The Miami Dolphins were well represented at Saturday’s showdown between LSU and Alabama in Tuscaloosa, sending general manager Chris Grier and two of his scouts to watch the game in person, league sources told ESPN.
The Dolphins were not alone; 17 NFL teams had 25 representatives at Saturday’s game, with Buffalo Bills GM Brandon Beane also in attendance, according to sources.
But no team sent a larger contingent than Miami, which currently is scheduled to have three first-round picks in next year’s draft.
Grier personally wanted to see both quarterbacks, LSU’s Joe Burrow and Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa, but he also wanted to see the plethora of talent on display that he and his organization will be sifting through to make their picks in April.
Many assumed the Dolphins (1-7) have been “Tanking for Tua,” but they could be “Basement Dwelling for Burrow,” too.
Miami is one of five teams that enters Sunday with one win or fewer and has been linked with Tagovailoa and other top quarterback prospects. The winless Cincinnati Bengals (0-8) benched longtime starter Andy Dalton last month and also could use an early first-round pick on a quarterback.
Burrow was impressive in the hostile road environment Saturday afternoon, passing for 393 yards and three touchdowns while leading the second-ranked Tigers to a thrilling 46-41 victory over Tagovailoa and the third-ranked Crimson Tide.
LSU raced to a 33-13 halftime lead, thanks in part to Burrow’s three first-half TD passes, before staving off a furious late rally led by Tagovailoa. The last time a Nick Saban-coached defense allowed 33 or more points in the first half of any game was Oct. 16, 1999, when Michigan State lost 52-28 to Purdue, which was quarterbacked that day by a 20-year-old Drew Brees.
Tagovailoa, widely projected as a potential No. 1 overall draft pick, passed for 418 yards and four touchdowns despite being just 20 days removed from ankle surgery.