The Tom Brady/Bill Belichick dynasty in New England is now over after two decades. The Buffalo Bills made the playoffs last year, and their offense was given a significant boost this offseason behind QB Josh Allen.The New York Jets are the New York Jets. Behind all that’s changing within the AFC East, the Miami Dolphins’ tremendous rebuild continues to be the hidden storyline.
Everyone and their mother knows that the Miami Dolphins were able to draft their star quarterback of the future, Alabama legend Tua Tagovailoa, last weekend with the No. 5 pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. While Tua is the centerpiece and the flashy new toy for a team that’s needed a perennial leader, it seems like all the pieces surrounding the new southpaw quarterback are fitting right into place.
The 2019 season was one of the most roller coaster seasons to date for the historic franchise. One minute, they’re the tanking front-runner for the No. 1 overall pick for 2020, losing to the Ravens by over 40 points in Week 1. The next, Ryan Fitzpatrick starts leading incredible comebacks that get them out of the bottom three teams in the league, ultimately knocking New England into the Wild Card round, which ended their season. With a glorified XFL roster in play, it was impressive that Brian Flores’ team was even able to win two games, nonetheless five. The full rebuild is finally here in Miami, and the past few days after the NFL Draft, people are finally realizing something…
The Dolphins are all in on building the team the right way: From the ground up.
This past weekend, Miami selected 11 players in the 2020 NFL Draft. A franchise quarterback, three offensive lineman, three front-seven pieces (that were desperately needed), and a few key picks that all have the same mindset: organizational discipline. Head coach Brian Flores, who is most known for his time with the New England Patriots during several title-winning seasons, has established a culture and trending upward after only one year in his role for Miami. Every player that has been acquired in the past few months, whether via trade, free agency, or the draft, has been hand-picked by Flores and GM Chris Grier as guys that can contribute to a team in a positive manner while also being extremely hard working.
Miami finished last year ranked dead last in sacks (23), last in rushing yards gained (72.3 per game), and last in sacks taken (58). Their starting quarterback, Ryan Fitzpatrick, led the team in rushing yards. Again, a quarterback who is known as a gunslinger, not runner, led the team in rushing yards over an entire season. One of the first things that the Dolphins did to structure its new roster was to sign power-back Jordan Howard, who has proven to be a workhorse back for both the Chicago Bears and Philadelphia Eagles. To add some depth and flexibility, they also acquired 49ers speedster Matt Breida during the draft in exchange for a pick on Saturday. Immediate upgrade on offense.
(Massive credit to Flores and Grier for showing discipline with Breida. Many analysts and fans wanted them to trade up for Ohio State running back J.K. Dobbins in the second round. They stood their ground, took defensive tackle Raekwon Davis a pick after Dobbins went off the board, and then used the asset it probably would have taken to move up, a fifth-round pick, to acquire Breida. Two impact players for the price of one.)
While their draft haul was nothing short of impressive, the overhaul began in free agency. The Dolphins signed 10 players, including guard Ereck Flowers, center Ted Karras, edge defenders Shaq Lawson and Emmanuel Ogbah, and linebacker Kyle Van Noy. A lot of veteran players that know what it takes to win in the NFL.
Now, the 2020 season may not be a positive one when it comes to their record, but expect the Dolphins to continue to trend upward. For the first time in two decades, the Patriots aren’t expected to take the division in a landslide. They may allow Tua to sit behind Fitzpatrick to start the season, but if I were a Dolphins fan, I’d be pretty excited for the next decade of football in Florida.
You can currently bet on Miami to win the AFC East at +600 odds. Their win total is currently set at 6 (with -140 odds) according to BetOnline.ag.
–Miami Dolphins 2020 Draft Picks–
Round 1, Pick No. 5: Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama
Round 1, Pick No. 18: Austin Jackson, OT, USC
Round 1, Pick No. 30: Noah Igbinoghene, CB, Auburn
Round 2, Pick No. 39: Robert Hunt, G, Louisiana-Lafayette
Round 2, Pick No. 56: Raekwon Davis, DT, Alabama
Round 3, Pick No. 70: Brandon Jones, S, Texas
Round 4, Pick No. 111: Solomon Kindley, G, Georgia
Round 5, Pick No. 154: Jason Strowbridge, DE, North Carolina
Round 5, Pick No. 164: Curtis Weaver, OLB, Boise State
Round 6, Pick No. 185: Blake Ferguson, LS, LSU
Round 7, Pick No. 246: Malcolm Perry, WR, Navy