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Miami Dolphins

The Value of Acquiring Josh Rosen

Jason Hrina

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Image Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

If Day 1 of the NFL draft taught us patience, Day 2 taught us both hope and bewilderment.

After initially trading down in the 2nd-round (originally 48th-overall), allowing the Miami Dolphins to obtain an additional 2nd-round pick in 2020 from the New Orleans Saints, the team went ahead and shipped that new 2nd-round pick (62nd-overall) along with their 5th-round pick in 2019 to the Arizona Cardinals for former first-round quarterback Josh Rosen.

There are so many aspects that play into this acquisition. What would have been an exciting draft night if Rosen was acquired last year turned into a somber occasion for some fans, and a reason to celebrate for others.

I guess it depends on how you personally view Rosen and how strongly you feel about the quarterback position. There are so many aspects that play into this trade, that I don’t think we’ll be able to judge if it’s successful or not for a few years.

Check out everything that goes into this acquisition down below:

History of Ineptitude, Future of Prosperity

Before we tackle the amazing value Miami received in this trade, let’s remind ourselves just how lost we’ve been as a franchise since Dan Marino.

I’m not going to list every incompetent quarterback this team has marched out there, but we are all aware that the only reason Miami has been mediocre the past two decades is due to the most prominent position on their roster being average at best.

It wasn’t too long ago that we were all clamoring for Miami to do whatever it took to solve the quarterback position. We were all done with Ryan Tannehill, fed up with the pathetic plug-and-plays like Jay Cutler, Trent Green and Joey Harrington, and tired of hoping our backup (Matt Moore mainly) could supplant our starter.

So Chris Grier went ahead and did something about it…and now there’s a large contingency of fans that are upset?

This is where our inept history clashes with our hope for a prosperous future.

Without taking into account the 2020 QB class and the potential roster you need around them, acquiring Rosen can only be a good thing for Miami.

A former first-round pick who is projected to be a better player than most of the quarterbacks that came out in 2019, Rosen doesn’t have the shiny aura brand new draftees have, but unless previous scouting reports across the board are completely wrong, Rosen, on the surface, appears like the better player.

Add in a year of NFL experience along with a humbling journey from becoming widely desired (Arizona traded up to get him in 2018) to being largely unwanted, and you have a quarterback that is looking to instantly succeed so they can prove every doubter wrong.

We just wonder if Miami will even have the chance to properly evaluate him….

Playing with Players That Make Plays or “Playmakers”?

Out from all the dry heat in Arizona to the sunny and boisterous Miami beach, Rosen certainly upgraded his surroundings from yesterday morning to yesterday evening.

But other than beautiful beaches and a wild nightlife, did Rosen really step into a better situation?

After a rookie season worse than all the other 1st-round picks from the 2018 quarterback class, most excused Rosen’s performance due to the team that was built around him.

  • “No playmakers!”
  • “How can he succeed with a porous offensive line!?”
  • “There’s no way you can get a clear read on him after last season!”

So we all clamor to potential and hope while ignoring the evidence before us.

I don’t want to discredit his lack of playmakers and porous offensive line affecting his play, but what exactly is Rosen getting into when he comes to Miami?

We have no idea who will be stationed where on the right side of the offensive line. Daniel Kilgore is returning from tearing his triceps at the age of 31 and was average at his best before that. Michael Deiter can provide the Dolphins with a solid starter at left guard, but we have absolutely no idea how he’ll perform.

At best, we have two starters on the left side and one starter roaming the right side of the line (Jesse Davis). And you’re only confident in one of those 4 players anyway (Laremy Tunsil).

From a porous offensive line to a leaky offensive line, it already seems like we have to institute the same “he has no OL” excuse in 2019.

Playmakers?

Kenyan Drake is a pretty good running back, but David Johnson is better.

Larry Fitzgerald is 35 years old, yet he is still a better receiver than anyone on the Dolphins roster.

