Miami Dolphins Preferring Justin Herbert Over Tua Tagovailoa Feels Like a Smokescreen

Ryan Phillips
Justin Herbert at the NFL Combine - Day 3
Justin Herbert at the NFL Combine - Day 3 / Joe Robbins/Getty Images
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As the 2020 NFL Draft approaches rumors are starting to swirl concerning certain teams' preferences for players. One such rumor is the Miami Dolphins now preferring Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert over Alabama's Tua Tagovailoa. That one seems like a complete smokescreen to fool anyone who thinks the Dolphins want Tagovailoa.

For months, everyone in the industry has heard the Dolphins wanted Tagovailoa and they were hoping to land him with the fifth pick in this year's draft, or through a trade up. Within the last week, that's changed. Now we're hearing the Dolphins are favoring Herbert. The sudden switch has all the makings of a classic draft smokescreen.

I'm not here to say Herbert doesn't have potential. He's a 6-foot-6, 236-pound quarterback with some mobility and a big arm. The issue with Herbert has always been consistency, as his accuracy, passer rating and yards per attempt fluctuated throughout his career at Oregon.

Tagovailoa might not have ideal size (6-foot, 217 pounds), but he's incredibly accurate and his numbers improved every year. He's arguably the most efficient quarterback in college football history.

So, basically the decision between Tagovailoa and Herbert is going to come down to what each team wants out of its next quarterback. Do they favor high-end potential or high-level efficiency?

Teams can change their minds on players, that happens all the time. But usually, that kind of switch happens after an in-person workout, the kind of thing that isn't possible in the lead-up to this year's draft. If teams are basing their decisions on game film alone, there's no way Tagovailoa could be surpassed by Herbert. Tua's film is too good. That's why it's hard to believe the Dolphins have suddenly flipped their opinion.

Maybe they have. Maybe the Dolphins have decided Herbert is the better long-term option. It could have all changed in the last few weeks. But be warned, this feels like a classic pre-draft smokescreen.

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