Dolphins’ Ryan Tannehill needs a big season under Adam Gase

Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill drops back to pass against the Patriots at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida on January 3, 2016. (Allen Eyestone / The Palm Beach Post)
Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill drops back to pass against the Patriots at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida on January 3, 2016. (Allen Eyestone / The Palm Beach Post)

This is the first in a daily series looking at each position on the Dolphins roster

At a quick glance, Ryan Tannehill’s 2015 statistics weren’t much of a drop-off from 2014.

But the fact that there was any drop-off is a problem in itself.

This past season was supposed to be Tannehill’s breakout year. He was fresh off a signing a contract extension worth up to $95 million over six years.

Instead, he regressed.

He threw for 4,208 yards, 24 touchdowns, 12 interceptions and an 88.7 passer rating.

In 2014, he tallied 4,045 yards, 27 touchdowns, 12 interceptions and a 92.8 passer rating.

Once again, Tannehill had to deal with a mediocre offensive line that completely fell apart in the second half of the season when Jason Fox was thrust in to the lineup in place of an injured Ja’Wuan James.

But some of the blame has to fall on Tannehill who couldn’t elevate his game when the Dolphins needed it the most.

It was revealed this year that offensive coordinator Bill Lazor — who was fired with four games remaining in a lost season — didn’t even give Tannehill the ability to audible.

Zac Taylor, who replaced Lazor as the team’s play caller for the final four games, tried to get Tannehill more involved in the game plan.

It didn’t make much of a difference — he averaged an 89.9 rating under Taylor, one point higher than his season average.

Tannehill’s future will dominate Miami’s preseason conversation in 2016, but he has a fresh slate under new coach Adam Gase.

Gase, who is also Miami’s play caller, is praised in league circles as a quarterback guru.

New offensive coordinator Clyde Christensen is already hyping an up-tempo offense, but we heard those same words from Lazor when he was hired two years ago.

If Tannehill continues to regress — and that would almost certainly mean another rough season for the Dolphins — then Miami might consider using an early draft pick on a quarterback in 2017.

Tannehill is owed $18 million in 2017 — or the Dolphins could pay him $10.4 million to walk that season.

But first comes 2016 and it’ll be a crucial season for Tannehill.

He’ll likely have the same receiving corps minus Rishard Matthews, who could have offers to start elsewhere.

DeVante Parker showed a lot of promise down the stretch and should resemble the playmaker the Dolphins expected to have as a rookie in 2015.

Jarvis Landry is already one of the NFL’s top slot receivers but the Dolphins will have to find more ways to get Kenny Stills involved.

Beyond Tannehill, the Dolphins must decide whether they want to bring Matt Moore back again or develop a younger quarterback.

Logan Thomas, a 2014 fourth-round pick for the Cardinals who spent most of 2015 on Miami’s practice squad, said he expects to emerge as the team’s backup — and even push Tannehill.

No, he doesn’t have a chance to surpass Tannehill. But he could back him up.

The Dolphins likely won’t use an early draft pick on a quarterback this year, but there are options if they want to use a mid or late round pick to develop a young backup.

Mississippi State’s Dak Prescott, Alabama’s Jake Coker, Ohio State’s Cardale Jones, Stanford’s Kevin Hogan and Western Kentucky’s Brandon Doughty are all projected in the mid or later rounds.

Check back on Wednesday for a look at the Dolphins running back situation

Adam Gase’s challenge: Win over locker room of Dan Campbell fans

Dan Campbell. (Bill Ingram / The Palm Beach Post)
Dan Campbell. (Bill Ingram / The Palm Beach Post)

Football players want to win games and will get behind any coach who can help them do that.

So it would be melodramatic to say Adam Gase will be fighting the ghost of Dan Campbell when he gathers his Miami Dolphins and begins training them for 2016.

But it’s not too dramatic to suggest that Gase will face a guarded squad those first few days, and that more than one player might be comparing how Gase goes about his business vs. how Campbell did his.