Miami has:

  • Virtually no tight ends
  • One reliable speed receiver (Kenny Stills)
  • An unreliable big man (DeVante Parker)

And a whole lot of hope with the other positions (mainly Albert Wilson and Jakeem Grant being able to return from their injuries without missing a step).

We can claim we have the better receiving options – and overall that is true – but going from one of the worst receiving rooms to a below-average receiving room may not be enough of an upgrade to benefit Rosen.

If Rosen threw for just 2278 yards and a 55.2 completion percentage last season, it better damn well be because of that offensive line, because Ryan Tannehill threw for 3294 yards and a 58.3 completion percentage his rookie year, and his best receiving options were Davone Bess and Brian Hartline.

Josh Rosen also had 3 college seasons under his belt while Tannehill had just one.

Each quarterback and each situation is different, but you can’t harp on Tannehill’s performance while excusing Rosen’s simply because one player offers hope and the other has already given us an answer.

My main reason for being skeptical of this trade centers around the same insane cycle we’ve been on throughout the Tannehill tenure.

What was our annual excuse with Tannehill? We couldn’t properly read the quarterback after 7 seasons because he never had more than 3 seconds to make a decision behind an anemic offensive line.

How are we going to properly evaluate Rosen after 1 season when he’s in the same boat Tannehill was in? How can you convince me we will be able to properly evaluate Rosen to the point that we can either skip on a QB in 2020 or confidently take one in next year’s draft?

Value

This is where the Dolphins won the trade. A former 1st-round quarterback obtained for a very low 2nd-round pick and a 5th-round pick the following year? I’ll make that trade nearly every time I want a potential franchise QB!

By trading those two picks, Miami obtained:

  • Potential franchise QB
  • (if not a franchise QB) Very good backup for cheap
  • Future trade chip

Getting a potential franchise quarterback is the perfect reason to make the trade, but even when you take into account the “worst” outcome of this trade, it really isn’t all that dismal.

Teddy Bridgewater was traded to the Saints for a 3rd-round pick last year, and that was after he failed to play meaningful NFL snaps for 2 full seasons. Sam Bradford continued to receive $20m contracts based off of potential alone. Guys like Matt Flynn and Mike Glennon make out like bandits – all because teams “hope” they found the right quarterback.

If Miami sits Rosen on the bench behind Ryan Fitzpatrick, his value seemingly grows. You have teams that will wonder “what if Rosen’s potential isn’t tapped” and try and make a play for a quarterback they know Miami doesn’t need.

So you traded a 2nd-round pick and a 5th-round pick for, say, a 4th-round pick in 2020? That’s not a win, but that’s not a terrible result either.

Where you have to weigh Rosen’s value is on how it affects the rest of the roster. Did Miami just screw themselves over by failing to put a “team” around Rosen?

Personally, I wanted to build the offensive line before getting ourselves a new quarterback.

I know that’s counter-productive to setting your franchise up for success (I did just post an article about Miami doubling-down in 2019 and 2020, so this fits right up that alley), but how successful can this franchise be with a “potential” quarterback when they can’t keep him upright long enough to complete more than a bubble screen?

This is the kind of logic that nets us Jake Long instead of Matt Ryan, but Josh Rosen isn’t anywhere near what Matt Ryan was coming out of college.

I’m getting flashbacks of Ryan Tannehill’s uncertainty all over again, except this time it comes at the expense of potential OL or DE solutions in round 2.

On the surface, the Miami Dolphins obtained Josh Rosen for PHENOMENAL value, but how valuable is a franchise quarterback without a team to protect him? We’re going to certainly find out this season…

What Does it Mean for 2020?

The fear most of us (that didn’t want Rosen) currently have is that acquiring Josh Rosen eliminates the opportunity to draft a quarterback in 2020.

While it does “hurt” that idea somewhat, it doesn’t eliminate Miami from taking a new QB in next year’s draft.

With a treasure trove of draft picks (counting for compensatory picks, Miami is up to 13 picks in 2020), the Dolphins should have the ability to trade up and select a quarterback – assuming they find a trade partner willing to give up the chance to draft one of those quarterback prospects. Not the safest of assumptions.

