In less than two weeks, the Miami Dolphins and 31 other teams in the league will try to add talent to their roster via the 2021 NFL draft.
After missing out on the playoffs in the 2020 season, the draft figures to be an excellent opportunity for the Dolphins to mold their roster not just for next year, but for many years to come. The team has five picks in the first three rounds of the draft.
NFL: Miami Dolphins 2021 Mock Draft
The priority for the Dolphins in the offseason has been surrounding young quarterback Tua Tagovailoa with explosive playmakers. They signed wide receiver Will Fuller in free agency to help, but will undoubtedly try to add talent on offense in the draft as well.
Additionally, the Dolphins will also try to bring in playmakers on the front seven of their defense. Miami was an effective unit last year upfront but will try to boost their pass rush.
Head coach Brian Flores is known for his defensive prowess, and general manager Chris Grier will likely try to give him some additional pieces to work with.
With the draft just over two weeks away, let’s take a look at who the Dolphins might select with each of their picks in the 2021 NFL draft.
1st Round, 6th Overall Pick
Selection: Ja’Marr Chase, WR
After trading down from number three to number 12, and back up to six, the Dolphins are going to have a plethora of options when they are first on the clock.
Since the first three picks, possibly the first four, are likely to be quarterbacks, Miami can choose to bolster their offensive line, their wide receiving corps, or their defense with their first selection.
It will be tempting for the Dolphins to draft wide receivers Jaylen Waddle or Devonta Smith out of Alabama. However, they will settle on fellow elite prospect Ja’Marr Chase, an explosive playmaker out of LSU.
1st Round, 18th Overall Pick
Selection: Christian Barmore, DT
This will be where general manager Chris Grier acquiesces to head coach Brian Flores to provide him with a blue-chip prospect for the defensive line.
Alabama Crimson Tide defensive tackle Christian Barmore is a mammoth individual, weighing 310 pounds and standing tall at 6’5”. He’s also very athletic for his size, as he ran a 4.89 40-yard dash during Alabama’s pro day.
Barmore is the type of player the Dolphins can pair with the recently signed Adam Butler inside, who can also soak up blocks on the interior.
2nd Round: 36th Overall Pick
Selection: Travis Etienne, RB
It would be utterly shocking if the Dolphins don’t address the running back position at some point during the 2021 NFL Draft.
Miami was fourth-worst in the NFL last season in yards per carry, and they’ll need to be more efficient on the ground to help take pressure off of Tua Tagovailoa. There are a couple of good backfield options in the late first/early second round, but Travis Etienne would be a huge boost to the Dolphins’ running attack.
He had a stellar career at Clemson and is talented not just as a runner but as a pass-catcher as well.
2nd Round: 50th Overall Pick
Selection: Landon Dickerson, C
The Dolphins lost 2020 starting center Ted Karras in free agency but quickly acted to replace him with longtime Baltimore Ravens center Matt Skura. Skura is still relatively young and had trouble delivering clean snaps in the shotgun.
If those problems persist in Miami, the coaching staff might have to look elsewhere for an option in the pivot. Landon Dickerson from the University of Alabama is an attractive option at center, who is athletic and also offers some versatility with his ability to play guard.
Dickerson would be well served waiting in the wings for a Dolphins team continuously looking to upgrade their offensive line. Not to mention, he’s already played with Tagovailoa in college.
3rd Round: 81st Overall Pick
Selection: Joe Tryon, Edge
The Dolphins were a middle-of-the-pack unit with regards to their ability to sack the opposing quarterback in 2020. But LB Kyle Van Noy, who had the second-most sacks on their roster, is no longer with the team.
They’ll need an infusion of energy and efficiency on the edge, and Joe Tryon from the University of Washington could provide it. Although he opted out of the 2020 season, Tryon was an effective pass rusher for the Huskies in 2019, totaling eight sacks in his sophomore season.
4th Round: 123rd Overall Pick
Selection: Hamsah Nasirildeen, S
While it’s not a pressing need, the Dolphins could look to fill out their roster with back-end help in the secondary. Florida State's Hamsah Nasirildeen is not quite a traditional ball-hawking safety, but he has been a reliable physical presence on the Seminoles defense.
In his sophomore and junior seasons, Nasirildeen recorded 91 and 101 combined tackles, respectively. He’s not afraid to get his jersey dirty and play close to the line of scrimmage. The biggest question for him will be health, as he suffered an ACL injury in 2019, and only played sparingly in 2020.
5th Round: 151st Overall Pick
Selection: Michael Carter, RB
The Dolphins could double down on running backs later in the draft and select the less-heralded part of a very effective college football platoon.
University of North Carolina’s Michael Carter is slated to go later in the draft than fellow teammate Javonte Williams, but also had a very impressive career as a Tar Heel.
Carter scampered for over 1,000 yards in each of his last two seasons in college, including averaging an eye-popping eight yards per carry last season.
6th Round: 207th Overall Pick
Selection: K.J. Britt, LB
At this point in the draft, teams are just looking for positional depth or special team talent. Miami could go with linebacker K.J. Britt out of Auburn in this slot, to that end.
According to scouting reports, Britt is a bit of a one-trick pony, who is most effective on first or second down as a run stuffer. However, his aggressive pursuit of the ball would serve him well on special teams for the Dolphins.