The Miami Dolphins struck gold in the 1983 NFL Draft when they selected Dan Marino with the 27th pick. Marino became one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time, and the Dolphins were successful during his career. Unfortunately, the Dolphins could not win a Super Bowl with Marino, and they have struggled to have consistent success since the hall of fame QB left the team in 1999.
We are going to take a look at the Dolphins’ draft history since 2000 and see who was tasked with being the next Dan Marino and how their careers panned out. Miami has a first-round pick as their current QB, but over 20 years later, the Dolphins have not found their franchise quarterback since Marino.
Josh Heupel (2001)
The first quarterback, the Dolphins, chose in the 21st century was Oklahoma QB Josh Heupel in the sixth round. Heupel never started a game in the NFL, but he has found a nice career in coaching.
He was the UCF head coach in 2018 and led the Knights to a 12-0 season and a Fiesta Bowl appearance. In 2021 Heupel was named the head coach for the Tennessee Volunteers. Even though Heupel never played in the NFL, he has transitioned nicely into a successful college coach.
Josh Beck (2007)
Josh Beck was the highest-drafted QB by the Dolphins since Marino in 1983; Miami took him in the second round in hopes for a dynamic duo with the first-round pick, receiver Ted Ginn Jr.
Beck only started four games with the Dolphins and lost them all. All four starts came in 2007 when the Dolphins started off 0-8; Miami only won a single game the entire season, finishing 1-15. Beck completed 56 percent of his passes in those four starts and only threw one touchdown with three interceptions. Beck did not play a snap in 2008, and the Dolphins cut him in 2009. He did not see the NFL action until 2009 when he played for the Washington Redskins. Beck had a similar result, losing all three of his starts and throwing two touchdowns to four interceptions; that was the last time Beck played in the NFL.
Chad Henne (2008)
The main reason why the Dolphins moved on from Beck so quickly is that Miami signed Chad Pennington and drafted Chad Henne in the second round the following year. Henne has not had much on-field success as an NFL quarterback, but he has had a long career as a backup and even has a Super Bowl ring.
Pennington suffered a season-ending injury during NFL Week three of the 2009 season, and this was when Henne made his first NFL start. The former Michigan Wolverine went 7-6 in his 13 starts but threw 14 interceptions compared to his 12 touchdowns. Henne began the 2010 season as the starter, but Pennington came in to replace him after a 4-4 start.
Due to injuries
Henne made 14 starts in 2010 and went 6-8, once again throwing more interceptions (19) than touchdowns (15). Henne lost all four starts in his last season with the Dolphins, bringing his total record to 13-18; he became a free agent in 2012 and signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars, where he spent five seasons.
He only made 22 starts in Jacksonville, going 5-17, but he did have a memorable performance against the Houston Texans in 2012, where he threw for 300 yards and four touchdowns. Henne signed with the Kansas City Chiefs in 2018 and became the backup to Patrick Mahomes, and won a championship when Kansas City beat the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl LIV.
Became a Legend
Kansas City in the 2021 Divisional Round. Mahomes left the game against the Cleveland Browns, and Henne had to finish the game. He preserved the 22-17 victory, with the highlight being a critical third-down run in the fourth quarter along with a fourth-down completion to Tyreek Hill that allowed the Chiefs to run out the clock. Henne is expected to still be the Chiefs backup in 2021.
Pat White (2009)
For the third consecutive year, the Dolphins drafted a quarterback in the second round. With the 44th pick, Miami chose West Virginia quarterback Pat White. White was one of the most dynamic and entertaining QBs in college. Still, the Dolphins publicly stated that quarterback competition was between Henne and Pennington, and White would be a receiver and used in the wildcat formation.
White had some preseason work as a quarterback, but a majority of his regular season was a receiver. In 13 games, White did not complete any of his five passes and rushed 21 times for 81 yards. 2009 was the only year White spent in the NFL; he was cut by the Dolphins in 2010 and signed with Washington in 2013 but was cut before the regular season.
Ryan Tannehill (2012)
After nearly 30 years, the Dolphins finally picked a quarterback in the first round when they took Texas A&M’s Ryan Tannehill with the eighth overall pick in 2012. The 2012 draft was when Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III were taken one and two, while Tannehill was a distant third in the eyes of the NFL experts.
Tannehill was thrown right into the fire, starting all 16 games for the Dolphins, and went 7-9 with twelve touchdowns and 13 interceptions. In his second year, Tannehill did show improvements, but he was sacked a league-high 58 times, proving that Miami needed more help than just a new quarterback. In years three and four, Tannehill threw for over 4,000 yards and had a great touchdown/interception ratio, but it was not leading to team success, going 14-
18 in the 2014-2015.
