This article could honestly also be titled: Why we should stop worrying about "The Next Dan Marino."
It’s April 23, 2020. Miami Dolphins are on the clock. Roger Goodell is walking over to the podium, card in hand. The envelope is opened.
“With the (fill in the blank) pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, the Miami Dolphins select…”
And every die hard Dolphins fan collectively takes a deep breath, holds it…holds it…a little longer…
The next few words that come next from Roger Goodell’s mouth may be the most overrated and magnified few words you will hear for our fanbase. From the start of training camp, we have been hoping, praying, hanging everything on drafting the next Dan Marino. Is it Tua Tagovailoa (God I hope so)? Is it Justin Herbert (God I hope not)? Is it Jake Fromm? Is it Jordan Love?
So let me pose this question for you all…
What if the player that the Commissioner names comes in the form of a non-QB? Will there be mutiny in South Florida? Will there be fans calling for the heads of Stephen Ross and Chris Grier? I don’t know the answer to that, but what I will tell you is that our front office (Grier in particular) knows a thing or two about this beautiful game we call football.
So does Brian Flores. You know, the former scout for several years before he got into coaching.
They know the staff. They know the players. They know the schemes. They have the vision of what this team will look like in 2-3 years when we are competing for an AFC Championship. Brian Flores is more than a coach. He is a leader of men. He is a developer. He is, at his core, a teacher. Flores doesn’t need the best QB in the draft (whatever that means, completely relative) in order to win and create a culture of mental toughness and discipline.
Yes, the QB is the most important position in any sport. They are the drivers, the motivators, the leaders of the locker room and the huddle. Players gravitate towards their QB when they need inspiration and leadership. They look for that grit, that toughness, that cold-blooded mentality, that “get it done by any means necessary” attitude.
By no means whatsoever am I saying that we should not draft a QB in this upcoming draft. On the contrary, I love the approach the Dolphins took back when they drafted Rick Norton with the 2nd pick overall in 1966, and then came right back and drafted Bob Griese with the 4th overall pick in 1967!
Keep picking until you find your man! I actually love Khalil Tate from the University of Arizona. Tons of experience, huge arm, very mobile out of the pocket, and accurate when given time. Needs to clean up some things, but I will take a flier on him all day long in Round 5 or 6, even if we get a QB in round 1, and develop him for 2-3 years.
However, I am a huge believer in not settling for anything in life, and that includes the QB that you believe can turn the future of your franchise around for the next decade. Miami believed Rick Norton was the guy. Then they believed Bob Griese was the guy. The common denominator is that they believed one of those guys were elite, and can turn around a franchise. I’m of the belief that Tua is that guy. He’s smart, high character, great leader of men, perfect footwork, elite eye manipulation to sway defenses, good arm, very mobile, the list goes on and on. To me, Tua is the perfect combo of Drew Brees and Russell Wilson. If I was Chris Grier, I am not settling for anything less. It’s Tua or bust.
This draft is just the beginning. Why, you say? Well, to start, we have the luxury of three 1st round picks. THREE! Guess what? If Tua is not there when we pick, I continue to build. Trade back for someone that is desperate for a QB like Herbert. (Man, does that guy have “bust” written all over him. JaMarcus Russell type of bust). Pick up their 1st round pick this year, 1st next year, and throw in a 2nd or 3rd rounder this year to boot. Build the OL, DL, and secondary. Pick up an elite starting running back (J.K. Dobbins please?). Continue to develop our existing players. This WR class is so deep, we can pick up a WR2 or slot guy in round 4 or round 5.
Oh, and by the way, we also have over $120M+ in cap space, so that helps. Bring in players like Matt Judon, Brandon Scherff, and Byron Jones. Veterans like that, especially in the trenches, will do amazing things for the confidence and development of our young guys like Dieter, Wilkins, Taco, and those we draft this year.
Last point, and arguably the most important to this article, as to why this draft is not as significant as people may think: the presence, mental toughness, discipline, knowledge, work ethic, and competitiveness Brian Flores and our new staff bring to the table is something that cannot be measured. It is something that is invaluable to the future of our franchise and our fanbase.
Flores, only 3/4 of the way into his 1st season as head coach, is already in the same tier as Mike Tomlin in my book. After “The Gase Experience,” I cannot tell you how much of a breath of fresh air it is to see a coach that not only knows what he is doing, but has the command of an entire group of men. Not only did he implement his culture change within three months into the season, he also has the buy-in from everyone else in the building, specifically Grier, the scouting staff, and Steve Ross.
Remember that time in training camp when reporters said there was trouble in the locker room, and that players were basically going to riot for trading all the top players we had? Old news. Remember when “analysts” on ESPN said we were being immoral for tanking? Yeah, eat crow. Flores turned all of that around. Flores turned this franchise into a respectable one that will be a staple in the NFL for a long, long time. Similar to that team up in the northeast, where Flores came from? Yeah, would be nice to take over that title when the head ball coach retires in 2-3 years. No one better or more capable to do it than Head Coach Brian Flores.
So why is this draft insignificant? Why should we stop worrying about who our next Dan Marino is? It’s simple: Brian Flores, Chris Grier, unlimited cap space, and the unwavering support from our owner, Stephen Michael Ross.
The combo of all of that has me nothing short of bright-eyed and bushy-tailed for the next decade. With Flores at the helm for the next decade (quite possibly more), it has never been a better time to be a Miami Dolfan (with the exception of that ’72 year.
That was a pretty good year, from what I hear).
This story was written by Ozzie Delgado. Follow him on Twitter: @ozziedelgadojr
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