Joe Philbin to Miami – how it impacts the draft

Will Joe Philbin's appointment in Miami have a big impact on the draft?

The Miami Dolphins will make Green Bay offensive coordinator Joe Philbin their next Head Coach, replacing Tony Sparano. Chris Kouffman called it earlier in the week, suggesting Philbin would also be joined by Tom Clements as offensive coordinator and eventually Matt Flynn as the team’s quarterback. Whether this proves to be a wise move or not, the Dolphins are at least committing to a defined route forward. So how will this impact the draft?

If the Dolphins do eventually sign Flynn (no guarantee) to work in an offense akin to what he’s used to in Green Bay, it seems unlikely they’ll make a bold move up the board to draft Robert Griffin III. Having committed to Flynn, spending a first round pick on a quarterback would be counter productive unless they want to start with a consistent quarterback controversy. Although many people assume a team will trade into the top-three to draft RGIII, I always felt Miami were the most likely candidate if it was going to happen. They need an identity, a spark on offense. Now it appears that spark will be dependant on trying to emulate the scheme in Green Bay rather than a ticket-selling playmaker to galvanise the franchise.

This could be Miami’s only real option. Can they really coast through free agency investing in the possibility that nearly two months later they can work out a deal for Robert Griffin III? Considering they will own the #8 or #9 pick, the Dolphins front office may simply feel they can’t risk it. By appointing Matt Flynn’s offensive coordinator and quarterback’s coach, they not only have a strong bargaining chip for his services in March, but they aren’t pinning their hopes on a deal that’ll be out of their hands. At least by going the Green Bay route they can control this situation. 

We could see something very similar in Washington. It seems likely that Peyton Manning will be a free agent soon and if he’s healthy enough to play in 2012, why wouldn’t the Redskins show interest? Dan Snyder would surely love that move, the franchise is desperate for a legitimate quarterback to contend in the NFC East and while Manning isn’t the usual Shanahan prototype, it’d buy the coach some time to groom a long term replacement such as Ryan Tannehill, who’s a more obvious fit. Manning-to-Washington makes a lot of sense and the Redskins also cannot afford to risk getting a deal done if they are interested in Griffin, knowing they could be left with another year of mediocre quarterbacking from a guy like Rex Grossman. 

Suddenly, the trade options dry up. If this scenario played out, why would Cleveland move up and bid against themselves? What if Mike Holmgren decides he’d actually rather take Trent Richardson with the #4 pick and draft a quarterback later on? After all, he’s avoided a big splash on a quarterback so far and invested a degree of faith in third-round pick Colt McCoy. Is it totally unrealistic to think the Browns might pass on Griffin even if he’s available with the fourth pick?

I’m a fan of RGIII, but this is the kind of scenario I’ve talked about a few times on this blog – a not completely far-fetched way in which Griffin could suffer a slight fall. I suspect someone would eventually bite and move up – just like Jacksonville did with Blaine Gabbert. However, once he gets beyond Cleveland at #4 it becomes a little easier for a team like Seattle at #11 or #12 to make a cost-effective move if they so wished. It’s important to remember that while not owning the same level of hype, not many people expected Gabbert to drop to #10 last April. In many ways Griffin is the perfect off-field quarterback – he’s intelligent, has the right look, says the right things and is a marketing dream. But let’s not forget that team’s may not be totally convinced with the tape.

I still expect Griffin to go as early as most people and Cleveland at #4 makes a lot of sense given the Browns also have another first round pick to draft a skill-position player, possibly a talented receiver (a position with a lot of strength in this class). However, it’s not a total shoe-in that the Baylor quarterback is out of Seattle’s reach and while the league will act shocked if the Seahawks are able to draft Griffin (should they wish to do so), it won’t be a miraculous set of events.

See this as a proposal rather than an assumption on what will happen over the next three months, but Philbin’s appointment in Miami will create a new dimension to the draft discussion and it could have a significant impact.

