With the 2020 NFL draft less than 48 hours away, a new report indicates that the Miami Dolphins’ quarterback preference favors the University of Oregon’s Justin Herbert over the University of Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa.
ESPN draft expert Mel Kiper Jr. first answered questions about team’s strategies on April 7 and hinted that Herbert’s stature was growing with the Dolphins’ organization.
“There has been some buzz around Herbert to Miami, but it’s still early,” Kiper Jr. wrote. “He is likely to be on the board at No. 5, whereas the Dolphins might have to trade up for Tagovailoa. Do they like Tagovailoa enough to use some of that capital to trade up? What happens if both quarterbacks are on the board at No. 5? That’s what makes Miami the most interesting team in this draft.”
On Wednesday morning, Kiper Jr. reaffirmed that buzz and noted that only another team trading up ahead of the Dolphins’ top pick would end up scuttling that proposed plan.
“There is a lot of buzz around Miami preferring Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert, which means he could be the pick at No. 5. That leaves Tagovailoa for the Chargers at No. 6,” Kiper Jr. wrote. “Still, unless a team trades up, the Dolphins hold the cards here. I have Tagovailoa rated higher on my board, but there are several teams that prefer the 6-foot-6 Herbert. Stay tuned because this could be a smokescreen.”
Kiper Jr. and other draft experts believe that Tagovailoa is the better option, but the fact that he stands just 6-feet tall and was plagued by injuries last season has some teams concerned.
In contrast, Herbert’s size makes him at least appear to have more durability to become the Dolphins quarterback of the future.
However, Herbert has negatives of his own, which include struggling down the stretch last season for Oregon. In addition, some mobility issues and the need to develop a better touch with his passes are seen as drawbacks.
Still, the Dolphins need a long-term option at quarterback after having struggled in recent years to find a consistent signal-caller who could take the team deep into the postseason.
Ryan Tannehill was thought to be filling that role, but after declining production in 2016 and 2017, he moved onto play for Tennessee.
The Dolphins themselves have the draft capital to move up, if necessary, with a league-high 14 draft choices. They have three first-round picks and have six selections among the first 70 players chosen.