That felt good to say, officially. I’ve been pretty much saying that since October. But now, on this April 22nd, I am saying that the Miami Dolphins should draft quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, officially. This isn’t just what I want the Dolphins to do. It’s what they should 100 percent do. It’s time to finally find the man that can be the actual heir to Dan Marino.
You know the names. You’ve probably been asked, at various times in your life, to rattle off all the quarterbacks that have started since Marino retired back in 2000. I know I’ve been asked and I’ve, sadly, been able to name them all wincing more after each name. Here they are:
Jay Fiedler, Damon Huard, Ray Lucas, Brian Griese, A.J. Feeley, Sage Rosenfels, Gus Frerotte, Joey Harrington, Culpepper, Cleo Lemon, Trent Green, John Beck, Chad Pennington, Chad Henne, Tyler Thigpen, Matt Moore, Tannehill, Cutler + Osweiler, Fitzpatrick and Josh Rosen.
That’s an unlucky 21 guys who have started for the Dolphins since 2000. Were all these guys thought of to be the man for many years? No. But many were. Many of these journeymen, retreads, guys who were high picks that sucked on their first team were at one time, in the mind’s of the Dolphin’s brass and they thought, “Hey, this guy can really sling it.” Or, “He was a high pick all he needs is a change of scenery and he’ll be great.” The time has come to, finally, end the search for Dan’s successor. The time is tomorrow night.
Many don’t think that Tua has what it takes and that’s fine. Some actually hate the idea of the guy, which I think gets a bit weird but fans are fanatical, so you’ll have that. He’s not the biggest guy going, so folks knock him for that. Yes, Tua has the hip injury and that isn’t a good thing. The ankle and phantom wrist stuff aren’t things that I care about. Marino wore a ski boot at one time, so I’m not concerned about ankle injuries that happen to lots of guys.
Hip Hop Anonymous
The hip injury was one that flattened him. His femur got separated from his hip. Basically, it’s said that type of injury only happens in car accidents. So yeah, I understand why folks are hesitant on drafting a guy who had something happen to him that’s usually reserved for car accident victims. My counter to that is that I simply don’t think that will ever happen again. It would be like making two hole-in-ones in your life.
Also, I wouldn’t be surprised at all if the Dolphins sent their doctors on a ride to where ever he was a few weeks ago and tested him out. Sure, that breaks social distancing but we’re talking big money here and if you don’t think multiple teams wouldn’t break the rules to get more information, well then, you’re slow. It’s being reported, by the Miami Herald that the Miami Dolphins have cleared Tua. So, it appears that they’re even cooler with him.
Before the hip injury, Tua was the consensus number one pick. Even with Joe Burrow putting up beyond video game numbers, if Tua doesn’t get hurt, the absolute majority of people would have had him ahead of Burrow. Naturally, the injury allowed Burrow to move up ahead of him.
Tua’s stats at Alabama (yeah a school that hasn’t produced a good quarterback since Joe Namath) were crazy land good. Sure, you could say that he was a product of having first-round talent all around him. If you go with that, then Burrow is in the same boat. So go ahead and draft Jordan Love or Jacob Eason because those guys had no one around them. That’s not how this works and you know it.
I know everyone has seen the comments that Trent Dilfer has said about Tua throwing the ball better than Marino and Rodgers. I suggest you listen to the whole quote and context of what he said to get exactly what he meant. But Dilfer, yeah a guy who gets labeled as the worst quarterback to win a Super Bowl (like that’s a bad thing) has been working with all the top quarterbacks in the last 10-15 years. He’s seen them all and he has Tua as his number one guy. Does that mean that Tua is a sure-fire Hall of Famer? Of course not, but I’ll take his word over Kiper, McShay, and most everyone else.
Tua looks like the best passer of the three main quarterbacks in this draft. I like what I see from Joe Burrow. He’s got mega-talent. My knock on him is that I don’t love that he played five years of college and is 24. I think a lot of his greatness this past year came from Joe Brady. Burrow couldn’t get past Dwyane Haskins or JT Barrett at Ohio St. He transferred to LSU and is the man. I can’t and won’t take anything away from him for what he did last year. But I question a guy who seems to need a certain kind of coordinator to have him play well. Chances are, Burrow isn’t going to get that super-terrific coordinator in the NFL.
Justin Herbert has all the physical tools that you want in a quarterback and Marino’s blessing. What I don’t like about Herbert when you watch his games, not just his highlights, is that he processes information too slowly for my liking. You want to know what separates the very best of the best and the good quarterbacks? It’s processing speed. Brady, Montana, Manning Marino, and the greats could figure out where to get the ball in the blink of an eye. Herbert takes two blinks of the eye to know where to go with the ball. That’s a huge difference. It’s the difference between Rodgers, Brady, and Mahomes compared to Cousins, Prescott, and Goff. Those guys need play-action to make plays. The other guys don’t.
Tua doesn’t nee deception, such as play-action to make plays. He can line up on third-and-eight when everyone knows he’s throwing and stick the slant or the dig. He can do this better than the other quarterbacks in the draft because he processes information faster.
You shouldn’t have been believing anything you’ve heard from any of the insiders or beat writers because they don’t know who Miami is going to take. Even with all their alleged “sources”, they know as much as we do because you have no idea if the teams are telling the truth or not whenever they tell anyone anything. First, it was Tua, then it was they were trading up for Burrow. Then it was half the organization likes Herbert to others think Love later in the first is the play. Now, it’s Herbert talk has subsided and it’s back to Tua. We don’t know shit.
What I can tell you is that Tua was the Dolphin’s guy for the past year since Flores was hired. They traded away Tunsil and Minkah just so that they could lose more games to get the number one pick to get, at the time, the consensus number one quarterback in Tua. They didn’t do all this to draft Herbert or Burrow. That’s what I keep coming back to when I think about who they’ll draft.
I know there’s a ton of logic in drafting offensive linemen because Miami has had a suspect offensive line for years. But the Dolphins have a buttload of picks to address their o-line. I love Isiah Simmons and he would be excellent in Flores’ system. But, they only have one pick that can get them the franchise quarterback they desperately need. I don’t know where the Dolphins will have to be able to select Tua. Do they have to trade up to three or will Tua slide to five? It’s hard to say. I don’t love the idea of trading tons of picks to move up a few spots, but if it’s only another one of our firsts and a later round pick, I’d do it.
Time for Miami to Take What’s Theirs
I’m tired of playing it safe. I don’t want to have another Jake Long over Matt Ryan situation. I don’t want another Culpepper/Jamar Fletcher over Drew Brees situation. No more with not taking a chance. This team has been living in a pool of mediocracy for two decades because they’ve tried to get by on hopes, dreams and by crossing their fingers. Now, they finally have a chance to take a guy who has the “it” quality who can make guys better, who doesn’t need a great running game, great offensive line and great defense to succeed. It’s time to take the division on a yearly basis and compete for titles for a few years straight. Tomorrow night, we can start to truly do that. The Dolphins need, and I think will take, Tua Tagovailoa ushering in a new day for Miami.
UPDATE: Take this for what it’s worth. I think the Dolphins are just picking a new player or position that they like every day to get everyone going. I still think the pick will be Tua one way or the other. We’ll find out tomorrow night.
Sources: The #Dolphins have called the teams in front of them for a possible trade up from No. 5 and are gauging the price to come up to No. 3 to potentially take an offensive tackle. We could see a run on tackles in the Top 10 like never before.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) April 22, 2020