Leading up to the NFL Draft, there was massive speculation the Dolphins might be in the market for a quarterback in the first round if things went their way. With Ryan Tannehill coming off 19 months on the shelf after a pair of knee injuries, and his contract only getting pricer, it seemed like the right time for coach Adam Gase to grab his guy and prepare for the inevitable. Choosing 11th overall, though, it wasn't likely the Fins would have a shot at one of the draft's most coveted quarterbacks unless they sold the farm to move up a few picks.
But last night, with the Oakland Raiders on the clock just one spot ahead of Miami, things seemed to be falling the Dolphins' way. UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen was still available, and Oakland already has its signal-caller for the next decade in Derek Carr. Finally, for once, the draft gods were shining their bright light on the Dolphins' asses.
Then, in the blink of an eye, it was all gone. Because of course it was.
The Arizona Cardinals swooped in and made a last-second trade with the Raiders to nab Rosen, taking him just seconds before the Miami would have been able to nab the potential star signal-caller and crushing the Dolphins' hopes of stealing their next quarterback on the cheap.
Their consolation prize: Minkah Fitzpatrick, a dominant safety out of Alabama.
He's good. He will make the Dolphins better. But he isn't a quarterback.
Miami Dolphins Select Alabama DB Minkah Fitzpatrick With The 11th Pick 2018 NFL Draft pic.twitter.com/Qbyzb6aM2R— InsideBamaRecruiting (@RTRnews) April 27, 2018
Though Fitzpatrick isn't exactly the sexiest pick, none of the last-minute drama seems to matter because Rosen was apparently never going to be on the Fins' draft board anyway. Miami Herald Dolphins beat writer Adam Beasley reports that even if the Cardinals didn't leapfrog the Dolphins, Miami would have passed on Rosen anyway. In that case, it's almost better Rosen went to Arizona. It'll be easier to live with moving forward if he becomes a star than knowing the Fins chose to pass on taking him.
I am told that the Dolphins would NOT have taken Josh Rosen at 11, even if he was on the board.— Adam Beasley (@AdamHBeasley) April 27, 2018
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Fitzpatrick, by all accounts, is a stud. In three season at Bama, he totaled nine interceptions, five sacks, and 171 tackles. He was widely considered one of the ten best players available this year, and in a league that is increasingly pass-heavy, the Dolphins loading up on secondary help makes a ton of sense. The Dolphins now boast a secondary that includes Pro Bowl safety Reshad Jones, former second-round pick Xavien Howard, and now first-round pick Fitzpatrick, to go along with a group of complementary defensive backs they really like. What was a weakness not too long ago is now a strength. Mission accomplished. We think.
The fate of safety T.J. McDonald remains to be seen. Having just signed a new contract last season, he'll likely be moved to linebacker or possibly traded in the preseason. McDonald and Jones weren't exactly a great fit together last season, so Fitzpatrick should start from day one, while McDonald finds a new role or a new team.
So maybe the Dolphins get their quarterback of the future in tonight's second round or later this weekend. For now, the prize is Minkah Fitzpatrick, a solid player, but not exactly what many Fins fans had in mind.