The Miami Dolphins are in position to land the No. 3 pick in the 2020 NFL draft, but they will have to fend off several teams also in need of a franchise quarterback.
The Dolphins (2-9) trail the Cincinnati Bengals (0-11) and New York Giants (2-9) in the chase for the top pick. The Washington Redskins (2-9) are also in the mix.
Still, the Dolphins ultimately control their destiny atop the draft order — even after a brief two-game win streak earlier in November — with remaining games against the Philadelphia Eagles, New York Jets, Giants, Bengals and New England Patriots.
With their top pick, the Dolphins are expected to select their starting quarterback of the future.
Heading the list of top prospects is Heisman Trophy front-runner and LSU standout Joe Burrow, who likely will be taken by the Bengals if they manage to hold onto the top pick.
If the Dolphins lose their final five games, they could secure the No. 2 pick, which could land them dynamic pass rusher Chase Young if the Bengals draft Burrow, an Ohio native, and pick a quarterback with a later pick.
The Dolphins — who also own first-round picks belonging to the Pittsburgh Steelers (22) and Houston Texans (25) — will surely keep tabs on oft-injured Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, whose hip injury is a cause for concern.
If the Dolphins decide to play it safe, quarterbacks like Justin Herbert, Jake Fromm, Jalen Hurts and Jacob Eason could be possibilities.
But other NFL teams certainly will be in the mix for a quarterback next April.
Here’s how the Dolphins compare to other NFL teams in the QB market:
Desperately need QB like Dolphins
Cincinnati Bengals: The Bengals are in the driver’s seat to land the No. 1 pick, which likely will be Burrow, who played at Ohio State before becoming a Heisman Trophy favorite at LSU. Cincinnati is 0-11 and could go winless in its next five games: vs. Jets, at Browns, vs. Patriots, at Dolphins, vs. Browns.
Denver Broncos: John Elway has struck out on quarterbacks after Peyton Manning with former Super Bowl champion Joe Flacco and current starter Brandon Allen as the latest examples. Second-round pick Drew Lock could return from a back injury suffered during the preseason to make an impression, but Elway and the Broncos need to act swiftly.
Chicago Bears: The Bears appear ready to move on from 2017 No. 2 pick Mitch Trubisky, but they do not own a first-round pick in 2020. Barring a trade, they will address the position later in the draft.
Recent draftees, need to see more
The Arizona Cardinals (Kyler Murray), Cleveland Browns (Baker Mayfield), New York Jets (Sam Darnold), New York Giants (Daniel Jones) and Washington Redskins (Dwayne Haskins) each have first-round quarterbacks drafted in the last three years, including two No. 1 picks.
It is unlikely these teams will pull the move Arizona did, drafting Murray and trading Josh Rosen to the Dolphins one year after he was drafted.
Maybe it’s time to move on
The Atlanta Falcons (Matt Ryan, 34), Detroit Lions (Matt Stafford, 31, back issues) and Los Angeles Chargers (Phillip Rivers, 37) may have been content with their quarterback situations, but each team should consider drafting a quarterback.
The same is true for two former high picks with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Tennessee Titans.
Jameis Winston leads the NFL in interceptions, but is second in the league in passing yards and third in touchdowns thrown this season. Another season under coach Bruce Arians may help cut down on the turnovers. The Bucs could also rehabilitate a player like Tagovailoa with this timetable in mind.
Marcus Mariota has been replaced by former Dolphins starter Ryan Tannehill, who suddenly has Tennessee (6-5) in the playoff hunt. Still, a quarterback duo of Mariota and Tannehill does not incite excitement for the future.
May have struck lightning, need to see more
The Buffalo Bills are 8-3 and in the thick of the AFC playoff race behind 2018 first-round pick Josh Allen, who has shown promise leading the Bills’ offense. Allen is 3-1 in two seasons against the Dolphins, including a sweep earlier this season.
The Indianapolis Colts have Jacoby Brissett, whose leadership has been lauded by many, including Dolphins coach Brian Flores, since taking over for the retired Andrew Luck. Indy is in the playoff hunt and could use the rest of this season to evaluate their quarterback position.
The Carolina Panthers may have found a replacement for Cam Newton in Kyle Allen, who is 5-4 as a starter. They also have rookie Will Grier.
The Jacksonville Jaguars may have struck lightning with rookie Gardner Minshew, going 4-4 as a starter before Nick Foles returned. But the franchise must address its front office and coaching instability before addressing position needs.
Big contracts, need to see more
The Los Angeles Rams (Jared Goff) and Philadelphia Eagles (Carson Wentz) chose their quarterbacks first and second in 2016, respectively. Both teams and quarterbacks have struggled since reaching the Super Bowl the last two years. Addressing the position, however, is not a priority at this point.
The San Francisco 49ers (Jimmy Garrapolo), Minnesota Vikings (Kirk Cousins) and Oakland Raiders (Derek Carr) are in the thick of the playoff mix with their high-priced quarterbacks, and their play during the postseason may determine the direction of these franchises.
Franchise quarterbacks, but plan ahead?
It must be nice having ageless wonders like the Green Bay Packers (Aaron Rodgers), New England Patriots (Tom Brady) and New Orleans Saints (Drew Brees). But all three teams should consider their future at quarterback before the situation becomes dire.
The Pittsburgh Steelers expect Ben Roethlisberger to return from an elbow injury, but should also consider the future based on the performances of Mason Rudolph and Devlin Hodges.
The Baltimore Ravens (Lamar Jackson), Dallas Cowboys (Dak Prescott), Houston Texans (Deshaun Watson), Kansas City Chiefs (Patrick Mahomes) and Seattle Seahawks (Russell Wilson) appear set for years to come.
If only the Dolphins could be so lucky.