Adam Gase. (Allen Eyestone / The Palm Beach Post)
Adam Gase. (Allen Eyestone / The Palm Beach Post)

(A quick aside: Andrew Abramson reported Tuesday that ex-interim coach Campbell will be moving on to some other team rather than stay with the Dolphins in another capacity. That’s not a surprise, but I predict with great confidence Campbell will be a successful head coach in the NFL and — in no reflection on Gase — Dolphins fans will someday wish Campbell wore aqua and orange.)

No doubt you’ll recall how, when owner Stephen Ross addressed the team following the victory over the Patriots that completed their season, players started chanting Campbell’s name in a clear message on whom their choice was for coach. Although Ross heard those voices and admits “I love Dan Campbell,” he hired Gase from the Bears.

Fans looking at the bottom line — and who isn’t? — see the Dolphins’ 6-10 record and Campbell’s 5-7 mark after replacing Joe Philbin and can’t relate.

“They don’t understand,” safety Michael Thomas said the day after the finale.

What don’t they understand?

“He gets it out of his players,” Thomas said. “Just to work hard, be intense, bring that intensity on game days, and it’s up to us to go out there and make the plays. That’s why it’s disappointing. We didn’t go out there and make the plays to help him out to get the job.”

Players sensed things were going south after they won their first two games under Campbell, then reverted back to Philbinesque levels. As things took a turn for the worse, center Mike Pouncey gathered the team and gave an impassioned speech, telling them they needed to get their fannies in gear if they wanted to save Campbell.

“Pouncey just said what we were all thinking,” safety Walt Aikens said. “The players love him. The other coaches love him.”

How much did they love him?

“I don’t think you could find one player who wouldn’t want him back on this team,” Thomas said.

Strong statement, Mike …

“It’s an accurate statement,” he said.

Someday, Gase may inspire those same sentiments. At least today, Campbell can walk out knowing he did.

Award time: The highs, lows and bizarre moments of Dolphins’ season

Jarvis Landry starts to come down with his one-handed grab against the Colts. (Bill Ingram / The Palm Beach Post)
Jarvis Landry starts to come down with his one-handed grab against the Colts. (Bill Ingram / The Palm Beach Post)

Even though the season goes down as 6-10 for the Dolphins, it doesn’t mean there weren’t moments and people worth remembering. Here’s a look at the highlights, lowlights and inexplicables of 2015-16.

Play of the year

Yes, Jarvis Landry really did hold onto the ball
Yes, Jarvis Landry really did hold onto the ball

WR Jarvis Landry

Step aside, Odell Beckham Jr. Your buddy, Landry, scores the NFL’s catch of the year with a 26-yard, one-handed, falling-backward, how’d-he-do-that grab against the Indianapolis Colts.

Most improved

WR Rishard Matthews

Matthews, only 26, had a breakout year, going from 12 receptions for 135 yards last season to 43 catches for 662 yards despite missing five games to injury. That’s the good news. The bad news: He probably priced himself out of the Dolphins’ market for next season.

Most awkward moment

50th anniversary gala

The Dolphins were showing highlights throughout the evening. The ‘60s were marked by the awarding of the franchise to Joe Robbie. The ‘70s: a dynasty. The ‘80s and ‘90s: the Marino Years. The past 1 1/2 decades? Uh … anyone have a suggestion? They showed Michael Thomas’ storybook interception of Tom Brady in the end zone. That was about it.

Quote of the year

Owner Stephen Ross and interim coach Dan Campbell (tie)

Campbell
Campbell

First quote of the season: Ross was asked if he’s getting impatient and ready for results right now. “You’re goddamn right!” he said.

Campbell said, “I think Magic Johnson is a hell of a player” in response to, well, if you don’t know, just Google “Magic Johnson & Dolphins Wife.”

Biggest transformation

C Mike Pouncey

Pouncey was emotional this past offseason when he accepted the team’s contract extension, talking about how grateful he was that the organization stuck with him despite boneheaded mistakes he’d made early in his career. What happened next? Pouncey fulfilled his promise to grow up to such an extent that teammates voted him winner of the Leadership Award.

Still a mystery

RB Jay Ajayi

The Dolphins blew it by putting him on short-term injured reserve with a preseason rib injury, costing him the first half of the season when he probably could have played after the first couple of weeks. Ajayi finished with only 49 carries this season, meaning the Dolphins still don’t know what they have in him if Lamar Miller bolts in free agency.

