So here we are, just over a week away from the start of the April 28-30 NFL draft. And I remind you that about this time in 2014 is when former coach Joe Philbin dropped a bombshell on the personnel department in announcing he would like to draft quarterback Derek Carr.
That didn't happen and so the quarterback battle between Carr and Ryan Tannehill that would have ensued never came to pass.
But the 2016 Dolphins, committed Tannehill as the starter and expecting new coach Adam Gase to take him under his tutelage, have made no bones about the fact they still might draft a quarterback.
"We were fortunate to bring Matt Moore back," executive vice president for football operations Mike Tannenbaum said at the NFL annual meeting last month. "We added (Zach) Dysert, Logan Thomas, Ryan. But if the right opportunity in the draft presented for a quarterback we’re not going to rule that out. We want to have as much strength and flexibility in the draft (as possible) and that’s something Adam, Chris (Grier) and I talk about 25 times a day. In fact I think Adam, starts rolling his eyes when I start saying it. There’s a lot more work to be done at every position."
And what does Tannehill, who must make a significant improvement in '16 over last season to keep his job, think about the team investing a draft pick on a quarterback? Would he be freaked, put off, offended?
"No, I wouldn't be offended at all," Tannehill said. "That's the nature of the business. If you're not doing the job good enough then they're looking to replace you. And you want to have depth. I love he guys in the room ... I'm excited about the room we have and if we add somebody else, I'll be open arms and welcome him in. We're just there to push each other. Push each to be better and enjoy the whole process."
Perhaps it is just me but the idea of the Dolphins at once embracing Tannehill and hoping and praying that he develops while at the same time not closing the door on adding another young QB is fascinating. It is like pushing all your chips to the center of the poker table...While knowing you've got more chips in your pockets.
And that is wise.
Now, let us think through what exactly might happen during the draft with the quarterback position. Do I think the Dolphins will pick one in the first round? That's hard to expect considering that player will almost certainly not start anytime in 2016, barring an injury to Tannehill, and Miami has so many other glaring holes to fill to even field a team.
I suppose the Dolphins are more looking at a third-stringer who could either challenge Moore for the second-string job in camp and eventually replace Moore, who is 31 years old and signed through 2017.
That suggests a later pick. That would seem to eliminate players such as Paxton Lynch, who the team was enamored with during last season but didn't bring to town for a visit. Lynch is expected to be drafted before the first round is over. That would seem to put the Dolphins more in the territory of a Christian Hakenberg, Kevin Hogan, or maybe Cody Kessler (who I like) -- who will possibly be picked in later rounds.
(There is a so-called second tier quarterback the Dolphins have looked at only in passing that I've been told some teams view as a fourth or fifth round project but a couple of better teams will more likely pick in the third round or so because he has been incredible during his workouts after having a very good 2015 season. I wish the Dolphins would pick this kid based on what I've heard and consequently seen of him. But they are apparently not on him very strong and I've been sworn to secrecy as to his identity so I cannot write about him here. I will reveal his identity next week during the draft and we'll follow his progress to see if I knew something the Dolphins should have but didn't.)
Anyway, the team showed interest in Western Kentucky's Brandon Doughty, as I reported last week. And he owns more passing records than some guys in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Of course, Western Kentucky.
And then there is the philosophical question. Fake GM Mando drafts a quarterback every year. Every. Single. Year.
You never know when that third-round pick becomes Joe Montana or Russell Wilson. Or that sixth-round pick becomes Tom Brady. Or Marc Bulger. Or Matt Hasselbeck. You never know when that fifth-round pick might become Mark Brunell.
Roger Staubach, by the way, was taken in the 10th round because he played at Navy and had to serve before entering the NFL. The Naval Academy has a playmaker named Keenan Reynolds coming out this year who is just an coach's dream.
So, there's that.
But as the Dolphins are not run by Fake GM Mando, they don't pick QBs every year. Perhaps the club figures picks are too valuable to invest on one quarterback every year. But, listening to what the team is saying, the Dolphins are not ruling out picking one this year.