21 different quarterbacks have started a game for the Miami Dolphins since Dan Marino hung it up. That number figures to increase by one in 2020 as Chris Grier and Brian Flores apply the final touches to their draft board.
However, Miami’s approach to finding their next Marino has been flat-out miserable ever since his departure. The Dolphins have very rarely invested draft capital into the position, and have instead preferred patchwork journeymen, or guys who were clearly washed. Think back to guys like Joey Harrington, Daunte Culpepper, Trent Green, David Garrard, etc. The list is long and painful.
Instead of being proactive about the position, the team has long been complacent. Teams such as the Packers and Chiefs have taken quarterbacks even when it was not an immediate need. The Patriots were taking QB’s throughout Brady’s tenure – Jimmy Garoppolo, Ryan Mallett, Jacoby Brissett, and Jarrett Stidham. The Baltimore Ravens traded back into the first-round to nab Lamar Jackson, who many people said would not be able to play QB in the NFL. They took a risk.
Isn’t it time that Miami takes a risk?
— DolphinsTalk.com (@DolphinsTalk) April 16, 2020
Here is a look at Miami’s efforts toward finding a franchise QB via the draft since 1999:
2001: Round 6, Pick 177 – Josh Huepel
2007: Round 2, Pick 40 – John Beck
2008: Round 2, Pick 57 – Chad Henne
2009: Round 2, Pick 44 – Pat White
2012: Round 1, Pick 8 – Ryan Tannehill
2016: Round 7, Pick 223 – Brandon Doughty
Brutal. I mean, this is all you really need to understand the Dolphins’ failures throughout the 2000’s and beyond.
In 2005, a kid out of Cal named Aaron Rodgers slid all the way to the 24th pick where the Green Bay Packers selected him to be the eventual successor to Brett Favre. Miami had the second overall pick in the draft that year, and Gus Frerotte was slated to be the starting QB. The Dolphins took Ronnie Brown, who was a very good back for them, but I think we all understand the miss here.
This isn’t specific to the miss on Rodgers, either. That is simply one in a group of many – Passing on Brees twice, Jake Long over Matt Ryan, and so on. The point is that the Dolphins have not been able to be forward-thinking when it comes to the QB position. By year 4 or 5 of the Tannehill era, it was clear that he wasn’t going to be any sort of savior. Why wasn’t Miami taking QB’s during those years? Why weren’t they in play for Mahomes/Watson? How about Lamar? For the most part they’ve drafted scared, and “safe.”
Don’t you think it’s time that Miami takes a leap of faith? They have to if they want to successfully complete this rebuild. When you look at Miami’s draftees at the position since Marino, how do you not feel totally puzzled?
Tua Tagovailoa is one of the riskiest draft prospects to come out of college in a long time, but the ceiling seems to be unlimited. I don’t think Grier would have to move out of the 5 spot to snag him, either. They must take this chance because we know exactly how it looks when you don’t.
Miami cannot miss on April 23.
Nice article. Missing out on Brees and Rodgers while signing Culpepper and Frerotte is how dumb this front office has been. Well truth also is that even in the Marino era there were number of poor choices Shula had made outside the pure passing game. The defense and running game were abysmal. I claim the culture of winning Championships had faded after Marino took the field and the culture of winning games with passing attack attack too centerstage.
Coming to past QB drafts, Tannehill is the exception on the list. With a good supporting cast and coaching staff, he could have done what Flacco did in Baltimore, if you compare stats per game over eight seasons. Tannehill dealt with utter incompetence at coaches, Philbin and Gase ( and Campbell).
Agree overall with your assessment however generically.
The big downside regardless is this. While the front office culture seems to have been on the right track, the hiring of Chan Gailey is at best awful. Gailey comes into coaching a game that had already passed him by before he went away a couple or more years ago.
With him at OC, it is perhaps pointless which QB is drafted. Look at the Jets, Darnold is elite, coached by Gase. Darnold will go nowhere fast unless Gase gets booted like Philbin and replaced with a Caldwell type. Gailey is an older version of Gase in ability. I rather have Rosen traded, and Tua not drafted so their personal careers are not destroyed. Rosen is on his last legs professionally anyway, let us not ruin Tua with Gailey.
Point is I still do not see light at QB. Endure the Fitz-Gailey comedy anda year Fitzy buffoonery. At the draft, try to get the best player on the board at #5, be it Simmons, may be even Okudah (if at all either is available) or an OL. Or may be even trade down for a pair of OL?
That’s a messed up picture of Chris Grier.
What he said…..