The Miami Dolphins can’t afford to pass on Baker Mayfield

PASADENA, CA - JANUARY 01: Baker Mayfield
PASADENA, CA - JANUARY 01: Baker Mayfield /

Many mock drafts project quarterback Baker Mayfield will be available when the Dolphins pick in the first round.  Miami would be crazy to pass on him.

Anybody that knows football realizes that the quarterback position is the most important piece to building a championship team.  While many people will point to the ‘final four’ in this year’s playoffs as proof that you don’t need a difference-maker at QB, that is a very myopic point of view.

If your team’s quarterback isn’t named Brady, (Eli/Peyton) Manning, Roethisberger, Rodgers or Wilson then your team hasn’t sustained success over the last five years.

Is Ryan Tannehill the answer?

Which brings us to Miami’s quarterback:  Ryan Tannehill.  Ryan’s level of success in Miami is a hotly debated topic amongst fans and football analysts alike.  He is also coming off two ACL tears with no guarantee that he will ever be the uneven QB he was before the injuries.  Should the Dolphins continue their post-Marino trend of having no back up plan at the most important position on the team?  The answer is no.

Why Baker Mayfield?

In Mayfield is available at pick #11, he would present the first legitimate competitor for Tannehill in his entire career.  The reigning Heisman Trophy winner has shown in college that he can do everything that Ryan can do but he has done it better.  Mayfield had a better completion percentage, TD/INT ratio, and win/loss record than Tannehill has shown at ‘any’ level.  Mayfield is also as mobile, if not more, as Tannehill while also showing a much better “pocket presence”.

But at what cost?

The counter-argument to drafting Mayfield was well stated by my fellow author Brian Miller:

"The problem is however that Miami is missing so much more than just a back-up quarterback or a signal caller….is he a generational quarterback that will take Miami to the next level for another decade and more?"

These are both legitimate points.  It’s unknown whether Mayfield is a “franchise QB” capable of making the Dolphins contenders for the next 5-15 years.  I would argue however that Mayfield is likely to be more Carson Wentz/Russell Wilson than he will be Johnny Manziel.

And, yes, there are probably going to be ‘safer’ picks available, and at positions of greater need, but Miami isn’t just one G/TE/LB/etc away from contending either.  On the other side, history shows that finding a starter at one of those positions is much more likely in rounds 2-7 than a future starting quarterback.

More from Dolphins Draft

The way I see it, if Miami drafts Mayfield in round one he will probably ride the bench for a season behind Ryan Tannehill.  If that happens, I totally agree that the team doesn’t improve for 2018.

However, I don’t believe that ‘anybody’ the Dolphins select in the first round will make them anything more than a wildcard contender this year.  What I do believe is that the selection of Baker Mayfield puts Miami in a good position for 2019 and beyond.

If Tannehill ‘balls’ in 2018, then (a) the organization/fans will be happy and nobody will care that Mayfield was selected in the first round and (b) Tannehill now has major trade value going into next offseason.

If Tannehill gets hurt or regresses then Miami cuts/trades him and Mayfield has gotten a “red shirt” season to acclimate to the NFL and will be better prepared to start in 2019.

Either way, Miami is in a better position a year from now than they are right now.  That sounds like a good use of a first round pick to me.