With the 2012 NFL Draft less than 24 hours away, every Mock Draft you see, except the one released here at Rant Sports, has the Miami Dolphins taking quarterback Ryan Tannehill with the 8th pick. Seeing as how anything is possible, this could work out for Miami, and Tannehill could develop into the stud quarterback the team has been missing since Dan Marino retired.
A more realistic tale is that they draft Tannehill at 8 and he takes the next few years to develop. The team will almost certainly be forced to start him before he is ready, with the other quarterbacks on the depth chart becoming free agents at the end of this season. Neither David Garrard, nor Matt Moore will want to stick around Miami when they know that they will not be the featured quarterback there. The 8th pick means that you are going to be the franchise quarterback, and these two guys are competitors who believe they have what it takes to be the man for whatever organization they play for. They will not be satisfied babysitting the team while the rookie learns the ropes.
Tannehill will be forced to start before he is ready. This is nearly a certainty. Like I said, anything is possible, and after having sat behind a starter for the 2012 season, he may be ready when Garrard and Moore move on. His college numbers were decent, but nothing to be blown away by, and the limited amount of starts may either be hiding critical imperfections revealed over time, or hiding the extreme talent he may be. It is a toss up, something the 8th selection in the draft should not be. Not when your franchise remembers greatness. Not when the last few seasons have reeked of defeat.
There are so many other places that the Dolphins need help, and the quarterback pool is actually decent in terms of depth this year. The best move Miami could make is to take a playmaker, like Michael Floyd, wide receiver out of Notre Dame. If Floyd is there it fills the hole created by the trade that sent Pro Bowl wide out Brandon Marshall to Chicago earlier this year. It also gives you a guy that will put points on the board. Matt Moore is a capable quarterback who went 6-3 last season. Give him a chance and put weapons around him to help him win.
Or the team could stiffen up a defense that has always been a Miami staple, by taking Melvin Ingram, Fletcher Cox, or Quinton Coples. If by some miracle Morris Claiborne fell to 8, they should snatch him up and send a box of Cubans to each of the GM’s from pick 3-7, thanking them profusely.
Two other players are possible that would be good picks, but would drive the Dolphin fan base crazy. One is in the unlikely event that Matt Kalil drops to 8, and the other is Riley Reiff. Both are strong Offensive Tackles that would be able to be used immediately to shore up the offensive line. With former number one pick and Pro Bowl tackle Jake Long already on the left side and Mike Pouncey in the center, the offensive line would represent 3 of the Dolphins’ last 5 first round draft picks. This would be a source of frustration for many of those who want to see instant success for the Fins, but a solid offensive line that can protect the pass, and facilitate the run, could be the foundation the team needs to reclaim their position among the NFL Elite.
Tannehill is a good prospect. There are a lot of positives about the young man, but there many more questions. If we were talking about taking him later in the draft, there would be no issue with the former Aggie going to Miami. I would love to get behind Tannehill, and after tomorrow I may have to, but the issue I have with him is, if he is taken in the top 10, he needs to be able to step in and make the team better. This is something that he simply cannot do. Tannehil does not make the team better than they are with Matt Moore. The Dolphins have several picks in the first few rounds including back to back picks in the 3rd round. This could be the draft that solidifies the team, strengthening where it is needed and establishing a core group of talent that will help Moore win in a tough division.
It is hard to pass on a guy that the media has been hyping as a franchise quarterback. It is hard to remember that no one was hyping him like that the day college football came to a close. The Dolphins need to resist the temptation to give in to the media pressure, pass on Ryan Tannehill, and take a player worth the pick.
Jeff Everette is the featured columnist for the Miami Dolphins on Rant Sports. You can follow him on twitter@jeverettesports, or like his facebook page: Jeff Everette- Rant Sports for all of his latest articles