This time last year, the Miami Dolphins were 3-11 under the first-year leadership of head coach Brian Flores. Fast forward to this 2020-2021 NFL season, the Dolphins (8-5) are very much in the hunt for the AFC East being two games behind the Buffalo Bills. This is one of the most significant and quickest turnovers in recent NFL history. They were able to do with a solid hire with Flores as head coach, great veteran pickups through free agency, and efficient draft picks the last couple of seasons. They were able to pick in their franchise quarterback in rookie Tua Tagovailoa in the 2020 NFL Draft. Despite a great trend in the right direction, the Dolphins are not yet the team that can consistently compete near the top of the league.
They are likely to make it to the 2020-2021 NFL Playoffs as a wild card team. But they are not likely to get past the second round, if they make it that far. The future is bright for the Dolphins, however, as they will have two first and second-round picks in the 2021 NFL Draft due to the trade involving tackle Laremy Tunsil and Kenny Stills to the Houston Texans. The Dolphins have enough picks to turn their good but stagnant offense at times into an elite productive offense. The biggest concerns for Miami are the lack of explosive, dynamic wide receivers, solid guards, and an efficient running back. These are areas that can be addressed easily in the 2021 NFL Draft. Currently, the Dolphins are slated to have the eighth overall pick (from Houston) and the 21st overall pick. Here are some options for the Dolphins.
Miami Dolphins 2021 Draft Options, Including DeVonta Smith
Ja’Marr Chase – Wide Receiver (LSU) – 8th overall
Elite wide receivers are a dime a dozen in the NFL Draft. The last time there was a wide receiver selected in the top ten was in the 2017 NFL Draft with three (fifth, seventh, and ninth overall). The Dolphins could be in line for some of the most elite, productive wide receivers in College Football in the 2021 NFL Draft due to other teams’ needs for a quarterback. Chase is a receiver who has speed, size, reliable catchability, elite athleticism, and great hands. Last season for LSU, Chase caught 84 receptions for 1,780 yards and 20 touchdowns. He helped the Tigers to get their fourth National Championship title and a 15-0 record along with quarterback Joe Burrow. He opted out of the 2020 College Football season to prepare for the 2021 NFL Draft. Having Tagovailoa and Chase on the same team could potentially be one of the youngest but most productive quarterback-receiver tandems in the NFL.
DeVonta Smith or Jaylen Waddle – Wide Receivers (Alabama) – 8th overall
If Chase is picked up, there is still elite receiver talent left in the 2021 NFL Draft for the Miami Dolphins. The move to select one of the Crimson Tide receivers might ultimately benefit the Dolphins and Tagovailoa even more. Tagovailoa has thrown many touchdowns to both aylen Waddle and DeVonta Smith in his time at Alabama. Smith has emerged as the top wide receiver in the nation due to his breakout speed, diverse route running ability, ability to catch contested passes, and dangerous speeds.
In ten games this season, DeVonta Smith has caught 83 receptions for 1,327 yards and 15 touchdowns. Waddle is a speedy, highly athletic receiver that can line up at any position as a receiver. Before breaking his foot in five games this year, Waddle has caught 25 receptions for 557 yards and four touchdowns. That personal relationship that Tagovailoa has already developed with Smith or Waddle would be beneficial.
Travis Etienne – Running Back (Clemson) – 21st overall
The wide receiver position is not the only position that will need to be addressed in the 2021 NFL Draft. Miami has the 15th ranked scoring offense (25.4 points per game) in the league but their rushing game is what is causing them to be stagnant at times. The Dolphins are ranked 27th in the league in rushing yards per game (95.2). The Dolphins have been switching on which running back is their starter. Second-year back Myles Gaskin might be the most talented but he isn’t playing at a starting running back caliber. The Dolphins could use one of the most electrifying back in the sport of College Football in Etienne. In the championship season in 2018, Etienne rushed for 1,658 yards and 24 touchdowns on 204 carries. Etienne brings elite breakout speed, great ability to make sharp cuts, and reliability in the receiving game.
Trey Smith – Guard/Tackle (Tennessee) – 21st overall
The offensive line for the Dolphins has some serious work to do to keep the pocket clean for Tagovailoa. They have three starters that are rookies in tackles Austin Jackson and Robert Hunt as well as guard Solomon Kindley. Even though there are three rookies as starters, there are other positions on the o-line that needs to be upgraded. At the left guard is Ereck Flowers, the disappointing former first-round pick for the New York Giants. So far this season, Flowers has given up four sacks, which is tied for fourth highest in the league of all guards in the league. The Dolphins could make a move to solidify the offensive line with a solid, consistent blocker like Smith. He can be a versatile and reliable blocker for the Dolphins, who need more push in the run game.
Other Players for Miami To Consider
The Miami Dolphins have plenty of options to make with four picks in the top 64 of the 2021 NFL Draft. Purdue wide receiver Rondale Moore or Minnesota wide receiver Rashod Bateman would be good selections if they cannot get either of the elite receivers early in the Draft. The Dolphins could make a serious look at Florida Gators tight end Kyle Pitts. Miami is very satisfied with the productivity and reliability of Mike Gesicki, but a double tight end formation would be beneficial as Pitts can play as a receiver in multiple situations. The Dolphins will have plenty of talent available to pick from in the second round. Alabama tackle/guard Alex Leatherwood and running back Najee Harris are potential targets in the second round. These are players that will be comfortable immediately with the Dolphins due to their past playing experience with Tagovailoa.
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