If they do find a trade partner, or find themselves drafting high enough to begin with, you’re right back to where you started with the plan 48 hours ago. Except now you have a potential franchise quarterback (2020 pick) with a phenomenal backup in tow.

What you don’t have is a team around that 2020 quarterback – and that’s where things can get interesting. How many of those 2020 draft picks did they have to give up to move up for their QB?

I assume they’ll be able to build their roster next year, but if 6 of those 13 picks go to the new team in 2020, what kind of roster are we going to build?

Did we not only waste Rosen’s 1 year trying to settle down the rest of our lineup, but the rookie year of our new franchise quarterback as well?

There are so many questions heading into the 2019 season. Most of us feared we would be in for a boring ride; instead, we’re all biting our fingernails hoping the Dolphins have a legitimate plan to get out of this mediocrity. For now, that plan starts with rooting for Josh Rosen.

Growing up a passionate Dolphins fan in Jets territory, Jason learned from an early age that life as a Dolphins fan wasn’t going to be easy. Previously the Sports Editor for his university newspaper, Jason has experience writing columns, creating game recaps and conducting interviews with Hall of Fame athletes (Harry Carson and Yogi Berra are two of his proudest interviews). When he’s not dissecting the latest sports news, you can find him perplexed over the Dolphins offensive line woes or involuntarily introducing music to his neighbors.

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2 Comments

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    Bob

    April 27, 2019 at 10:36 am

    I have read all kinds of comments about Rosen. What I have not seen are comments about two NE coaches who have developed A quick pass offence which depends on two things that the QB needs to do: reading the defence & quick release. Grant, Drake and Wilson can turn a 5 yard pass into 20 yards. If Rosen has the ability to read a defence and reach in 1,5 seconds and then throw the pigskin into the 7th row, Then you don’t even need to worry about the right side of the OL! bA weak rght OL sets up screens to that side because you have a bunch of angry, ignored, frustrated rushers who forget their roles!

    • Jason Hrina

      Jason Hrina

      May 1, 2019 at 11:20 am

      That’s a fair point, Bob. New England did thrive off of a quick-passing attack. My only concern with that is Miami also attempted to be a quick-passing offense under Adam Gase and it worked with moderate success. If we take those first 3 games (a healthy Ryan Tannehill and a somewhat decent OL) as the proper trend, Miami seemed to have pretty good success with it. If the rest of the season means more, it may show that it wasn’t as successful as we would have liked with these players. But new staff means new ideas, and it’s possible they productively utilize the quick-passing attack more. I’m hoping Wilson and Grant can come back 100% healthy as well – that would make for an exciting offense.

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Miami Dolphins

Miami Dolphins Sign Tight End Michael Roberts

Jason Hrina

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Image Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Dolphins are beginning to bulk up the depth of their roster as they head into free agency.

According to Mike Garafolo of the NFL Network, the Dolphins have signed tight end Michael Roberts. The exact terms of the contract are currently unknown.

Originally a 4th-round pick by the Detroit Lions, Roberts has served mostly as a backup tight end; accumulating 146 yards on 13 receptions in 23 active games between 2017-2018.

Roberts was placed on injured-reserve towards the end of the 2018 season with a shoulder injury, and was traded to the New England Patriots for a conditional 2020 7th-round pick prior to the 2019 season. Due to medical reasons, the trade was voided a couple of days later.

The Green Bay Packers claimed Roberts off of waivers, but he was subsequently released by the Packers two days later for failing a physical. Roberts was not active for any games in 2019.

Signing Roberts doesn’t necessarily mean the Dolphins aren’t going to pursue tight ends in free agency or in the draft. Mike Gesicki is the only “lock” to make the 2020 roster, as Durham Smythe‘s blocking ability might not survive if the Dolphins find themselves in an advantageous situation at the position.

Look at this as a way for Miami to get ahead of evaluations.

