This past Sunday morning, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that the Miami Dolphins will look to rebuild, while waiting until the 2020 draft to (hopefully) land their franchise quarterback. Fortifying the offensive and defensive line while adding young explosive playmakers should be the Dolphins’ highest priority going into the 2019 NFL draft. Build from the inside out and set the foundation for continued success.
While I am hopeful that a revamped offensive line (among other things) will benefit the Dolphins next QB and offense as a whole, I am still somewhat uncertain of the Dolphins’ ability to evaluate the most important quality, or trait, of a true franchise quarterback. What I’m talking about here is the “it” factor. Some call it the “clutch gene”, while others call it the “glow”. Let’s take a look at a few playmakers that come to mind, shall we? Patrick Mahomes, Baker Mayfield, Russell Wilson, Drew Brees, Tom Brady (even though it pains me to admit) etc. What traits do these players have in common? Awareness? Check. Pocket presence? Check. High football IQ? Check. Most importantly, they have a swagger and a confidence about themselves that extends throughout the rest of the team. When is the last time you think Ryan Tannehill woke up feeling dangerous? It’s no surprise that these players seem to make the big play when it matters most. Some fans might say that Tannehill never really had time to throw and that our o-line was unable to hold up. This may be true, however someone with the “it” factor finds a way to make plays even when things around him aren’t perfect. No excuses just result.
Why do some players seem to have the “it” factor while others don’t? I believe it boils down to confidence in oneself, one’s abilities, and resiliency in the face of extreme circumstance. We need to remember that athletes are humans just like us; not just robots programmed to make play after play regardless of the situation. Once anxiety and self-doubt begin to creep into a player’s mind, they will never be able to perform to the best of their abilities no matter how hard they try to convince themselves that they can. It seems that the “it” factor might boil down to a mix of raw physical talent combined with specific personality traits that have formed within these individuals over time.
The Dolphins desperately need to change their philosophy when it comes to drafting a quarterback. If they see that the “it” factor is missing, then they must continue to draft a quarterback each year until they find the right one. Building a solid foundation will all be for naught if this organization holds out hope on another quarterback like Tannehill who “might” become elite but has never really shown elite tendencies in a consistent way. Don’t just go for the guy with the perfect measurables or biggest arm. Yes, those things matter, but maybe go for the guy who also has heart. Go for the guy who’s got the balls to make the big throw in the biggest of moments. Go for the guy who isn’t afraid to stand up and lead his comrades fearlessly into battle. If I’m the Dolphins front office, I find a way to make this my number one priority. No longer can Dolphins management make the mistake of drafting the guy that talks the talk but can’t walk the walk. Failure to assess this correctly will keep this team stuck in mediocrity until the end of time.
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