Next Thursday the Miami Dolphins will have to make a decision. Trade up, down, draft the best pass rusher available, or possibly take Ryan Tannehill. Tannehill has been discussed at great length since the Washington Redskins traded up with St. Louis for the number 2 pick and Robert Griffin, III. Tannehill shot up immediately into the top 10 of round 1 and some speculate that he could go as high as number 3 if a team truly wants him.
The Dolphins may be one of those teams who “truly” want him.
The connection to Tannehill is as talked about as Joe Philbin‘s connection to Matt Flynn. Mike Sherman was the Texas A&M coach who brought Tannehill along. No one knows him better. No one knows if Sherman sees the next Aaron Rodgers or the next Vince Young. The reality is this. Teams may trade up for the QB and leave the Dolphins hanging in the wind or teams may opt not to chase the QB and he will be there when the Dolphins pick at number 8. And yes, the Dolphins may pass.
There are options for the Dolphins outside of one Ryan Tannehill. They are in need of a big fast prototype OLB who can rush the passer consistently. Enter names like Courtney Upshaw, Melvin Ingram, Quinton Coples, and Nick Perry. The Dolphins could opt to trade down and grab one of those names or wait until round two where Perry, Chandler Jones, and Zach Brown may be lingering.
There are rumors that the team is very high on Notre Dame WR Michael Floyd who should be available with the 8th pick. The Dolphins however may decide that with such a deep class of wide-receiver talent they can wait until rounds 2 through 5. They may pass on Floyd and take guys like Kendall Wright, Reuben Randal, Stephen Hill, or Alshon Jeffries. Perhaps they wait and look at Juron Criner or Chris Givens.
Of course there is also the offensive line where the best pure guard in decades will be available at number 8. Stanfords’ David DeCastro. Perhaps they wait and try and get Kevin Zeitler out of Wisconsin. Dolphins fans may not be on board with yet another offensive line draft pick, however, DeCastro is as close to a sure thing as a team will find in the NFL Draft. A powerful multi-faceted guard who can pull, run block, and pass protect. The addition of DeCastro puts three potential Pro-Bowlers on their line. Jake Long, Mike Pouncey, and possibly DeCastro. The question is can the team afford to spend another year drafting lineman?
The Dolphins need to look beyond the first round fixation that most fans have towards the team. Over the last week and half we have run a series of our staff writers 7 round mock drafts for the Phins and the talent that should be available is some of the best in years. Aside from the QB position, the draft is solid with WR’s, lineman, and LB/DE’s. Jeff Ireland will need to hit on his first four picks. He has four selections in the top 75 with two back to back in the third.
On the surface we as fans and even some in the media view Tannehill as the only choice but what kind of draft would the Dolphins have if they opted to pass up the QB in favor of someone who is likely to make an impact this year rather than down the road? What if the draft was more on the line of Michael Floyd, Brandon Weeden, Zebrie Sanders, and Josh Kadduh? Or David DeCastro, Chandler Jones, Kirk Cousins, and Chris Givens? Perhaps they go with an LB/DE in round 1 and come out with Melvin Ingram, Reuben Randle, Dwayne Allen, and Kirk Cousins?
The point is that the Dolphins have more options than just Ryan Tannehill. I’m actually on board with the Dolphins selecting Tannehill but as I have questions as to whether he will become a great NFL QB, I have to turn those questions over to those that know. Joe Philbin and Mike Sherman as well as Jeff Ireland. While I will be thrilled if they decide to draft Tannehill, I will not be upset if they opt not to. They know what he brings to the table. I am also a little excited over the prospect of drafting a guy like Michael Floyd who could instantly change this offense and give Matt Moore a target to replace Brandon Marshall.
There are options out there. The question really is who are the options that the Dolphins are looking at and who is beyond Ryan Tannehill?
In years past, it was pretty clear who the Dolphins might draft or what they might do. No one was shocked at the Jake Long signing prior to the draft. No one was shocked when Vontae’ Davis was selected or last year when the Dolphins took Mike Pouncey at 16. When the team traded down and grabbed Jared Odrick, it was a good value pick. This year, no one knows what the Dolphins are thinking or what they are thinking about doing.
Will they trade up to get Tannehill? Risk it and stay put? Will they try and trade down and either draft him later or move on to another position? Will it be WR, OLB/DE, guard, or tackle? I honestly have no idea. What I do know is there are a lot of other players not named Tannehill that we all should be looking into a little bit more.