Don’t forget to check out my Brock Osweiler tape review vs Illinois, also published today


  1. Tyler

    Great post. I think you could be right. I do love Flynn, but would be happy with either Flynn or RG3.

    With the new salary situation with the draft picks, what do you think it would take to draft into the 5th or 6th pick? What would we have to give up? a 3rd and 5th?

    By the way, thanks for your commitment to following the Hawks. I love reading your blog, I check it daily and your insight on the draft and all the scenarios and possibilities are fun to follow. Keep up the good work my friend! Go Hawks!

  2. Colin

    Not a fan of Flynn. RG3 or Osweiler for me. I look at the Detroit game he played in last year where Rodgers got hurt. Couldn’t get them anything and they lost 7-3. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.

    Get Upshaw in the 1st and trade up for Osweiler.

  3. glor

    It seems to me that if we are able to theorize about all these different QB’s that that hawks could take, then it seems to me that there are plenty of prospects available. I say we trade down and pick up a couple extra later picks. We still have Portis, he looked good in preseason, it would have been pretty interesting to see him get some action this year, but unfortunetly it didn’t happen. I haven’t followed this blog for long, but what were your thoughts on Portis when you reviewed what tape he has? Either way we go, I don’t want to draft or sign an older qb/rookie, get a young QB so that if he does pan out, we will get 10 to 15 years out of him.

  4. Rob

    Hi glor,

    Tape was not available on Portis because he was playing at Cal.Pa. To this day he remains an unknown quantity because really all we saw in pre-season was a brief cameo and while ‘that’ drive against San Diego made people sit up and take notice, it’s impossible to say whether he has a future in the league. I want to believe that Seattle found the next winning lottery ticket in the UDFA market, but the reality is he’s a player with zero expectations who will have surpassed expectations if he ever becomes even a serviceable backup.

  5. pez

    Rob, curious what you think about the teams on the other side of Seattle — meaning, who behind them in the draft order might be likely to consider jumping ahead of them for RGIII? When you look down the list those teams after 11/12 all seem to have something decent already (excluding Cleveland of course), though you have the KC’s of the world (assuming they are 12 and we are 11) who might be ready to pull the plug on Cassel. At any rate, wondering what you think of the notion that Seattle might be more likely to stand pat at 11/12 and hope RGIII falls, given the lay of the land behind them.

  6. Brandon Adams

    That 2011 draft that shoved Gabbert down the board was also a much richer one than 2012.

  7. Rob

    A good point Brandon, but really what I was trying to highlight is that surprising situations can happen. Who truly expect Gabbert would be a Jaguar? Very few people. How many currently expect Griffin to be a Seahawk?

  8. Ryan

    If we’re willing to jump up to get Griffin once he moves past the Browns, shouldn’t we also be willing to jump up to #3 to get him before the Browns? (Of course, only assuming someone else doesn’t jump up to #2 first). It shouldn’t cost an absolute king’s ransom to go from #11 to #3, right?

  9. kevin mullen

    Does this downgrade the value of trading up? Could we possibly escape with less damage of trading up, even with the new rookie payscale? Supply is only relative to demand, and if what you’re saying is true, moving up with a package of picks/players wont be burdening to our immediate and future drafts. Swap 1st rd picks and a 3rd (assuming RG3 is at #8, where Miami will be) is the current price, maybe that 3rd becomes a 4th and 6th? I think this is a no brainer, this is nothing compared to trying to get to Luck.

  10. Terry Taylor

    Interesting post Rob. I am a huge Cleveland fan and I am interested in the Browns drafting RG3. But one more wrinkle – Cleveland is expected to make a run at Kevin Kolb, who may get cut before his bonus comes due. The Browns GM Tom Heckert and Coach Pat Shurmer know Kolb well from their days in Philly, and some expect they will prioritize Kolb over Flynn or RG3. That certainly would improve the odds for the Seahawks.

