The Dolphins took Tua Tagovailoa fifth overall – just like we all thought they would – and now the next era in Miami is about to begin. Before it does, however, the Fins would be smart to keep Tua on the sidelines for a year.
While it still isn’t the most common trend in the NFL, we’re slowly starting to see teams drafting a first round quarterback and not throwing him to the wolves right away. The best example of this in recent years is the Chiefs taking Patrick Mahomes in 2017 despite not needing a quarterback right then.
The Chiefs then had Mahomes stroll the sidelines and hold the Microsoft Surface for a season and learn under the tutelage of Alex Smith. Once Kansas City had their playoff position locked up, they rested their starters in the final game of the regular season and that was when Mahomes got to show off what he had learned in his rookie year.
The Giants somewhat followed this model after taking Daniel Jones, but they had him start much sooner than the Chiefs had Mahomes start (due to losing, of course). Jones took the reigns and while he wasn’t great, he was better than he would have been had he been thrown into the deep end of the pool right away.
Miami now has a chance to follow the models laid out before them and let Tua Tagovailoa sit and learn from current projected starter Ryan Fitzpatrick. Who better to learn from than Fitzpatrick, who has 15 years of NFL experience and has played for eight different teams?
Fitzpatrick showed he can win games last year, but he’s also 37 years old (turning 38 in November) and no one in Miami honestly believes he’s the future there. Tua is the future and with his injury concerns, letting him rest up during his rookie season while rolling with Fitzpatrick (and to a lesser degree – Josh Rosen) is a good strategy for the Dolphins in 2020.
Miami doesn’t have to win in 2020, but there needs to be improvement. Throwing Tagovailoa out there right away wouldn’t be wise for anyone. Maybe it’s a situation like the Giants where Fitzpatrick starts to look washed up (for good this time) and then Tua is slotted in or maybe the Dolphins get lucky and can go most of the season without needing Tua to play.
Either way, the best strategy for the Miami Dolphins moving forward is to keep Tua Tagovailoa on the sidelines in 2020 and roll with the Amish Rifle until the time is right.