For roughly the 37th time this offseason, a high-ranking Dolphins official told the assembled media the following Wednesday:
"Ryan Tannehill is our quarterback. We feel good about Ryan. We’re excited to have him back."
On this occasion, Dolphins general manager Chris Grier was the Dolphins official and the team's annual pre-draft news conference was the forum.
So why do the Dolphins keep repeating themselves? Because in a week's time they could use a first-round pick on a quarterback — and perhaps even trade into the top six to get one — and probably want to cut off any quarterback controversy before it has a chance to begin.
Digital Access For Only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
Tannehill is the Dolphins' starter in 2018, but not without question marks. He has had two major knee injuries since December 2016 and it will be 20 months between starts by the time the regular season begins. The Dolphins had no good Plan B last season, and as a result, went 6-10.
They do not want to be in that same spot again this year, which is why they have closely studied this year's draft class. As many as six — Wyoming's Josh Allen, USC's Sam Darnold, UCLA's Josh Rosen, Oklahoma's Baker Mayfield, Louisville's Lamar Jackson and Oklahoma State's Mason Rudolph — could go in the first round.
Based on our reporting, Mayfield and Rosen seem to really be in play for the Dolphins, particularly at 11. Whether they move up to get one of them remains to be seen.
So why all the excitement about this class? Just listen to Grier and Mike Tannebaum rave about them.
"The one thing that’s impressive about the five or six guys you’re talking about is they’re all very smart and they played for coaches that have systems that some people may say are simple, but they’re asked to do a lot of stuff," Grier said.
"Getting to know all of these guys is, they’re all very smart kids. They all have personality and they’ve all been successful. I think they all have a chance to be good players in the league. We were fortunate to spend a lot of time with each of them. We like them."
Added Tannebaum: "With this class, not just the quarterbacks, was the poise a lot of these first-round players and some of these top players have. They’re very polished. You can tell that they’re used to the spotlight I think that’s just the popularity of our sport. You look at them, These are pros. How they talk, how they dress. You can see, for some the transition will be very easy and they’re very polished."
Most teams with an established quarterback who still isn't even 30 would not dream about using a high draft pick on that position, particularly one with a ton of needs like the Dolphins.
So why are the Dolphins in the market (beyond any lingering concerns about Tannehill's health)?
"For us, we’ve heard it before, competition.," Grier said "We’d love to draft at every position, it doesn’t matter who it is. So for us, if we can come out and find one, yes, but we’re not going to reach or overextend for something. We’ll make the decision. We’ll always keep looking to evaluate the position post-draft."