Christian Wilkins, then Josh Rosen? Brilliant. A masterwork.
The Miami Dolphins’ first two days’ bounty in the NFL Draft have been rather monumental. These are the Dolphins, mostly off the national radar for the past two decades. I am unaccustomed to being this complimentary. It’s a nice change.
The Dolphins hit big Thursday night in scoring the Clemson defensive tackle Wilkins with the NFL Draft’s 13th overall pick. He’s a Brahman bull of a talent.
I felt the second round on Friday night had to be about the elephant in the room: Quarterback, please.
I and others felt Miami had to draft one of the top remaining QBs in the second round, or trade for one. Just get one.
It wasn’t looking good.
After passing on the chance to draft Ohio State’s Dwayne Haskins in the first round, Miami watched Friday night as Denver grabbed Missouri QB Drew Lock six spots before the Fins were scheduled to pick. Miami then traded down out of that 48th overall pick. Meanwhile, negotiations to acquire Rosen (a 2018 top 10 pick) from Arizona by trade seemed to stall over the Cardinals’ asking price.
The news broke like champagne corks pop. Miami had acquired Rosen for a second round pick, 62nd overall, and a fifth round pick in 2020. That is fair value, and a smart, smart move by Miami.
Dolphins later selected Wisconsin guard Michael Deiter in the the third round. Fine. Whatever. This night was about getting a quarterback.
Rosen, despite a shaky rookie season, gives Miami the chance to develop his potential as a franchise QB. Maybe he’ll beat stopgap guy Ryan Fitzpatrick for the starting job and maybe he won’t. No matter. Rosen becomes the safety net in case the 2020 draft dreams don’t pan out.
There had been speculation the Dolphins didn’t like Rosen’s personality, how he’d fit. Nonsense. His skill set is first round. If you’re good, if you win ... you fit.
Don’t get this wrong.
Rosen is an insurance policy.
Miami absolutely should still have its eye on a QB in the ‘20 draft: on Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa (the Holy Grail), Oregon’s Justin Herbert or Georgia’s Jake Fromm.
But now, even if that doesn’t transpire, in Rosen, you have a young, first round-caliber QB.
Not only that, Miami has now stockpiled 14 picks in next year’s draft, a real bounty.
The reboot is taking shape. You can see it. Wilkins and Rosen are great additions. And the 2020 draft is bursting with potential.
Friday likely was the last chance for Miami to acquire the potential franchise QB who would give the Dolphins such a huge safety net in case they aren’t lucky enough to land Tagovailoa or another elite arm in 2020.
Strike out on a quarterback Friday and all you had left were prayers that Miami would be awful enough this coming season to win the draft lottery a year from now — a dangerous dice roll.
Ideally, the Fins would get one of two guys today — Rosen via trade or Lock in the draft — and get Tagovailoa in ‘20.
Hey, after years of this club not having enough at the most important position, there’s no law against having too much.
Miami was the obvious most likely trade partner with Arizona for Rosen, last year’s top-10 draftee who became expendable Thursday night when the Cardinals selected Kyler Murray No. 1 overall. The Giants and Redskins stopped Rosen-shopping when they drafted QBs Thursday night.
I hoped the Fins wouldn’t lose out on Rosen in a staring match, or a quibble over one rounds’ compensation.
They didn’t. They got it done.
Rebooting the roster under new coach Brian Flores, the talent-thin Dolphins are expected to be lousy in 2019. There are plenty of needs to address in this draft. Think offensive line, offensive line and offensive line. Another defensive end/edge rusher would be nice. A cornerback, too, maybe.
But, after Wilkins in the first round, there had to be only one clear priority.
Thursday was about getting the highest-graded guy on their draft board, and the Dolphins did in Wilkins.
Friday unequivocally needed to be about finding a quarterback.
And the Miami Dolphins did that.