What had happened was....
1. The other beat writer ravished my draft board. All the elite offensive lineman were gone by pick No. 16 when the Jets took Zack Martin. The inside linebacker I coveted, Alabama's C.J. Mosley, was surprisingly picked by Minnesota with the No. 8 pick (well, to be honest that wouldn't surprise me because the Vikings have a need for an inside linebacker, and have a defensive-minded head coach). The six elite players I really liked - North Carolina's Eric Ebron, UCLA OLBer Anthony Barr, Pittsburgh defensive tackle Aaron Donald, safety Ha'Sean Clinton-Dix, and cornerbacks Darqueze Dennard and Justin Gilbert were already gone.
2. What was left to pick from based on my draft board was USC receiver Marqise Lee, Louisville safety Calvin Pryor and Bortles, since only Johnny Manziel had been picked at No. 4 by the Browns, which eliminates the Cleveland trading up possibility. If we're going to be serious about the Dolphins taking the Best Player Available (BPA) then we can't ignore that Bortles is the No. 12 player on the draft board I respect. He's higher than Lee (No. 18) and Pryor (No. 21), and he's realistically the only first-round quarterback I like.
3. As the Dolphins' fake GM I could have reached on an offensive lineman like Virginia's Morgan Moses, Nevada's Joel Bitonio, USC's Marcus Martin, UCLA's Xavier Su'a-Filo, or Stanford's David Yankey. I firmly believe Moses will be a good NFL starter, and I suspect he'll get into the first round because of the run on tackles. But I'm certain he's not the 19th best player in this draft. And Bitonio, Martin, Su'a-Filo and Yankey are all inside players, and teams usually don't push them into the first round unless they are elite like Mike Pouncey. All of those players are good, but not elite.
4. I'm personally not a fan of Alabama's Cyrus Kouandjio, or Ohio State outside linebacker Ryan Shazier, who are very logical options for the Dolphins. Both might become great pros, but I'm not selecting any player I don't like. Kouandjio is heavy, and has some medical issues. And Shazier's an athletic freak, but he lacks the instincts Miami needs to upgrade the linebacker position.
5. Trading down isn't an option in a beat writer's mock draft. But if it were I'd gladly have moved the pick to some team like the 49ers for their first round pick, and a few extra selections. I personally believe that if Bortles is on the board at No. 19 the Dolphins MIGHT find a team in need of a QB (Minnesota, Oakland, Tennessee, Jacksonville) willing to make a deal. But you're kidding yourself if you think you'd get great value for moving down.
So, if you follow my line of thinking the decision comes down to Bortles, the top rated quarterback on my board, a prospect who has a similar skill-set, and comparable draft grade to Ryan Tannehill. Or Lee, a receiver who can produce run after the catch yards, or Pryor, a physical player who might struggle to unseat Louis Delmas, or have challenges handling the free safety role (and Reshad Jones isn't a free safety). Or Moses, a solid starting right tackle who might be there in the second round.
I picked the quarterback with the mindset I can address offensive tackle (Jack Mewhort in round three) and offensive guard (Trai Turner in round two) in rounds two through seven round, and receiver is a position that the Dolphins can wait on considering that unit is pretty deep - Mike Wallace, Brian Hartline, Brandon Gibson, Rishard Matthews, Armon Binns and Damian Williams - right now, and there's no guarantee Lee would crack the top three (have you seen USC's failure rate at receiver?). I personally don't think Pryor is a first-round talent.
While you might not agree with my line of thinking that a quarterback should have to earn his status as the team's starter by winning a camp competition. And you might not agree with my opinion that the Dolphins lack a contingency plan in case Tannehill isn't a top 10 passer, at least understand the thought process that forced me to follow the BPA approach, and led to the mock draft selection of Bortles.
Maybe if the Dolphins had an option to Chad Henne we wouldn't have been stuck in that never-ending cycle of 7-9, 8-8.
This Dolphins fan base has suffered too long because of mediocre-to-average quarterback play, and during that stretch they've passed up on a couple of good quarterbacks (Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers, Alex Smith, Colin Kaepernick, Russell Wilson) that could have changed the course of this franchise.
As your fake GM, if I'm going to be fired - and I fully expect to be - I'd prefer to do it with a quarterback I selected, and not one I inherited.
If Tannehill turns into a top 10 quarterback in the next two seasons, and Bortles never sees the field in his four seasons.... then GREAT. Nobody cares that I used a first-round pick on a second pistol that never gets fired because the Dolphins are winning games, and in the playoffs.
But if Tannehill doesn't excel in 2014, and doesn't produce the 85 passer rating history says is needed for the Dolphins to produce a winning record, at least the team has options at the game's most important position.
I don't LOVE Bortles. I don't hate Tannehill, and advocated for him to be the first-round pick in 2012. I thought he had finally arrived before his performance and team tanked in the season's final two games, and he's learning a new offense for the first time in six years. There's plenty of variables that are changing for him.
I don't want the Dolphins to select a quarterback before the third day (fingers cross on Eastern Illinois' Jimmy Garoppolo or Georgia's Aaron Murray) of the 2014 draft. But I firmly believe this franchise needs some options at that position, and I'm morally opposed to this theory that every position on an NFL team should have competition except quarterback.
G.G.G.Copyright © 2015, CT Now