There has been a lot of speculation about who will be the quarterback for the Miami Dolphins in 2021. The team just drafted Tua Tagovailoa No. 5 overall last year, but apparently, it’s already time to move on from the Alabama product.
First, the team pushed to trade for star quarterback Deshaun Watson. Unfortunately, Watson is now dealing with legal issues and might not be a viable option after all. So people such as Fox Sports Radio host Colin Cowherd have moved on to another idea.
Instead of sticking with Tagovailoa, Cowherd suggests that Miami stay put at No. 3 overall and draft Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields. He talked about that possibility during The Herd with Colin Cowherd on Tuesday.
“If I’m Miami, I’m not sure I’m giving up that pick [No. 3 overall], and I’m not so sure I’m not drafting Justin Fields,” Cowherd said. “Because I don’t want to get trapped. Listen, Miami could just take a mulligan on this and do what Arizona did. Just say, ‘Listen, we drafted a pocket guy. The league’s changing. We’re going with Kyler Murray.’ You could do that with Justin Fields.
“Justin Fields is bigger than Tua, stronger than Tua, faster than Tua, has a bigger high-end arm than Tua, and he’s a better athlete than Tua. A play has to be designed for Tua and the play to work. It’s very Derek Carr or Kirk Cousins. It’s not that way for Josh Allen or Lamar Jackson or Patrick Mahomes or Russell Wilson or Kyle Murray or, a lot of times, Aaron Rodgers. They can go off-script.
“Tua is more Kirk Cousins. He’s more Derek Carr or Andy Dalton. Pressure equals trouble, ad libbing equals trouble.”
This is an interesting take, and not one I agree with at all.
Look, everyone saw Tagovailoa struggle as a rookie, but let’s look at this logically. What did he have going for him? Name one thing quarterbacks normally need around them to succeed on the NFL level, and then tell me Tagovailoa had that.
Did he have a good play-caller? No, he had offensive coordinator Chan Gailey, who didn’t even want Tagovailoa as his starter at the time he was inserted into the lineup.
OK, did he have good pass protection? No, the offensive line was made up of two newly-signed free agents (Ereck Flowers and Ted Karras) and three rookies (Austin Jackson, Robert Hunt and Solomon Kindley). It takes time for those guys to gel.
Did he have reliable weapons? Absolutely not. The Dolphins fielded one of the worst collections of pass-catching talent in the NFL last season.
What about a complementary run game? Did he at least have that? Well, the group consisted of Myles Gaskin, Salvon Ahmed, Matt Breida and Jordan Howard. None of them broke 600 yards, and Miami finished No. 21 in rushing yards per game (105.5). Of the team’s 15 rushing touchdowns, Tagovailoa and Ryan Fitzpatrick combined for five of them.
The only thing going for Tagovailoa was the team’s strong defense. That defense was the only reason the team competed for a playoff spot.
Plus, Tagovailoa was still recovering — both physically and mentally — from a hip injury that almost ended his career less than a year prior. Did he have his confidence in his body back? Who knows, but there’s another potential factor at play.
It’s way too soon to give up on Tagovailoa, unless you are sure you’re replacing him with a star like Watson. Fields has a high ceiling, but he is not a perfect prospect. There are almost as many concerns with him as there are with Tagovailoa.
Cowherd did point out that the 2022 QB prospects don’t look great, and that’s a fair point. So I think the Dolphins should trade that No. 3 pick to the Carolina Panthers, Detroit Lions or maybe even the Atlanta Falcons. That way, they can accumulate more capital and continue to build for the future.
Follow Clint Lamb on Twitter @ClintRLamb.