By: Hussam Patel
Welcome to Juice’s Jumbo Board where each week I highlight an Impact player the Miami Dolphins can target in next year's NFL Draft. After picking up 11 players in the 2020 draft, the Dolphins look to build their organization through the 2021 draft and compete in the postseason. Currently the Dolphins hold the following picks not counting compensatory picks (November 21st Update):
RD1: Pick 6 (From Houston)
RD1: Pick 22
RD2: Pick 37 (From Houston)
RD2: Pick 53
RD3: Pick 84
RD4: Pick 120 (Swap with Las Vegas)
RD4: Pick 151 (Swap with Las Vegas)
RD6: Pick 192 (From Houston)
RD6: Pick 204 (From Pittsburgh)
RB Myles Gaskin has missed the last two weeks, the Dolphins just cut Jordan Howard and Matt Breida seems to be MIA; however, the Dolphins appear to have found something in rookie Salvon Ahmed, who was very good in Week 10 against the Chargers and there is the depth pickup of DeAndre Washington. Think about how well the Dolphins have made Myles Gaskin and Salvon Ahmed look on offense, more so using inside zone runs and pass catching backs, in the offense. Gaskins nor Ahmed could be reliable 3rd-down backs that can churn out yardage and move the sticks. Imagine Travis Etienne pairing up with Tua Tagovailoa and this offensive-line.
Travis Etienne is one heck of a running back. Clemson’s all time leading rusher-was projected to declare for the 2020 NFL Draft but instead opted to come back for his senior year to get better. Get better, he did. There were minor concerns about his pass protection issues, but he improved and got much better at protecting Trevor Lawrence and DJ Uiagalelei. Etienne is a highly explosive, well balanced, big time play-maker adding value every time he’s on the field.
What makes Etienne so dynamic is his low center of gravity, he bounces off tackles to gain more yards, turns on the jets to accelerate and beat linebackers in the middle of the field, uses his vision to creatively find gaps and run routes and elite juke moves to execute cuts and counters. There is no one like him; he’s incredibly elusive, agile, and explosive. Those traits are always on display on this when needed to move the sticks.
It’s easy to see his speed jump out on the screen, but what goes unnoticed is his entire body adapting to angles on a dime and cutting away from defenders. He squares his shoulders and loosens his hips to balance his core and finish the play. He makes good Linebackers look lost and routinely puts them on skates in the passing game. Against the University of Miami and Wake Forest he caught many screen passes behind the LOS and weaved his way for easy 10-15 yard gains.
Etienne did have some issues in pass protection in 2019, but did get better at picking up blitzers in college. However, college lineman and NFL Lineman are completely different. He’ll need to learn how to properly identify which blitzers are coming through the hole and protect his QB. Also, Etienne might not see a lot of playing time in the beginning of the season as his workload at Clemson was on the likes of a traditional 3rd-down running back. He would pair up in a RB committee to freshen up his legs and not get worn down.
Many say that Etienne is in the echelon of Alvin Kamara, if the Dolphins do draft him (I hope they do), they’d be getting an explosive RB to pair with Tua and this offense. A potential high flying offense already generating over 21 points per game gaining another weapon that can create separation and gain chunk yards.
Boy, oh boy, would this offense be electric.
Please welcome Hussam Patel to PhinManiacs and please give him a follow on Twitter @AirXAlpha1721