Coming into the 2020 NFL season, the Miami Dolphins' receiving corps seemed like it was fairly scattered. Albert Wilson and Allen Hurns opted out of the 2020 campaign due to the COVID-19 pandemic, leaving DeVante Parker, Preston Williams and Jakeem Grant as a capable, but largely unproven, group of starters.
As it turned out, Williams was unable to stay healthy. Despite his immense talent, he only played in eight games in both 2019 and 2020. Miami will hope for better luck with him this upcoming season, but with his lack of experience, he's practically a lottery ticket at this point.
Otherwise, Grant was a serviceable player who was forced to play a more important role. Ideally, the Dolphins can rely on him as a special teams ace, as he struggled to step up after the Dolphins' depth chart quickly emptied out last year.
Parker’s talent is impossible to question, but he sometimes disappears on the field. As a result, it's hard to rely on him as a true number one receiver. He has also battled nagging injuries throughout his career, and his skills could be maximized if the Dolphins pair him with another playmaker on the other side of the field.
Upgrading the talent around quarterback Tua Tagovailoa will be a priority for the Dolphins this offseason. Which wide receivers could the team bring in to help its young signa-lcaller?
The Dolphins could draft Heisman Winner DeVonta Smith
The Dolphins are in an unusual but fortunate position heading into the NFL Draft. Though they won 10 regular season games in 2020, they still have the third overall pick this year. Miami has a good chance to cement its foundation for years to come with this selection, and the team could use it on DeVonta Smith.
The Heisman Trophy winner had a monster season with the Crimson Tide in 2020. By catching an astonishing 23 touchdowns and racking up almost 1,900 yards last year, Smith ran circles around the competition. He proved that he is quite ready for the NFL, so Smith is definitely a candidate for Miami's first-round pick.
It's also worth noting that Tagovailoa and Smith were teammates in college, so they would have some chemistry right away.
Ja’Marr Chase could complement DeVante Parker
Another dynamic pass-catcher who might be in play at number three is LSU’s Ja’Marr Chase. Chase took a slightly different route to the 2020 college football season than Smith — he decided to opt out of it entirely and prepare for the NFL Draft.
The last time fans saw Chase on the field, he was slicing defenses up alongside Justin Jefferson and catching passes from last year’s first overall pick, Joe Burrow. Even though it has been a long time since Chase has seen game action, he is considered a top prospect along the lines of DeAndre Hopkins.
By being compared to Hopkins' elite talent, Chase stands as one of the best prospects in this year's draft class. The Dolphins could look his way in their effort to give Tagovailoa more weapons.
Jaylen Waddle could be an underrated option for the Dolphins
If the Dolphins decide to use their third overall pick on a different position, they could opt to wait until their 18th overall selection to address the wide receiver position. There, Tagovailoa’s former Alabama teammate Jaylen Waddle could be waiting for the Dolphins.
While Smith received most of the headlines this past year in Alabama, Waddle also projects to have game-breaking ability in the NFL. His biggest weapon is his speed, and his skill set could remind fans of Henry Ruggs heading into last year’s draft. It never hurts to bring in someone who could change the game in one play.
With a loaded draft class, the Dolphins should be able to bring in a quality receiver this year. In some ways, the team can't go wrong. But if Miami picks the right player, the team could transform its offense and quickly become a contender in the AFC.