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 projected picks not counting compensatory picks (November 28th Update):
RD1: Pick 11 (From Houston)
RD1: Pick 17
RD2: Pick 42(From Houston)
RD2: Pick 50
RD3: Pick 81
RD4: Pick 122(Swap with Las Vegas)
RD4: Pick 145 (Swap with Las Vegas)
RD6: Pick 196 (From Houston)
RD6: Pick 210 (From Pittsburgh)
WR is a position of Need coming into the 2021 NFL Draft. Especially with the opt-outs of Albert Wilson and Allen Hurns, with the trade of Isaiah Ford and injury of Preston Williams- it’s a BIG need. The Dolphins WR core is the league worst in creating separation, something which Tua Tagovailoa needs. We saw the WRs go up against Denver and failed to gain space against opposing DBs leading to Tua to go to his 3rd, even 4th read, and take on 6 sacks. A recipe for an inept offense and disaster.
Now what if Miami doesn’t get one of the Top WRs in the class? Say Ja’Marr Chase, DeVonta Smith, Jaylen Waddle aren’t available. Fortunately, this WR class is very deep and has WRs that are Day-2 picks that would usually go Day-1 in previous drafts. A sleeper pick could be, Chris Olave for the Miami Dolphins.
The NFL passing game and WR position is changing. Out with the old Big Body WRs contesting catches in the air, in with the new shifty small WRs that blow by DBs and gain yards after the catch. This is who Olave is; a burner with footwork that leaves cornerbacks stunned. A reliable target for Tua, who feasts on his WRs getting separation.
Olave is a smooth route runner, slick like butter, and can run the entire route tree. His routes are very polished and uses his fluid hips and feet to hesitate defenders over the top. Underneath, usually on the mesh and slant concepts he uses his speed, while not burning speed, to accelerate against LBs to use the zone coverage space and gain chunk yardage. Even though he’s small bodied and weighs less than 200 lb, he plays bigger than his size and can contest long balls and catches over defenders emphasizing his sticky hands as a WR.
The only knock is Olave’s size against bigger bodied DBs, and wouldn’t be able to be efficient in the boundary position against NFL DBs. As a sophomore he made eye opening plays but did not have so much production as Ohio State had KJ Hill, Terry McLaurin and Paris Campbell. So far Olave has been a surprise and possible #1 WR for the Buckeyes this season. We have to see his production level as the season progresses and how he handles himself in big games such as the College Football Playoffs
The big key for this WR group is its ability to get separation on, especially on quick throws and RPOs for Tua and the offense. The Dolphins don’t have that yet. With Olave that can change. While Olave is not projected to be a 1st round WR. The Dolphins can take a LB like Michah Parsons and a RB like Etienne/Harris with the first two 1st round picks. Allowing both offense and defense to Improve and picking Olave with the first 2nd round pick. Olave would become Tua’s new best friend, excel in the RPO game and create separation, and move those chains, keeping the defense resting on the sidelines.
Can you keep a secret for me? The last time the Dolphins picked up a Buckeye Receiver was Ohio State WR Coach Brian Hartline. Just something to think about.
Keep an eye out for Olave Dolphins fans.
Please welcome Hussam Patel to PhinManiacs and please give him a follow on Twitter @AirXAlpha1721