Schad: Forget all those QBs in the NFL Draft. Dolphins like these Tua traits

Joe Schad
Palm Beach Post
Brigham Young quarterback Zach Wilson (1) rushes for a 15-yard touchdown in the first quarter against the UCF Knights in the Boca Raton Bowl at FAU Stadium in Boca Raton, Florida on December 22, 2020.

Draft analysts are comparing Zach Wilson to Patrick Mahomes, Russell Wilson and Aaron Rodgers.

All that mattered to the Dolphins was if that increased the trade value of the third overall pick. Miami wasn't going to draft Wilson, as talented as he is.

Perhaps it did help matters, as Miami traded it away on Friday in a deal that produced two more future first rounders from the 49ers. Maybe San Francisco will select Wilson or Justin Fields of Ohio State.

Miami's rolling with Tua.

Wilson is generally considered the second best quarterback in the upcoming NFL Draft, behind only Trevor Lawrence. Wilson plays for BYU and he is a very exciting player.

Wilson possesses a powerful arm, sublime creativity and the play-making gene. Wilson, as expected, put on an eye-opening, dazzling show at BYU's Pro Day on Friday.

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If Wilson is determined to have such a high ceiling that the Jets decide to move on from Sam Darnold, then the Wilson story could turn out all wrong for Miami.

But again, Miami is rolling with Tua. They also can't be overly concerned about if the deal with San Francisco frees them up to deal Jimmy Garropolo back to AFC rival New England.

It's certainly possible Wilson and Fields' value rises like Zoom stock over the next 30-something days. Miami felt the time was right to capitalize on their holding.

But who the consensus second-best quarterback in the upcoming NFL Draft is determined to be is actually less important than this: the Dolphins like the second quarterback taken in the last NFL Draft.

It's a coincidence that Zach Wilson has Hawaiian ancestry, and has won a Polynesian Player of the Year award, like Tua Tagovailoa.

But these players are completely different in approach and style.

The Dolphins like that Tua is highly accurate, consistent and disciplined. That does, actually, align with what coach Brian Flores values most in a signal-caller.

With Wilson, there is the "Wow" factor. But will Wilson's NFL tape eventually feature far more good Kyler Murray then bad Johnny Manziel?

Probably. But the Dolphins are more than happy to take their chances with Tua. 

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The Dolphins publicly stated Tua is their quarterback and of course that might have changed behind the scenes if Deshaun Watson hadn't found himself embroiled in lawsuits and allegations of sexual misconduct.

Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (1) throws a pass in the second quarter at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, December 20, 2020.

But it seems obvious no team can trade for Watson until his legal entanglements are resolved. And even then, a league suspension could be in his future.

When the Dolphins look at a player like Wilson, they logically compare him to Tagovailoa, though any separation would not seem to warrant actual consideration of selecting him.

Those who love Wilson will see a dynamic athlete with mouth-watering potential. 

Those who aren't so sure will cite some concerns about durability, decision-making, level of competition, and the fact that for some strange reason he wasn't selected a BYU team captain.

We can assure you Tua was a team captain at Alabama. We can also assure you that Tua will be physically stronger and better prepared mentally to face defenses in his second season.

And here is something that seems to have been forgotten about Tua's rookie season. He wasn't terrible. In fact, Tua was often quite good.

It is true that Tagovailoa will need to demonstrate an ability to strike on more downfield passing plays in 2021. But as Hall of Fame quarterback Kurt Warner and excellent ESPN analyst Dan Orlovsky have recently pointed out in video breakdowns, Tua actually put some really good stuff on tape.

Warner raved about Tua's footwork, decisiveness, decision-making and, of course, uncanny accuracy. Warner showed an example of how Tua placed a ball in the exact right spot on on a back-shoulder throw. It allowed the receiver to make a play without any risk of any defender breaking up the play.

That is Tua's super power — accuracy. And former Miami quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, who offered no such niceties about other former Dolphins quarterbacks, has been candid in recent interviews, too.

"Elite accuracy," Fitzpatrick says of Tua.

Orlovsky says the "conversation of moving on from Tua Tagovailoa is absurd and it's stupid." And while it makes for some good television, there really hadn't been much murmur or buzz at all about the Dolphins taking Wilson or Fields at three.

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Watson, who has been on a Hall of Fame trajectory, would be another conversation entirely. But any of those discussions would be no insult to Tagovailoa, who Miami can only hope will develop into the talent Watson is.

Orlovsky notes that Tua has demonstrated good timing, ball location and anticipation. Orlovsky noted that "there is a subtlety in Tua's game that is so special."

Have patience, Orlovsky pleads.

And in a time in NFL history where there is zero patience, Miami has every reason to exhibit some in this case. Let's not forget why he was drafted where he was drafted.

After having moved down and then up to the sixth pick on Friday, the Dolphins still have ways to support Tua's second campaign. At least one or two among Ja'Marr Chase, Kyle Pitts, Jaylen Waddle or DeVonta Smith should be available in that slot.

The Dolphins moved down from near the top of the draft and when that happens, it's almost always because some quarterback-hungry team is desperate to attain the next great signal-caller. Maybe Wilson will be that player.

Maybe the Jets or 49ers are taken by Wilson's howitzer arm, gunslinger mindset and highlight-reel potential. The Dolphins are ready to witness Tua 2.0.

Miami is hopeful that what they have in Tua is a strong leader with an ability to consistently deliver a series of quick-game, precision passes that take apart the defense in a slow bleed.

In 2021, no highly-drafted rookie quarterback need apply