The Miami Dolphins are still in the hunt for the playoffs, but the state of their roster should have them forming a clear plan for the 2021 NFL Draft.
The 2020 season has been one of great growth for the Miami Dolphins, who have outperformed expectations and continue to grind out wins despite a heavily depleted offense.
Heading into Sunday’s AFC East matchup against the New England Patriots, the Dolphins were without DeVante Parker, Jakeem Grant, and Mike Gesicki – leaving starting quarterback Tua Tagovailoa with very few pass-catching weapons.
With so few players available; the team recalled Isaiah Ford from the practice squad, having been released by the Patriots after the deadline day trade saw him leave South Beach back in November.
The Dolphins entered the season with fewer options out wide thanks to the withdrawals of Allen Hurns and Albert Wilson, both of whom are still under contract in 2021.
This season has demonstrated that depth at the position is crucial to the team’s long-term success, especially with such a talented young quarterback now at the helm, and GM Chris Grier, along with head coach Brian Flores, must look at adding a top receiver in next year’s draft.
There will be plenty of intrigue over former LSU receiver Ja’Marr Chase, who hauled in 1780 receiving yards and 20 touchdowns during the 2019 season – helping the Tigers to a perfect 15-0 season, the National Championship and ensuring quarterback Joe Burrow was selected first-overall in the 2020 Draft.
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Chase decided to withdraw from the 2020 season and focus on entering the NFL Draft in 2021, so it’s unclear of how much rust there would be for the Harvey, Louisiana native, who undoubtedly would be the first receiver selected had he continued to put up numbers anywhere close to his sophomore year.
While he is still likely to be viewed as a first-round talent, the Miami Dolphins might be better served to target a player that is a proven ball-hawk, with 2767 combined receiving yards and 31 combined touchdowns over the past two seasons.
Standing at 6-foot-1, 175lbs, DeVonta Smith would be the perfect addition to the Dolphins’ receiving corps, with the Amite City, Louisiana continuing to put up big numbers with Nick Saban’s Alabama Crimson Tide.
He played alongside Tagovailoa many times over his four-year college career and will enter the NFL Draft as arguably the second-best prospect at the position if Chase is selected first.
Giving Tagovailoa a familiar target, alongside Parker, Ford, Gesicki and the returning Hurns and Wilson, will go a long way to building depth and quality on the offensive side of the field – with the Dolphins largely carving out victories thanks to stout defensive efforts.
While the offensive line will still be a top priority, the Dolphins have two first-round picks in the 2021 Draft, and using one of them on a player such as DeVonta Smith to bolster their receiving options and help Tagovailoa take the next step, will be something that requires some serious consideration.