. “He has a great arm that launches the ball from various platforms and often overcomes sloppy mechanics. He’s [also] unafraid to continue taking deep shots even after seeing his receivers continue to watch the ball slip through their hands, and that mindset isn’t always easy to find.”

The PFN writer likened Hardison to former Dolphins veteran quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick as a sort of best-case scenario. Acknowledging that “over the last two decades, there aren’t many quarterback prospects with a completion rate below 55% who have drawn evaluators’ attention.”

Hardison’s career college completion rate was a 53.3%. The UTEP product is also an older prospect, turning 24 years old in May of 2024.

Per Sports Illustrated, the passer “started 35 games over his five seasons with the Miners, throwing for 7,963 yards with 40 touchdowns and 33 interceptions.” He’ll have to overcome his injury history and his “bad habits” if he hopes to stick at the NFL level.

Actions Speak Louder Than Words as Dolphins Make Zero Effort to Replace Tua Tagovailoa in 2024 NFL Draft

As expected, Miami stuck to their word and did not target a quarterback early in the draft. Of course, that decision ended up being made for them as the top six signal-callers in 2024 all came off the board at a record pace — well before the Dolphins were ever on the clock at No. 21 overall.

Having said that, Miami never gave any indication that they would make a move to replace Tua Tagovailoa in the draft. In fact, general manager Chris Grier voiced the opposite, noting that they had not considered the position in round one ahead of April 25.

The next step is for the Dolphins to reach and extension with Tagovailoa, although they’ve been warned about overpaying him.

It remains to be seen what Tagovailoa is seeking as an average annual salary, and how far off that number is from the Miami front office. If negotiations go south, a potential 2025 pivot could be a pursuit of Dallas Cowboys star Dak Prescott next spring.

As of now, however, Tagovailoa still appears to be the sole QB focus long-term.

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