After finishing the 2020 season 10-6 and just missing the playoffs, the Miami Dolphins are a team on the rise led by fiery head coach Brian Flores.
Quarterback Tua Tagovoila showed flashes of brilliance, but also made his share of rookie mistakes. The Dolphins will need him to continue to improve as reliable backup Ryan Fitzpatrick signed with the Washington Football Team. Backing up Tagovoila, will now be former Indianapolis Colts quarterback Jacoby Brissett.
The Dolphins signed Houston Texans wide receiver Will Fuller to a one year deal to give Tagovoila another weapon. Fuller is often injured, but he is a gamebreaking home run threat when healthy. They failed to make a big splash in free agency at the running back position. Instead, they chose to sign former Los Angeles Rams running back Malcolm Brown. He will join a backfield that features Miles Gaskin, Salvon Ahmed and Patrick Laird.
The Dolphins stocked up on draft picks when they traded left tackle Laremy Tunsil last season to the Houston Texans, acquiring the Texans’ first and second round picks in the 2021 draft in the deal. The Texans first round pick would turn out to be the third pick overall, but the Dolphins traded the pick to the San Francisco 49ers in exchange for the twelfth overall pick, a 2021 third round pick, which was San Francisco’s compensation for the hiring of Robert Saleh, and first round picks in 2022 and 2023. The Dolphins then traded back up to the 6th overall pick, sending the Philadelphia Eagles the 12th overall pick, the 123rd pick and a 2022 first rounder. The Dolphins also received the 156th pick.
Heading into the 2021 NFL draft, the Dolphins had six picks (6, 18, 36, 50, 81 & 102) in the first three rounds. With the sixth pick, they selected Alabama wide receiver Jaylen Waddle reuniting him with Tagovoila and adding him to a receiving corps that already features DeVante Parker, Will Fuller and Preston Williams. With the 18th pick, they selected edge rusher Jaelen Phillips from the University of Miami. Phillips has some medical concerns, but he was considered by many the best edge rusher in the draft.
In the second round, the Dolphins selected University of Oregon safety Jevon Holland with the 36th pick and traded up to the 42nd pick to select University of Notre Dame offensive tackle Liam Eichenberg. Eichenberg played left tackle at Notre Dame, but will likely play on the right side for Miami.
The Dolphins added Boston College tight end Hunter Long with the 81st pick and offensive lineman Larnel Coleman from UMass and running back Gerrid Doaks from the University of Cincinnati, both in the seventh round.
Overall it was a solid offseason for the Dolphins. They may regret trading the third pick and missing out on LSU wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase and University of Florida tight end Kyle Pitts, but Waddle is an exciting addition. I would have liked to seen them make an upgrade at running back as well.
WR Will Fuller
RB Malcolm Brown
QB Jacoby Brissett
QB Ryan Fitzpatrick
RB Matt Breida
LB Kyle Van Noy
Off-season grade: B+