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The Dolphins' search for a franchise quarterback has to take a different road now. This team will not find that guy in free agency. This team probably won't find that guy in a trade because it's not likely Aaron Rodgers, Phillip Rivers, Ben Roethlisberger or Tom Brady will be on the market anytime soon.
So the only avenue that offers a glimmer of hope for Dolphins fans clamoring for a franchise QB is the draft.
During my 30-minute conversation with general manager Jeff Ireland on Tuesday, I asked him about Miami's chances of selecting a quarterback in the draft. Let's face it, the club needs one more guy behind Matt Moore and David Garrard and that guy will probably be a youngster or a developmental type.
Ireland paused after my question, no doubt weighing whether to answer. (He doesn't like to give anything away, not even in hints). And then he said:
"There's a chance of that. Let it run its course."
Not a yes, I grant you. But neither is it a no.
So let us assume the Dolphins do go for a quarterback somewhere in the draft. It's an assumption several NFL types and NFL observers are making. Former Redskins and Houston Texans GM Charley Casserly, for example, released his most recent mock draft today and he has the Dolphins picking Texas A&M quarterback Ryan Tannehill in the first round.
I like Tannehill. What's not to like. He was productive for Mike Sherman, his head coach at A&M and now the Dolphins offensive coordinator. At 6-4 and 221 pounds, he has prototypical size. He has a good arm. He was accurate enough last season. And while his decision-making could probably improve, thus bringing down his interceptions, he is not terrible there, either.
The problem with Tannehill is he's considered the next best quarterback after Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III. And that means he'll be overdrafted -- meaning he'll probably go higher than his actual grade because he's a quarterback and there aren't enough great ones of those in the NFL. I would be comfortable using a second round pick on Tannehill, probably even an early second-round pick on him.
But a first? At No. 8 overall where the Dolphins draft?
That, in my opinion, is not a value pick. He is not the eighth-best player coming out.
Yet, that is probably what it will take to select Tannehill. It will present the Dolphins with a dilemma because on the one hand, they need a quarterback. But on the other hand, they don't like to overpay for anyone, including a quarterback.
Should the Dolphins decide to explore the quarterback position later in the draft, I'd love for them to look at Brandon Weeden with one of their two third-round picks. This guy also has prototype size at 6-4 and 221 and has perhaps the best arm in the draft.
No one was more productive than him. No one throws the ball better than him.
The problems with Weeden are he's going to be 29 years old, which means his shelf life is cut by nearly five years. Other issues are he's careless with the football at times, and he's sometimes kind of confident in his abilities to the border of being overconfident. The NFL will humble him and that isn't a worry, but how long it takes him to figure out he's not in Kansas (or Oklahoma State) anymore concerns because, again, he's 29 years old.
Brock Osweiler, at 6-7 and 242 pounds impresses a lot of people. I look at him and see Dan McGwire. With respect to McGwire, that scares me.
As a later round pick I like Kirk Cousins. He reminds me, don't laugh, of Tom Brady. He's tall and lanky like Brady was coming out of college. He played in the Big 10 like Brady did. He was very good but not great at Michigan State just like Brady was at Michigan.
Even their statistics are something of a mirror for one another.
Brady threw for 2,586 yards with 20 TDs and 6 INTs his senior season at Michigan. He completed 62.8 percent of his passes. Cousins threw for 3,316 yards with 25 TDs and 10 INTs last season for Michigan State. He completed 63.7 percent of his passes.
I like him. I really do. He's a winner and he brought his team from behind on several occasions. Is he a first or second-round pick? Probably not. But I like him.
This, by the way, is not meant to be a complete study on every single quarterback coming out in the draft. I'm not ready to do that yet. This is meant for you to keep your eyes open to the idea that the Dolphins are not done adding QBs.
There is a vacancy for a young guy.