  11. Charles Fraychineaud


    I seem to be remembering something about the Manning brothers not wanting to play in the same conference as each other much less the same exact division. I remember it being a big deal to their family or something. Also wasn’t that part of Eli Mannings stated reason he didn’t want to play for the Chargers… one reason, not the sole reason. I ask these things because it seems like a possibly large issue with the idea that Peyton would be willing to sign with the Redskins even though Synder’s previous spending habbits and shannahan liking experienced quarterbacks do make a pretty nice fit. Thanks for the answers.


  12. SalukiHawk12

    Just throwing a hypothetical out there…
    Say we were interested in jumping up to 3 (with RG3 available).

    With the top 10-15 talent being relatively equal, is it possible MINN might be more willing to trade with US than a team like Wash or even Cle to move up a spot because we would HAVE to give up more?? I seriously doubt Cle would give up another 1st to move up one spot. And although rogue Daniel Snyder might, the jump from 6 to 3 roughly matches up to an additional 2nd round pick.

    All things assuming, the jump for the Seahawks to move up to 3, would likely cost a future 1st and maybe an additional 2nd or 3rd. This might look better to MINN than moving back 1-3 slots.

  13. Misfit74

    Money talks, right? Bevell also runs a WCO that has been similar to GBs in his career, particularly with the Vikings. Though I’m not saying that Flynn is what happens in Seattle, Philbin doesn’t own the rights to him. 😉 I think it comes down to who Seattle wants – obviously the question of the day (month/year) here. I’m not completely sold on either Flynn or Griffin. Whomever our F.O. wants I think they find a way to get it done. We know that boatloads of cash can work. We know that JS/PC aren’t afraid to maneuver around in the draft. Perhaps they have a guy they like that’s currently under the radar. Certainly, seeing guys like Dalton and Kaepernick go in the 2nd round last year makes one think there are several guys that could be surprises. Maybe even a trade for a veteran QB as currently unknown? It’s exciting to think about what is in store for our Hawks in the upcoming months.

    My biggest problem with RGIII is that he’s 6’2.

  14. James

    We may never know if John and Pete think Matt Flynn could be their franchise qb, and had planned to go hard after him. It seems like Flynn will definitely be bound for Miami now. This certainly narrows Seattle’s options, though if Peyton Manning takes the open slot at the Redskins, and Flynn at Miami; and Luck with the Colts and RGIII with the Browns, not a lot of other teams are needing a qb. At least one of Foles, Tannehill or Osweiler might fall to the Hawks in round two.

  15. Pacificsands

    Not for nothing, but

    Joe Philbin has been with the Packers since 2004. From 2000 through 2005, Mike Sherman was the head coach of the Packers. Now, Mike Sherman is head coach at Texas A&M, where a young quarterback named Ryan Tannehill plays. It’s not unconceivable that Sherman and Philbin are still in fairly regular contact, nor is it unconceivable that Philbin might be interested in Tannehill for this reason.

  16. Ralphy

    Rob did you see the comments from Dennis Green recently? Here they are if you didn’t.

    Washington Redskins president of operations Dennis Greene was overheard telling people at a Washington Economic Club luncheon today that a new quarterback has been chosen, “and fans will be elated.” Greene said the mystery player’s name won’t be revealed until April, when the NFL draft occurs.

  17. Rob

    Terry – thanks for visiting the blog and it’s good to get a Browns take on this. As far as I’m aware Cleveland had strong interest in Kolb before he went to AZ but weren’t willing to pay the quoted price. It’d make a lot of sense if he ended up in Cleveland.

    Charles – thanks for highlighting that issue with the Manning’s. It’s a good point, I just wonder if things have changed since then or maybe will do if Eli gets a second ring and Peyton is left with just one….

    SalukiHawk12 – without doubt that would be a better deal for Minnesota. I wonder if the Seahawks are that keen of RGIII to make such a move…?

    Ralphy – seems like a weird thing to say!

  18. Jake

    Need Tape on Leonard Creer from LA Tech! Looks like a great backup for the Beast.

