Minkah Fitzpatrick trade fallout: Could Miami's draft plan not include a quarterback?
Do not be so sure the Dolphins will target a quarterback in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft
Not all tanks are created equally. The Miami Dolphins' situation has drawn comparisons to what the Cleveland Browns attempted to do a few seasons ago with former Executive Vice President of Football Operations Sashi Brown. No one could definitively say the Browns were tanking because they were releasing expensive, aged players like Karlos Dansby, Donte Whitner and to a lesser extent Joe Haden.
Miami's decision to trade 25-year-old left tackle Laremy Tunsil and 2018 first-round selection Minkah Fitzpatrick hassignaling that everyone is available in Miami. Will the Dolphins follow through on a lengthy rebuild that Cleveland abandoned after going 1-31 over two seasons?
Miami is slated to have three first-round selections and two second-round selections in the 2020 NFL Draft after parting with Tunsil and Fitzpatrick. Most are earmarking one of those first-round selections for a quarterback but the team may not opt to go in that direction. Spoiler alert: when my first mock draft with CBS Sports is released Friday, it will not include the Dolphins taking a quarterback. It would come as no surprise if the AFC East team selects a quarterback but it is not a foregone conclusion. Let's play Devil's avocado (as CBS Sports' Will Brinson likes to say on the popular Pick Six podcast) and look back to those Browns.
Cleveland was in a position to select Carson Wentz and Deshaun Watson. In both scenarios, the franchise traded back in the first round to acquire additional draft capital. In hindsight, it was the wrong decision but their reasoning was sound: build a solid foundation before thrusting a quarterback into a no-win situation. How is a quarterback expected to be successful if there are no pass catchers and no offensive line?
If the right quarterback is available, the Dolphins should select and sit him. Sure, Clemson's Trevor Lawrence is eligible to enter the 2021 NFL Draft and based on Miami's current roster composition, they will be right back in the hunt for the No. 1 overall selection next year. However, a lot can happen in that time frame. I was at the front of the line advocating for the New York Giants to select Sam Darnold over Saquon Barkley last year. Teams need a good quarterback to compete in today's pass-happy league.
There are reasons supporting the theory that the Dolphins may not take a quarterback. First, no quarterback in this year's class has shown that he is worthy of a team tanking for his services. They all have their faults. Second, the team has Josh Rosen who has shown nothing to date but quarterbacks generally start to feel comfortable entering their third season.
It is entirely too soon for anyone to give up on the former No. 10 overall selection. Most assume that the Dolphins do not have a plan but perhaps it is not a coincidence that the team has been hesitant to put Rosen on the field behind that porous offensive line. Jared Goff is the perfect example of a quarterback benefiting from the right coach and stability. Miami has done everything in their power to acquire additional draft choices so, why would anyone overlook their willingness to part with a second-round choice for the quarterback? Third, the Dolphins have a lot of problems but quarterback is not at the top of the list. Perhaps start by filling the holes created by trading Tunsil and Fitzpatrick in addition to allowing right tackle Ja'Wuan James to leave in free agency.
If Miami passes on a quarterback, then Alabama wide receiver Jerry Jeudy and Ohio State edge rusher Chase Young should be at the top of their list. If they trade back, they have a bevy of options including taking one of the available offensive tackles. The first-round pick from the Steelers could land anywhere at this point depending on the play of Mason Rudolph following an injury to Ben Roethlisberger. The first-round pick from Houston is likely destined for the late teens-early 20s.
It could be a difficult few years for Dolphins fans but it will become even more challenging if general manager Chris Grier does not make good use of the draft capital that he has acquired.
Come on, Miami. Give Marc Anthony, Fergie and the Williams sisters a team for whom they can be proud.
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