2012 NFL Draft: How to Improve the Dolphins Quarterback Situation

James Christensen@@nepatriotsdraftContributor IFebruary 15, 2012

Can the Dolphins land this big fish in the 2012 NFL Draft?
Can the Dolphins land this big fish in the 2012 NFL Draft?Brett Deering/Getty Images

After looking at the Bills' quarterback situation last week, we set our sights on doing something that the Miami Dolphins have been trying to do since 1999: replace Dan Marino.

Neal Driscoll from MiamiDolphinsDraft.com says it best:

The Miami Dolphins have trotted out 17 starting quarterbacks since Dan Marino retired in 1999. The only stability they found was Jay Fiedler, who started in Miami for four years but never was a franchise quarterback. The Dolphins just couldn’t find anyone to replace him. They traded for players such as AJ Feely and Daunte Culpepper, drafted John Beck and Chad Henne, and even signed free agents such as Brian Griese and Chad Pennington, but none of them stuck. 


Less of Moore?

The quarterback status quo in Miami just isn't getting it done. Matt Moore is a great backup. Chad Henne is a free agent. Pat Devlin is unproven at best. JP Losman is, to put it nicely, JP Losman.

There are only two ways to improve their situation for 2012, and they are both going to cost some capital—either high draft picks or high dollar figures.

If the Dolphins want to get a quarterback in the 2012 NFL draft that is ready to start, they are going to have trade up. Former Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III will not make it out of the top four, while Andrew Luck is already being sized for his very own horseshoe.

If the Dolphins do pull the trigger and give up some extra picks for the rights to Griffin, they will be getting an instantaneous boost both on and off the field. Griffin will provide a legitimate threat from the pocket while also having the talent to improvise and make plays while on the run. Reggie Bush, Brandon Marshall and the rest of the Dolphins weapons will love playing for him.


Back-up Plan

However, if they are unable to land Griffin, things get dicey very quickly. Teams are big fans of former Texas A&M signal-caller Ryan Tannehill's skill-set. I'd be shocked if he made it out of the first round and wouldn't be surprised to see him taken by Washington at pick six.

That said, Tannehill is not the NFL-ready prospect that Luck and Griffin are. Ideally, Tannehill could learn for a year behind a veteran, although we think he has the game to be ready by the bye week if need be.

Brandon Weeden, former professional baseball player and Oklahoma State Cowboy, is football's fourth-ranked prospect. If I needed a quarterback to step in tomorrow, I'd take Weeden over Tannehill in a heartbeat. However, Weeden will turn 29 years old during his rookie season. I'm not sure Dolphins fans want to be repeating this process again in five years.

Nick Foles (QB, Arizona) and Brock Osweiler (QB, Arizona State) are the next two prospects in line, but I'm not comfortable labeling them as sure-fire NFL starters at this stage in the evaluation process.


The Big Guns

If things don't work out in the NFL draft, there are two very good options that may be floating around in free agency.

New Miami head coach Joe Philbin has somewhat of a connection with Matt Flynn, Aaron Rodgers' very capable back-up in Green Bay. He just happened to be his offensive coordinator..

Landing Flynn will cost a lot of money, but if Philbin has confidence in him, that may be worth the price.

Peyton Manning, after he gets done doing the slow, painful dance of death with Jim Irsay and the Indianapolis Colts, should hit the free-agent market as well.

A healthy Manning could give the Dolphins two or three productive years. Paired with a developmental quarterback like Foles and Osweiler, this turns out to be a winning scenario.

We'll be back next week in our three-part series on AFC East QB situations, where we take a look at the New York Jets. Make sure you bring a snack.