2018 NFL Draft: Miami Dolphins need TE Mike Gesicki’s impact immediately

Tight end Mike Gesicki joins the Dolphins as a second-round pick. (Getty Images)

It won’t take much for new Dolphins tight end Mike Gesicki to be considered a success. He might have extraordinary expectations, but the franchise’s standards at his position have been dangerously low for years.

As the tight ends have grown increasingly important in passing attacks league-wide, the Dolphins have been way behind. Their most recent failed experiments were Julius Thomas and Jordan Cameron, and drafting Gesicki in the second round at No. 42 was a desperate attempt to finally find a long-term answer at the position.

Gesicki comes in from Penn State with basketball-style athleticism and a 6-foot-6, 249-pound frame. Over his junior and senior seasons, he combined for 105 receptions, 1,242 yards and 14 touchdowns.

He was first among tight ends at the NFL Combine in 40-yard dash with a time of 4.54 seconds, which was better than what some highly ranked wide receivers clocked. He also finished No. 1 in vertical leap (41.5 inches), broad jump, three-cone drill, 20-yard shuttle and 60-yard shuttle.

That’s a lot to work with, and the Dolphins get the opportunity to start shaping him when he arrives with the rest of the draftees next week for rookie minicamp. They’ll also bring in at least a dozen undrafted rookies.

Their hope for Gesicki, whom they chose over Dallas Goedert, is that he can provide a red zone threat that’s been missing at tight end for years.

Before this continues, a brief history of Miami Dolphins tight ends:

— Anyone 26 or younger has never witnessed the splendor of seeing one selected to the Pro Bowl.

— The franchise record for touchdown catches at the position is seven by Keith Jackson in 1994 and Anthony Fasano in 2008. Seven.

— Of the four previous tight ends they’ve drafted since 2010, Dion Sims topped out with a 26-catch season in 2016, Thomas Duarte has appeared in one game, Michael Egnew caught seven passes in two years before dropping out of the league and Arthur Lynch never made it.

— They’ve never picked one in the first round.

Absorb all that and it makes sense that Thomas’ 41 catches, 388 yards and three touchdowns actually qualified as a decent year by a Dolphins tight end. It was better than what they’d gotten from anyone else at the position since letting Charles Clay walk in free agency in 2015.

Coming into this year, it would’ve been more of the same. Miami’s best hope prior to the draft was A.J. Derby, a 26-year-old they got off waivers from the Broncos last season. He’s shown some promise on the practice field, but the Dolphins were his third team in two seasons and he’s got 37 career catches.

Behind Derby, the team would’ve gone into the upcoming season with MarQueis Gray (27 career receptions), Gavin Escobar (30) and Duarte (none). To say that tight end was a draft need would be putting it gently.

The Dolphins answered by taking Gesicki at No. 42, the third-highest they’ve ever picked a tight end, and adding Notre Dame’s Durham Smythe in the fourth round. Gesicki is the receiver of the two, and Smythe is the blocker.

They’ve bypassed some serious tight ends in the draft lately, including Ole Miss’ Evan Engram and University of Miami’s David Njoku a year ago in favor of drafting defensive end Charles Harris at No. 22. Engram went one pick later and put up 64 catches, 722 yards and six touchdowns for the Giants, while Njoku had a reasonably solid rookie year in Cleveland with 32, 386 and four.

Another notable miss came in 2013, when the Chiefs landed a generational tight end in Travis Kelce at No. 63 overall—nine picks after Miami took cornerback Jamar Taylor.

Clay was the last great find, emerging as an above-average tight end after the Dolphins scooped him up in the sixth round in 2011. He’s never made a Pro Bowl, though he did give Miami 127 catches, 1,364 yards and 10 touchdowns over the 2013 and ’14 seasons. Those numbers aren’t overwhelming, but only Randy McMichael had a better two-year run.

Clay left for Buffalo on a five-year, $38 million contract in 2015, and the Dolphins didn’t deem him special enough exercise their option to match the deal. Over the ensuing two years, Thomas was the best replacement Miami could find.

Thomas, by the way, was a player the Dolphins acquired because the Jaguars were about to waive him. He would’ve been in the free agency bargain bin had Miami not traded a seventh-rounder to get him, and that’s the kind of shopping this team doesn’t want to do anymore.