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Miami Dolphins

A second Dolphins mock draft from someone who doesn’t watch football

Shawn Digity

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J.K. Dobbins 2020 NFL Draft
Image courtesy of USA Today Sports

(Locked On Dolphins) – Last week, Person A dazzled us with their blind mock draft, and now we’re back with the next entry in the series.

Person B is ready to go with their mock.

Keep in mind that all the blind mock draft contributors have little to no knowledge of the NFL.

I had all the contributors standardize their boards and the process so that everyone was on an even playing field.

They all used The Draft Network’s mock draft simulator with seven rounds, the predictive board, and had to choose the players manually.

Without further ado, here’s Person B’s mock draft.

(1) 5. Tua Tagovailoa – QB, Alabama
(1) 18. J.K. Dobbins – RB, Ohio State
(1) 26. Terrell Lewis – Edge, Alabama
(2) 39. Lloyd Cushenberry III – iOL, LSU
(2) 56. Xavier McKinney – S, Alabama
(3) 70. Rashard Lawrence – iDL, LSU
(5) 135. Chase Claypool – WR, Notre Dame
(5) 144. Justin Herron – OT, Wake Forest
(5) 147. Terrell Burgess – S, Utah
(6) 165. Lamar Jackson – CB, Nebraska
(6) 177. Jacob Breeland – TE, Oregon
(7) 223. David Reese II – LB, Florida

As I did with Person A, I reached out to Person B to get their reasoning behind the selections.

Me: “I noticed that you took Tua [Tagovailoa]. What led you to that decision with the fifth pick?”

Person B: “I knew the Dolphins wanted to get a QB, and Tua has been talked about so much that I just went with him.”

Me: “Which of your other selections did you feel particularly good about?”

Person B: “I need you to send me the link to my draft. I forgot who I picked since it took five attempts.”

[resends mock draft to Person B]

“I like my J.K. Dobbins pick. O-H-. And Rashard Lawrence. Because I figure he’s pretty good since LSU was really good this year.”

Me: “Your picks are really good. I’d put yours ahead of Person A. But it’s almost suspiciously good. Did you put your thumb on the scale somewhere along the line?”

Person B: “Well, by my 5th attempt (1 and 2: I didn’t select manual mode, 3: I didn’t pick 7 rounds from the drop-down menu, 4: I completed, but the site froze, and I lost everything), I figured out that I should probably pick from the top of the list first because if you don’t then those players just go like hotcakes.

So, I just matched up the positions the Dolphins needed to fill with the players highest on the list, and if I recognized a name or team, I would select them over someone I had never heard of.”

Me: “OK, well, we’re all out of time. Do you have any parting messages for Dolphins fans?”

Person B: “Well, I think the Dolphins are on the right track, and I hope that all of the true blue fans who have hung in with them for all these years will get to see another Super Bowl in the near future. GO FINS!”

And that wraps things up with Person B.

What are your thoughts on Person B’s mock draft? Leave a comment or tweet your thoughts at me directly on Twitter (@DIGITYnodoubt).

Tune in next time for Person C’s mock…

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Miami Dolphins

Top 5 Miami Dolphins of 2019

Jason Hrina

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Image Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Dolphins weren’t supposed to be a productive team in 2019.

A team meant to lose every game somehow ended up with a 5-11 record; simultaneously sabotaging their draft status and leaving us with a promising future at the same time.

Brian Flores, the former scout, scoured the transaction wire every day in an attempt to uncover potential “acorns” – as one former general manager infamously put it. And with a keen eye for development, his constant shuffling and retooling paid off for him.

You might think a 5-11 team wouldn’t have too many options for a Top 5 list, but the Dolphins were littered with productive “surprises”. Most have promising futures, while some have already solidified themselves as perennial starters.

Take a look at our top 5 Miami Dolphins of 2019 down below. If you’d like to see who made our list of top 5 most disappointing players of 2019, click here.

5) Davon Godchaux

After two elite seasons, we’ve come to expect nothing less out of Davon Godchaux.

