The Miami Dolphins had one of the worst regular-season starts in recent history in 2019 when they were outscored by opponents 102-10 after their first two games.
The ‘Tank for Tua’ campaign appeared fully underway until rookie coach Brian Flores managed to string together a successful second half of the season leading the Dolphins to a 5-11 record; they won three of their final five games.
As a result, Miami is slated to pick fifth overall in the 2020 NFL draft which, barring a trade up by one of the other quarterback-needy teams like the Chargers or Panthers, should still keep them within reach for Tua Tagovailoa.
But if they want to make sure they secure his services, they may have to trade up with the Lions at No. 3 overall. According to The Draft Network’s Kyle Crabbs, that’s exactly what they’ll do.
Crabbs’ latest mock draft has Miami sending picks No. 5, 39, 56 and Houston’s 2021 second-round pick to the Lions for Tagovailoa.
The Dolphins successfully pull a page out of the Sam Darnold trade playbook to engineer this deal and the Lions are able to drop two spots and are likely faced with the prospect of taking the player they would have taken at No. 3 anyway. The Dolphins and Tagovailoa party continue to make passes at one another in the public eye — the latest was this past week with Tagovailoa and his family in town for the Super Bowl. This long rumored marriage feels like it is inevitable. The only way Miami doesn’t pay up is if it chooses not to.
It’s a pick that makes a ton of sense for the Dolphins. In fact, if they don’t come away with Tagovailoa with their first of three first-rounders, the 2020 NFL draft will be an overall disappointment. Miami’s rebuild will only be as strong as whoever the quarterback is that’s leading it, and pro-ready prospects like Tagovailoa rarely get beyond the first overall pick.
The big question surrounding the former Alabama standout is his health; namely, his hip. We won’t know how far along his recovery is until his medical checks at the Scouting Combine, and even then, we may not have a full or complete timeline for his return.
There should be little doubt by the time April rolls around, however, and even if Tagovailoa is on pace for a complete recovery, he’ll likely redshirt his rookie season. The Dolphins can offer him an ideal chance to do that while sitting behind veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick in 2020.