By: Shawn Williams
Welcome the Newest Members of the
1.06 WR JAYLEN WADDLE, UNIVERSITY OF ALABAMA
(5’9 1/2 , 180 LBS)
College Summary: 106 receptions for 1,999 yards and 17 touchdowns in two and a half seasons at Alabama. Averaged an absurd 44 yards on his 17 touchdown receptions. 2019 SEC Special Teams Player of the Year as a prolific kick/punt returner. 2018 SEC Freshman of the Year. First Team All-SEC (2019) Second Team (2020). CFB National Championship winner for the 2020 season. Suffered Ankle Injury that kept him out of most of 2020 season.
Analysis: Jaylen Waddle is widely considered to be the most “dynamic” wide receiver in this year’s draft class. He will likely be the fastest player on the field, any given Sunday. Despite his blazing speed, he’s very controlled in his movements. Waddle must be accounted for on every play. His ability to take any pass the distance, or by the deep safety makes him the ultimate weapon. His experience as a returner lends to his elite abilities with the ball in hands. He’s very skilled with splitting double teams and making defenders miss. Jaylen possesses very reliable hands and has a much wider catch radius than his size would suggest. He’s a very polished route-runner, yet still has the room to further develop those skills. The Crimson Tide product could easily become the best receiver from the ’21 class.
Fit: He’s likely going to spend the majority of his snaps lining up in the slot, but he shouldn’t be pigeon-holed there. Waddle, a former teammate of QB Tua Tagovailoa’s at Alabama, will bring comfort and familiarity to the second-year quarterback. Expect Miami to create numerous plays for Jaylen Waddle, especially when running their RPO offense, a scheme they excelled in for the Crimson Tide.
Miami, who already added a major field-spacer with the speedy Will Fuller, will be a tough task for opposing defenses to plan and prepare for. Miami incumbents, DeVante Parker and Preston Williams, add yet another layer to the receiving core with their ability to win tough, physical match-ups and secure the 50-50 balls.
Fun Fact: Waddle and Devonta Smith became the third and fourth Alabama receivers to be selected in the first round of the past two NFL Drafts.
1.18 EDGE JAELAN PHILLIPS, UNIVERSITY OF MIAMI
(6’5, 260 LBS)
College Summary: Jaelan Phillips was the top-rated high school recruit when he signed on with UCLA. After an unfortunate start to his college journey, that actually saw Phillips medically retire, he was offered a second chance, transferring to the Miami Hurricanes. That move proved to be the life-support he needed to “save” his football career. In his lone season playing for the Hurricanes, Phillips proved to be the monster he was once expected to be. He recorded 45 tackles, 15.5 for a loss, 8 sacks and an interception in 10 games. He not only managed to stay healthy but became one of the most dominant defenders in the country. Jaelan Phillips was named to the Second Team All-American and Second Team All-ACC rosters in 2020.
Analysis: Jaelan Phillips was the first pass rusher off the board in the 2021 NFL Draft. That’s coming a long way since his disappointing end at UCLA. Phillips has elite level skills playing off the edge. He is a very fluid mover that has the ability. to change direction quickly. The former Hurricane is very fundamentally sound and plays with good technique. He measured off the charts showing freakish athleticism, displays excellent length, bend and speed. The list of what he “can-do”, is a long one. To put it simply, he’s an explosive player, with a very high motor, that can play with his hand in the dirt, or standing up, and has a GPS to the opposing quarterback installed into his DNA.
Fit: Miami has done a good job of “scheming” up sacks for their defense. Part of the reason for that, is their lack of players that can win one-on-one battles with opposing lineman. Jaelan Phillips changed that the second Miami sent in the pick. Phillips and Emmanuel Ogbah will give Miami a formidable duo to spearhead their pass rush attack. The Dolphins, who have already benefited from coverage sacks, and exotic blitz packages, now have a guy that can beat their man alone, allowing the team to keep an extra defender back.