Starting 16 games for the second year in a row, Godchaux has continued to ascend as one of the best defensive tackles in the NFL. If the Dolphins weren’t so busy staying out of the lime light, Godchaux would be a household name across the nation.

His 52 solo tackles were tied for the most in the NFL among interior defensive linemen. His 2 sacks, 75 total tackles and 7 QB hits are all improvements over his 2018 campaign, which already had fans clamoring to extend the young, former 5th-round pick.

Though some might point to Miami’s overall defensive rushing numbers as a sign that Godchaux (and Christian Wilkins) weren’t good at their jobs, that’s wildly misleading. Godchaux was stout in the middle of the defensive line; inadvertently tasked with absorbing double teams and giving players like Vince Biegel or Jerome Baker room to blitz.

It’s quite possible that Godchaux is lower than he should be on this list, simply because we take his performance for granted.

4) Mike Gesicki

I’m going to hold my hand up high and admit that I thought Mike Gesicki was going to be an absolute bust for the Miami Dolphins.

More-notorious for not staying on his feet than Brian Hartline, Gesicki overcame a (very) rough rookie season and turned into a reliable seam threat for Ryan Fitzpatrick.

Gesicki finished the year with 51 receptions, 570 receiving yards (an 11.2 yards-per-reception average) and five touchdowns – the first of his career. He proved to be a mismatch against linebackers; and whether he lines up in the slot or on the outside, the Dolphins are going to take advantage each time they see him 1-on-1 against an LB.

Athletic and deceptively quicker than we might realize, Gesicki honed his route running and displayed a much better catch radius than what we saw his rookie year. The image of Brent Grimes wide-eyed after Gesicki went up for a touchdown says more than a thousand words – but if nothing else, it tells us that the Miami Dolphins have a legitimate tight end.

3) Vince Biegel

Vince Biegel came to Miami as a complete afterthought.

The Dolphins traded incumbent linebacker Kiko Alonso to the New Orleans Saints in an effort to alleviate cap space in 2020. In return, they received a little-known, former 4th-round pick who was about to play for his third team in 3 years.

For all the grief we’ve given Chris Grier over his scouting, we have to give him a ton of credit for this one. Saying the Saints got fleeced is an understatement.

In 13 games (4 starts) with the Saints, Alonso recorded 31 tackles, 0 sacks, 3 tackles for a loss (TFL) and 2 QB Hits.

In 15 games (10 starts), Biegel accumulated 57 tackles, 2.5 sacks, 7 TFL, 13 QB Hits and an interception to boot.

Biegel was such a force at linebacker, that Dolphins fans forgot he was going to be a free agent this offseason and just assumed they had him for years to come. Most of us hope the Dolphins find a way to keep Biegel around at a reasonable (yet worthy) price.

The growth he, Raekwon McMillan and Jerome Baker can make with another year together could all together eliminate the need to use assets on a linebacker in the near-future. Especially when the team will get Andrew Van Ginkel back for a full, healthy season.

2) Jerome Baker

Arguably Chris Grier’s best draft pick, Jerome Baker has evolved into one of the best all-around linebackers in the league. You can consider that an overstatement, but his versatility, durability and play-making ability make him a prime candidate to burst into the national spotlight in 2020.

Baker and Eric Rowe were the only players who logged over 1,000 snaps last season (1,079 for Baker, 1,071 for Rowe).

After a rookie season that showed a ton of promise, Baker’s sophomore season ended with 124 tackles, 1.5 sacks, 5 QB hits, 2 forced fumbles, 4 passes defended and 1 interception. Versatile in coverage, as a spy, diagnosing the run, and when he blitzes, Baker may be the real Swiss-Army knife of this Dolphins’ defense.

The biggest question we now have to ask is: what do the Miami Dolphins do with Jerome Baker? He’s still two years away from free agency, but if his 2020 season is any improvement over what we’ve seen, Baker is going to command A LOT of money when he enters the final year of his rookie deal.

