Which Quarterback Should the Miami Dolphins Pick at Number 5?
Needless to say, the Miami Dolphins are not in a good position right now. Miami was one of the worst teams in the league last year, finishing 5-11 (last in the AFC East) with the statistically worst defense and 27th best offense in the NFL. For their poor play, the Dolphins have earned themselves the fifth pick in the 2020 Draft. After their fall to rock bottom, Miami is ready for a rebuild.
Though the Dolphins have many spots that need filling, many speculate and believe that Miami will start their rebuild at the quarterback position. Last year, the Miami Dolphins had two men under center with Ryan Fitzpatrick and Josh Rosen.
Fitzpatrick played the majority of snaps for the Miami Dolphins with a total of 502 passing attempts and 311 completions (62%). “Fitzmagic” also had 20 touchdowns and 13 interceptions giving him a below-average 85.5 passer rating.
Though he isn’t the worst quarterback in the league, the aging Fitzpatrick is by no means a permanent fix.
Josh Rosen, on the other hand, does not seem to be salvageable at this point. The Dolphins gave Rosen a second chance after the Cardinals replaced him with Kyler Murray after just one year.
Though Rosen only threw 109 passes, he only had 58 completions (53.2%). The California native also threw an egregious 1 touchdown and 5 interceptions earning him a pathetic but deserved 52 passer rating. It was initially wise for Miami Dolphins trade for Rosen, but after a failed second chance, Rosen has proven that he has no place on an NFL roster.
With such a high pick in the Draft, Dolphins are expected to draft their next quarterback. Many at first speculated that Tua Tagovailoa would be picked by Miami, but there is growing suspicion that the Dolphins could draft former Oregon quarterback, Justin Herbert.
Tagovailoa made his collegiate debut for Alabama on September 9, 2017 as a true freshman in a 41-10 victory against Fresno State. Tua was a backup quarterback for sophomore Jalen Hurts during the Tide’s 2017 campaign. Tua’s most memorable appearance of his freshman year with the Crimson Tide came in the 2018 College Playoff National Championship after Hurts was sidelined for his poor play. Tua came into the game in the second half to lead the Crimson Tide to a 26-23 overtime win.
On September 1, 2018, Tagovailoa made his first start for the Tide and was named the starting quarterback by head coach Nick Saban after the game. Tua finished second in Heisman voting only to Kyler Murray, and he led the Crimson Tide to the National Championship, once again, where they lost to Clemson.
Tagovailoa would continue his success until the Tide’s sixth game of the 2019 season where he would suffer a high ankle sprain in the second quarter. Tua had surgery on his ankle a day after and returned three weeks later. After losing to LSU, Tua would be injured again versus Mississippi State and his season would be over. Tua would forgo his senior year and enter the 2020 Draft.
Herbert started as the backup for Oregon in his first season as a true freshman in 2016. Herbert was named the starting quarterback 5 games into the season. He is the first true freshman to start at quarterback for Oregon since 1983.
In 2017, Herbert would have a new head coach. Herbert would then fracture his collarbone against Cal on September 30, 2017. Herbert returned six games later to help the Ducks win their final two games to qualify for a bowl game. Unfortunately, Oregon lost to Boise State in the Vegas Bowl, and their coach left them to coach for Florida State.
In 2018, Herbert would lead the Ducks to a 9-4 season and a victory in the Redbox Bowl. Herbert was also named to the Pac-12 All-Academic first-team.
In his senior season in 2019, the Ducks would go 12-2, win the Pac-12 conference title, and finally reach the Rose Bowl with Herbert at the helm. The Ducks would go on to win the Rose Bowl 28-27 over the Wisconsin Badgers to cap of Herbert’s collegiate career.
In Tagovailoa’s 32 games with the Crimson Tide, he had a completion percentage of 69.3%, 87 passing touchdowns, 11 interceptions, and an astonishing passer rating of 199.4. Meanwhile, in his 43 games with the Oregon Ducks, Herbert had a completion percentage of 63.9%, 95 touchdowns, 22 interceptions and a passer rating of 153.7.
Tagovailoa weighs in at 6’ 1” and 217 lbs while Herbert stands tall at 6’ 6” and 237 lbs.
Herbert has only worked with one drafted wide receiver, Dillon Mitchell (7th round, pick 239 in 2019) and zero drafted offensive linemen. Oregon has 3 offensive linemen in this year’s draft: Shane Lemieux (projected round 2 pick 38), Calvin Throckmorton (projected round 2 pick 40), and Jake Hanson (projected round 6 pick 161). Oregon also has 1 wide receiver in the draft this year. Juwan Johnson is expected to be picked at 236 in the 7th round, if at all.
Tagovailoa, on the other hand, has worked with four drafted offensive linemen: Ross Pierschbacher (5th round, pick 153 in 2019), Jonah Williams (1st round pick 11 in 2019), Bradley Bozeman (6th round, pick 215 in 2018), and Cam Robinson (2nd round, pick 34 in 2017).
He’s also worked with two NFL receivers: Calvin Ridley (1st round, pick 26 in 2018) and ArDarius Stewart (3rd round, pick 79 in 2017). Tua has worked with wide receivers Jerry Jeudy and Henry Ruggs, who are expected to be drafted in the top 15. He has also worked with OT Jedrick Wills who is expected to go in the top 10 picks in this year’s draft.
On the injury front, the Dolphins should be more concerned with Tagovailoa. Tagovailoa’s ankle and knee injuries are more recent than Herbert’s collarbone injury, and leg and ankle injuries are far more often re-injured than collarbone injuries.
Herbert is also more physically prepared to play in the NFL, standing five inches taller and weighing 20 lbs more than Tagovailoa.
Tua obviously has better numbers than Herbert, but he also had far better talent at the wide receiver position, and linemen blocking for him. Unfortunately for Tagovailoa, Miami Dolphins’ quarterbacks were sacked a total of 57 times.
Despite the various concerns, Tagovailoa should be picked by the Miami Dolphins. He may be more injury susceptible, but there is no disputing Tua’s 199.4 passer rating.
The fact of the matter is, Tagovailoa has a better chance to succeed in the NFL than Herbert. If the Miami Dolphins pick a quarterback in the draft this year, they should go with Tua Tagovailoa.
Pierson Scheinberg is a student who lives in California, and attends the College Preparatory School. Pierson lived in Baltimore, Maryland until August 2017 when he moved to the Bay Area. Pierson is an avid golfer who enjoys watching all sports. He is a writer and sports analyst for At the Buzzer.