The Miami Dolphins need to draft a quarterback. That’s not exactly a hot take, even if you’ll find plenty of counterarguments suggesting the team shouldn’t rush into anything, or that they should bolster other areas unless they’re completely sure they have the right QB candidate. There are arguments in every direction this time of year, but for the Dolphins in 2019, I’d argue it’s best not to overthink things: The team needs a quarterback. We know (or can reasonably expect) that Ryan Fitzpatrick will have some monster games. There’s every chance that three weeks into the season he’ll have thrown 12 touchdowns and the team will be 2-1. But we also know that Fitzmagic doesn’t tend to last; if there is such a hot start, it’s likely to be followed by a five-pick game.
That may be what we’re in store for anyway, because even a promising rookie quarterback isn’t likely to start from day one. Nevertheless, it highlights the need for a long-term fix, either for the latter half of the 2019 season or certainly for the years to come. So I thought I may as well join in the fun and take a look at some of the players the Dolphins could look into drafting to fill this need.
One fun detail of the 2019 draft is that we don’t just have mocks – we have odds, and not just the best guesses from the UK, but homegrown, well-informed takes. U.S. sports betting is taking off via a number of new laws and the companies they’re helping to bring about, and as a result the gigantic U.S. sports punditry business is now starting to include odds and betting tips. And, if you look at pretty much any of these tips as they relate to the NFL Draft, you’ll see that Kyler Murray – the undersized but ultra-talented QB out of Oklahoma – is the presumptive number one pick. Clearly, that means he’s almost definitely off the table for the Dolphins, barring a dramatic trade up. If such a trade were to materialize, he’d be the most exciting man for the job, but this draft is deep enough at QB that a trade for number one would still be a reach. I’d say pass.
Dwayne Haskins & Drew Lock
I’m lumping these two together because at least in terms of odds, draft analysis, and mocks, they’re starting to blend together. It makes some sense; Haskins (Ohio State) and Lock (Missouri) are almost identical in size and measurements, at least somewhat similar athletically, and viewed by most as the second and third best QB prospects behind Murray, in one order or another. Both are more or less thought of as upside picks, which is to say we can see the NFL ability in them, but they both have some learning to do as well. At best, it seems as if maybe one of them could be available when the Dolphins pick, in which case the team would likely take that player. But it’s also a little bit hazy which teams ahead of Miami will select QBs. If the Dolphins were to have their pick between the two – which they almost certainly won’t – I’d be hoping for Lock. His raw stats weren’t quite as good as those of Haskins, but his potential seems slightly greater.
Daniel Jones has turned into a sort of wildcard among prospective first-round QB picks. The mere fact that he’s coming out of Duke will make some balk, though it should also be noted that the Blue Devils have made significant progress with their football program. That progress also happens to be a result of the leadership of head coach David Cutcliffe, whose main claim to fame is having mentored the Manning brothers. That, plus Jones’s outstanding progress at Duke, NFL-ready frame, and almost sneaky running ability, make him a very intriguing prospect. There are now rumors that he’s become the Giants’ top priority (at sixth in the draft). If New York winds up going for Haskins or Lock however, or holding off on a QB altogether, Jones could be available for the Dolphins at pick 13. If that’s the case, I’d like to see them scoop him up – possibly even ahead of Haskins or Lock.
Will Grier & Ryan Finley
I’m putting Grier (West Virginia) and Finley (NC State) together because they appear somewhat likely to be the first two quarterbacks taken after the first round. Anything could happen, but Murray, Haskins, Lock, and Jones are viewed as likely first rounders; Grier and Finley are in plenty of projections for the second round. They’re not necessarily similar prospects though. Finley is a little bit bigger and has a stronger arm, but doesn’t jump off the screen as an athlete or as a pure talent. Grier, in any given game, can look like an exceptional talent, but his arm isn’t nearly as strong as teams would like to see, which limits his abilities. Both put up terrific stats in college, however, and either has a shot to exceed expectations. If the Dolphins decide to wait for the second round to take a chance on somebody, one of these two may be available. I’d suggest Finley has the higher floor, but Grier the higher ceiling, if everything works out. I’d take a shot at Grier.
Jarrett Stidham & Clayton Thorson
This is the last pair I’ll mention, as potential third-round picks (though Thorson, at least, is sometimes mentioned on the Finley/Grier tier). Thorson unfortunately struggled with injuries in his final season at Northwestern, but his ability has never been questioned. He’s a big quarterback who runs well when healthy, and despite somewhat high interception numbers, his accuracy has been praised by analysts. Stidham, meanwhile, is coming out of Auburn after something of a down year. There’s not too much buzz around him, but it’s been suggested that he could be a sleeper, on the grounds that he was once a can’t-miss prospect who simply had a rocky college journey (including stops at both Baylor and Auburn). If the right team can tap into the natural talent, he could well be a hidden gem. I’d be intrigued if the Dolphins selected him in the third round, but not overjoyed.
Any quarterback beyond these eight would be a pure project, and a likely career backup. It is therefore reasonable to assume the Dolphins will at least consider some of the players above. As to which one could ultimately be Miami bound, we’ll just have to wait for the draft!