Examining the many Miami Dolphins QB options
It's been widely assumed the Miami Dolphins will get a quarterback early in the 2020 NFL draft as part of their rebuilding project.
But which quarterback? And at what spot in the first round? Will they use the fifth overall selection on Tua Tagovailoa or Justin Herbert? Will they wait until the 18th overall selection for one of those two or Jordan Love? Will they trade up for Joe Burrow? Will they trade down and then pick their quarterback?
So many quarterbacks. So many options.
Let's dive into those options (listed in no particular order).
Option 1 — Trade up to No. 1 to select Joe Burrow. We discussed this possibility at length in a previous story, focusing on what the right price would be for the opportunity to land the Heisman Trophy winner and national champion from LSU.
Option 2 — Trade up to select Tua Tagovailoa: There has been an insane amount of stories written about the Alabama quarterback, complete with his potential, his injury history, his draft status, everything.
Among the many scenarios is that his draft stock will not be hurt by his injury history and that some team will trade up to select him. The Detroit Lions are widely believed to be amenable to trading the No. 3 overall selection provided they don't move back too far down.
That certainly would put the Dolphins and Los Angeles Chargers, slated to pick fifth and sixth overall, in the middle of that conversation.
What that trade would look like remains to be seen, though one would think one of the Dolphins' other two first-round picks (18 and 26) could be in play, or perhaps one of their two No. 2's.
Option 3 — Trade up to select Justin Herbert: This one would appear a little more unlikely because the scouting community is a lot more divided on Herbert's pro potential than that of Tagovailoa (provided he stays healthy).
Still, there's been a lot of conjecture about the Dolphins really liking Herbert and maybe, just maybe, they'll get nervous about the Chargers liking him as much and make a move.
It should be noted that the New York Giants, sitting at No. 4, also very well could trade to move down because they're widely expected to take an offensive lineman and still might get their top choice by moving down to say, 5 or 6.
Option 4 — Stay put at number 5 at select Tagovailoa: Barring a trade early on, the top three picks in the 2020 draft are widely expected to be Burrow, Ohio State defensive end Chase Young and Ohio State cornerback Jeff Okudah.
Because they drafted Daniel Jones high in the first round last year, the Giants will not be taking a quarterback at number 4 if they stay put.
That would leave the Dolphins free to select any non-Burrow quarterback at 5.
The Dolphins have been linked to Tagovailoa for almost a year now, though they'd have to be comfortable with selecting him that high despite not having had the chance to closely examine him from a medical standpoint because of the coronavirus-related circumstances.
Coach Brian Flores said at the scouting combine he was looking for a quarterback with the "it" factor, and Tua certainly has that. Then GM Chris Grier said during his pre-draft press conference that while the Dolphins do have injury projections produced by their analytics department, every case is different.
As examples, he pointed out to tackle Jake Long, who had no injuries at the University of Michigan before his NFL career was short-circuited by knee problems, and to running back Curtis Martin, who battled injuries at the University of Pittsburgh before becoming a Pro Football Hall of Famer.
Option 5 — Stay put at 5 and select Herbert: A lot of national mock drafts have the Dolphins going that route, partly because of the uncertainty surrounding Tagovailoa's long-term durability.
Option 6 — Stay put at 5 at select Love: That one frankly would be a shocker because, while scouts agree that Love has a high ceiling, this is considered too early for him.
Option 7 — Trade down and select Tua or Herbert: Because the Carolina Panthers signed Teddy Bridgewater to be their quarterback and because the Jacksonville Jaguars are ready to roll with Gardner Minshew, the Los Angeles Chargers are considered the only team widely expected to take a quarterback early in the first round.
Even then, there's a school of thought that Chargers coach Anthony Lynn is a big Tyrod Taylor fan and might focus somewhere else at pick 6, perhaps with Clemson do-it-all defender Isaiah Simmons if he's available.
The possibility certainly does exist that Tua or Herbert could be available beyond the top 10 picks, and under that scenario the Dolphins certainly could be tempted to trade down to acquire even more picks than they already have and maintain the chance to land one of those quarterbacks.
Option 8 — Select a non-quarterback at 5 and trade up for either Tua or Herbert: The Dolphins have 14 picks this year and two in each of the first two rounds next year, so they have all the maneuverability they could want.
So let's say they go for Simmons or one of the top offensive tackles at 5, then Tua or Herbert is available, say, around 11 or 12.
So maybe the Dolphins used some of that draft capital and moves up from 18 in the first round and, voila, quarterback position addressed.
Option 9 — Stay put at 18 and select Love: It's really difficult to envision any scenario where both Tua and Herbert are available at 18, which is why we're only talking about Love here.
Love's upside makes him tempting, particularly since the Dolphins don't have to rush him into the lineup because of the presence of veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick.
Option 10 — Trade down from 18 and select Love: Love's draft position is a lot murkier than those of Tua and Herbert, who widely are expected to be top 10 picks.
So let's say the Dolphins have taken a tackle (or Simmons) at number 5, they get to 18 and Love is still available and the Dolphins are confident he'll last a few more picks at least. Then maybe the Dolphins try to move down a few spots, pick up additional draft capital and get their quarterback.
Option 11 — Pick players at other positions at 5 and 18 and select Love at 26: Given the way quarterbacks tend to get overdrafted, this doesn't appear to be a likely scenario, but it needs to be mentioned nonetheless.
At that spot, maybe Oklahoma's Jalen Hurts also enters the equation, though most analysts have him as a second-round projection.
Option 12 — Take no quarterback in the first round: Look, we said it's widely expected that the Dolphins will take a quarterback in the first round because they've long been looking for a franchise QB; that doesn't mean they're obligated to do it.
Maybe they wait until the second round to take a quarterback. Maybe they don't take a quarterback at all.
Yes, it would be surprising. But it's also not impossible.