The Miami Dolphins enter Thursday’s NFL Draft with three first-round picks and will have 14 picks to work with this entire draft. While they can definitely use those picks to improve their roster, I think that the Dolphins should give the Cincinnati Bengals a king’s ransom for the number one overall pick to draft quarterback Joe Burrow. Before I discuss why they should take this risk, let’s look at the current state of the Dolphins’ franchise.
Last season, the Miami Dolphins were projected by many to finish 0-16 as they began their thorough rebuilding process. They traded left tackle Laremy Tunsil to the Houston Texans and safety Minkah Fitzpatrick to the Pittsburgh Steelers for first round-picks this Thursday’s draft. Their talent pipeline was depleted under new head coach Brian Flores and many expected them to wind up with the first overall pick. However, due to the stellar coaching of Flores and the flashes of Fitzmagic from quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, the Dolphins ended up 5-11.
After a brutal 0-7 start, the Dolphins finished the season 5-4. The Dolphins beat the Philadelphia Eagles, a game that saw kicker Jason Sanders throw a touchdown pass to punter Matt Haack, 37-31 and stunned the New England Patriots in Foxborough 27-24 in the season finale. Not only was this Miami’s first win in New England since 2008, but it also prevented the Patriots from achieving a first-round bye. This allowed the eventual Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs to get a first-round bye and cruise their way to the Super Bowl with two home games.
One big reason for the Dolphins’ turnaround was the emergence of the Dolphins’ offense. Ryan Fitzpatrick averaged 326 yards passing over his final five games and the team went 3-2 during that stretch. In those three victories over the Eagles, Bengals and Patriots, up-and-coming wide receiver DeVante Parker notched 159, 111 and 137 receiving yards. The Dolphins also did this with the league’s worst running game while finishing as the 12th ranked passing offense. The Dolphins’ offense exploded to end the season and headed into this offseason with the most amount of cap space to spend in free agency.
The Dolphins have gone to work this offseason, bringing into many free agents from many different positions. Some of these signings include cornerback Byron Jones, linebacker Kyle Van Noy, running back Jordan Howard and offensive lineman Ereck Flowers, among many others. They have added many pieces to their team and are trending in the right direction with Brian Flores as their coach. He instills disciple and after what we saw last season, it is clear the players play hard for him.
Due to all their trades last season, the Dolphins have the most picks with 14 and have three first-round picks (5th, 18th and 26th). The Dolphins, though, have one glaring need for the future: a franchise quarterback. While Ryan Fitzpatrick found a lot of success last season, he isn’t the long-term answer. He is highly prone to inconsistency and is 37-years-old. Luckily for the Dolphins, there is a quarterback this draft that looks like a generational talent that can carry a franchise: LSU quarterback Joe Burrow.
Burrow had a historic season last year at LSU as he threw for 5,671 yards and 60 touchdowns with a completion percentage of 76.3 %. He won the Heisman Trophy in a landslide and led the Tigers to a 15-0 record and a national championship victory. What makes Burrow so great is his game-changing playmaking ability, his accuracy even when under pressure and his intelligence to read defenses. He very well could change the fortunes of whatever franchise he ends up at like reigning Super Bowl MVP Patrick Mahomes has for the Kansas City Chiefs.
While the Cincinnati Bengals hold the number one pick and are the favorites to draft the Ohio native with the first-overall pick, I believe they should trade the first-overall pick to the Dolphins and receive their three first-round picks and more. The Bengals have many needs, especially the front seven and offensive line, and gaining more draft capital would help to improve their team immensely. While the Bengals would face a lot of criticism for passing on a quarterback that is from Ohio and is a generational talent, the Bengals still have a lot of holes on their team that they need to fill. They would still have the possibility to draft another top quarterback in next years’ draft when Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence becomes available. They can use this draft to build other pieces for the team and get their franchise quarterback next season.
The Dolphins, on the other hand, spent free agency improving their roster and now just need their franchise quarterback to carry them into the future. Giving up their three first-round draft picks plus whatever else the Bengals want would be more than worth it for a generational talent like Burrow. If Ryan Fitzpatrick can torch defenses for Miami with a depleted roster, imagine what Burrow can do with a more complete roster. Miami would have a lot more talent to work with this season and if Burrow can have immediate success, then the Dolphins could at least contend for a wild card spot, especially with the expanded playoffs where there will an extra wild card spot in each conference.
The Miami Dolphins’ rebuild is off to a great start and they found the right head coach in Brian Flores. Now, the Dolphins must take a huge leap of faith and grab this year’s generational quarterback in Joe Burrow. With the New York Jets rebuilding and the New England Patriots’ dynasty crumbling, the time is now for Miami to rise and become contenders for the first time in over two decades.