Is everybody happy?
Usually, every team is after the first round of the NFL Draft.
And if you have three first-round picks like Miami had today, you’re extremely happy.
The Dolphins and their fan base must be rejoicing after the selections of franchise quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, offensive tackle Austin Jackson and cornerback Noah Igbinoghene. And with two more picks in the second round and another in the third on Friday, the Miami makeover is taking shape.
The Dolphins have been searching for a franchise quarterback since Dan Marino. Since Marino’s retirement in 1999, the Dolphins have auditioned 21 different starting quarterbacks with no luck.
With the oft-injured Tagovailoa, the Dolphins feel his ability trumps availability.
“For me and my family, whoever decided to take a chance on us, that’s where I belonged,” Tagovailoa said in an Associated Press article. “My biggest thing is I’m trying to prove this was the right decision.”
Tagovailoa won’t wear his No. 13 that he wore at Alabama. That was Marino’s number.
“I understand No. 13 is retired, and it should be,” Tagovailoa said in the AP article. “Whatever number I’m given by the organization, if it’s 78 or 99, I’ll wear it.”
Doctors cleared Tagovailoa last month. He began football activities and also posted his workouts on social media. He said he expects to be healthy for his rookie season.
“What makes me confident in being able to play is what the doctors have told me,” Tagovailoa said. “As far as rehab, as far as the medical rechecks, I’ve checked off all the boxes. So I’ve been really encouraged that I’m able to play if need be.”
Ryan Fitzpatrick, 37, is the team’s returning starter and should be a good mentor.
Maybe Fitzpatrick can take the beating early on in the season.
That’s because Jackson, who is only 20 years old, probably isn’t ready to take on NFL elite pass rushers.
Miami’s third first-round pick might be more ready. Igbinoghene, whose Nigerian parents were Olympic track athletes, has speed, skill and could start at corner or slot corner. Not to be overlooked was that the Dolphins traded down with Green Bay and got the Packers’ 30th pick, along with a fourth-rounder.
Miami fans won’t be done celebrating. The Dolphins likely will address the needs at running back, receiver or safety positions on Friday and Saturday.
Here are the winners and losers of the first day of the draft:
After losing Stefon Diggs and Xavier Rhodes, the Vikings filled both of their needs with top players in LSU WR Justin Jefferson and TCU CB Jeff Gladney. The 6-1, 202-pound Jefferson was the college football playoffs breakout star who showed surprising speed (4.42) at the combine. The 5-10, 191-pound Gladney (4.48) has solid coverage skills. Plus, by trading with the 49ers, they picked up a fourth-round pick.
The talk before the draft was that Denver was desperate to trade up for one of the top receivers. Instead, the Broncos saw one drop in their palms in Alabama’s Jerry Jeudy. The 6-1, 193-pound Jeudy (4.45 speed in 40, 35-inch vertical) is the draft’s best route runner who also can get separation deep. His gives Drew Lock another target and seems to be a good complement for the Broncos’ other receiver, Courtland Sutton.
New England traded out of the first round with the Los Angeles Chargers and picked up a second- and third-rounder. The Patriots now have 13 picks, including four in the third round, two in the fourth and four in the sixth. Look for the Pats to recycle more into picks for next year’s draft.
Hall of Famer Michael Irvin said CeeDee Lamb was the No. 1 receiver on the Dallas draft board. So to see the Oklahoma star drop to No. 17 is a steal. He is a master of the yards-after-the catch and has an uncanny ability to make people miss.
SHAKING MY HEAD
Las Vegas hit the jackpot with Henry Ruggs III, the Tyreek Hill of the draft. But with their second first-round pick, the Raiders might have rolled craps by selecting Damon Arnette, whom many draft analysts ranked as a third-round pick. NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah, who filled in for Todd McShay (coronavirus) on the ESPN telecast, rated Arnette as the eighth-best cornerback. He was the fourth corner picked. The Raiders’ stunning selection was similar to last year when they chose Clemson DE Clelin Ferrell No. 4 overall.
It was all falling so perfectly for San Francisco. All the players that fit its needs — Iowa OL Tristan Wirfs, DT Javon Kinlaw, all the wideouts — were available at No. 13. The 49ers made a great move by flipping spots with Tampa Bay and picking up a fourth-rounder and still getting Kinlaw. Then, they undid it all. They traded up from No. 31 to Minnesota’s No. 25 and threw in a fourth-rounder they just picked up and another pick and selected Arizona State WR Brandon Aiyuk. Unless they have a specific role in mind for Aiyuk, this move is questionable, especially with a deep pool of receivers still available. It is the third year in a row that the 49ers have drafted a receiver. Last year, they picked Deebo Samuel in the second and Jalen Hurd (injured all season and not yet cleared because of back injury) in the third. Two years ago, they traded up to pick Dante Pettis (often injured and ineffective) in the second round. Now, the 49ers don’t have picks in the second through fourth rounds, with needs at corner, safety and interior offensive line still to fill.
OK, not everyone was happy after the first round. Anyone talk to Aaron Rodgers after Green Bay traded up to pick QB Jordan Love? Well, at least Rodgers knows how Brett Favre felt. It worked once before when Rodgers slipped in the draft to No. 24 in 2005. He sat behind Favre for three years before taking over for good while being better than good. That could be the timeline that the Packers follow for the Rodgers’ succession plan. However, aren’t the Packers ready to win now? Shouldn’t they have addressed their needs at wide receiver or tight ends, weapons Rodgers probably would have preferred. The Packers faithful might be on Rodgers’ side on this one.