Fun Fact: Jaelan Phillips is a talented musician. He’s the grandson of a pianist and was enrolled in Miami’s Frost School of Music. Although he has a deep love for music, he has proclaimed to “love football more”.
2.04 S JEVON HOLLAND, UNIVERSITY OF OREGON
(6’1, 207 LBS)
College Summary: Jevon Holland decided to opt-out of the 2020 season. Scouts and analysts recognized Holland as a first-round level Safety, after only two seasons in college. That’s all it took him to accumulate 108 tackles and 9 interceptions. Aside from being an elite college safety, he also served as an explosive punt returner, averaging 15.3 yards on 16 total returns.
Analysis: It’s been reported that finding an intelligent and versatile free safety was one of the Dolphin’s top priorities in this draft. They found exactly that when they made him the first Safety taken off the board. Holland has the ability and instincts to play deep safety, or man coverage in the slot. A high school receiver, Jevon possesses elite ball-skills that led him to become one of the best defensive play-makers in the county. He is an explosive player with great ball-tracking and closing speed on receivers. His fluid hips allows him to move sideline-to-sideline with ease. Some were concerned that his slight frame might limit his ceiling, however he had an excellent Pro Day that quieted those concerns.
Fit: The longest tenured Dolphin, Bobby McCain has handled center field during the Brian Flores era, however he was one of the best slot corners in the league, prior. It’s uncertain whether McCain moves or not, but it should be noted that terminating his contact saves the team significant money. I don’t think that happens, as he’s the heart and soul of the Miami Dolphins and has a big fan in Brian Flores. The team also views last year’s third-round pick Brandon Jones as a strong safety, along with Eric Rowe. This will be an intriguing position to keep an eye on throughout the rest of the offseason. Regardless, Miami picked up a guy that’s well respected and highly valued in league circles. Brian Flores, a safeties coach “at heart”, gets full support on this selection. This was “his” pick. It’ll be exciting to watch how Holland develops under Flores, and how the team’s vision materializes.
Fun Fact: Jevon Holland became the highest drafted “Canadian born player” in the history of the NFL. His father played and coached in the Canadian Football League.
2.10 OT LIAM EICHENBERG, UNIVERSITY OF NOTRE DAME
(6’6, 306 LBS)
College Summary: Long-time starting Left Tackle at Notre Dame. Eichenberg went thirty-three straight games without allowing a sack. Known for his toughness, he once finished and played a game with one of his eyes, completely swollen shut. Jacobs Blocking Award (2020). Consensus All-American and First-Team All-ACC in 2020.
Analysis: Miami has a young and developing line, having selected three starters in last year’s draft. Liam Eichenberg will be a welcome addition to that group. His biggest praise comes from his sound technique and efficient style. Excels at keeping his body square to defenders and seal the edge from oncoming rushers. He has shown that he can be a powerful run blocker, pushing defenders off the line and using leverage to his advantage. Eichenberg takes his job seriously, attacking the game like a true professional. He is a bit undersized and might find himself moving inside. At the end of the day, the Dolphins are getting a blue-collar prospect, who works hard every day and approaches his craft with passion and care. He could be a steal in the second round.
Fit: It’s been rumored that Brian Flores is looking to shuffle bodies on the line. He’s a man that covets versatility and his personnel displays that. Robert Hunt was PFF’s fifth rated right tackle between weeks 12 and 17, however his ceiling is higher playing at guard. Austin Jackson should remain at the left tackle spot, for development purposes. Eichenberg may man Tua’s blindside, with Hunt moving in next to him and Solomon Kindley sliding to the left side. Matt Skura will anchor the line at Center.
Fun Fact: Liam has a brother, Tommy Eichenberg, who’s a linebacker at Ohio State.
3.18 TE HUNTER LONG, BOSTON COLLEGE UNIVERSITY
(6’5 1/8, 254 LBS)
College Summary: Led all FBS Tight End’s with 57 receptions in 2020, Kyle Pitts was second. Long compiled 685 yards and 5 touchdowns last season for the Eagles. First Team All-ACC in 2020. 89 receptions, 1,297 yard and 9 touchdowns over his three years at Boston College.
