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Insider

Tannehill, Dolphins creating intrigue

With Peyton Manning now in Denver, Matt Flynn in Seattle and the No. 2 overall pick in the hands of the Washington Redskins, the Miami Dolphins have turned to David Garrard -- who is 34 years old and did not play in the NFL last season -- to replace the departed Chad Henne as their starting quarterback.

Miami selected Henne in the second round of the 2008 draft with the hope he would restore the franchise's once-proud reputation, but the team finished with losing records in the two seasons he started 14 or more games and he sustained a season-ending shoulder injury last season.

Dolphins fans had already turned on Henne heading into the 2011 season, so it came as no surprise when he signed a free-agent deal with the Jacksonville Jaguars. It remains to be seen, though, whether Garrard and his surgically-repaired back are even a short-term answer in Miami.

All of that means one of the big winners in the Manning sweepstakes could end up being Texas A&M QB Ryan Tannehill (Scouts Inc. grade: 93).

Tannehill is widely considered the No. 3 quarterback in the 2012 draft class behind Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III, and the Dolphins will certainly consider him with the eighth overall pick. Former Aggies coach Mike Sherman is now Miami's offensive coordinator so there is a natural fit there, though you do have to wonder whether Sherman sees the same upside as others given that he played Tannehill at wide receiver for the bulk of his college career.

There's also a chance the Cleveland Browns could reach for Tannehill with the fourth pick, or another quarterback-needy team could trade ahead of Miami in order to get Tannehill. Either way, a player with just 19 career starts at quarterback -- but plenty of athleticism and upside -- stands to make a lot of money on draft day.

For now, though, let's assume the Dolphins don't get Tannehill and don't trade back. What might they do with their four picks in the first three rounds in that case?

Round 1

The truth is that Tannehill is a bit of a reach at No. 8, which means the Dolphins should definitely not look for another quarterback with the pick.

Miami could address the defensive line, and with DE Kendall Langford having signed with the Rams, it could make sense to take North Carolina DE Quinton Coples (94). However, the offensive line is also an issue and a starting right tackle makes more sense.

Iowa's Riley Reiff (94) has the tenacity and power to be a starter on the right side from day one, and he should be available. With Reiff on the right side and Jake Long on the left, Miami would have the bookends in place to protect whoever is playing quarterback.

Round 2

If Tannehill is not the pick in the first round, there are three quarterbacks the Dolphins could target in the second.

Arizona State's Brock Osweiler (89) has the most upside, but like Tannehill he lacks experience. Arizona's Nick Foles (87) has prototypical size and a strong arm, while Michigan State's Kirk Cousins (86) has solid intelligence and intangibles.

If the Dolphins can get one year out of Garrard then Osweiler is the pick. New Miami coach Joe Philbin is known for his ability to develop quarterbacks and Osweiler has a higher ceiling than Foles or Cousins.

Round 3

The Dolphins have two picks in the third thanks to the Brandon Marshall trade, and with Marshall now in Chicago there is a hole at wide receiver. Arkansas' Joe Adams (76), NC State's T.J. Graham (73) and Wake Forest's Chris Givens (72) are possibilities at that position, because all three have the burst to develop into effective receivers in Miami's West Coast offense.

Finally, the Dolphins may have more pressing needs along the defensive line and at safety, but it would not be surprising if they targeted a receiving tight end with their other third-round pick. Louisiana-Lafayette's Ladarius Green (71) and Missouri's Michael Egnew (69) are capable of stretching the field and making defenses pay for biting on play-action.