Now the Dolphins have their own young, gifted tight end and the chance to mold him into exactly what they need. In one sense, there’s little pressure on Gesicki because the standards haven’t been very high, but there’s also a lot riding on him finally being Miami’s breakthrough at a position that’s been problematic for a long time.

[Miami Dolphins’ 2018 salary cap spending shows their priorities]

[Takeaways from the Yahoo! Sports scouting series on the Dolphins]

[Parkland-Douglas football team makes Miami Dolphins draft announcements]

Check out The Palm Beach Post‘s Miami Dolphins page on Facebook.

Grading Miami Dolphins drafts under Adam Gase, Chris Grier, Mike Tannenbaum

Minkah Fitzpatrick will look like a great pick if he’s a starter this year, and if the Dolphins can figure out a good role for T.J. McDonald. (Getty Images)

The Dolphins have had three runs through the NFL Draft with Adam Gase, Mike Tannenbaum and Chris Grier in charge, and it’s already reasonably clear they’ve got some hits and misses.

Of the 20 players those three have selected, led by Grier as the team’s draft czar, eight have a good shot at being in the starting lineup this season. That includes this year’s No. 11 pick, safety Minkah Fitzpatrick, who will have to beat out T.J. McDonald for a spot.

Whether that’s good or bad depends on how those players play. Seeing the draft picks materialize into starters isn’t inherently a positive unless those guys help the Dolphins win.

They’ve selected 10 in the first three rounds, highlighted by top picks Fitzpatrick, defensive end Charles Harris and left tackle Laremy Tunsil. Harris and Tunsil are off to promising starts, though both are under pressure to show big improvement this season.

Tunsil began at left guard because the team had Branden Albert, then shifted into his natural position last season. He was up and down, and inconsistency at left tackle can unravel the whole offense. With 29 career starts and a full season of playing left tackle in the NFL behind him, this is the year for Tunsil to prove he was worth the No. 13 pick.

Harris seemed like a pick for the future when Miami, coming off a 10-6 playoff season, chose him No. 22 overall a year ago.

He was obviously going to sit behind Cameron Wake and Andre Branch as a rookie, and his prospects for playing in the upcoming season aren’t much better given that Wake is still a force and the team traded for Robert Quinn. It also won’t be easy to beat out Branch, whose 2017 dropoff was attributable largely to injury trouble.

Harris played every game last year and graded out well internally, but managed just two sacks despite being on the field for almost 500 snaps.

Xavien Howard (second round, 2016) and Cordrea Tankersley (third, 2017) are viable starters at cornerback and could be an excellent tandem for Miami if play at the top end of what they’ve shown so far.

Raekwon McMillan, the second-round pick last year, earned the starting middle linebacker job last summer before tearing his ACL in the first preseason game. He’ll resume that spot this season, and the Dolphins are already counting on him to anchor their defense.

Then there’s Kenyan Drake, who already looks like a jackpot find by Grier at pick No. 73 overall in the third round in 2016. Drake, an Alabama product who is one of 17 Miami picks from Power 5 schools, could prove to be the team’s biggest value of draftee in this three-year span.

He’s got the opportunity this year to become the focal point of the offense, and there’s good cause to be optimistic. He led the NFL in rushing over the final five games of last season with 444 (88.8 per game and 4.9 per carry), plus two touchdowns and 150 yards receiving.

The Dolphins are hoping current fourth-rounder Kalen Ballage will develop into a similar threat and form a dynamic long-term backfield with Drake.

This year’s Day 2 picks, tight end Mike Gesicki out of the second round and linebacker Jerome Baker from the third, are also expected to vie for starting role. Gesicki already is the clear favorite to take over at tight end, where the roster is light on proven production.

The only big letdown for Miami out of players chosen in the first three rounds is receiver Leonte Carroo, who goes into his third season with 10 catches, 98 yards and one touchdown in 28 games. That’s not exactly “a much faster Anquan Boldin,” as he described himself on draft day in 2016.

If Carroo was a draft error by the Dolphins, it’s compounded by the fact that they packaged three picks in a deal with Minnesota to be able to take him. He has two years left on his rookie contract, and the Dolphins can afford to be patient since his salary cap hit is under $1 million both seasons.

