It was a pretty painful loss on Sunday, but one thing that became clear to me was the Miami Dolphins have to look at drafting a quarterback early in next year’s draft. Not necessarily start right away, but to push current quarterback Ryan Tannehill. Tannehill has improved in a lot of areas since being the starting quarterback with his accuracy, deep ball throws, and leadership, but when the game was on the line Sunday he failed to come up with the big throw in the clutch that a franchise quarterback has to make. I know he didn’t have 3 starting offensive linemen and he was constantly pressured especially after left tackle Laremy Tunsil left to a concussion, but that doesn’t excuse the horrible mistake he made when the score was 17-10 and while getting pressured he just threw the ball into the line and the ball deflected off a helmet and was intercepted for a touchdown. Tannehill has failed in the clutch many times and the offense flounders and needs him to make a big throw, he doesn’t come through. Sunday was a perfect example of that. Tannehill has been compared to Alex Smith as a game manager who takes care of the ball and doesn’t make the big mistake on a consistent basis which is fair. The most Tannehill will be is a quarterback who can guide his team to the playoffs as a wild card team and maybe win a game that’s it. In the NFL, the quarterback has to be able to take his team to the elite level and Tannehill just won’t be able to do that. Maybe he needs a quarterback to push him and maybe Tannehill can raise his level of play, but the Dolphins haven’t brought in any quarterback to push him and the Dolphins have no other valuable options at quarterback and for better or worse it’s Tannehill or bust.
Last off season, 4 quarterbacks were drafted in the top 10 in the 1st round. The Dolphins picked at 11 and were rumored to be interested in taking one of those quarterbacks, but instead used the pick to take Minkah Fitzpatrick, who I think is going to be a very good play however the Dolphins may regret not trading up to take a quarterback. The Cleveland Browns had the 1st pick and took Baker Mayfield, while the New York Jets, Buffalo Bills, and Arizona Cardinals traded up to get a quarterback because they needed one or needed to develop one.
There’s no exact science on drafting a quarterback or when to take one, but in the NFL sometimes you have to make bold moves involving a quarterback and since Dan Marino retired the Dolphins haven’t done that. In the 2017 draft, the Kansas City Chiefs traded up to take quarterback Patrick Mahomes despite have Alex Smith at quarterback. The Chiefs knew what they had in Smith, as I mentioned above, and realized they needed to take a chance on a quarterback to sit and learn until ready to help take the next step. Mahomes sat on the bench last year and Smith had one of his best seasons, but the Chiefs lost in the 1st round of the playoffs. The Chiefs traded Smith and Mahomes has been the starter and is arguably the best quarterback in the league so far. Mahomes seems to have more play making ability than Smith that can take the Chiefs to the next level. In this past year’s draft, the Baltimore Ravens decided to trade back into the 1st round to select quarterback Lamar Jackson despite having a quarterback to led them to the Super Bowl in Joe Flacco 5 years ago, but Flacco’s performance since has been underwhelming and the Ravens decided to make a bold move to push their current starter and so far Flacco is playing very well and keeping Jackson on the bench. That is something the Dolphins have to do.
The Dolphins could also get rid of Tannehill and draft a quarterback and let him play, but who knows what you will get from that. The Bills made the playoffs last year with Tyrod Taylor, but he was limited as a passer and they decided to trade him. The Bills traded up to select Josh Allen, but Allen’s play so far has been mixed and he doesn’t look like he is ready to play. If the Dolphins do that they risk losing a rookie quarterbacks confidence and will he get better. That’s not to say Allen won’t get better, but there have been examples of quarterbacks not ready to play right away and they never got their footing in the NFL like David Carr, Ryan Leaf, Joey Harrington, and more.
The Dolphins front office if they were smart would start looking at the quarterbacks in next year’s draft and figure out who they could potentially invest in to push Tannehill. Coach Adam Gase has been in Tannehill’s corner from day one, but that loyalty could end up getting him fired if he doesn’t start seeing the big picture. Even if Tannehill is able to ride the ship the rest of the way and the Dolphins make the playoffs they have to look at other options and be bold otherwise they are going to be stuck in mediocrity at best. As a fan, I don’t want that. I want to see the Dolphins make bold decisions to make the team better. The team has a pretty good nucleus of players to where they should roll the dice on a quarterback.
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