Between now and the draft, millions of words will be written about what the Dolphins might and should do.
Those people can all save their time. NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock did the job for them on Monday.
During a pre-Combine conference call, we asked Mayock whether the Dolphins would take a quarterback if one of the top four — Sam Darnold, Josh Allen, Josh Rosen and Baker Mayfield — fell to them at 11, or whether he believes they would address a more pressing need with their first-round pick.
His response was so good, we will just print it in full.
“I think the Dolphins are kind of at an important landmark in their franchise. I think it’s Year 3 of that regime. They’ve got a QB that’s coming off an ACL that’s around 30 years old that has not lived up to his first-round expectation. I think you’re at a point where you’ve had one good year and then one bad year with this group. What’s next?
“Are you going to hang your hat on [Ryan] Tannehill and say, ‘That’s our guy?’ Or are you going to try to be bold and go in another direction?
“I’m not sure what the right answer is. I think it would be easier in that building to talk yourself into ‘we’re not that bad, we’re not that far away. If we can get in and Tannehill can play well, Adam Gase is a very good quarterback coach, blah-blah-blah,’ I think you can talk yourself into that conversation that, ‘If Tannehill’s our guy, it’s not rebuild. What we need to do is fill in around him and be a better football team.’
“My gut tells me they're going to go in that direction. I think it's difficult to say, ‘OK, if we're not going to sign a free-agent quarterback, at No. 11, who's going to be available at that point? None of us know. Is it going to be Baker Mayfield? Do you go in a completely different direction and go Lamar Jackson? Do you wait and go in the second round? I think another way to handle this is you take a quarterback in second or third round, and I can't even remember what Miami has available.
“If one of those guys, a Luke Falk [from Washington State], a Mike White [Western Kentucky], if they like any of those guys, I think it's an insurance-policy-to-back-up a Tannehill thing.
“But that's a long way of saying that they're at a crossroads. I'm not sure what the right answer is, but my gut tells me they're going to hang with Tannehill.”
Got it? Good.
Mayock is one of the most respected pundits in the business, and he’s plugged in. His opinion, even if it is little more than an educated guess, is a credible one.
Here’s how he ranks the quarterbacks:
1. Darnold, USC.
2. Allen, Wyoming.
3. Rosen, UCLA.
4. Mayfield, Oklahoma.
T-5. Lamar Jackson, Lousiville and Mason Rudolph, Oklahoma State.
Darnold gets the top spot because of his “plus size, plus arm strength,” Mayock said, but the Trojans’ turnovers last year were troubling.
Allen is “the biggest-arm quarterback I've seen since [Raiders bust] JaMarcus Russell,” Mayock continued.
Rosen is “the best pure thrower, best pure passer I've seen in several years,” but durability and Rosen’s inability to get out of the pocket when it collapses could stunt his career.
As for Jackson? “I think he's the most electrifying” prospect in this draft, Mayock added.