Like: Jaylen and Jaelan!
Dolphins wide receiver Jaylen Waddle and outside linebacker Jaelan Phillips were Miami’s two first-round picks in the 2021 NFL draft and both are continuing to show they were worthy of those selections.
After two weeks of playing “Where’s Waldo?”, Waddle burst back in a big way against Buffalo, hauling in three catches for 114 yards, including a 67-yard catch-and-run for a touchdown where he got behind three defenders to get open and outran the safety for the score. Tagovailoa made a point to get Waddle involved by targeting him seven times, second on the team behind Hill’s 13. Miami’s offense has been at its most special when both Hill and Waddle are a threat to take a catch to the house, and Waddle looked to be back in form against Buffalo.
It would be easy to lose track of Phillips’ development due to Miami defensive tackle Christian Wilkins garnering most of the attention on defense. That being said, the second-year linebacker has turned into Miami’s best pass rusher. After a big game against the Chargers, Phillips finished with three tackles, a sack, and five pressures, including two hurries and two quarterback hits. According to PFF, he was Miami’s highest-graded defender who played at least 20 snaps with an overall grade of 81.7 and a pass-rushing grade of 90. For the season, he’s ninth among front-seven pass rushers with a grade of 89.2.
Both Waddle and Phillips have hit in a big way for Miami. To have two first-round picks pan out like this is a good sign for Miami’s ability to draft and develop. Both are quickly becoming cornerstones of the Dolphins’ future, and it’s a fun wrinkle that they both have the same name, even if they’re spelled differently.
Dislike: Trouble covering tight ends
Miami ranks 30th in the league in defending tight ends, allowing a per-game average of 6.21 receptions for 60.57 yards and 9.75 yards per catch while giving up 0.64 touchdowns. The struggles were evident against Buffalo.
The Miami defense held the Buffalo receivers without a touchdown, but it was the tight ends that did the damage. Tight end Dawson Knox led the Bills in receptions (six), yards (98), and yards per catch (16.3) and was second in targets (eight) while hauling in one of Allen’s four touchdown passes.
Knox wasn’t the only Bills tight end who made an impact against the Dolphins. Quintin Morris, an undrafted free agent from Bowling Green in 2021, had seven career receptions going into Saturday. He only had one against Miami, but it was a big one for a 14-yard touchdown.