Head-scratcher 1.0

Dolphins’ game-planning

It wasn’t until late in the season that QB Ryan Tannehill was involved in putting together the game plan? Seriously?

Head-scratcher 2.0

The run game

How the Dolphins went deep into the season with one of the best per-rush averages in the NFL — and one of the worst attempts-per-game averages in the NFL.

Head-scratcher 3.0

Suh
Suh

The run defense

How the Dolphins added Ndamukong Suh to the defensive line and still regressed on run defense, giving up 5 more yards per game over an already lame 2014 performance.

Strangest locker room tale

“Manhattan”

One day, DE Cam Wake went on a monologue to explain why the section of the locker room occupied by himself and Ndamukong Suh — and only those two, despite the presence of six lockers — was considered such prime real estate, you had to be invited simply to apply for occupancy there. He pointed out the many amenities, including his bubble machine (not making this up).

Equally strange locker room tale

OT Ulrick John

One day, the freshly signed John popped up in the locker room … and was assigned a stall smack in the middle of Manhattan, clueless on the significance.

Downright bizarre locker room tale

DE Damontre Moore

Amid a serious interview with Ryan Tannehill over whether the locker room was divided, Moore barged in with a microphone he’d taken from a reporter and asked, if Tannehill felt “blessed and fortunate … to have a beautiful specimen like myself as a teammate.” Tannehill’s response: “No.”

Heartwarming moment

S Walt Aikens

Aikens spread Christmas spirit by purchasing groceries for a grandmother he’d just met in the checkout line. Touched, she took down his address and sent him what became of those groceries — a batch of cookies she’d baked. He wasn’t in any rush to share them with teammates, and who could blame him, as sweet as the whole thing was?

Welcome back

Mike Pouncey in Dolphins throwback uniform
Mike Pouncey in Dolphins throwback uniform

Dolphins throwback jerseys

Simple. Ditch the current jerseys. Wear the old ones. Just wash them first, OK?

It is what it isn’t award

The media

Yeah, that was me grilling Tannehill on what went wrong for this team this year. After he blew off my question by saying the reason for missing the playoffs was they didn’t win enough games, I kept at it, repeatedly asking why as he repeatedly blew off my questions. “I can keep going if you want,” he said as I waved the white flag and told him he’d won. Some took this as license that Tannehill wasn’t taking his job seriously by kissing off the losses. These were the same folks who weren’t there and had no clue of the context. Hey, people: Ryan and I were just having fun, laughing the whole time. And if you think he wasn’t owning up to things he could have done better, you weren’t paying attention to the other 15 weekly media sessions we had.

Best defensive player

S Reshad Jones

Jones
Jones

Still waiting for someone to explain how this guy is just an alternate to the Pro Bowl: 135 tackles, two sacks, five interceptions, including two pick-6s. Somebody get this guy a ticket to Hawaii in first class.

MVP

WR Jarvis Landry

Landry was my pick not only because of what he meant to the offense (1,157 yards on 110 receptions) but his added value on special teams. But even as I cast that vote, I felt guilty about shortchanging Jones. Luckily, enough other voters felt the same way, so Landry and Jones ended up sharing the team’s MVP award. I have a hunch, by the way, that Landry was hurting much more than anyone knew the last half of the season, but he still warranted the pound-for-pound title for yards after contact.

Dolphins select Chris Grier as new general manager, likely to be announced Monday

Chris Grier
Chris Grier

It appears that the Miami Dolphins have already selected a replacement for fired general manager Dennis Hickey.

Chris Grier, who has been with the franchise for 15 seasons — the last eight as the team’s director of college scouting — is expected to be named the Fins’ new GM. The Palm Beach Post has been told Grier is expected to be hired, but not until Monday.

The Miami Herald is reporting that the decision is made.

Per Matthew Cannata on The Phinsider:

WalterFootball.com, a site well-known for NFL Draft profiles and information, calls Grier one of the top talent evaluators in the NFL. Many, including those who write for WalterFootball.com, believe that Grier should’ve been promoted to the general manager position when Jeff Ireland was fired.

More to come on this developing story.

