Why Miami Dolphins look like they’re about to make yet another silly decision

Florida franchise expected to choose Justin Herbert over Tua Tagovailoa in draft
The Miami Dolphins' backfield has been in chaos since legend Dan Marino retired in 1999. Picture:  John Mottern/AFP/GettyThe Miami Dolphins' backfield has been in chaos since legend Dan Marino retired in 1999. Picture:  John Mottern/AFP/Getty
The Miami Dolphins' backfield has been in chaos since legend Dan Marino retired in 1999. Picture: John Mottern/AFP/Getty

The Miami Dolphins spent the first half of last season trying to get the first pick in the NFL Draft, promising their fanbase that all would be ok after they allowed 70 points against in the opening two weeks. We have a plan, they said, and that was Tua Tagovailoa, the guaranteed first quarterback to be picked in the 2020 draft.

Then the injury struck. Tagovailoa dislocated his right hip and his campaign ended prematurely. It was his fourth injury in three seasons. Meanwhile, the Miami Dolphins 
suddenly started winning games.

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The Dolphins, who finished with five wins, have ended up with the fifth pick in this week’s draft. But even so, they still looked primed to pick Tagovailoa after Joe Burrow stepped up his college game and became the de facto No 1 choice, now belonging to Cincinnati Bengals. Washington, Detroit and New York Giants all pick two through four and none of them needs a quarterback, so Tagovailoa is expected to be sitting there when Miami come on the clock. Another win for the Dolphins, or so it would seem.

While Tua did suffer those injuries, his college career has been nothing but spectacular. In his two seasons as a starter at Alabama, he has thrown 87 touchdowns and only 11 interceptions and a completion percentage of 70. Not only that but the film on him shows that he’s composed and makes good reads before throwing the ball, all things that should make him a solid if not brilliant NFL passer.

But will Miami go for Tagovailoa? To understand what looks likely to actually happen on Thursday evening we need to understand how much of a shambles the Dolphins franchise has become.

So, a quick history lesson…

Head back to the 1980s and 
Nineties and Miami had one of the game’s most famous names at play-caller, Dan Marino.

They had a period of stability that ended with Marino’s retirement in 1999. Since Dan the Man hung up his cleats there’s been chaos in the backfield. In the 19 seasons since, the Fins have had 21 starting quarterbacks, and when you consider that 2012 first-round pick Ryan Tannehill started for nearly five seasons that means they had 20 starters in 14 years. A rotating door may well be needed. If this doesn’t demonstrate the disfunction in the Dolphins front office, I don’t know what does.

Since then the Dolphins have drafted six quarterbacks in round one or two of the draft and traded
a second-round pick for Josh Rosen, a first-round pick just a year before, last season. Rosen then started only three games for the Florida team.

Miami’s front office has got it wrong so many times it has almost become a culture for the team now. So imagine the reaction when ESPN’s Mel Keiper released his fourth and final Mock draft, and after his extensive research and backchannel whispers, it appears the Dolphins are now all in on Justin Herbert this week.

The University of Oregon quarterback has lots of positives but also lots of questionable traits.

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The belief from the scouts is that Herbert has massive upside, but needs a lot more development.

Herbert has a strong arm and has made throws downfield with high accuracy. Still, his scouting report also points to poor decision making, missing easy throws and not being able to deliver in critical
moments. In the same two-year period that Tua managed 87 touchdowns against 11 interceptions, Herbert, in a significantly
weaker division, managed 64 touchdowns against 14 interceptions.

Also in a league that seems to be moving towards the more mobile quarterback, Herbert only demonstrated these skills in his last two games of his college career. Yes Tua has a history of injury, but his tangibles, his movement and his record against elite opposition make him the safer bet.

I’m sorry Miami fans, but with the organisation having a habit
of making strange decisions each and every year, the Dolphins
are once again about to do the most Dolphin thing possible. Like a degenerate gambler, they are about to roll the dice again. Instead of taking a reliable and sensible choice, they will bet the car, the house and the future on the fashionable choice.

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