Friday was one of the most hectic moments of the off-season and that says something considering how many transactions took place in the first 10 days of the Mew League year.
The Miami Dolphins were at the forefront of the mess. It all started on August 31, 2019. In clear recovery mode, the Dolphins decided to deviate from the franchise left Laremy Tunsil. The Houston Texans, who had their franchise quarterback in Deshaun Watson, had to improve their offensive line. They paid a pretty penny to get Tunsil and gave up the 2020 and 2021 first round picks and a 2021 second round player as the main picks involved in the package.
Was it a reach for Houston? Maybe. But Tunsil is an elite pass blocker, and Houston thought they’d vote somewhere in the 25-32 range over the next two years. Fast forward to this past season, and the Texans finished 4-12, making Miami the third choice on the draft. The Dolphins, on the other hand, were only one win away from the playoffs, and with quarterback Tua Tagovailoa at the helm, they don’t need a quarterback in the upcoming draft. It turns out this is one of the best quarterback classes in the recent past, and with many teams requiring a franchisee in this position, it seemed like a trade was inevitable.
The 49ers decided to pull the trigger and didn’t want another team to come to Miami first. You gave up the 12th election on the draft, the first and third round selection in 2022 (the latter an expected equalization election), and the first round selection in 2023. It sounds like a lot on paper, but it is difficult to find the most valuable position to put a price tag in sport.
John Lynch, general manager of 49ers, has always been aggressive, but this was his most significant move so far. San Francisco has claimed that Jimmy Garoppolo will be their starter in 2021, and he’s a competent quarterback. However, due to his injury history and contract, the move makes sense. It seems he will be a bridge quarterback at best, at least until the following season gets nervous in the fan base.
What some might ask is why are they moving up to number 3? Often times a team has to move up to first or second choice to find its man, but this class is special. Though Lynch was with Zach Wilsons Pro Day at the time of going public, so were Joe Douglas, New York Jets general manager, head coach Robert Saleh and offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur. It’s hard to expect them to go any other way than Wilson.
The jaguars who hold first choice are expected to take Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence. He’s the safest quarterback in years. After Lawrence and Wilson, Justin Fields of the state of Ohio and Trey Lance of the state of North Dakota are likely next. Fields was a five-star recruit, lost two starts in his college career, and has a decorated resume. Despite being an FCS level Lance, he had one of the biggest newbie Redshirt seasons of all time in 2019. He completed 28 non-stop touchdowns, lost no game, and has all the tools to be an elite quarterback in the world NFL. Each of them would be the prime candidate to take first place in another draft.
While Fields is an exceptional talent, it seems like the 49ers are going with Lance. The raw tools are tempting and with a head coach like Kyle Shanahan he could be a perennial Pro Bowl pick. There are plenty of placeholders that could throw off these choices. The Jets can pass a quarterback. You could take Fields or Lance at two and give the 49ers a chance to move Wilson in. The Eagles attempted to trade up to three to take Wilson before the Dolphins accepted the 49ers’ offer. Maybe Wilson isn’t set in stone after New York. Most likely the draft is Lawrence, Wilson, Lance, but anything is possible.
In the meantime the dolphins weren’t ready for the day. After making the 12th pick, they traded with the Philadelphia Eagles, giving up the 12 and 2022 first, which they got from the 49ers for the sixth overall pick. This came as a surprise, but the Dolphins are likely to have their eye on one of the other blue chip players in the draft. It could either be for Kyle Pitts or one of the top three recipients. Miami needs a threat to mate with Tua Tagovailoa, and they were ready to part ways with one of those first years in order to get him. Atlanta, which has the fourth pick, will most likely be quarterback or Pitts, and the Bengals at five look like they’re going to face Penei Sewell or wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase. With Miami’s eye on DeVonta Smith, Tagovailoa’s favorite college destination, they can feel assured that he will be available. Note that you still have the 18th choice in the first round and two in the second round this year. It’s an excellent day to be a Dolphins fan.
Today was a win-win-win situation for everyone involved. All in all, the Dolphins could get the player they would have taken at three while they’d add one first in 2023. Philadelphia won the Dolphins’ first pick in 2022 and moved back six places that year. The move takes them out of the quarterback market, but that doesn’t mean they won’t take advantage of that extra first to get one next year. San Francisco has given up a lot, but they’ll be able to pick a franchise quarterback. If it fails, they have struck gold and all the capital drawn will be worth it.
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