Ross: Tannenbaum to lead search; Campbell is a candidate

Ross
Ross

Mike Tannenbaum will have a prominent voice in selecting the Dolphins’ new coach and Dan Campbell will be among the candidates in a search that will begin “immediately,” owner Stephen Ross said in a letter to season-ticket holders Friday.

Ross also didn’t sugarcoat this season, labeling it “disappointing” that the Dolphins are 5-10 entering Sunday’s finale against visiting New England.

Prominent on everyone’s mind, however, will be where the Dolphins go from here. Rebuilding will not mean Ross will clean house and part with Tannenbaum, who has spent about a year as the team’s executive vice president of football operations.

“We are going to conduct a thorough process led by Mike Tannenbaum to select our head coach that will not be constrained by convention in our approach,” Ross wrote. “This search will be thorough and we will take it wherever we need to go.”

Campbell took over as interim coach after Joe Philbin was fired amid a 1-3 start.

“I appreciate everything Dan Campbell has done this season and he has earned the opportunity to be considered for head coach,” Ross wrote. “We’ve also identified several promising candidates and will begin work immediately.”

The Dolphins are bound by the Rooney Rule to interview at least one minority candidate.

Ross thought he had assembled the right pieces entering this season, including the signing of free agent Ndamukong Suh to a $114 million contract. Despite the presence of the former All-Pro defensive tackle, Miami’s run defense actually took a step backward this season.

“I had high expectations headed into this year and the on-field results have been disappointing … for you, our staff, our coaches, our players and alumni players and certainly for me,” Ross said.

Ross went on to applaud fans’ “unwavering” support in selling out home games and traveling well.

“I look forward with optimism to more celebrations in the future together,” Ross wrote.

Injury update: The Dolphins listed linebacker Jelani Jenkins (ankle) and center Mike Pouncey (foot/ankle) as doubtful for Sunday. Questionable are guard Jamil Douglas (ankle), tackle Ja’Wuan James (toe), receiver Rishard Matthews (ribs), defensive tackle Earl Mitchell (calf) and receiver Kenny Stills (thigh).

Boston sports talk radio mocks ‘Dolphin dysfunction’

Miko Grimes criticized Ryan Tannehill on Twitter, saying the locker room 'hated' the QB.
Miko Grimes criticized Ryan Tannehill on Twitter, saying the locker room ‘hates’ the QB.

The Dolphins thought they were defusing a touchy situation Wednesday by having Ryan Tannehill and Brent Grimes address controversial comments made by Grimes’ wife about Tannehill.

The team wound up being the butt of jokes on Boston sports-talk radio, which replayed Grimes’ session with the media, during which teammates are heard making light of the situation by hooting and hollering.

One player is heard yelling, “Plead the fifth!” twice. (A portion of the interview, including that remark, can be heard here:  .)

‘It is really a you-know-what show down in Miami and South Florida,” host Mike Petraglia said on Boston’s WEEI. “I really makes you appreciate what you have here, huh?”

The station posted a replay of Petraglia’s show online under the headline, “Dolphin dysfunction reminds New England fans of greatness of Patriot Way.”

As Grimes began to speak, one teammate joked, “I’m here so I won’t get fined,” as if egging on Grimes to resort to a tactic used by media-shy Marshawn Lynch of the Seattle Seahawks at the Super Bowl. The interview initially was posted on the Dolphins’ site, then taken down.

That wasn’t the extent of the circus atmosphere. During Tannehill’s session with reporters, defensive end Damontre Moore, who like Tannehill attended Texas A&M, took a microphone from Sun-Sentinel reporter Chris Perkins and pretended to be a reporter himself, asking Tannehill if he felt “blessed and fortunate … to have a beautiful specimen like myself as a teammate.”

“No,” Tannehill responded.

One Dolphin fan e-mailed The Post from New England, writing, “Clearly this whole thing is a big joke to not an insignificant portion of players.

“Just absurd.  Grossly unprofessional, childish, and I can’t put exactly into words what it sounded like other than a giant clown show full of players that don’t care about winning or hold themselves to a high standard.”

Grimes apologizes to Tannehill, says Miko’s opinions are not his

Miko Grimes criticized Ryan Tannehill on Twitter, saying the locker room 'hated' the QB.
Miko Grimes criticized Ryan Tannehill on Twitter, saying the locker room ‘hated’ the QB.