Don’t let Baker turn into another Olivier Vernon, Jarvis Landry or Lamar Miller. Pay the talent you successfully scouted and maintain a sense of culture and camaraderie.

Honorable Mentions:

Christian Wilkins:

Christian Wilkins came to the Miami Dolphins with a ton of charisma and a jovial personality unmatched by any top draft pick that came before him.

From the moment the 315lbs linebacker did a split after Clemson won their national championship in 2018, to the time he had Roger Goodell go up for a chest bump after he was drafted, Wilkins was a beloved figure.

But personality can only take you so far, and when the season started Wilkins needed to back up his charity work and infectious smile with the brutality necessary to win at the line of scrimmage. And boy did he live up to it.

Wilkins may not have finished with the most-gaudy numbers, but they’re still impressive nonetheless. For his rookie season, Wilkins totaled 56 tackles, 2 sacks and 2 passes defended. He’s caught every pass ever thrown to him (1), and it even resulted in a touchdown.

His 888 total snaps (between defense, special teams and the 2 he accumulated on offense) are noteworthy for a rookie defensive tackle.

The other 1st-round defensive linemen drafted in 2019 finished with:

  • Quinnen Williams (3rd-overall): 577 total snaps
  • Clelin Ferrell (4th): 716 snaps
  • Ed Oliver (9th): 572 snaps
  • Wilkins (13th): 888 snaps
  • Brian Burns (16th): 609 snaps
  • Dexter Lawrence (17th): 866 snaps
  • Jeffery Simmons (19th): 368 snaps
  • Montez Sweat (26th): 817 snaps
  • Jerry Tillery (28th): 436 snaps

The 2019 draft class was stacked on the defensive line, and yet, the Dolphins may have managed to draft the best one of the bunch midway through the round.

Nik Needham:

The Miami Dolphins signed Nik Needham as an undrafted free agent with the hope that he would provide depth for a position group that already featured plenty of expensive and starting-caliber players within it.

Instead, the Dolphins add another commodity to that list.

Competing for playing time with players like Xavien Howard, Eric Rowe, Bobby McCain, Minkah Fitzpatrick and a plethora of other roster invitees, Needham had an excellent camp, but found himself just missing the final 53-man roster.

That didn’t stop him from honing his craft and earning a promotion from the practice squad one day before the Dolphins were set to take on the Washington Redskins in Week 6.

Needham went on to start the final 11 games of the season, and ended the year with 2 interceptions, 11 passes defended, 1 forced fumble, 1 sack and 54 total tackles.

As a rookie cornerback, you’re expected to be picked on, but Needham was bullied by the refs more than he was by opposing quarterbacks. Questionable calls against Needham towards the end of the year put a slight damper on his otherwise stellar season.

Though in the eyes of some Dolphins fans, that erroneous (non-existent) pass interference penalty that was overturned on the final drive during the New York Jets loss was a blessing in disguise.

1) DeVante Parker

It may have taken slightly longer than we originally hoped, but Ryan Fitzpatrick’s aggressive style highlighted just how elite DeVante Parker can be when you just throw him the damn ball.

Previously marred by the occasional health concern and offensive schemes that didn’t cater to his skillset, Parker was deemed a “bust” by most Dolphins fans. Drafted 14th-overall in the 2014 NFL draft, Parker was expected to transcend the offense. Instead, bubble screens became the focal point for an offense that was littered with deep threat specialists (Parker, Kenny Stills and Jakeem Grant).

Parker’s recent 4-year, $40m extension is a reward not only for the production Parker put up in 2019, but for the potential Parker still has left in him.

In 16 games this past season (the first time he’s been active for 16 games his entire career), Parker caught 72 passes for 1,202 yards and 9 touchdowns. In his four years prior to 2019, Parker caught a combined 163 passes for 2,217 yards and 9 TDs.

As long as he can stay healthy, and the Dolphins don’t revert back to a scared, anemic offense, you can expect annual 1,000 yard seasons from the team’s #1 receiver.

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