The following is not an exercise in vain..
As promised, the next few lines will go through a list of quarterbacks that will be available in the 2016 draft in a few months. And the reason you are getting this now is because I believe the Miami Dolphins would be wise to draft a quarterback, even this year, even in the first round if necessary, to compete with Ryan Tannehill and be the fallback position in case Tannehill fails to become the elite guy the team is hoping he becomes.
And another reason you are getting this now is more important because I've been told by a source it is not out of the realm of possibility the team considers picking a quarterback in 2016. It is not decided or certain, one way or the other. But the possibility is not simply being dismissed out of hand. (That means I'm not dropping this anytime soon, folks).
So there's that.
Now as to the prospects themselves:
California's Jared Goff is considered the best quarterback prospect coming out in the coming draft by several media pundits and the one NFL scout I was able to get on the phone on short notice. Goff is not a franchise player today. He is not Andrew Luck. But because he's a quarterback, because he shows great promise, because some compare him to a young Aaron Rodgers, who happened to attend the same school, Goff is likely to be the first QB off the board. And that will likely happen early, at least earlier than the Dolphins are picking at No. 8 overall in the first round.
So for our purposes, forget him. He's not going to be available when the Dolphins pick and their need, with a solid starter already on the roster, is not such that they're going to trade up for Goff. At least, I don't imagine that would be the case.
Next is Paxton Lynch from Memphis ...
(Before we go there, please remember this assumes the Dolphins grade Lynch as the best player on their board when they pick. It is possible someone they have graded higher is there, in which case, I don't think they should reach for the QB. But if the QB is the highest rated player on their board, then I believe this should apply. Just want to clear that up, because I don't want there to be confusion that I'm advocating the Dolphins picking Lynch over, say, Joey Bosa if he's there because Bosa would likely be the higher graded player).
So Lynch is 6-7 and has a strong arm. And generally has made good decisions. And seems to be instinctive, something that Tannehill seems to lack. But Lynch is not a ready-made guy because his mechanics are sometimes whack and he did compile great statistics against inferior opposition. He was really bad in the Birmingham Bowl against Auburn, completing 16 of 37 passes for 106 yards and an interception. The reason I mention this game is because it was, outside of Mississippi, the best opponent Lynch faced all season. And against the opponent who had time to prepare for the game, the quarterback struggled.
If you recall what I wrote yesterday, I didn't say the Dolphins must pick a QB in the first round. Last I checked, Tom Brady was had in the sixth round. Russell Wilson went in the third. Drew Brees went in the second round. Tony Romo was not drafted. So stuff happens.
And in that case ...
Carson Wentz from North Dakota State. Yes, he comes from a small program that played inferior opposition. And the 2014 Dolphins draft, that featured North Dakota State's Billy Turner being selected in the third round, is testament that sometimes going with small school players can be a big, big gamble.
Connor Cook of Michigan State. Played higher level competition and was solid. But he wasn't a superstar. He completed less than 60 percent of his passes which raises eyebrows about accuracy. He struggled badly in the NCAA semifinal against Alabama to the tune of completing only 48.7 percent of his passes and throwing two interceptions without a touchdown. He has good size and a good enough arm.
Christian Hackenberg of Penn State. I really liked him when I first saw him play in 2013. He was raw but it seemed to me he had "it." But the past two years there has been no obvious improvement. Granted, he no longer had Bill O'Brien as his coach (gee, imagine coaching making a difference) but not all the struggles with accuracy and can be blamed on coaching.
Cody Kessler of USC (only 6-1 but I love his game and what's not to love about 88 TD passes the past three years).
Cardale Jones of Ohio State (Yeah, he had his best moments in the 2015 Bowl playoffs but faded as the starter last season. He is not an early round pick).
Baker Mayfield of Oklahoma (Another undersized player at 6-2 and 215 pounds who had a good two-year run with the Sooners but whose stock was hurt by the showing in the Orange Bowl. In that game, Oklahoma played Clemson and the difference between Mayfield and Deshaun Watson was stark).
[Update: Mayfield is staying at Oklahoma so it would be wise for the Dolphins to not draft him. This year.]
Mentions: Western Kentucky's Brandon Doughty of Davie, down the road from Dolphins training camp ... Mississippi State's Dak Prescott, who has played tough SEC competion and improved each year he's started.