Quarterback Ryan Tannehill said Wednesday that cornerback Brent Grimes apologized for comments his wife, Miko, made on Twitter as the Dolphins tried to diffuse a potentially divisive situation in the locker room.

“He came up to me and apologized for the whole incident,” Tannehill said.

Tannehill said it’s “business as usual” between himself and Grimes moving forward.

Although Grimes delivered the apology, he told reporters he was unaware of specifics of what his wife had tweeted. Nonetheless, he tried to distance himself from those remarks.

“I’ve said this plenty of times: My wife is my wife,” Grimes said. “She talks, that’s what she says. We don’t speak the same thing. That’s her opinion.”

Grimes revealed that this week wasn’t the first time he extended an olive branch toward his quarterback.

“I told him this before,” Grimes said. “We had lunch early in the season. Somebody asked me this question and my wife’s opinions are her opinions. It’s not my opinions. I really don’t understand it — don’t understand why you ask me about my wife’s opinions. It’s not mine.”

Miko had tweeted that the locker room “hates” Tannehill and sharply criticized his ability.

“I feel I have support,” Tannehill said. “I know you can ask around and gather your own opinion but I feel confident about the support I have and the guys are behind me.”

Although the tweets raise questions of whether Brent shares Miko’s opinions, Brent said that’s not the case.

“He’s our quarterback,” Grimes siad. “He does what he has to do, and that’s the guy we go out with every Sunday. And that’s my guy. That’s my teammate.”

The situation created a circus atmosphere in the locker room. As Tannehill spoke to reporters, defensive end Damontre Moore, who also attended Texas A&M, attempted to make light of the situation by taking a reporter’s microphone and asking the quarterback if he felt “blessed and fortunate … to have a beautiful specimen like myself as a teammate?”

“No,” Tannehill said.

The Dolphins posted the video of Grimes’ interview session almost immediately, then took it off their site. As Grimes spoke, players near his locker loudly hooted and hollered, with one telling him he should plead the fifth.

Speaking of noise, Tannehill took issue with a question that this time, the “noise” wasn’t coming from outside the locker room, but inside, since it was from a teammate’s wife.

“It’s as outside as outside can get,” he said.

Grimes denied the incident has caused a distraction in the locker room.

“It creates a distraction to you guys,” Grimes told reporters. “You could see, I don’t have a problem in the locker room, so if it’s a distraction to you guys, if that’s your perception, that doesn’t mean your perception is the reality.”

But it is a distraction in the locker room, Tannehill said.

“Honestly, at this point, you know, I’ve heard what she said and I don’t really want to give it the time of day,” Tannehill said. “It doesn’t affect what I think about myself, the way I go about my business and prepare to win games.

“So the saddest part about the whole thing is we have to answer questions about it and it’s becoming a distraction to myself and this organization, this team.”

Don Shula, Mercury Morris supportive of Panthers’ undefeated run

Former Miami Dolphin Eugene "Mercury" Morris speaks during a press conference anouncing Reebok's new television campaign -dubbed "Perfectville"- featuring members of the only undeated team in NFL history- the 1972 Miami Dolphins on February 1, 2008 at the Phoenix Convention Center in Phoenix, Arizona (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images for Reebok)
Former Miami Dolphin Eugene “Mercury” Morris speaks during a press conference announcing Reebok’s new television campaign -dubbed “Perfectville”- featuring members of the only undefeated team in NFL history- the 1972 Miami Dolphins on Feb. 1, 2008 in Phoenix. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images for Reebok)

There’s a misconception (well, a partial misconception) among both fans and foes of the Miami Dolphins — particularly their unbeaten 1972 team — that the old-time players and coaches root each year against current-day NFL teams equaling (or, God forbid, bettering) their 17-0 record.

Running back Mercury Morris has been the most outspoken of the ’72ers, trolling the nearly unbeaten Patriots back in 2007 and more recently discussing how hard it is complete an undefeated season in this — or any — day and age:

“Go ask the Patriots how difficult it is to do it and how they feel about some little kid in Guatemala wearing those perfect 19-0 Super Bowl tees.”

BURN!

