There will be much to analyze in the coming months when it comes to the Miami Dolphins and their future at the quarterback position. But before we get into what the Dolphins can do in the 2020 NFL Draft, let’s make one thing clear – Ryan Fitzpatrick should be the Dolphins starting quarterback when the 2020 NFL season kicks off next September. He wasn’t their first chance this offseason, as the front office swung and missed at signing Tyrod Taylor and Teddy Bridgewater during free agency. Also, the Dolphins traded a second round pick in the 2019 NFL Draft to the Arizona Cardinals for Josh Rosen. So, to say the Dolphins didn’t have sky-high expectations for Fitzpatrick would be quite the understatement.
Ironically, “Fitzmagic” was brilliant for the Dolphins in 2019. Not only did his play on the field yield him the vote for the team’s Most Valuable Player, but he also exemplified extraordinary leadership to a young Dolphins football team. Fitzpatrick threw for 3,529 passing yards and 20 touchdown passes, while also leading the team in rushing with 243 yards and four rushing touchdowns. The 2019 season ended on a high note, as the Miami Dolphins went into Foxboro to beat the New England Patriots, which ultimately cost the Patriots a first-round bye in the playoffs. Fitzpatrick’s sensational performance earned him “FedEx Air and Ground” Player of the Week. Whether it’s the coaches, players, or fans, everyone loves Fitzpatrick in Miami.
Fitzpatrick fires a dart to Gesicki to give the Dolphins the lead over the Patriots in New England! 🎯pic.twitter.com/STDEyI3Dmi
— Sports ReUp (@SportsReUp) December 29, 2019
Outside of his tremendous play, there is another reason why Ryan Fitzpatrick should start for the Dolphins in 2020: he is the perfect player to groom the Dolphins next franchise quarterback. The 37-year-old journeyman, as mentioned above, is a tremendous leader and his teammates love him and gravitate towards him. He is a smart, instinctive player who will have a future as an NFL coach if he wishes.
There is a quarterback in the 2020 NFL Draft that the Miami Dolphins have had their eyes on for quite some time now. Yesterday, record-breaking Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa announced his intentions to enter the 2020 NFL Draft. The Dolphins and Tagovailoa have been linked for quite some time, even getting national attention when Rich Eisen mentioned on his show that, “I heard at the Draft in Dallas two years ago (2018) that the Dolphins coveted Tua.”
The Dolphins arent just tanking. They have identified their GUY. They are tanking FOR TUA. Its the worst kept secret in the NFL. Here is Rich Eisen on that: pic.twitter.com/P3gq8IvOn3
— Alejandro 🇨🇴 (@MiamiAlejandro) September 18, 2019
The Dolphins had a horrific start to the 2019 season, which had the media saying that they were “Tanking for Tua”. They traded Laremy Tunsil to the Houston Texans for a haul of draft picks, then sent all-pro safety Minkah Fitzpatrick to the Pittsburgh Steelers in exchange for their first-round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. They had a roster littered with a litany of unheralded street free agents and it surely looked like the Miami Dolphins were purposely losing in order to ensure they could get their man in Tagovailoa.
Then something happened: Brian Flores showed the world he could coach. He took players who were once labeled as busts, such as tight end Mike Gesicki and wide receiver DeVante Parker, and put them in a position to prove that they were game-changers. He took players that nobody wanted, such as cornerback Nik Needham and linebacker Vince Biegel, and coached them to be productive NFL players.
Ultimately, the Dolphins played their guts out for their coach and outplayed the talent they had on their roster, winning five games in the process. This should have killed the franchise’s dream to draft the quarterback they heralded, but Tagovailoa suffered a significant hip injury. This hip injury came just a few weeks after Tagovailoa had tightrope ankle surgery, so his durability came into question. Those questions are the only reason why the Miami Dolphins will have the opportunity to get their guy when the 2020 NFL Draft kicks off on April 23rd. The Dolphins, holding the fifth pick in the draft, should have Tagovailoa staring them in the face when they are on the clock.
The reality is, Miami selecting Tagovailoa would be reason number-one why Fitzpatrick should start for the Dolphins in 2020. It is likely that Tagovailoa will need a “redshirt” rookie season, as he is bouncing back from his significant hip injury, and Fitzpatrick is the perfect player for him to learn from. Also, some would consider it best practice to sit a quarterback for a majority of their rookie season, with the Washington Redskins handling of Dwayne Haskins being a prime example of this strategy.
While it is clear that the Dolphins plan for their fifth overall pick is finding their own Patrick Mahomes in Tagovailoa, we have to examine what they will do with the outstanding draft capital they possess. The Dolphins are absolutely loaded with draft picks in 2020, consisting of…
- 1st Round (Own)
- 1st Round (from Pittsburgh)
- 1st Round (from Houston)
- 2nd Round (Own)
- 2nd Round (from New Orleans)
- 3rd Round (Own)
- 4th Round (Compensatory pick for Ja’Wuan James)
- 5th Round (from Arizona)
- 5th Round (from Pittsburgh)
- 5th Round (from Los Angeles Rams)
- 5th Round (Compensatory Pick for Cameron Wake)
- 6th Round (Own)
- 6th Round (from Dallas)
- 7th Round (from Kansas City)
Even with this bevy of draft picks, let’s not act like everything is sunshine and rainbows in Miami, as the Dolphins have a roster littered with holes. Lucky enough for them, in addition to the above-mentioned draft capital, they are also projected to have the most salary-cap space in the NFL. The rumored $110 million+ in cap space will allow the team to address some of their needs prior to the draft, but it is imperative that Miami cashes in with their early draft picks. Players worth monitoring include EDGE K’Lavon Chaisson (LSU), Safety Xavier McKinney (Alabama), EDGE Yetur Gross-Matos (Penn State), Center Creed Humphrey (Oklahoma), and WR Henry Ruggs III (Alabama).
One thing that is for certain, Tagovailoa is perfect for the Miami Dolphins, and Fitzpatrick is perfect for Tagovailoa. If Dolphins’ owner Stephen Ross wants to fulfill his wish to see the Miami Dolphins in a Super Bowl, draft Tagovailoa, then start Fitzpatrick for the 2020 season. The rest will take care of itself.