With five of the first 81 picks in the 2021 NFL Draft, the Miami Dolphins are once again set up to be the biggest winner from the event’s first two days. In 2020 Miami drafted five of the first 56 players, en route to another year of improvement under head coach Brian Flores.
The Dolphins are looking to take the next step as an organization and become a perennial playoff contender. In order to do that, they must hit on at least half of these early picks. 2020 saw four or five of those picks become instant contributors and future starters. They did not, however, draft any players that look like future all-pro’s.
That isn’t the worst thing in the world, especially since these young players still have plenty of time to improve. You can only have so many “good” players on your team, however, because some have to be “great”. Let’s take a look at how the team can take that next step in our Miami Dolphins 2021 NFL Mock Draft.
Miami Dolphins 2021 NFL Mock Draft: Day One
Trade: Atlanta gets 1.6, 2.50 and Miami gets 1.4 and 4.108
1.6 | Ja’Marr Chase | WR | LSU
The Dolphins have moved up and down the board and have gained future draft picks in the process. Many assume that the accumulation of draft picks leads to a “Dart Throw” approach where you simply gain as many high draft picks as you can, draft the best player available, and see what happens. There is another school of thought that can be used here and that is one of quality over quantity.
Meaning, the Dolphins can really use these extra picks to make sure they’re in a position to draft the exact players they want. In this case, the ammunition that Miami has added up is all in an effort to get Ja’Marr Chase. Atlanta is in a desperate position to trade down, despite some thinking that they absolutely need to take a QB. I’m not buying it and I think they will jump at any chance they have to move out of this spot. Miami sees the chance to jump the Bengals for Chase, the best receiver in this class, and they do it.
1.18 | Jayson Oweh | EDGE | Penn State
This one might surprise some people. It has looked for a long time that the first drafted Nittany Lion would definitely be Micah Parsons, but Oweh is certainly giving him a run for his money. One of the fastest players…..EVER… at this size, Oweh is a freak of nature and is one of the best “rush linebackers” in this class.
He has some work to do against the run, but the ability to get after the passer with both strength and speed moves is impressive. In a class that is weak at his position, Oweh is set to make himself a lot of money. Miami finished tenth in the NFL in sacks in 2020 but only 14 of those came from rush linebackers that are still on the team. Oweh steps in here as an immediate starter.
Miami Dolphins 2021 NFL Mock Draft: Day Two
2.36 | Jabril Cox | ILB | LSU
Cox, like Oweh, would also step in as an immediate starter. Jerome Baker had seven sacks in 2020 ( a lot for an off-the-ball linebacker) but struggled in almost every other area. He was a negatively graded player against the run and the pass, according to Pro Football Focus.
Cox came to LSU from NDSU the last offseason in an effort to showcase himself more to NFL draft scouts. Although the team did not play as well as they wanted to, especially after the great 2019 they had, Cox was a lone bright spot. As an outstanding coverage linebacker who excels in space, he is an excellent fit for the NFL today and he perfectly counterattacks the Patriots’ additions of Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith.
3.81 | Michael Carter | RB | North Carolina
Many have the Dolphins taking a running back much higher than this and my response to that is…why? Michael Carter is an explosive athlete who has some of the best contact balance the league has seen in years. In today’s game, where players would rather make a huge hit than make a sure-fire wrapped-up tackle, he is going to be a human pinball machine.
Carter has also shown the ability to contribute on all three downs and as a pass-protector. He has also shown that he can work in tandem with another great back, something most NFL teams do nowadays. What more do you want from a third-round pick?
Miami Dolphins 2021 NFL Mock Draft: Day Three
4.108 | Milton Williams | IDL | Louisiana Tech
The interior defensive line of the Dolphins was actually pretty stout in 2019 but could use some depth. I planned on only attacking this position with a late-round pick, as Miami has addressed it early in the draft in recent years already. But, when the chance to take Williams came up, it was too good of a value to pass up.
Williams needs to beef up a bit still, as he is listed at just 280 pounds, but his pass-rush ability from the inside is hard to teach. He is very new to the position, having switched from the outside to the inside of the line in 2020. Miami will see tons of upside here and rush to the podium.
5.156 | Austin Watkins | WR | UAB
Watkins was a very consistent performer for UAB who probably lacks the overall athletic profile of a day two guy, even though that is what his tape says. Watkins is very smooth in and out of his breaks and catches everything. He contests catches with any DB who tries him and isn’t afraid to go over the middle.
The issues with him, and the likely reason he is still here at 156, is that he has never been particularly explosive. When you already have Will Fuller, Ja’Marr Chase, and Devante Parker, however, an underneath receiver will certainly find some holes. Preston Williams is certainly a fine player and if you can have him in a battle for the fourth receiver spot, you have greatly improved a team need.
7.231 | Avery Williams | CB | Boise State
Williams is a bit of a wild-card here as he could easily become an undrafted player and choose where he ends up, but in this scenario, the Dolphins jump in and snag a player at a position of need. The safeties for the 2020 Dolphins were a very young and inexperienced group but showed they have a future in this league. When picking this late, you cannot expect starters and this is certainly the case. Williams has the grit to come in and compete on special teams from day one as the best special-teams players to come into the draft in years.
7.258 | Tony Poljan | TE | Virginia
Poljan is as complete a tight end as you will find this late in the draft. He is a sound blocker, can find holes in zones AND he was a former college quarterback. Anyone else thinking Logan Thomas? Poljan needs to work on his routes, as expected after that drastic of a position change, but is perfectly capable of making a team while he refines that part of his game due to his sheer athleticism and feel for the game.
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