Of their Day 3 picks, the biggest hit by far out of the 2016 and ’17 classes was LSU defensive tackle Davon Godchaux. He might be the best at his position on this team now that Ndamukong Suh is gone.

Jakeem Grant (sixth round, 2016) has also been a good find, particularly in the return game, and the team might have its new kicker in recent seventh-rounder Jason Sanders.

The only one of the 20 draft picks that’s no longer on the team is 2016 seventh-rounder Brandon Doughty, who was unable to break onto the depth chart at quarterback and was granted his release last month.

Free agency has monumental implications, and certainly Gase is responsible to work with the roster holdovers from the previous regime, but smart drafting is the route to competing regularly. If the Dolphins can keep finding two or three quality starters in every draft, they’ll keep getting better.

[Miami Dolphins’ 2018 salary cap spending shows their priorities]

[Takeaways from the Yahoo! Sports scouting series on the Dolphins]

[Parkland-Douglas football team makes Miami Dolphins draft announcements]

Check out The Palm Beach Post‘s Miami Dolphins page on Facebook.

NFL Draft 2018: 5 things to know about Dolphins draft pick Durham Smythe

Durham Smythe #80 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish leaps for a touchdown but would go on to fumble the ball during the game against the Miami Hurricanes at Notre Dame Stadium on October 29, 2016 in South Bend, Indiana. Notre Dame defeated Miami 30-27. (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)

With their first pick on Day 3 of the NFL Draft, the Dolphins took their second tight end of the draft, nabbing Durham Smythe out of Notre Dame. Here are five things you probably don’t know about the newest Dolphin:

1. The 6’5”, 257-pound blocking tight end was a four-star recruit coming out of Belton High School in Texas and was ranked as a top-10 tight end in his draft class.

* Can Durham Smythe fill Anthony Fasano’s shoes as a Miami Dolphins rookie?

2. Smythe graduated from Notre Dame in May 2017 with a degree in sociology.

3. On the football field, Smythe had a modest 28 catches for 381 yards and six touchdowns during his five-year career with the Fighting Irish. He had only one season with double-digit catches, but he caught four touchdowns as a junior despite making only nine total catches that season.

4. The Texas native caught a 27-yard touchdown pass from new Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen in the Senior Bowl.

5. Smythe needed separate surgeries to fix shoulder and knee injuries suffered during the 2015 season.

[Vote: Grade all of the Dolphins’ draft picks]

[PHOTO GALLERY: From the NFL Draft in Arlington, Texas]

Who could the Dolphins pick on Day 3 of the 2018 NFL Draft?

Eddy Pineiro #15 of the Florida Gators gestures after kicking a field goal during the first half of the game against the UAB Blazers at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on November 18, 2017 in Gainesville, Florida. (Photo by Rob Foldy/Getty Images)

The Miami Dolphins hope they acquired regulars for 2018 with their first three draft picks. They’ll be satisfied to add some depth on the final day of selections.

Miami remains in the market for help at defensive tackle, cornerback, kicker and running back. The team has two fourth-round picks, one pick in the sixth round and two picks in the seventh Saturday.

Looking for some potential options for the Dolphins on Day 3?

Available defensive tackles include Virginia Tech’s Tim Settle, Miami’s RJ McIntosh and Kendrick Norton or Michigan’s Maurice Hurst, a late first- or early second-round talent whose stock has seemingly fallen due to some teams’ “serious concerns” about a heart condition.

At cornerback, the Fins could consider big and athletic Holton Hill of Texas, Alabama’s Anthony Averett or Tarvarus McFadden from Florida State.

Florida kicker Eddy Pineiro seems like a possible target in the later rounds, since the Dolphins are currently without anyone at that position on the roster.

The Dolphins took Alabama safety Minkah Fitzpatrick, Penn State tight end Mike Gesicki and Ohio State linebacker Jerome Baker in the first three rounds. Each is expected to contend for a starting job as a rookie.