Analysis: Hunter Long isn’t necessarily “elite” at anything, rather he’s good at everything. His stock saw a steady climb throughout the draft process as scouts saw his ability to check “all the boxes”. Not particularly stronger or faster than most, however he has good size, focus and intelligence. He’s a very “smooth” ball catcher with dependable hands. Looks the ball into his hands and does a good job of securing the catch through contact. Good route runner and excels at finding the soft spots in zone coverages.
Long is a determined blocker that uses good balance and body control. He will continue to look for defenders to block until the play is whistled dead.
Fit: Fans might jump to premature conclusions with this selection. While Mike Gesicki’s contract is up after next season, this does not foreshadow Miami letting him walk. The Dolphins like to run the 12-personnel system and that requires two solid tight ends. Hunter Long and Mike Gesicki are also two different types of players. Gesicki is a vertical threat and athletic matchup nightmare down-the-middle. Long is a coveted pass catcher, but he’s likely to be an in-line tight end. This pick should be looked at more like yin and yang, rather one or the other. Durham Smythe’s contract is also up after the 2021 season and Long is more like a next-level “souped up” Smythe than anything else. Miami now has a deep and exciting group of Tight Ends with high potential for what they can add to the offense.
Fun Fact: Long is a very intelligent player. He can solve a Rubik’s Cube in less than a minute. He also builds computers in his garage “for fun”.
7.03 OT LARNEL COLEMAN, UNIVERSITY OF MASSACHUSETTS
(6’6, 315 LBS)
College Summary: Three year starter for UMass. Played both left and right tackle spots. Phil Steele All-Independent Second Team (2019, 2020), Phil Steele Preseason All-Independent Second Team (2019, 2020).
Analysis: Larnel Coleman was certainly a bit of a surprise. That’s until the research provides clarity. Coleman is an athletic prospect that has the second-largest wingspan in the entire class, with a solid 40-time, vertical and broad jump. He has intriguing upside due to his athleticism and you can see that with his explosiveness of the snap and good initial power. He sets with a wide base, stays square and uses his long arms to manipulate his defender. Smart kid with good awareness. If he can work on bending his knees and getting to the next level quicker, he has a chance to develop into an NFL lineman.
Fit: Barring a training camp surprise, Coleman is likely to spend his time the early part of his career as a Practice Squad body. His determination and how he works to reach his upside, will go a long way in determining his fit on the Dolphins line in the future.
Fun Fact: Coleman was four-year basketball player (3-time All Star) in high school at the power forward position.
7.17 RB GERRID DOAKS, UNIVERSITY OF CINCINNATI
(6’0, 230 LBS)
College Summary: Started his college career with injury issues but finished strong the past two years. 331 carries for 1,712 yards and 14 touchdowns in his time at Cincinnati. This includes 7 TD’s in 9 games last season. 2021 First Team All American Athletic Conference.
Analysis: Gerrid Doaks is one of those guys that just fell through the cracks in the draft scouting process. He has a lot of tools that should give him closer to a mid-round grade. He uses a violent burst getting through the line and power going through and towards defenders. While he may not have a second gear, he does have a surprising amount of elusiveness and quickness. He’s an outstanding blocker in pass protection. Has shown to be a nice weapon in receiving out of the backfield too. Doaks is an aggressive football player and should exceed his late round selection.
Fit: Miami, again chose to ignore the running back position in the early rounds of the draft. It seems Miami is more content with its situation then analysts and fans seem to believe. Myles Gaskin is a shifty back and big play threat, while Malcolm Brown is a bruising, goal line type back. They also bring back Salvon Ahmed and Patrick Laird, as well as newcomer Jordan Scarlett. Doaks certainly has the personality and game to make an impression on the coaching staff, but expectations should be tempered with the seventh-round pick.
Fun Fact: Completed his degree as a Criminal Justice major.