In that same interview, when asked what would happen if Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers were able to best the mark of the ’72 Fins this season, Morris responded by asking, “Do you know the second biggest canyon in the U.S.? No, because everyone only knows about the Grand Canyon. No one cares about the second to do anything.”

DOUBLE BURN!!

But perhaps the Dolphins legends are starting to mellow as time goes on.

The official Twitter account of legendary Dolphins coach Don Shula sent out this tweet during the Panthers game Sunday against the Atlanta Falcons.

Yes, Shula and family are dabbing in honor of Newton, Carolina’s star quarterback and MVP candidate. But they’re also supporting Shula’s son Mike, who is the Panthers’ offensive coordinator.

Of course, the Panthers went on to lose to the Falcons 20-13, prompting many to imagine Morris and his teammates popping the corks on bottles of bubbly.

But that wasn’t the case, according to Morris.

Still, Morris took the time to appreciate some relevant artwork:

Dolphins coach Campbell says no spat between Grimes and Tannehill

120113-spt-fins-jets-ae-3

Dolphins interim coach Dan Campbell says there’s no spat between cornerback Brent Grimes and quarterback Ryan Tannehill after Grimes’ wife, Miko, bashed Tannehill on social media.

But Campbell made one thing clear: He’s a Magic Johnson fan.

Miko Grimes went after Tannehill on a Twitter tirade Sunday night and then said she wanted three local reporters — including myself — to be raped by Johnson, an NBA Hall of Famer who was diagnosed as HIV positive in 1991.

 

screen-shot-2015-12-28-at-2-10-01-pm“I think Magic Johnson is a hell of a player,” Campbell said Monday, trying to add some humor to an awkward situation.

Miko Grimes was criticizing reporters — which also included the Miami Herald’s Adam Beasley and Armando Salguero — for being critical of her husband, but supporting quarterback Ryan Tannehill.

All three reporters have written both positive and negative comments about Tannehill and Grimes this season, based on their performances.

None of the comments on my end have been personal in any way, or overly critical.

Screen Shot 2015-12-28 at 2.14.28 PM

Campbell said he doesn’t believe you can discipline a player for his wife’s action.

He also confirmed that the team has had discussions about Miko Grimes’ repeated negative public comments about the team, but that it occurred before he was interim coach.

On Sunday night, Miko Grimes bashed Tannehill, who she’s been railing against all season.

Screen Shot 2015-12-28 at 2.15.37 PM

Screen Shot 2015-12-28 at 2.16.08 PM

Screen Shot 2015-12-28 at 2.16.39 PM

Campbell said he would keep any discussion he had with Brent Grimes in-house, but that he doesn’t worry about anything that’s said by outsiders.

“I’m not concerned with those things,” Campbell said. “I’m concerned about the way our guys in our locker room just handle their own business with each other. I’m not worried about outside noise.

“This is not the first time to be honest with you as a player or coach that these things have happened. I know it’s quite a story but to me it’s about how our guys feel in the locker room. You can’t listen to all that stuff out there anyway. If you do, it’ll just bog you down.”

Campbell said he doesn’t believe there’s any issue between Grimes and Tannehill even though Miko criticized Tannehill’s practice performance — information she likely would have gotten from her husband.

“I’ve never sensed there’s been animosity or any type of disconnect between those two guys,” Campbell said. “That’s never been an issue. I still don’t believe it’s an issue.”

Campbell said players and wives don’t always agree with each other.

“Anybody is entitled to their own opinion,” Campbell said. “Sometimes my wife thinks different than I do. And she has that right.”

Grimes’ base salary is more than $8 million next year, but his contract is non-guaranteed.

He has had an up-and-down season. He has four interceptions but has also struggled against some top-tier receivers.

It’s unclear whether this could effect a potential 2016 return. The Dolphins may bring him back or decide to go in a different direction based on performance and cost alone.

Grimes will be 32 next season.

Miko Grimes was arrested while tailgating at a Dolphins game in September and charged with assaulting an officer. The chargers were later dropped.

 

Monday Morning Dolphins: No. 6 draft pick and climbing

It's possible Paxton Lynch could be available for the Dolphins. But would they consider a QB? (Getty Images)
It’s possible Paxton Lynch could be available for the Dolphins. But would they consider a QB? (Getty Images)

There’s some good news to come out of Sunday’s 18-12 loss to the Colts.