Miami hasn’t drafted a quarterback, meaning the team likely won’t add a potential eventual successor to Ryan Tannehill until at least 2019.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

***

[Vote: Grade the Miami Dolphins’ NFL Draft picks so far]

[GALLERY: Check out the best photos from the NFL Draft in Arlington, Texas]

NFL Draft 2018: 5 things to know about Dolphins draft pick Jerome Baker

D’Angelo Brewer #4 of the Tulsa Hurricane runs upfield in the first quarter as Jerome Baker #17 of the Ohio State Buckeyes gives chase at Ohio Stadium on September 10, 2016 in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)

Jerome Baker was selected by the Miami Dolphins in the third round on the 2018 NFL Draft.

Here are five things you probably don’t know about the Fins’ newest linebacker:

1. Baker was one of the most coveted athletes in his recruiting class, ranking as the fourth best athlete in the nation and the 61st-ranked overall recruit, according to 24/7 Sports.

2. Baker played some quarterback at Benedictine High School in Cleveland, but he was mainly recruited as a linebacker and originally committed to play college football at the University of Florida before flipping his commitment to Ohio State.

3. In three years at Ohio State, Baker made 159 total tackles and had seven interceptions. He had only one double-digit tackle game last season, but he made it count, racking up 16 tackles and a sack against Wisconsin in the Big Ten Championship game.

4. Baker had the fourth best 40-yard dash time among linebackers at the NFL Combine and placed in the top seven among linebackers in the bench press, vertical jump and broad jump.

5. Even though he’s a Cleveland native, Heat fans will be pleasantly surprised with Baker’s apparent basketball rooting interests.

[Vote: Grade the Miami Dolphins’ NFL Draft picks]

[GALLERY: Check out the best photos from the NFL Draft in Arlington, Texas]

* Will Miami Dolphins second rounder Mike Gesicki do Jimmy Graham-like things?

* ‘Great decision’: No, Miami Dolphins’ Mike Gesicki didn’t give up football

Get to know new Miami Dolphins tight end Mike Gesicki

NFL Draft 2018: Get to know new Miami Dolphins tight end Mike Gesicki

Tight end Mike Gesicki #88 of the Penn State Nittany Lions celebrates after making an 11-yard touchdown reception in the second quarter against the USC Trojans during the 2017 Rose Bowl Game presented by Northwestern Mutual at the Rose Bowl on January 2, 2017 in Pasadena, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

With the 42nd pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, the Miami Dolphins took Mike Gesicki out of Penn State.

Get to know the Dolphins new 6’6” tight end with five fast facts:

[RELATED: Will Miami Dolphins second rounder Mike Gesicki do Jimmy Graham-like things?]

1. Gesicki played four seasons at Penn State, turning in his highest receiving-yard total during his junior year, gaining 679 yards on 48 catches. Though his yardage output went down as a senior, Gesicki did have a career-high 57 catches and nine touchdowns last year.

2. The 247-pound New Jersey native was considered one of the best tight ends in his recruiting class. According to 24/7 Sports’ composite ranking, Gesicki was the sixth best tight end recruit in the country and the seventh best overall recruit out of New Jersey. Among the notable players ranked ahead of him were Browns safety Jabrill Peppers and fellow-2018 draft pick Quenton Nelson.

3. Gesicki dominated the NFL Combine, running a 4.54 second 40-yard dash, tying N.C. State’s Jaylen Samuels for the best time among tight ends. Among tight ends, he also had the best vertical jump, broad jump and time in the three-cone drill, 20-yard shuttle and 60-yard shuttle, along with the second highest bench-press total.

4. At Southern Regional High School in Stafford Township, N.J., Gesicki set all-time school records for receiving yards, receptions and touchdown catches.

5. Gesicki starred in three sports in high school. Along with football, he played basketball and volleyball. In volleyball, he led his team to two straight state titles and set the school record for blocks. In basketball, he graduated as the school’s all-time leader in scoring.

* PHOTO GALLERY: From the NFL Draft in Arlington, Texas

* Grading the Dolphins’ first and second-day picks

2018 NFL Draft: Which prospects are the Dolphins considering? A whole lot of ’em

Preview of the 2018 NFL Draft Theater, which is being built on the field of AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, on Tuesday, April 24, 2018. (Max Faulkner/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/TNS)

The Palm Beach Post — along with any other sports media outfit worth its salt — isn’t shy about publishing mock drafts leading up to the actual NFL Draft, which begins with the first round Thursday night in Arlington, Texas. Our Jason Lieser and Joe Schad alone have published six between them (Lieser 1.0 | 2.0 | 3.0 | 4.0; Schad 1.0 | 2.0) since February.

