MIAMI (AP) — Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross is 77 and wants to win now.
Executive vice president of football operations Mike Tannenbaum and general manager Chris Grier, mindful that last season’s 6-10 record didn’t help their job security, also want to win now.
Coach Adam Gase, however, wants to draft a quarterback to groom as an eventual successor to Ryan Tannehill.
The tension between seeking an immediate draft dividend and investing for the long term is at the core of the Dolphins’ decision with the 11th overall pick.
The choice may show how much power Gase wields, but even if the other leaders in the organization yield to his preference, it’s uncertain which quarterback will land in Miami.
“Until you’re just a couple of picks away, we’re really not sure how it’s going to unfold,” Tannenbaum said.
Bad draft decisions are a big reason the Dolphins haven’t won a playoff game since 2000, eight years before Ross became majority owner. They hope to fare better in the upcoming draft, and here are things to know as the Dolphins wrestle with a multitude of options and needs:
The Dolphins have devoted a first-round pick to a quarterback once since 1984, and that was Tannehill in 2012. He has undergone two major operations on his left knee in the past 18 months and missed all of last season, but Gase says he’ll be the starter this upcoming season.
The draft is deep in QBs, however, and Gase wants one. Sam Darnold, Josh Rosen, Josh Allen and Baker Mayfield will likely be gone by the 11th pick, and while the Dolphins could trade up, they’re reluctant to give away multiple lower picks when they have glaring needs at numerous other positions.
“You can always make a deal to move up,” Grier said. “It’s just always dependent on how much you want to give up. We’re not going to reach or overextend for something.”
If one of the top four quarterbacks slides to 11th, the Dolphins will probably pounce. Or they might opt for Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson.
Miami could wait until a later round to take a QB, and Luke Falk of Washington State might then be the choice.
The 2017 Dolphins allowed 24.6 points to rank fourth-worst in the NFL, and then released their best defensive player, five-time Pro Bowl tackle Ndamukong Suh.
That means defensive coordinator Matt Burke will be lobbying hard in the draft room for help. It could come in the first round from Georgia linebacker Roquan Smith, Virginia Tech linebacker Tremaine Edmunds or Washington defensive tackle Vita Vea.
Last season’s Dolphins averaged 17.6 points to rank fifth-worst, and then parted with receiver Jarvis Landry and center Mike Pouncey, each a three-time Pro Bowler. Miami shored up those positions in free agency, but needs a starting tight end and help at guard and running back, and will try to address those needs in the middle rounds.
Eighteen seniors from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and the family of assistant football coach Aaron Feis will announce the Dolphins’ picks from the team complex on the third day of the draft. Feis was among 17 people killed in the shooting at the school in February.
HITS, MISSES AND BARGAINS
This is the third draft together for Tannenbaum, Grier and Gase, and the biggest bust in recent years precedes them. It was defensive end Dion Jordan, the No. 3 overall pick in 2013. Violations of the league’s substance abuse policy limited him to one start and three sacks in Miami before he was released a year ago. He has since revived his career with the Seattle Seahawks.
Subsequent first-round picks Ja’Wuan James, DeVante Parker, Laremy Tunsil and Charles Harris have combined for zero Pro Bowl appearances.
Miami hit on a second-round pick in 2014 with Landry, but traded him this offseason. Running back Jay Ajayi became a bargain as a fifth-round choice in 2015, but he was also traded. Rookies contributed little last season, and the draft grade for that class is incomplete.