Dolphins draft Tua Tagovailoa: Miami is an instant playoff contender, when new QB is combined with FA moves

With the fifth-overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, the Miami Dolphins selected the 2020 postseason. That’s essentially what they did when they grabbed former Alabama superstar Tua Tagovailoa, finally answering the question on who’ll be their franchise quarterback of the future. The late-season injury to his hip in 2019 was devastating and many wondered if he’d ever play football again, let alone at the professional level, but the 22-year-old underwent surgery and battled back to clear all medical evaluations and can now pack his bags and get ready to play in Miami. 

CBS Sports insider Pete Prisco gives the Dolphins a “B” grade for the selection, which is far from a bad thing. Tagovailoa joins the team after a First-Team All-SEC season in 2018 in which he threw for 3,966 yards and 43 touchdowns in 2018, following that up with 2,840 yards passing and 33 touchdowns in an abbreviated 2019 season. His pocket presence is was of the best in the country and he provides a dual-option signal-caller for the Dolphins, carrying an ability to do as much damage on the run as he can do in the pocket. 

And when pressured, he keeps his eyes downfield to find the open receiver, making it difficult for linebackers and cornerbacks to crash down on him during a scramble.

The re-signing of Ryan Fitzpatrick is an insurance policy in the event Tagovailoa isn’t ready to take the field when the season presumably starts in September, but all signs point to the latter being available to take the field as soon as the Dolphins deem prudent. And considering they just used a top-5 pick on him, don’t plan on him sitting long — if at all.

Things didn’t pan out for Josh Rosen when given the start in 2019, and he was ultimately re-benched for Fitzpatrick, but neither bring to the table what Tagovailoa does. If the Dolphins land a definitive upgrade at the running back position, to add with the signing of Jordan Howard, they’ll offensively be cooking with fire. They have a definitive deep threat at wide receiver in DeVante Parker, who had 1,202 yards receiving and nine touchdowns last season, and although adding a strong complement would also help. When considering what they’ve done defensively — namely adding Byron Jones to team with Xavien Howard, grabbing pass rushers Shaq Lawson and Emmanuel Ogbah, and signing linebacker Kyle Van Noy (amongst other moves) — Flores has Miami in position to strike in 2020. 

It also helps that Tom Brady is no longer in the division with the Patriots, but instead only few hours northeast in Central Florida now, clearing the path in a big way for teams like the Dolphins and Buffalo Bills (not so much the New York Jets) to race for the vacated crown. There’s a new sheriff in town in Miami, and there’s no reason they can’t establish a new rule of law going forward.

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