The Miami Dolphins signed 7th round pick Brandon Doughty to a contract on Thursday. He is the first quarterback selected by the Dolphins since Ryan Tannehill in 2012.
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The Dolphins had not selected a quarterback in the draft since they took Ryan Tannehill with the 8th overall pick 2012. Some of his critics believe that he has not had the right competition on the depth chart to help prepare him for the regular season. Miami selected their first quarterback since Tannehill when they drafted Western Kentucky’s Brandon Doughty in the 7th round. On Thursday, Miami signed Doughty to a deal, officially making him a Miami Dolphin.
Doughty will not come in and take Tannehill’s starting role but he will come in to compete for the backup role that continues to be held by the veteran Matt Moore, who signed a new two-year deal with the team. That added competitiveness will make Tannehill look over his shoulder more this off-season as to who’s behind him. Whether you are a fan of Tannehill or you’re not, you have to agree that entering his fifth-year with his third coach, the clock is ticking on Tannehill.
The Dolphins can opt out of the deal with Tannehill after this season if they don’t see the improvements they are looking for. The same goes for the remaining years on his contract. Tannehill has shown the skills to be a top-tier quarterback in this league but he’s shown his faults as well. His inability to throw the deep ball and win in the clutch has disgruntled many Dolphins fans into believing that Tannehill is not the quarterback of the future in Miami. This season, Tannehill will have the opportunities to prove his doubters wrong.
One reason for Tannehill’s lack of success that cannot be debated from either side has been the awful play of the offensive line. Tannehill has been sacked an NFL record 184 times since he entered the league in 2012. Whether it’s been because of the wrong personnel or the Dolphins’ front dealing with injuries, Miami just hasn’t been able to protect Tannehill. That may have all changed when the Dolphins were surprisingly fortunate enough to select OT Laremy Tunsil in the draft. With, arguably, the best lineman in the draft, the Dolphins line has essentially changed over night.
Still, some of those sacks can be faulted to Tannehill himself for not getting rid of the ball quick enough. New head coach Adam Gase is the so-called ‘Quarterback Whisperer’ and will help Tannehill develop his game further. However, it doesn’t hurt to add a new face to the frame and develop someone else along the way.
Since he entered the league, Tannehill has only had Moore to compete with in training camp and the preseason. The Dolphins had signed veteran David Garrard in 2012 as a free agent to be the potential starter but he got hurt before the season began and Miami elected to release him. Since then, Tannehill has been the clear starter. He still is but the selection of Doughty shows that Miami is not afraid to turn away from their former first round pick if they don’t get the results they seek.
Doughty is a true competitor and a long-time Dolphins fan himself. He fits the ‘alpha-male’ personality that Gase and the Dolphins are looking for. Doughty grew up just minutes away from the team’s practice facility. Being drafted by the team he grew up loving will only fuel Doughty even more to come in and compete. Leading the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers, Doughty became one of the most accurate quarterbacks in all of college football. In 2015, he led the nation in completion percentage at 71.9% and passing yards with 5,055.
Despite his record-breaking numbers, Doughty is considered to have an average arm with an inability to put much zip on the ball. It will be tough in this league for him if he can’t put more velocity on the football. Another knock on Doughty could be his lack of competition in college coming from a smaller school but the same could be said of Carson Wentz, who went #2 overall. A lot of people feel, including Doughty’s family and friends, that Doughty should have been selected higher and that the Dolphins got a steal getting him in the 7th round.
Matt Moore will have his work cut out for him to secure his backup role, particularly more if Doughty can catch on at the pro level faster than expected. Miami was right to take a quarterback in the draft and the competition will add excitement under center and make Tannehill improve his game in the process. This new approach has Dolphins fans buying into the outlook of this team.