It was 2012, and the stage was set for the Miami Dolphins to select a quarterback in the upcoming draft class.

That draft class consisting of Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III, Ryan Tannehill, and Russell Wilson was probably the best class of quarterbacks the NFL has seen since 2004– a class that featured Philip Rivers, Ben Roethlisberger, and Eli Manning.

The Dolphins seemed destined for the 1st overall pick, but Miami’s “Suck for Luck” campaign of the 2011 season went off the rails when backup Matt Moore took the reins and led the team to a 6-10 finish after starting off 0-7. This final record caused Miami to receive the 8th overall pick.

So, the Dolphins were no longer in position to select the 2012’s best young quarterback prospect– Andrew Luck.

And they were not in a place to select the next hot young dual-threat quarterback Robert Griffin III, after the Redskins gave up a king’s ransom of draft picks to the Rams in order to move up the draft board to the No. 2 spot.

So the Dolphins choice basically came down to Brandon Weeden– who was most pro-ready, but older than ideal; Russell Wilson– who could play and come up clutch, but knocked for being too short; or Ryan Tannehill– who had all the physical skills, but seen as a project because of his conversion from wide receiver, limited starts, and need for development in multiple areas including signal-calling, deep ball accuracy, and being more vocal.

But the stage was set for the Dolphins to select Ryan Tannehill.

New head coach Joe Philbin had a relationship with Mike Sherman, who was Tannehill’s collegiate head coach at Texas A&M. Both coaches new each other from their days working for the Green Bay Packers.

So, the Dolphins selected Tannehill, and the following years were filled with ups and downs, mediocrity, and eventually frustration, a split fan base, and seasons that seemed to end with more disappointment than promise.

Throughout Tannehill’s career, he was publicly criticized by media and by fans for not being able to connect consistently with the deep ball, throwing with lack of touch, poor pocket presence and awareness, not being able to identify a blitz, and reading the field too slowly.

During his years with the Dolphins, Tannehill went through multiple head coaches and offensive coordinators. Each of whom were brought on to try to find a way to get the most of Miami’s quarterback.

Meanwhile, a quarterback who had all the ability but was too short for most teams, was making plays in Seattle. Russell Wilson was creating magic, winning and appearing in Super Bowls, making Pro Bowls, and eventually becoming an elite quarterback in the NFL.

Now, I’m not going to say drafting Tannehill was a bad move for the Dolphins. The Dolphins hadn’t drafted a quarterback in the 1st round since Dan Marino. By the time 2012 came around, it was about darn time for them to do so.

But it should teach the Dolphins a lesson.

Don’t draft a project. Draft a quarterback who can play.

In this upcoming 2020 draft, Tua Tagovailoa is the quarterback with every ability except ideal height, and durability. But even with his injury concerns, he’s bounced back quickly and still missed very few games in college. He’s vocal, he has the ability to throw the deep ball, and he has the mobility to scramble while keeping his eyes downfield.

On the other hand, Justin Herbert is known for being the most physically gifted quarterback in this draft class but is linked too much for his similarities to Ryan Tannehill. He leads by example, but not a commanding presence. He needs to learn how to throw with touch on longer throws, and at times is wildly inaccurate on those passes. Needs better ball placement when throwing laterally. Has trouble throwing outside the numbers. He’s robotic at times… the list goes on and on.

The point is: Herbert needs to clean up and polish a lot more of his play than Tua does. 

And if the Miami Dolphins draft Herbert, do fans want to go through perhaps the same frustrations Tannehill gave them for 7 seasons? Do they want to relive that?

Do fans want to be coming out of a Dolphins loss again saying, “if only our quarterback hit that open receiver deep for a touchdown earlier in the game”?

For me, I don’t want to relive those frustrations.

I want a guy who can play, who can make all the throws, who can create something out of nothing, and has the leadership to inspire.

And I’ll take my chances with durability.