It is no secret – Miami Dolphins General Manager Chris Grier loves players from the University of Alabama. Since entering the role in 2016, Grier has targeted Alabama players more than any other college. Within five years, he selected five members of the Crimson Tide, being Kenyan Drake, Minkah Fitzpatrick, Tua Tagovailoa, Raekwon Davis, and Jaylen Waddle. Of those five, three were even the team’s first pick in their respected class. For the 2022 NFL Draft, things won’t be any different, as there are numerous Alabama players the Miami Dolphins could potentially target in the 2022 NFL Draft.
Alabama Prospects Miami Dolphins Could Target in 2022 NFL Draft
Dolphins Need Alabama Offensive Lineman
The entire NFL knows that the Dolphins need help along the offensive line. The dream would be for Alabama tackle Evan Neal to fall to them, but chances are it is nothing more than that, a dream. The All-American is the best tackle to enter the draft this year. Many mock drafts have him projected no lower than the fifth overall pick, and as high as first overall. Unless Miami moves heaven and earth in a trade for first overall, Neal will be long gone by the time the 29th overall pick rolls around.
The odds are Neal will be off the board by the time the Dolphins pick. Therefore, the question becomes who will be available at the end of round one. It is unlikely, but should Iowa center Tyler Linderbaum be up for grabs, Miami must draft him in a heartbeat.
Tagovailoa Needs Alabama Receivers
Outside of the offensive line, Tagovailoa will need more help at wide receiver. The 2022 draft class is loaded with talented wide receivers. If Jameson Williams can hang around for pick 29, he would be the most ideal candidate for the Dolphins. Williams is a deep threat and like Waddle, he has elite speed. He is also great at getting separation, something the Dolphins need more of, as Waddle is their lone consistent threat. The All-American led the SEC with 1,947 all-purpose yards, averaging 19.9 yards per reception with 1,572 yards for the 2021 season. He also can be used as a return specialist. Williams became the first Alabama player to return two kickoffs for touchdowns in the same game. In that same game, he only caught one pass, which was a touchdown for 81 yards.
An ACL injury in the College Football National Championship game may have dropped Williams’ draft stock, but he is too good to pass up. A lot of receivers are expected to go before Williams. However, if Linderbaum is gone at pick 29 and Williams is still available, the Dolphins should draft him. Waddle and Williams on the same team could be an unstoppable pair, especially in new Head Coach Mike McDaniel’s offense.
John Metchie III is another option if the Dolphins want to draft a receiver in the first round. Despite that many mock drafts have him going in the second round, there still is the chance that even Metchie will be gone by pick 29. Like Williams, Metchie also suffered an ACL late in the season, but one that has impacted his stock more than Williams’. Either way, with Metchie months into his recovery, Metchie’s game is too good to pass up.
John Metchie Would Be a Steal Late in Round One
If Williams is gone at 29, Metchie would be a steal that late in round one if he’s still available. Entering the 2021 college football season, Metchie was ranked as a top-five receiver in the country. Although he was overshadowed by Williams, he didn’t lose anything he brought from the 2020 season. Playing two games less on a shortened pandemic season in 2020, he finished just under 1,000 receiving yards. In the 2021 season, Metchie had 1,142 receiving yards for eight touchdowns prior to the injury.
Metchie is not as fast as Williams or Waddle, but faster than most receivers entering this year’s draft. Even though he’s an early second-round projection, don’t think that some teams won’t be tempted in the first. If the New England Patriots don’t try to reunite him with Mac Jones because Alabama coach Nick Saban is pushing his friend Bill Belichick to take his receiver in the first round, he’s worth pick 29.
Miami Passed on Past Alabama Running Backs
Last year, Miami passed on Tagovailoa’s college teammate and roommate, Najee Harris. While Harris rushed for 1200 yards as a rookie, the Dolphins have not had a 1,000-yard rusher since Jay Ajayi in 2016. This past season, Harris had no fumbles, finished second in the league in first downs, and was among the league’s top rushers. Instead of Harris, the Dolphins opted to draft edge rusher Jaelan Phillips, who wasn’t a necessarily bad pick. Rather, a power back whose playing style compares to that of Derrick Henry would have been a home run hit for Miami last year. After all, Harris made the Pro Bowl as a rookie and accumulated almost 1,700 yards from scrimmage this past season.
If Miami wants to revitalize its Alabama backfield, Brian Robinson Jr. is a name to watch. Over four years, Robinson backed up the likes of Damien Harris, Josh Jacobs, and Najee Harris before getting the starting gig this past season. During his fifth year in 2021, Robinson rushed for 14 touchdowns and 1,343 yards. Even though he broke the Alabama record for single-bowl-game rushing yards, he is not viewed as an early-round pick.
Grier has never drafted a running back in round one, and it is unlikely that changes in 2022. Drake was a third-round pick, Kalen Ballage a fourth, and both Myles Gaskin and Gerrid Doaks were taken in round seven. Should the Dolphins target Robinson, he will come into play starting in round three.
Adding Alabama Players on Defense
At the linebacker position, Christian Harris would be a good second-round option. During the National Championship against Georgia, Harris played one of the best games of his career. He recorded three sacks and a forced fumble, helped by fellow Alabama prospects Phidarian Mathis and LaBryan Ray, both of who play along the defensive line. Like Harris, Mathis would come as a day two pick, whereas Ray is a day three depth piece.
For the secondary, the Dolphins could target Josh Jobe or Jayln Armour-Davis. Both defensive backs could be affected by their season with injuries, yet the talent is there. Neither was considered a superstar in the college ranks, but are physical players who get the job done when called upon.
Whether Grier continues his tradition of drafting Alabama players in this year’s draft is yet to be seen. Grier knows the type of athletes Saban and the Alabama program produce for the NFL. As the Dolphins look to improve their roster, there is no better way to do so than by picking from the Crimson Tide in 2022.
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