By week’s end, the Kyler Murray-Miami Dolphins hype train might be impossible to stop.
Brian Flores did nothing but shovel coal into the engine here Wednesday, when asked specifically about Oklahoma’s Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback:
“I think he had a phenomenal year this year,” Flores said. “I think he’s a great athlete. I think he’s a very good player.”
Now contrast that with what Flores said about quarterback Ryan Tannehill, whom the Dolphins could try to trade this week:
“Right now everything is kind of in process,” Flores said. “We’ve been here 3 ½ weeks. Again, we’ve gone through the evaluation of the roster. Everything is in process. We still have time. Obviously we’ve made some evaluations, but we’ve still got time to make those decisions.
“Having played against Ryan, he’s had some success against me personally — I think of the last game we played,” Flores continued. “He’s done a really good job, but those things are in process right now. We haven’t made any final decisions. Everything is on the table. Chris [Grier] and I are aligned on that. Again, we’ve talked about the types of guys we want in our program. That part of it, as far as the evaluations and getting everybody on the same page has been good.”
So does that mean Tannehill is definitely gone and Murray is the Dolphins’ top-rated quarterback?
But it is another data point.
The Dolphins are embarking on a rebuild. They know what Tannehill is. And they know what he’s not.
Murray, meanwhile, is an avatar of hope. And if he were three inches taller, he’d be one of the first two or three players drafted in April.
But there are a few things about his scouting report that gives you pause, particularly given Grier’s pedigree.
Bill Parcells liked big, strong quarterbacks who had an extensive playing history in college.
Murray is 5-10 (maybe) and started just 17 games at Oklahoma and Texas A&M.
Still, Grier hinted at a willingness to bend the rules, if the player is too good to pass up.
“The Bill model in terms of like two and half year or three-year starter that does add a lot because you want guys that have had the game reps and game experience,” Grier said. “But the way the game is now a lot of these guys are like one-and-done, where they’ve sat their freshman year and something happens and they’re like a one-year starter or something. You have to take it one a case by case basis with each player.
“The big thing right now is the intelligence and the leadership stuff and I think that’s real important because obviously all these guys can throw. People want to say people are better or have big arms but the guys that quote, unquote don’t have great arms become good players in this league and what separates them is the mental makeup.”
Grier would not compare this year’s group of quarterback’s to next year’s projected class, saying it’s far too premature.
This week will be the first time he and Flores will meet with many of these players, and the interview is a critical part of the evaluation process — particularly when it comes to quarterbacks.
“We’ve seen a lot of guys come through the league that have big arms and can make every throw but if they’re not wired right upstairs they’re not going to make it,” Grier added. “I don’t make any judgments on any classes until we sit down and get to know the players first.”