While Tua Tagovailoa has been the most linked player to the Miami Dolphins come NFL Draft day, another quarterback could find himself in a Dolphins jersey next season.
According to Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald, the Dolphins have an “increasingly positive view” of Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert. Salguero cites sources familiar with the club’s thinking.
There’s a number of reasons why Miami could adjust its thinking as it pertains to Tagovailoa. The obvious: He is recovering from a right hip dislocation and posterior wall fracture sustained in November in Alabama’s game against Mississippi State. The Roll Tide QB also suffered nasal bleeding and a broken nose, who Jeff Allen, Alabama’s associate athletic director for sports medicine, told ESPN was “as severe and profuse as I’ve seen.”
But Salguero says the Dolphins aren’t merely concerned about Tagovailoa’s return to full health, but also his durability long term.
“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,” Salguero added.
Tagovailoa is certainly a boom-or-bust prospect and it’s not surprising to hear Miami would be considering Herbert as a solid backup plan should Tagovailoa concerns look awry.
As Salguero notes, the Dolphins are attracted to Herbert’s prototypical size (6-foot-6, 237 pounds), arm talent, and mobility. In his senior year at Oregon, Herbert led his Ducks to a 12-2 record, a Pac-12 championship and a victory in the Rose Bowl. The 21-year-old Eugene native threw for 3,471 yards, 32 touchdowns and just six interceptions in 2019.
Herbert’s draft stock has continued to rise since his Senior Bowl performance earned him MVP honors. He was 9 of 13 for 83 yards and a touchdown and had three carries for 22 yards, all in the first quarter, and impressed coaches and scouts with his poise.
Herbert has many qualities Miami could benefit from in a future quarterback and he’s certainly worth a second glance should the Dolphins have any hesitation about Tagovailoa when they’re on the clock.
The Dolphins went 5-11 in 2019 with Ryan Fitzpatrick and Josh Rosen under center. Fitzpatrick could return to play in 2020, and Dolphins general manager Chris Grier has said they expect him back in Miami.