The Miami Dolphins’ future quarterback situation is the hottest topic for debate among fans. The one argument that really makes me scratch my head is the possibility of Miami picking up Peyton Manning or Matt Flynn AND drafting a quarterback as well. However, during all of this hoopla, the one guy that continues to be left out of the conversation is third string QB, Pat Devlin. Will there be a roster spot for him on this team and is there a plan for Devlin?
By no means am I trying to argue that Devlin deserves to be on this team next year. Well, at least not yet. That would be a ridiculous argument considering he hasn’t taken one NFL snap in a regular season game since signing with the Dolphins last summer as an Undrafted Free Agent. Devlin was actually released after the preseason last year, but soon after was signed to the team’s practice squad. Devlin didn’t make it on the team’s active roster until late December. Also, the fact that Devlin played for the Fightin’ Blue Hens at the University of Delaware (as did Joe Flacco), it’s hard to argue he faced tough competition in such a small conference as the Colonial Athletic Association.
Nevertheless, the 6’4” 220 pound quarterback received a lot of hype before last year’s draft, because of his outstanding senior year and a solid performance during the week of the East-West Shrine game. In his last season with the Blue Hens in 2010, he threw for 2,812 yards, 22 touchdowns, and only three interceptions. He led the nation completing 68% of his passes and had a passer rating of 151.64, which was ranked fifth. Devlin became the CAA Offensive Player of the Year.
Leading up to last year’s draft, Devlin’s stock started to rise. NFL draft experts and analysts such as Mel Kiper Jr., Todd McShay, Charles Davis, Bucky Brooks, and Mike Mayock all labeled Devlin with similar characteristics; strong leadership, very smart, excellent decision maker, poised in the pocket, good size, moves around well, raw talent, ton of potential, and certainly capable of being a starting quarterback in the NFL.
Despite being labeled as the upcoming “small college” standout to become the next NFL franchise quarterback, Devlin did have a few flaws in his game. The main one being the issues he had connecting on deep passes down the sidelines. The reports never claimed he was terrible on these long routes, but that was an area Devlin needed to work on and improve. The other note that would be listed on Devlin’s scouting report is that he would require at least one to two years of development under a veteran quarterback. Basically, he should be holding up a clip board trying to learn an NFL size playbook for about two years first, before being thrown in the mix.
The combination of these reasons and playing at a small school may have been the cause of Devlin not getting drafted at all. However, he was projected to be selected anywhere from the second to fifth rounds according to most mock drafts last year. Jeff Ireland obviously saw something in Devlin that led to the Dolphins acquiring him and eventually bringing him up to the active roster. The one trait given to Devlin that is repeatedly mentioned by those who closely cover the Dolphins is “potential.” But will all of his potential allow him to become one of the 53 men kept on the roster in 2012?
Devlin’s fate will rely on what the Dolphins do in this year’s draft, IF they acquire Manning or Flynn. Rumors are that the Dolphins would still draft a QB, probably in a later round. Matt Moore will most likely be the backup quarterback. In this case the Devlin experiment would end and the Dolphins completely gave up or lost patience in his progression after just one year.
As Dolphin fans, it’s hard to give an opinion on a player who only had a few preseason snaps last year. Only Ireland and the coaches have an idea if the kid can hack it or not in the NFL. The Dolphins could have a plan for him….or maybe they don’t. Maybe they will try to keep him on the practice squad for another year. Regardless what the Dolphins do, I would like to see Devlin given at least one more chance to compete in camp and preseason for a roster spot on this team next year.