The fact of the matter, though? We don’t know who the Dolphins are going to pick. None of the experts do.

Heck, the Dolphins don’t even know who they’re going to pick. It will depend on variables like the players selected by the teams drafting earlier, positions of need and the value they’re likely to get at the No. 11 slot.

So what do we do? We cover our bases. We write about lots of the interesting players the Dolphins could and should be considering.

Below you’ll find a ridiculous number of profiles we’ve written over the last few months. Maybe we’ve even written on the guy the Fins will draft in the first round.


Quarterbacks:

Stud QB prospect Josh Allen: ‘I would definitely welcome’ backing up Ryan Tannehill in ’18

5 Reasons why Baker Mayfield fits with Miami Dolphins

UCLA’s Josh Rosen has talent, but personality draws questions

Lamar Jackson proclaims: ‘I’m strictly quarterback!’

Dolphins might turn attention to Oklahoma State QB Mason Rudolph

Is Luke Falk the most realistic Miami Dolphins QB option?

Is Kyle Lauletta the Dolphins’ answer at quarterback?

Marshall QB Chase Litton a late-round option for Dolphins

QB Mason Rudolph intriguing Miami Dolphins fit

Is Mike White the right QB choice for Miami Dolphins?


Running backs:

Is RB Derrius Guice the perfect Kenyan Drake complement?

Miami Hurricanes RB Mark Walton shows toughness, health


Wide receivers:

Christian Kirk could be Dolphins’ next Jarvis Landry

WR Tre’Quan Smith of UCF and Delray Beach improves stock


Tight ends:

Could Dallas Goedert solve Miami Dolphins’ tight end woes?

South Carolina’s Hayden Hurst among top tight ends

Penn State tight end Mike Gesicki talks with Dolphins

Can Mark Andrews be Miami Dolphins’ TE answer in 3rd round?

Wisconsin TE Troy Fumagalli meets with Miami Dolphins

Miami Hurricanes TE Chris Herndon has big upside

TE Ian Thomas’ purpose was formed by difficult childhood


Offensive linemen:

Notre Dame’s Mike McGlinchey too big for Dolphins to ignore

Miami Hurricanes OL Kc McDermott fighting to get picked

Oregon tackle Tyrell Crosby gets Dolphins’ attention

UTEP guard Will Hernandez makes sense for Dolphins


Defensive linemen:

Could Miami Dolphins draft massive defensive tackle Vita Vea?

‘Canes DL Chad Thomas improving his draft stock


Linebackers:

Is dynamic, game-changing LB Roquan Smith right for Miami Dolphins?

Why Miami Dolphins should consider LB Tremaine Edmunds

Miami Dolphins LB targets other than Roquan Smith, Tremaine Edmunds

UCF’s Shaquem Griffin earns shot on merit, not admiration

Dolphins need a linebacker like Leighton Vander Esch

Does South Carolina State LB Darius Leonard fit Dolphins?

Miami Dolphins meet with USC linebacker Uchenna Nwosu


Defensive backs:

Mel Kiper selects a safety for Miami Dolphins in three-round mock

2018 NFL Mock Draft: Palm Beach Post’s Joe Schad | Version 2.0

Miami Hurricanes quarterback Malik Rosier is tackled by Virginia Tech Hokies linebacker Tremaine Edmunds at Hard Rock Stadium. (Andres Leiva / The Palm Beach Post)

The first round of this NFL Draft should be really, really interesting. So many quarterbacks. So much talent. So many teams who could use a quarterback. So much confusion about which one will end up as the best player. Here’s my second and final swing at how I see Thursday night going. In this scenario, I would personally select Josh Rosen for the Miami Dolphins, but it would be a close call over Tremaine Edmunds, who I chose here for Miami:

  1. Cleveland Browns: Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming
  2. New York Giants: Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State
  3. New York Jets: Sam Darnold, QB, USC
  4. Cleveland Browns: Bradley Chubb, North Carolina State
  5. Denver Broncos: Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma
  6. Indianapolis Colts: Minkah Fitzpatrick, DB, Alabama
  7. Tampa Bay Bucs: Derwin James, S, Florida State
  8. Chicago Bears: Quenton Nelson, G, Notre Dame
  9. San Francisco 49ers: Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State
  10. Oakland Raiders: Roquan Smith, LB, Georgia
  11. Miami Dolphins: Tremaine Edmunds, LB, Virginia Tech
  12. Buffalo Bills: Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA
  13. Washington Redskins: Vita Vea, DT, Washington
  14. Green Bay Packers: Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama
  15. Arizona Cardinals: Mike McGlinchey, OT, Notre Dame
  16. Baltimore Ravens: Marcus Davenport, DE, UTSA 
  17. Los Angeles Chargers: Da’Ron Payne, DT, Alabama
  18. Seattle Seahawks: Josh Jackson, CB, Iowa
  19. Dallas Cowboys: Leighton Vander Esch, LB, Boise State
  20. Detroit Lions: Harold Landry, Edge, Boston College
  21. Cincinnati Bengals: Connor Williams, OT, Texas
  22. Buffalo Bills: Jaire Alexander, CB, Louisville
  23. New England Patriots: Mike Hughes, CB, UCF
  24. Carolina Panthers: Dallas Goedert, TE, South Dakota St.
  25. Tennessee Titans: Sam Hubbard, DE, Ohio State
  26. Atlanta Falcons: Taven Bryan, DL, Florida
  27. New Orleans Saints: Christian Kirk, WR, Texas A&M
  28. Pittsburgh Steelers: Rashaan Evans, LB, Alabama
  29. Jacksonville Jaguars: Tyrell Crosby, OT, Oregon
  30. Minnesota Vikings: James Daniels, G/C, Iowa
  31. New England Patriots: Kolton Miller, OT, UCLA
  32. Philadelphia Eagles: Derrius Guice, RB, LSU

Miami Dolphins 2018 NFL Draft: What I would do

2018 NFL Draft: Top 7 Miami Dolphins mocked draft picks

ANALYSIS: What Miami Dolphins think of this NFL draft class

Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross deposed in Colin Kaepernick grievance, per report

Get our articles sent right to your Facebook feed by clicking here

 

 

Miami Dolphins vying to host future Pro Bowls, NFL Draft at Hard Rock Stadium

A view of the 2008 NFL Draft in New York. (Getty Images)

As the Dolphins continue to build Hard Rock Stadium into a premier sports complex, they’ve inquired about hosting future Pro Bowls and getting a turn to hold the NFL Draft in South Florida.

While there is no indication that either event is headed here soon, team president Tom Garfinkel said the Dolphins are pursuing both.

“We want to bring as many great events as we can to Miami, so we’ll bid on everything that’s available,” he said.

The Pro Bowl was in Hawaii for 30 years before the Dolphins hosted it in 2010. That year and 2015, the NFL held the Pro Bowl at the Super Bowl site.

The league moved it to Orlando starting in 2017 and will play the third year of that deal at the end of the upcoming season. There has been no indication what the NFL will do beyond that.

The draft has also been jumping around the country since ending a 50-year run in New York. Chicago hosted it in 2015 and ’16, Philadelphia had it last year and it will be at the Dallas Cowboys’ stadium next month.

The NFL has not awarded the 2019 draft, and the Dolphins would like to be considered.

“We put our name in the hat for all those things,” Garfinkel said.

The team is also looking to land 2026 men’s World Cup matches if a North American bid including the U.S., Canada and Mexico wins hosting rights.

That aside, Hard Rock Stadium is already set for several big events in addition to being the home field for the Dolphins and Hurricanes, the permanent site of the Orange Bowl (it’s a national semifinal this season) and the venue for the Miami Open tennis tournament beginning next year.

The 2020 Super Bowl is headed to Miami Gardens as a direct result of the hundreds of millions of dollars Stephen Ross put into the stadium, and college football’s National Championship Game is coming in 2021.

[Dolphins coach Adam Gase has big plans for new WR Albert Wilson]

[Dolphins have a ton riding on QB Ryan Tannehill this season]

[What exactly is Mike Tannenbaum’s building plan for the Miami Dolphins?]

