After last season’s virtual draft, Cleveland is playing host to festivities this year with a handful of potential draft picks present and socially distanced because of COVID-19.
Here’s a pick-by-pick look at how each player Miami has selected will fit.
Round 1, No. 6 overall: Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama
My take: The Dolphins were smart to add an elite wide receiver prospect in Waddle to build around and help quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. Speed and electric playmaking ability were the Dolphins’ top offensive deficiencies in 2020, and if those don’t describe Waddle perfectly then nothing does. He should immediately become of the NFL’s most explosive returners and slot receivers with the potential to be more. My big question here is if DeVonta Smith was a slightly better option than Waddle. Smith, the 2020 Heisman Trophy winner, was far more productive in college and he’s more polished as a route runner. In full transparency, I preferred Smith, but the Dolphins are clearly betting on the upside, projection and speed of Waddle to transition into a better NFL receiver.
Tide family reunion: It’s a family reunion bringing Waddle together with former Tide teammate Tagovailoa — instant chemistry. It’s another clear sign the Dolphins are building around Tagovailoa, getting him playmakers that fit his skill set and players he already knows. This is the third Alabama player selected in the last two drafts and fifth in the last six drafts for Miami. They love their Tide players. The big thing to track is if the Dolphins picked the better receiver between Smith and Waddle, but the Dolphins don’t seem to have much doubt and are happy they landed the one they’ve targeted for a while.
Was the big trade worth it?: The Dolphins’ trade out of No. 3 made them miss out on drafting Florida tight end Kyle Pitts or LSU wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase, each of whom went No. 4 and No. 5, respectively. Will there be any buyers’ remorse? The Dolphins will say they have no regrets and they’ll have a 2023 first-round pick as a product of the trade, but if Pitts and/or Chase become All Pro players and Waddle doesn’t, this decision will be revisited. Also, the Dolphins could have stayed at No. 12 and kept their 2022 first-round pick while possibly landing Smith. Was securing Waddle worth giving up that extra first? Things to watch in the years to come, but Miami is betting on coming out on the strong side on both of these lingering questions.
What’s next: The Dolphins have the No. 18 pick coming up in the first round with picks No. 36, No. 50 and No. 81 on Day 2 Thursday. The biggest needs remaining are at edge rusher, offensive line and running back though the Dolphins have enough high picks to fill all of them.