Should the Dolphins replace Tua Tagovailoa in the 2021 NFL Draft?

ORCHARD PARK, NEW YORK - JANUARY 03: Tua Tagovailoa #1 of the Miami Dolphins (Photo by Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images)
ORCHARD PARK, NEW YORK - JANUARY 03: Tua Tagovailoa #1 of the Miami Dolphins (Photo by Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images) /

Will Tua Tagovailoa be back in Miami in 2021, or are the Dolphins going to go in another direction this offseason?

For all the good Brian Flores has done in his second year in charge of the Miami Dolphins, he hasn’t handled the development of 2020 No. 5 overall pick Tua Tagovailoa very well.

Tua has been shuffled in and out of the starting lineup in favor of Ryan Fitzpatrick, and the truncated playbook is hampering Tagovauloa’s production.

Considering how bad Tagovailoa has played in a must-win Week 17 game against the Buffalo Bills couple with the Houston Texans gifting them a top-five pick in the draft, some believe Tagovailoa should have competition next year.

However, when one examines their offense, it’s clear to see he is far from the biggest problem.

The Miami Dolphins need to let Tua Tagovailoa throw it deep, mold the offense to his strengths, and get him some skill position talent

Don’t let the uptick in production fool you, what offensive coordinator Chan Gailey is asking Tagovailoa to do is impossible. With DeVante Parker having missed big chunks of the year, Gailey has gotten extremely conservative with Tagovailoa, rarely having him even attempt throws over 15 yards down the field.

Gailey is choosing to rely on a motley crew of nameless running backs and a substandard receiver depth chart. Young quarterbacks are constantly excused for poor performance when started out their pro careers due to subpar surrounding talent, but Tagovailoa has been getting grilled for his own coaching staff’s incompetence.

When given time, and actually allowed to run a somewhat complex offense, Tagovailoa has shown glimpses of his potential, as he is the only qualified quarterback not to have thrown an interception from a clean pocket this season. Give him a vertical field-stretcher like Devonta Smith or Ja’Marr Chase opposite Parker in the passing game, and he could shut up all the doubters by producing at an above-average level.

Tua hasn’t had the most electric start, but there’s only so much he can do when Gailey’s play-calls look like something a high school JV coach would call and he has minimal talent around him.

Giving up on a top-five pick after just nine games, a stretch in which he helped Miami challenge for a playoff spot in Year 2 of what was supposed to be an extensive rebuild would be incredibly short-sighted.

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