Check out The Palm Beach Post‘s Miami Dolphins page on Facebook

2018 NFL Draft: No certainty Dolphins will pick a quarterback at all

Will Josh Allen or any of the other Big Four still be available when the Dolphins pick at No. 11? (Getty Images)

ORLANDO—It seems obvious the Dolphins need to get a quarterback reasonably high in this year’s NFL Draft class. Even if they’re committed to Ryan Tannehill for the remainder of his contract, three more seasons, they need a quality backup for 2018 and a contingency for the future in case Tannehill isn’t good enough.

But coach Adam Gase said it’s not automatic the team will jump on one.

With Miami appearing to be boxed out from getting one of the top four quarterbacks at No. 11, attention turns to the second-tier guys like Mason Rudolph and Lamar Jackson. If the team isn’t sold on someone in that range, it won’t give up a second-round pick at that position.

“Chris (Grier) will do a good job putting the draft board together and we’ll pick the right guys,” Gase said. “I don’t know how the draft is going to fall … What if three teams trade up even higher than what we’ve been seeing and everybody’s gone?

“Are we taking a guy just to take a guy? I mean I’d love to add a quarterback as much as anybody else but at the same time, I want it to be the right guy for us.”

The Dolphins are high on Baker Mayfield and Josh Allen, and there remains a small chance one of those two could slide. Southern California’s Sam Darnold and Allen are likely to be the first two picked, leaving Mayfield and UCLA’s Josh Rosen.

While the first four teams in the draft all need a quarterback, if one of them becomes fixated on another player, the remaining teams ahead of the Dolphins don’t appear to be looking for one.

Mayfield seems to be the most likely to fall a few spots in that scenario, and Gase would be thrilled if that happens.

On the flip side, part of the urgency for Miami to pick a quarterback is to take advantage of having the No. 11 pick. The organization believes it won’t be slotted that high very often (many outside those walls don’t agree), so it can’t sleep on the opportunity.

However, if they aren’t taking one at No. 11, there’s nothing rare or special about the rest of their picks beginning with No. 42 in the second round. Or, what if one of the top four slips to them and it’s not a guy they want? At that point, if the Dolphins aren’t fully on board with a specific quarterback, it’d be more sensible to revisit the position in the 2019 draft.

Gase is very confident in backup David Fales, who played sparingly last year, and said there was no way Miami was letting him leave in free agency. Fales appears to be the man to beat as Brock Osweiler, Brandon Doughty and any potential rookie vie for the No. 2 spot.

The Dolphins have typically kept two quarterbacks on the 53-man roster during Gase’s two seasons as head coach, and Doughty has been on the practice squad. This is his final season of eligibility for NFL practice squads.

Last year they put Tannehill on Injured Reserve during training camp and went with Jay Cutler and Matt Moore as the active quarterbacks. When Moore got hurt, they brought in Fales. Collectively, Cutler, Moore and Fales combined to give Miami the fifth-worst passer rating in the NFL.

Fales, 27, was with Gase in Chicago in 2015 and had been with Miami until the final cut of the preseason last season. Osweiler also has history with Gase, having played under him in Denver from 2012 through ’14.

Gase would almost certainly have to carry three quarterbacks in 2018 if the Dolphins draft one, because of his interest in Fales and to avoid being forced to play the rookie if Tannehill gets hurt.

“Probably,” he said. “Yes… That’s an important position. I like the guys that we have on our roster right now, and then if we add someone else, obviously we’re doing it for a good reason.

“At that position, the more guys that we can bring along and the more guys that we can develop—I think it’s hard to just say that we’re going to keep a practice squad guy.”

If the Dolphins don’t draft a quarterback in the first- or second-round, they’d still likely bring in a late-rounder or undrafted rookie to compete with Doughty and the others. It’s just that it could be a name very few in South Florida recognize.

[Dolphins coach Adam Gase says offseason moves are a net positive]

[Ryan Tannehill will be back for the Dolphins in time for OTAs]

[What exactly is Mike Tannenbaum’s building plan for the Miami Dolphins?]

Check out The Palm Beach Post‘s Miami Dolphins page on Facebook