Since the days of Mike Tannenbaum, even before the #Tank4Tua days, the Dolphins were connected to Justin Herbert. The Oregon product was thought to be the next big thing since he burst onto the scene a few years prior. His look was exciting for many, and the play appeared to be there to back it all up.
6’6, 235 pounds, and a cannon arm. GM’s were lining up to watch the kid play in Eugene, WA. Most notably, former Dolphins executive Mike Tannenbaum who was sent multiple times to watch the Quarterback play live. From all reports at the time, as well as Tannenbaum’s numerous appearances on ESPN, he was enthralled. On radio show “Golic and Wingo,” the former exec stated that between the big three, Herbert was “built to last.”
Moreover, multiple reports indicate that Miami has been keen on the signal caller despite the public consensus linking them to Tua and Burrow. The question is, what is smoke here? Does Tannenbaum’s preference of Herbert indicate a former philosophy held by Dolphins brass, or is it connected to the DNA of what current GM Chris Grier believes a QB to be?
Analyzing this regime’s moves over the last year, one thing is apparent. The outside world is not nearly as in the know as they think. Moreover, this front office has handled PR with an iron fist, treating leaks like dissent and removing those who do not tow the line (see Minkah). For that reason, it is important to look at the timing of these reports as well as where they are coming from.
Although Herbert is a solid prospect who very well could be a solid NFL starter, the Dolphins are looking for a guy with an “it” factor that is clear to football fans, as well as something coveted by Brian Flores himself who spoke on the matter at the combine. There are only two players who clearly embody that winning trait so desperately needed by this franchise. Both Burrow and Tua are proven winners, not only are the physical and mental intangibles there, the pedigree follows suit. Herbert spend 4 years at Oregon and never elevated the program in a meaningful way.
Rather, he would show off his arm and make occasional eye popping throws, but the consistency was not there. In fact, if Miami did believe that Herbert could be molded and develop into a top tier starter, they would likely be pushing a narrative of clear interest in Tua as to entice other teams to move up or stay pat believing Herbert would be available to them. Instead, reports indicate an interest in Burrow, Jordan Love, and Justin Herbert.
Miami is looking to win sooner rather than later. Their philosophy is reliant on a full functioning unit on both offense and defense which complements and reinforces each other. For a Quarterback, this means the Dolphins are looking for consistency. A player who is not only capable of making all the throws with touch and precision, but also able to diagnose defenses, play in a balanced attack, as well as get rid of the ball quickly and with decisiveness.
As great as Herbert was in college and the potential he flashes, Chris Grier just went through the Ryan Tannehill era. Swapping out a QB who looked the part but never developed for a shinier model is not in the cards. For this reason, do not expect the Dolphins to draft Herbert.
What do you think? Is Justin Herbert a real option for Miami in your eyes? Is he better or worse than public perception? Let us know in the comments below.