Opinion: Why Miami should draft Justin Herbert in 2020

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QB Justin Herbert throws a pass for the Oregon Ducks last season.

The Miami Dolphins have a history of picking quarterbacks that haven’t lived up to the expectations of fans and ownership over the past decade. Now, Miami will potentially have a chance to look at Oregon’s Justin Herbert or Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa in the 2020 NFL Draft.

Although speculative, without having a sturdy QB in Ryan Fitzpatrick or Josh Rosen, these players are not out of the question. I feel one of these college standouts could change the frustrated fan base that has been watching with burning eyes down in South Beach for too many years to count. 

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Why Herbert?

When you look at Herbert’s size, he stands at six feet, six inches and 234 pounds. One of Herbert’s biggest strengths is his ability to stand in the pocket confidently and buy time to find his wideouts on the play. Herbert reminds me of current NFL QB Carson Wentz, not simply because of size (six feet, five inches, 237 pounds), but because the Philadelphia Eagles’ air attack follows the capabilities of Herbert.

Fans see big names players like Zach Ertz open on a route one play, but see him double teamed the next, forcing Wentz to find a narrow pocket for a different receiver. The ability for Herbert to buy pocket time results in the calmness he would have to do just this. I feel the better the grasp a QB has on working his own pocket, the better the QB will be overall. Miami would be a good fit for Herbert with his combination of his size, arm strength and athleticism, as the Dolphins’ offense features many wide receivers that run a more variety of routes than some other teams since they don’t have a clear cut number one. 

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Why Tagovailoa?

Without jumping to conclusions, I do however strongly foresee Tagovailoa declaring for next year’s NFL draft. I also see him wanting to solidify his name as the top QB in that draft. Although having a different body makeup than Herbet and his Wentz comparison, he has a lot to offer as a starting QB. 

Tagovailoa stands at 6 feet, one inch and 218 pounds and easily reminds me of former NFL QB Michael Vick (6 feet, 215 pounds). Anyone who remembers Vick coming out of Virginia Tech in 2001, remembers how undeniably accurate and quick he was, often making defenses look lost. Tagovailoa has been successful with this at the University of Alabama under Nick Saban since he stepped in for Jalen Hurts in the title came a few seasons ago.

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His accurate field vision and play-making ability places him high on the totem pole when NFL teams look to him as options to lead their club. In my opinion, Miami needs to be focused on “playing its game” instead of trying to defend what its opponent is doing. I feel, in the last few years the Dolphins haven’t had a productive game plan they can execute each week and tend to play up or down to try and counter what their opponent brings to the table. If they were to bring in someone who was in charge of running one of the top college offenses, the productivity level of the team would grately increase.

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Beyond Fitzpatrick and Rosen

Miami should still be looking at either Herbert or Tagovailoa even with the additions of Fitzpatrick and Rosen. Fitzpatrick is getting older and no one really knows what Rosen is like in the NFL. With one year under his belt, he hasn’t been given many successful opportunities to showcase his team leadership abilities. The key way Rosen would keep his job in Miami is if he shows the coaching staff and the ownership that he has improved as a player after his dumpster fire of a season with the Arizona Cardinals. But in all seriousness, a first year head coach with new staff sprinkled throughout the team, in addition to trying to learn a completely new playbook and players, isn’t something anyone could do like a grain of salt. While he was in a dumpster fire, he was not the igniter. 

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Despite the comparisons and props to Herbert and Tagovailoa, I would still lean on Fitzpatrick to start week one simply because of his veteran experience. But with his proven track record, it is unlikely that he will be successful or last an entire season under center. Rosen is again faced with learning a new playbook with new players around him, but I think Brian Flores is much better than Steve Wilks and has already showed more discipline and promise as a head coach. At least in Miami, Rosen isn’t responsible for pulling everything together– just what he needs to do to earn becoming a starting QB.

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With that being said, Rosen at some point this season will have to show that he has learned the playbook and can work with the guys around him. Fitzpatrick won’t play an entire season, and could, in reality, get just a handful of games. Whether Rosen is put on the spot or not, I can’t see Miami having an incredibly successful season.

Thinking long-term

I personally like both Herbert and Tagovailoa but if I had to choose one to lead the Dolphins for the foreseeable future I would pick Herbert. Why? I think he has a better arm, and pairing that with his stature and field IQ, would make him the most reliable down the road. 

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– Carl Mahler is a Sports Contributor for Full Press Coverage Miami Dolphins. Like and follow on and Facebook.

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