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There’s typically a difference between a first-round quarterback and one drafted on the second or third day.
If you draft a quarterback in the middle rounds, you’re dating. If you pick one in the first round, you’re married (unless you’re the 2019 Arizona Cardinals). Most times, you’re going to sink or swim with that first-round quarterback, especially if he’s picked early in the first.
When the Miami Dolphins traded the 62nd pick of this year’s draft for Josh Rosen and a fifth-round pick, it wasn’t an insignificant investment. But it also wasn’t one that precludes the Dolphins from upgrading next year if they see fit, as their general manager admitted.
Using a late second-round pick on a quarterback really doesn’t commit them to anything.
Rosen trade ‘doesn’t stop us from doing anything’
The earlier in the first round a team takes a quarterback, the stronger the relationship is. For example, the Jacksonville Jaguars tried and tried and tried with Blake Bortles. They passed on guys like Deshaun Watson and Patrick Mahomes as they stubbornly tried to make it work. It’s hard to take a quarterback early and admit a mistake before the rookie deal is up (again, the 2019 Cardinals are a historical outlier here).
The Dolphins aren’t stuck with that burden, when it comes to Rosen. It was worth a late second-round pick to get a discount on a player who was picked No. 10 overall last year but displaced by Kyler Murray last week. If Rosen works out, great. If he doesn’t, all that talk of the Dolphins tanking for Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, or whoever is the No. 1 prospect by next April, could still come true.
“Every team in the league is looking for that guy that’s going to lead them to championships,” Dolphins general manager Chris Grier told The MMQB. “And so for us, we’re in a position where we’re trying to find that guy, like a lot of teams in the league. So yeah, it was an easy decision. And it doesn’t stop us from doing anything in the future. Who knows? If things go well and we feel he’s the guy, who knows? But it doesn’t stop us from doing anything.”
That’s a very important quote, as the Dolphins move forward.
Many good QB prospects coming in 2020, 2021
There are some great quarterback prospects coming. Tagovailoa is the big name, but it’s too early to tell if he’ll be the No. 1 pick. Oregon’s Justin Herbert, Georgia’s Jake Fromm or someone else could emerge as the top QB in the next year. And if the Dolphins pass and have the No. 1 pick in 2021, Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence seems like he could be one of the better quarterback prospects in years.
All lanes are still open for the Dolphins. Rosen might prove to be the top prospect many thought he was coming out of UCLA, and then it’s a steal for the Dolphins. Or Miami takes another shot in next year’s draft and Rosen is a very talented backup for a couple more years.
But the Dolphins are making it clear, Rosen has a shot to be their quarterback of the future, but they’re not wed to the idea.
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