Over the next three weeks, FishDuck.com Feature Writer Caleb Couturie will be analyzing the 25 teams in the NFL Draft that may look to select Marcus Mariota.
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No. 13: The Miami Dolphins
MIA’s Draft Pick: Fourteenth
MIA’s 2015 Cap Space: $2,507,059
MIA’s Top Needs: CB, LB, OT/QB
Miami is an interesting place. On one hand, the best team in its division just won the Super Bowl, but on the other the division is wide open. Although Tom Brady & Co. proved they’re all still elite, Brady is 37. His time is running out, no matter how super-human he may appear to be at times. Over the past few years the Dolphins have slowly built themselves into a legitimate contender, and people might finally take them seriously with the addition of one more piece: a QB.
Although Ryan Tannehill is a talented player, and has certainly shown his moments, the Dolphins need more. Tannehill is solid, and he had a serious spike in his numbers last year, but that spike came with an asterisk. Although Tannehill saw an increase in his total yardage, touchdowns and touchdown to int ratio, he still saw his yards per pass numbers rank in the bottom five of the league. Also, although the Dolphins went 8-8, in games against quality opponents (teams with a record over .500) Tannehill went 3-7 as a starter. In short, Tannehill produces average numbers in a system that allows him to throw 590 times in a season, the ninth highest in the league. 2015 is the final year of Tannehill’s rookie contract, and it’s time for the Dolphins to make a decision.
HOW IT CAN HAPPEN:
MIA Trades: Ryan Tannehill, 2015 first, 2015 third, 2016 first, 2017 first and third-round picks.
Tampa Bay Trades: No. 1 pick.
For Tampa Bay, this is ideal. Tannehill has proven he can have moderate success, and in the weaker NFC South Tannehill could excel. Tannehill would be an enormous upgrade from Mike Glennon, and with the weapons surrounding him the Buccaneers offense could see a major boost in production. Plus, with the additional picks, the Bucs could focus on beefing up their defense and actually becoming contenders.
In the case of Miami, this is a big gamble. Trading up to get Marcus Mariota, although an enormous risk, could bring enormous rewards, too. Mariota proved how deadly he can be while at Oregon, and his athletic abilities open up a whole new realm of possibilities for this Dolphin squad. Tannehill is a good QB; there’s no doubt about that. Mariota has the chance to be great, but he also has a chance to fail miserably. In my opinion, Tannehill will never lead the Dolphins to a Super Bowl. His 3-7 record against quality opponents speaks for itself. With Mariota, the Dolphins could reach new heights of productivity and success. It really all depends, though, on how much the Dolphins’ front office feels Tannehill is worth. If he’s going to want big money after this season, they probably couldn’t afford to keep him anyway due to salary cap issues.
HOW MARIOTA WOULD DO IN MIA:
Outside of Mike Wallace, I love the Dolphins offense. Jarvis Landry, a rookie last year, has already proven he can be one of the league’s most dangerous receivers if given enough space. Lamar Miller finally had a breakout season last year, rushing for over 1,000 yards while averaging 5.1 yards per carry. Finally, although the Dolphins have struggled to find an effective way to use him, TE Charles Clay presents a matchup nightmare for opposing defenses. This is a team that’s one solid receiver away from being a legitimately dangerous offense, and the way the recent NFL Drafts have been going it’s safe to say the Dolphins could find one if they used their second-round pick on a WR. Also, Miami is about as close as one can get to Hawaii climate-wise, so it might feel a little homier than other situations would to Mariota. I wouldn’t expect Miami to see more success with Mariota under center right away, but given a year or two the Dolphins could be a much better team.
WOULD HE START?:
There’s only one other QB on the roster, Matt Moore, and he’s a free agent this year. If this trade were to go through, Mariota would definitely be the clear cut starter. With the way the Dolphins offense works, and considering the numbers Tannehill was able to produce in his rookie year, Mariota should see moderate success, too.
MIA’s Projected Record with Mariota: 9-7
MIA’s Projected Record W/O Mariota: 9-7
Mariota’s first year stats: 3,400 yards passing/22 pass TDs/12 INTs/8 Rushing TDs
Top Photo by en.wikipedia.org