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Report: Miami Dolphins Might Prefer Oregon QB Justin Herbert over Tua Tagovailoa

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Interesting reports coming from South Florida about the Ducks signal caller

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NCAA Football: Rose Bowl-Oregon vs Wisconsin Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald posted something interesting yesterday regarding Oregon QB Justin Herbert and Miami Dolphins, who hold the fifth overall selection in the 2020 NFL Draft.

Salguero is a well respected journalist nationally so his word is basically gold.

Former Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa has been mocked to Miami since seemingly the dawn of time. Well, Salguero opines that that might not be the case any longer.

From the article, he says the following:

“Firstly, the club’s view of Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa is not of a slam-dunk pick near the top the draft. At least not yet. The Dolphins will go through the process of vetting Tagovailoa at the Combine and beyond, as other teams will, before deciding if he’s worth the No. 5 overall selection, which Miami holds in the first round of the April draft.

Secondly, the club has an increasingly positive view of Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert.”

Herbert has seemingly pulled even to Tagovailoa in the QB2 race behind LSU’s Joe Burrow after his injury and Herbert’s ascension during postseason play. Herbert had an outstanding Senior Bowl process after a senior season that saw statistical improvements across the board.

Salguero goes onto state that some Miami fans aren’t in love with the idea of Herbert in Miami due to comparisons to former Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill. Which is an apt comparison considering I recently stated on the Bengals podcast that best case, Herbert turns into Tannehill. Both players are big, athletic (Tannehill even played receiver in college) strong armed passers but hardly consistent.

The reasoning behind the article’s thoughts are sound as Salguero writes, “One source said the Dolphins are not just concerned about Tagovailoa’s return to full health from the fractured and dislocated hip he suffered last November, but also about his durability in the long-term beyond the current injury.

Tagovailoa suffered multiple ankle and other injuries during his time as the Crimson Tide’s starter and while he has remarkable accuracy and displays other valuable gifts, including leadership, his relative smallish size (approximately 6-foot and 225-230 pounds) and only modest mobility has raised the question about his ability to remain injury free in the NFL.”

As a draft analyst, I would have had reservations about taking Tagovailoa top ten even without the hip injury. His medical file is too much of a concern and he’s not the most developed passer as of yet, despite experiencing multiple offensive schemes.

To that end, Salguero continues to make Herbert’s case by stating, “Herbert is the most obvious alternative and another source said that in meetings among Dolphins personnel people, he has advocates. The Dolphins generally love Herbert’s size (6-foot-6 and 237 pounds), his arm talent, and his mobility, which he displayed in the 2020 Rose Bowl when he ran for three touchdowns.

It must be noted Herbert looks the part but sometimes has fallen short of playing the part. His accuracy, especially on throws outside the numbers, is inconsistent, especially when he’s under pressure.”

This is nothing new or groundbreaking about Herbert. He has all the physical tools but when he gets pressured, it gets bad in a hurry. In fact, PFF rates him very poorly in their negative play rate under pressure metric, ranking 124th out of 129 qualifiers. They don’t like him as a big game passer either. They give him a critically poor grade of 58.2 overall in the games against Auburn, Utah, and Wisconsin. Some of it is on the poor receiver talent that has zero ability to separate outside of one receiver (Redd) and some of it is on Herbert the senior QB who should have better processing the pocket than he was.

Final thoughts

Keep in mind that is #SmokeScreenSZN and teams are willing to do anything and everything (trust me, NFL teams are crazy this time of year) to get the guy they want in the draft. Either way the Dolphins go, they will have the eternal Ryan Fitzpatrick to mentor a new young signal caller. The Combine is right around the corner and unless Herbert has a Jachai Polite like meltdown (sorry Jets fans), he’s firmly in the race for the second quarterback taken in April’s draft in Las Vegas.