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Tua Tagovailoa

Can speedy receivers jumpstart Miami's passing game?

Miami has the fastest pair of wide receivers in the league. Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle can both fly. But do the Dolphins have a quarterback who can bring them to life?

I don’t know that they do. Tua Tagovailoa, I think, has a pop-gun arm. If you’re ordering the starting quarterbacks 1 thru 32 in arm strength, he might be the last guy. (Philip Rivers and Drew Brees are both staying retired, right?)

I don’t think we’re going to see many plays where Hill or Waddle is behind a defense, with Tagovailoa launching the ball 50 yards. That’s just not what he does.

Both Hill and Waddle have the potential to turn a short catch into a long touchdown. I suppose there will be a few of those. But I don’t think Miami will be creating an unusual number of big plays.

The Rams piled up a bunch of long touchdowns early last year. The previous season, the Seahawks had a lot of them in the first half of the season. I don’t think there’s any chance of the Dolphins being that kind of a team.

Below see the average length of touchdown passes over the last two years – all quarterbacks with at least 20 touchdowns are listed. Tagovailoa is a distant last, 4 yards behind everyone else.

This list, of course, is not proof that his arm is weak or limited. It’s only a reflection or where his touchdowns have come from. Josh Allen might have the strongest arm in the league, and he also near the bottom. Aaron Rodgers and Patrick Mahomes have bazooka arms, and they’re both also in the lower half.

But we’ve all seen Tagovailoa play, and we can all see that he’s not firing the ball with the same zip as guys like Kyler Murray and Justin Herbert.

The Dolphins have Teddy Bridgewater as their backup, and his arm might not be any stronger. They’ve got a strange mix in Miami.

With this nice pair of wide receivers and a new left tackle, we can think about selecting Tagovailoa ahead of some of the lesser quarterbacks around the league – Goff, Zach Wilson, Wentz, Davis Mills - but not a guy I expect will be among the top 20 quarterbacks on my board.

Joe Burrow, Cin.4722.7
Deshaun Watson, Hou.3321.6
Taylor Heinicke, Was.2120.9
Derek Carr, L.V.5019.9
Russell Wilson, Sea.6518.8
Justin Herbert, LAC6918.6
Kyler Murray, Ari.5018.4
Daniel Jones, NYG2018.4
Jimmy Garoppolo, S.F.2718.3
Teddy Bridgewater, Car.-Den.3317.9
Jalen Hurts, Phil.2217.6
Jared Goff, LAR-Det.3917.3
Ben Roethlisberger, Pitt.5517.2
Carson Wentz, Phi.-Ind.4316.9
Matthew Stafford, Det.-LAR6716.9
Andy Dalton, Dal.-Chi.2216.7
Kirk Cousins, Min.6816.4
Philip Rivers, Ind.2416.3
Patrick Mahomes, K.C.7516.1
Dak Prescott, Dall.4615.8
Mac Jones, N.E.2215.1
Lamar Jackson, Balt.4215.0
Gardner Minshew, Phil.2014.7
Tom Brady, T.B.8314.7
Baker Mayfield, Cle.4314.6
Aaron Rodgers, G.B.8514.3
Ryan Tannehill, Ten.5414.2
Drew Brees, N.O.2413.9
Josh Allen, Buff.7313.5
Matt Ryan, Atl.4613.2
Tua Tagovailoa, Mia.279.3

—Ian Allan

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