Might Dolphins finally use 1st-round pick on QB?
When it comes to quarterbacks, the Miami Dolphins too often
They could have had Drew Brees in 2001, or Aaron Rodgers in
2005, or Matt Ryan in 2008. All were drafted in the first round
after the Dolphins made their pick, and all became Pro Bowl
Meanwhile, the position remains unsettled in Miami, despite more
than a decade of shopping for a franchise quarterback. It’s bizarre
that while the search has sometimes smacked of desperation, the
Dolphins haven’t used a first-round pick to select a QB since
That could change Thursday, when Miami has the No. 8 overall
pick. The Dolphins’ shrinking fan base will be rooting for general
manager Jeff Ireland to take Texas A&M quarterback Ryan
The move makes sense: Shouldn’t a team devote a first-round pick
to a quarterback every few years?
”I can’t say for the years in the past,” says Ireland, who has
been with the Dolphins since 2008. ”I think there are times that
you should try to go after one. But I certainly don’t feel like you
should be pressured into doing that, either.”
Tannehill might be a reach at No. 8. He started just 19 games in
college, and last year he threw 15 interceptions while going only
1-4 against Top 25 teams.
But with the fans clamoring for a quarterback, there might be
pressure as well from owner Stephen Ross, who has come under fire
this offseason for failing to woo Peyton Manning or coach Jeff
Fisher to Miami.
And maybe the Dolphins are overdue to gamble on a quarterback.
The last time they took one in the first round, it worked out: The
choice was Dan Marino. The only team that has gone longer without
picking a QB in round one is the New Orleans Saints – and they have
Last week Ireland said he had settled on a preference with his
first pick. Tannehill is among more than two dozen players the
Dolphins interviewed in depth, and his coach at Texas A&M
happened to be the Dolphins’ new offensive coordinator, Mike
”He’s a great kid,” Ireland says. ”He’s smart. He’s tough.
Got a good family background. A lot of good things about
Since Marino retired following the 1999 season, the Dolphins
have started 16 quarterbacks, the most in the NFL. The incumbent is
Matt Moore, who exceeded expectations starting the final 12 games
But the Dolphins are still shopping. After they failed to land
Manning, were outbid for free agent Matt Flynn and briefly courted
Alex Smith, they signed veteran David Garrard to compete with
And they remain in the market for a young passer. Andrew Luck
and Robert Griffin III will be long gone by the time their turn to
draft comes, and it’s possible a team ahead of Miami will take
In that case, the Dolphins will likely select a quarterback in
the later rounds, where their track record is not good. They used a
second-round choice on a QB three consecutive years in 2007-09.
John Beck was a washout, Chad Henne a disappointment and Pat White
New coach Joe Philbin knows quarterbacks – he worked with
Rodgers and Flynn as an assistant in Green Bay. And he believes
there’s talent to be found at the position in the later rounds this
”It looks like there are some excellent prospects,” Philbin
says. ”There are some very intriguing guys.”
With the Dolphins trying to rebound from a 6-10 season, they
need a lot more than a quarterback. Also on the shopping list are a
No. 1 receiver, right tackle, pass rusher and safety.
The multitude of needs leaves Ireland little margin for error.
The Dolphins have eight selections, including four of the first 73,
with consecutive picks early in the third round.
”Certainly your second-, third- and fourth-round picks, those
guys need to be either starters or significant role players,”
Ireland says. ”I’m maybe stubborn enough to think I can hit on
every single one of them.”
It’s an especially important draft for Ireland, a survivor from
the Bill Parcells regime despite growing fan disenchantment. Miami
has finished below .500 each of the past three years, and a
succession of offseason misfires and misadventures prompted a small
group of protesters to gather last month outside team
Ireland actually had a better year in 2011 than many in the
organization. Newcomers Moore and Reggie Bush exceeded
expectations, first-round pick Mike Pouncey became a solid starter,
and Ireland resisted fan pressure to acquire quarterback Kyle
Orton, who went on to have a poor season.
The GM’s draft results have been mixed, and some of the
decisions were influenced by Parcells and coach Tony Sparano, both
now departed. Jake Long and Vontae Davis were solid first-round
choices, and more than half a dozen other players became
”If you can be 50 percent in the draft over a period of time,
you’ve done pretty good,” Ireland says. ”I think where we were
when we started to where we are now, we’ve done a pretty good job
of adding some talent to this team.
”Certainly I’m not saying I hit on every single one, because I
haven’t. There’s no doubt about that. Some I have taken some risk
on and hit. And some I have taken some risk on, and didn’t work out
If Ireland is in a risky mood Thursday, a quarterback might
finally be the Dolphins’ first-round choice.