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NFL Pick: Which QB Will Start Week 1 for Miami Dolphins?

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Ryan Fitzpatrick #14 of the Miami Dolphins. Billie Weiss/Getty Images/AFP

Will Miami Dolphins fans have to wait long to see Tua Tagovailoa lead the offense in the 2020 NFL regular season?

Miami Dolphins dipped into the 2020 NFL draft and got the quarterback of the future in the first round, the quarterback that has long been in the organization’s line of vision when it took Tua Tagovailoa with the No.5 pick. And therein begins the big debate on the age old question: To play or to sit a rookie quarterback?

Towards that end, BetOnline Sportsbook has rolled out NFL futures for Miami’s starting quarterback. By the NFL odds currently on offer, journeyman quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick leads the charge to start the first week of the NFL at -350. But do the oddsmakers have it right?

Dolphins Starting QB Week 1 2020 Regular Season Odds

  • Ryan Fitzpatrick -350
  • Tua Tagovailoa +200
  • Josh Rosen +2500

Once upon a time, during the sepia-toned NFL days, rookie quarterbacks were by and large relegated to the sidelines with a clipboard. Held back to play the role of understudy to a veteran quarterback and to transition from the college to the professional level gradually.

The much loved and celebrated hero of the Miami Dolphins, Dan Marino, is one such example. Another is Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers, who sat for three years learning under the great shadow of Brett Favre. Let’s not forget the Super Bowl MVP, Patrick Mahomes of the Kansas City Chiefs. He spent a year behind Alex Smith before starting in week 1 in the 2018 NFL regular season. And so on…

Inasmuch as there’s a lot of evidence that supports the idea a rookie player is better served to watch and learn the game from a seasoned veteran, today’s game is different. From the boardroom to the field perspective, the case to start a rookie quarterback is becoming considerably stronger, and there’s a solid indication to support the merits of choosing to go down that route.

Ryan Fitzpatrick-350
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The rising costs of rookie deals is one reason why the powers that be within NFL organizations are anxious to start quarterbacks sooner rather than later, not to mention the limited window with which they determine whether the chosen draft pick is who they think he is. It makes little business sense to have a player on the payroll that’s not up to snuff. One could argue, Josh Rosen has personal experience on that score after being sent packing from Arizona following a subpar account with the Cardinals in 2018.

Last season, Kyler Murray, Gardiner Minshew, Daniel Jones, and Drew Lock were some of several rookie quarterbacks that started games and enjoyed a measure of success. They didn’t exactly blow away expectations but nevertheless the deposit of games provided an account with which their respective teams could better evaluate their prospects for the future.

Murray and Lock, in particular, put in deposits that led to their teams to view the 2020 NFL draft as an opportunity to put building blocks around their quarterbacks. Murray started in week 1 and showed flashes of brilliance that hold the promise of a glittering future in Arizona, while Drew Lock raised some eyebrows behind a 4-1 SU record in the five games he was given with the Denver Broncos to traipse his wares on the field.

The Case of Tua Tagovailoa

The Miami Dolphins may not be under real pressure to start Tua Tagovailoa in week 1. Having an able-bodied veteran in Ryan Fitzpatrick, who went 5-4 SU in nine starts in 2019 with a relatively shoddy Dolphins team that many believed would tank the season, gives Miami reprieve. But if the Crimson Tide starlet is ready to start when the season is set to get underway, what is the value of holding him back.

Tagovailoa is rated high amongst the NFL’s scouts, coaches, and cognoscenti. His college resume with Alabama speaks volumes, pointing to his smarts, adaptability and football IQ as a rich skill set that sets him apart from his peers. Indeed, there are those that feel he might prove in hindsight to be THE steal of the 2020 NFL draft and those that passed on the chance to snap him up (the first four picks of the draft) could rue the missed opportunity.

There’s good reason to bet on Tagovailoa starting in week 1, not least because the NFL trend is headed in that direction more often these days. Separately: didn’t Flores start Josh Rosen in Week 1 last season, if only to see what Miami got in the trade with Arizona?

Tua Tagovailoa+200
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One of the main misgivings hanging over the Alabama product is his injury history, including the hip injury that cut short his college season last fall. Getting up-close and personal to assess Tagovailoa’s recovery progress has been made additionally challenging because of the coronavirus pandemic, not least offseason scheduling, practice, and training has also been disrupted because of the many virus-mandated edits across the country.

However, encouraging reports are now emerging after the 22-year-old made the move from Alabama to Miami over the weekend and the Dolphins finally had a chance to assess him at their facility. The word is, his recovery is nothing short of ‘miraculous’.

If that is truly the case of Tagovailoa and reports continue on this positive trend it’s quite likely Tagovailoa’s odds to start in week 1 will shorten in proportion. Thus, for those looking to bet on Tagovailoa for some early NFL picks, pulling the trigger and banking on the +200 odds currently on offer could prove profitable.