  19. Bdeviled11

    While I do think Snyder could splash the most money for Manning, I wonder if Manning would actually prefer the Jets? Manning has plenty of reasons to like the them: future entertainment/broadcasting career, family, AFC, rivalry with Brady, Tom Moore, and a Super Bowl ready team.
    So if that should happen would it make sense for the Redskins to trade for Sanchez? I would think he would be a Shanahan QB. It will be interesting to see how the dominoes fall into place. I guess Flynn’s decision will be first? And isn’t it interesting to see how his decision impacts so many different teams?

  20. Rob

    I’m not sure where Sanchez would fit to be honest, if the Jets do end up signing a guy like Manning. It’s a tough one to call. It’s very true though that it’s going to be interesting to see how it falls into place – it could be a very intriuging free agency period this year.

  21. ivotuk

    Signing Flynn would put Miami in great position to trade back and load up on talent although they may like what they see in some of the DL available early.

  22. brunanburh

    If Flynn does follow his coach to Miami, presumably Matt Moore would be thinking he has done enough for a starting job somewhere

  23. Misfit74

    I have to think Chad Henne’s lack of mobility would prevent him from being a candidate for Seattle, but he is another name to throw into the hat of available QBs. He started out gangbusters in 2011 before his season-ending injury.

  24. Rock

    I am not an RG3 fan. The team that selects Flynn is getting an extra draft pick and solves their QB problem. Then their picks can be used on safer draft picks.

    I have said it before, if Oregon QB Darren Thomas had Kendall Wright to throw to and the other Baylor WR’s then he would have won the Heisman. RG3 is no Cam Newton. I see all the bubble screens he throws and wonder how much of his stats are YAC. In the Alamo Bowl he was sacked four times, gave up a fumble and barely got back to the LOS on one more pass attempt. He did not show much pocket awareness. 17 of 33 passes were bubble screens. His game is: 1. the bubble screen, or 2. throw to Kendall Wright, if that isn’t there then 3. pull it down and run. That will not cut it in the NFL. He reminds me of Akili Smith or Rick Mirer.

  25. Colin

    What I would argue Rock in favor of RG3 is there are tons of QB’s who do the same thing. Barkley and USC run a ton of screens. Osweiler and ASU run the fly sweep religiously. Why fix what isn’t broke, right?

  26. Ryan


    I appreciate the blog, the insight and overall energy i get from visiting the blog daily. Here are a few thoughts i have rumbling around I would like some opinion on.

    If you were to take a guess on what happens what would your final guess be? Let’s be honest RGIII in a Seahawks uniform although possible, is an unlikely scenario. Assuming we are not banking on the unlikely, along with the fact that our GM has only showed a desire to trade back and get more picks what actually happens?

    The writing is on the wall that we might not pick a QB in round 1. Even though its the missing component i just don’t see us trading up. How can the hawks front office continue to win the support of the fans without a big name QB next year? Do we hit Free Agency hard (doubt it)? Do we pick a mid round QB and try and develop?

    I guess i have only seen the wait and see mentality during draft day on our organization and i am wondering what you think happens by that approach?

  27. Rob

    It’s a really tough one to call, Ryan. I do think there’s a chance they could draft a quarterback like Osweiler, but right now I’m maybe leaning towards Seattle looking at getting most value out of the position. I’ve argued a lot that I think Justin Blackmon could very easily be there at #11 or #12 despite what others think about him going #2 overall. In that case, it’s hard to imagine Carroll passing on his ‘touchdown maker’. I don’t rate the guy, but Dre Kirkpatrick has the size and run support skills PC probably likes. He’s spoken about the front seven. So there are many ways the Seahawks could go. They have to add at least one more QB, but I’m preparing for another disappointing year of Tarvaris Jackson at quarterback. However, Carroll and Schneider can’t be cute with the quarterbacks and eventually they have to do something. Three years of 7-9 and people will start asking questions, even if the team has improved.

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