If the season ended today, the Dolphins would have the No. 6 pick in the NFL Draft.

(Dolphins’ final rally falls short against Colts)

(Dolphins offensive line struggles take a toll on QB Ryan Tannehill)

That’s high enough to get a potential game-changing player — and the Dolphins could certainly use one of those.

So who could get the Dolphins get at No. 6?

Here’s a quick look at players who might be available.

1. QB Jared Goff or Paxton Lynch

Both players could go in the top five, or they could both be lower top 10 picks.

In CBS Sports’ latest mock drafts, Rob Rang has Lynch at No. 2 and Goff at No. 7.

Dane Brugler has Goff at No. 7 and Lynch at No. 10.

So would the Dolphins really consider drafting a quarterback if they like one and he’s available?

It could depend on who the Dolphins hire as coach.

Head exec Mike Tannenbaum likes Tannehill and would like to see him succeed. But if a new coach is convinced Goff or Lynch can turn the franchise around — and one of them is available — it’s certainly possible they’d go that route.

Lynch — 6-foot-6, 230 pounds out of Memphis — has size, mobility and a big arm but he’s raw.

Goff — 6-4, 210 out of Cal — is more polished and has strong pocket-passing skills but doesn’t have amazing arm strength.

The Dolphins have a lot of defensive needs, but it would be very interesting if one of these quarterbacks is available when the Dolphins make their pick.

Miami can feasibly get out of Tannehill’s contract after the 2016 season though they’d still have a $10 million cap hit in 2017 if he’s cut — and an $18 million cap hit that season if they keep him.

2. CB Jalen Ramsey or Vernon Hargreaves III

Ramsey, out of Florida State, could easily be a top five pick so he might be out of the Dolphins’ range, even if they finish 5-11.

If Ramsey is there for the taking, he’s a 6-1, 202, physical lockdown corner who could excel from the start.

Miami’s future at cornerback in flux with Brent Grimes, 32, heading toward the end of his career. He’s also owed an $8 million base salary if he returns next season.

Drafting a stud cornerback would be ideal for the Dolphins, whether or not they bring back Grimes.

Hargreaves — 5-11, 199 out of the University of Florida — is quick and strong and is projected as a lower top 10 pick.

3. OLB Jaylon Smith or Myles Jack

There are a lot of good linebackers in this draft and Smith and Jack are at the top of the class.

Smith — 6-3, 240 out of Notre Dame — is athletic and makes a ton of plays, something the Dolphins desperately need.

Jack — 6-1, 245 out of UCLA — isn’t the biggest linebacker but he’s extremely athletic.

The Dolphins need a serious upgrade at linebacker.

4. DE Joey Bosa or DeForest Buckner

Most mock drafts have Bosa — 6-5, 275 out of Ohio State — in the top five. So he could be gone when the Dolphins make their pick.

Buckner — 6-7, 290 — is being projected between No. 5 and No. 10.

Miami’s Cam Wake is going to be 34 next season and coming off an Achilles’ injury. He also has an $8 million base salary.

Olivier Vernon will be a free agent if the Dolphins don’t re-sign him by early March.

The last time the Dolphins had a top five pick, it was a disaster — they traded up to take defensive end Dion Jordan No. 3 overall in 2013.

Miami still has the rights to Jordan, who is serving a year-long drug suspension. While it’s possible they try to get something out of him, it’s hard to imagine he comes back or makes much of an impact.

5. OT Ronnie Stanley

Ole Miss tackle Laremy Tunsil could potentially be the top pick in the draft, so as of now he seems like a long shot for the Dolphins.

But Stanley — 6-6, 315 out of Notre Dame — could be there for Miami.

Unless Miami decides it can’t pass on a franchise quarterback, the defense needs even more of an overhaul than the offense.

The Dolphins offensive line, however, is a perennial mess so they could consider going with a lineman early.

The Dolphins already have left tackle Branden Albert but could contemplate moving him inside if they drafted a top five left tackle.

Albert has also dealt with injuries and he’ll turn 32 next season.