In 2016, Tannehill had another good season, and the Dolphins made it to the playoffs. He suffered an injury late in the season and was inactive for Miami’s Wild Card loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers and then tore his ACL in practice and missed the entire 2017 season. This is when Tannehill’s future in Miami began to come into question.
Adam Gase affirmed that Tannehill would be the Dolphins’ quarterback in 2018. Tannehill started, but he suffered a shoulder injury in NFL Week six and was replaced by Brock Osweiler until NFL Week 12. When he returned, Tannehill was a part of the Miami Miracle, where the Dolphins were down by five with seven seconds left; the Dolphins pulled a successful 69-yard hook-and-ladder to upset the New England Patriots 34-33.
Tannehill was traded to the Tennessee Titans in 2019; he finished with a 42-46 record in Miami and threw for 26,995 yards with 178 touchdowns to 88 interceptions.
Contract with Titans
Tannehill restructured his contract with the Titans, giving him $12 million in incentives, and he reached them with incredible effort and hard work. In NFL Week six of the 2019 season, Tannehill replaced a struggling Marcus Mariota in the second half and never gave up the job. Tannehill started the next ten games and went 7-3 with the Titans, completing 70 percent of his passes with 22 touchdowns to only six interceptions. Tennessee made it to the AFC Championship game, and Tannehill was named the Comeback Player of the Year.
The Titans’ success continued with Tannehill under center; the Titans went 11-5 in 2020, and Tannehill threw for 3,819 yards with 33 touchdowns and 7 interceptions. With the addition of Julio Jones to Tennessee, Tannehill’s numbers should be even better in 2021.
Tua Tagovailoa (2020)
The Ryan Tannehill era in Miami had come to an end, and the Dolphins found their quarterback of the future in 2020. No, it was not Ryan Fitzpatrick, despite how well he played. With their first-round draft pick in the 2020 draft, Miami took Tua Tagovailoa. Tagovailoa was a fantastic left-handed quarterback coming out of Alabama and relieved Jalen Hurts, current Philadelphia Eagles QB. Tagovailoa’s draft stock did take a hit his junior year when he dislocated his hip, and questions were raised about his health.
The Dolphins were not concerned and took him fifth overall, where he would start the season as the backup to Fitzpatrick. Tagovailoa made his NFL debut in NFL Week Six against the New York Jets in garbage time. He became the first left-handed quarterback to play since Kellen Moore in 2015.
Tagovailoa was named the starter after Miami’s bye week and faced the Los Angeles Rams in NFL Week eight. He made nine starts in 2020 but missed one game due to a thumb injury. The Dolphins were 6-3 when Tagovailoa was a starter, but there were instances where head coach Bian Flores would bench him for poor play and Fitzpatrick would come in the game, including an NFL Week 16 matchup against the Las Vegas Raiders where Fitzpatrick led a magical comeback in the final seconds of the game.
Looking at Tagovailoa’s numbers, he had a promising rookie season. He completed 64 percent of his passes, throwing for 1,814 with 11 touchdowns and five interceptions. There will be no Fitzpatrick security blanket for Tagovailoa this season as the veteran QB signed with the Washington Football Team.
Future on NFL
There are still questions about Tagovailoa’s future in the NFL and if he can increase the Dolphins’ Super Bowl odds. He still has not reached his full potential in the NFL, but he had some flashes of brilliance, but also some struggles that Miami hopes are more rookie mistakes than a sign of the future. With the success of Tannehill in Tennessee, the scrutiny on Tagovailoa has increased. Luckily for Tagovailoa, he has skilled players around him, so he has the tools to be successful in Miami.
The last 20 years, post-Marino, have been tough for the Dolphins. With the Patriots ruling the AFC East, Miami has not been able to see much success, but the 2020 season showed hope for the future. There will always be controversy about Adam Gase’s time as head coach and the trading of Tannehill, but with Flores and Tagovailoa being the combination, fans in Miami are excited to see what this team can do.
The Buffalo Bills have taken over as the kings of the division, but the Dolphins are some people’s sneaky good team in the NFL Week One betting odds and have a legitimate possibility at the AFC East. Miami is talented enough where Tagovailoa does not need to carry the team like Tannehill in his early Dolphins days. However, there are still legitimate concerns about the future of the Miami quarterback position.