The biggest names on the move this NFL offseason
A significant number of NFL personnel people and draft pundits believe there are four obvious choices atop the 2019 quarterback class.
In no particular order:
All four are first-round candidates.
And this is important to the Miami Dolphins because the NFL’s most quarterback-needy team is going to be all over these four guys in the next five weeks.
The Dolphins will be having private workouts, or dinners, or visits — and sometimes all of those — with all four of these players in the coming weeks, according to sources.
The reason for this is the Dolphins believe they might be in a position to pick one or more of these players when they pick in the first round on April 25.
But as a draft is not done in a vacuum, the Dolphins should probably be prepared for any number of scenarios that might play out on draft day. The Dolphins will actually go through as many of those as they can think of in the coming weeks.
So allow me to share some of those with you:
The Dolphins would like to have a handle on which — if any — of the four QBs might be available to them when they pick at No. 13 overall in the first round. A good handle on that information would help general manager Chris Grier know if he’s going to have to trade up to get a quarterback he likes.
So let’s do the easy stuff first.
It would help the Dolphins to know what teams drafting in the first round need a quarterback. And we’re talking teams ahead, as well as behind the Dolphins. Because teams drafting behind the Dolphins have vaulted past them the past two drafts to pick quarterbacks Josh Allen, DeShaun Watson and Patrick Mahomes Jr. (Yeah, not awesome).
Anyway, here are the possible teams in the first round who might draft a quarterback:
Arizona. Pick No. 1: The Cardinals don’t need a quarterback, but their interest in Murray, who forged a close bond with coach Kliff Kingsbury in past years, is real. It’s Murray or a player at another position for the Cardinals.
Oakland. Picks No. 4, 24, 27: The Raiders are picking a quarterback this draft, sources tell the Miami Herald. They will do it. The question is will they pick one at No. 4, which is obviously ahead of the Dolphins or wait.
Tampa Bay. Pick No. 5: You’re saying the Buccaneers have Jameis Winston and don’t need to waste a high pick on a QB. Well, part of that is true in that they have Winston. But the intriguing thing is Winston is signed through 2019 and then becomes a free agent. In other words, Tampa Bay has not committed to him beyond the coming season. That seems odd. The Bucs also have a new head coach in Bruce Arians and he’s said he’s committed to Winston. And yet Winston, who hasn’t exactly lit the league on fire and has had some off-field troubles, is unsigned beyond 2020.
New York Giants. Picks No. 6, 17: General manager Dave Gettleman has publicly embraced the “Kansas City model,” meaning he likes the idea of having a veteran quarterback as the starter and drafting a future face of the franchise, much like the Chiefs did with Alex Smith and Mahomes in 2017. So the Giants are picking a QB. The question is do they do it at No. 6 (well before Miami), No. 17 (after Miami) or trade down from No. 6 but remain ahead of Miami to pick their guy.
Denver. Pick No. 10: There was talk at the NFL Combine that John Elway really, really, really liked Drew Lock. And then the Broncos traded for Joe Flaaco and that talk was muted. But I haven’t forgotten that talk and to dismiss it is folly. The fact is Flacco is not Denver’s quarterback of the future. So the question is whether Elway will be all in on right now and get Flacco some help, or be looking to the future and perhaps add Flacco’s replacement.
Cincinnati. Pick No. 11: Again, the Bengals have a quarterback in Andy Dalton. Except he’s 31 years old, and he has won exactly zero playoff games, throwing one touchdown and six interceptions in four postseason games. He’s under contract for two more years, but it costs the team nothing to cut him either this year or next. And in 2018, Dalton missed five games and finished the season on injured reserve. The Bengals have a new coach. They might be thinking it’s time to have a new quarterback, too.
Washington. Pick No. 15: The Redskins traded for Alex Smith last year but a terrible leg injury has taken him out of the immediate picture. The team said it loves Colt McCoy. And then it traded for Case Keenum. Now the team says it loves Keenum and McCoy. Am I believing this? Take a guess.
So as many as seven other teams might be vying for the same quarterback or quarterbacks the Dolphins deem acceptable to draft at No. 13 overall.
Six of those teams draft before the Dolphins are scheduled to pick in the first round.
That means in a worst-case scenario, the Dolphins would not get a chance at any of the top four quarterbacks in the draft. Or the Dolphins would have to trade up to land one of the top four quarterbacks in this year’s draft.
Obviously, fate can be on Miami’s side.
Maybe Arizona passes on Murray.
Maybe the Giants believe they can land a QB with No. 17 overall. (Highly doubtful, but this is the team that traded Odell Beckham Jr.).
Maybe Tampa Bay elects to ride with Winston.
Maybe the Raiders wait until one of their lower picks to try to add that QB.
Maybe Elway doesn’t care so much about the future and simply wants to put the best team on the field he can muster right away.
Maybe the Bengals love losing playoff games.
Under that scenario, the Dolphins might have their choice of three or maybe all four top quarterbacks this draft.
I think Arizona is picking Murray. I think the Giants are picking a QB at No. 6, probably Haskins.
I wouldn’t bet on Tampa Bay, Oakland and Cincinnati — all teams with sizable quarterback investments — being as forward-thinking as I’d give them credit for being.
So orthodox thinking would give the Dolphins a choice between Lock and Jones at No. 13. That is, of course, if the Dolphins can fall in love with one of them and then someone doesn’t jump ahead of them to pluck both.