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Week 5 Dolphins Rookie Report Card: O-line shuffling pays dividends, Phillips flashes again

Miami Dolphins v Tampa Bay Buccaneers Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images

The Miami Dolphins had five selections in the first three rounds of the 2021 NFL Draft, meaning the team has several rookies who are in line to be key contributors this season. Each week of the 2021 season, I’m reporting on the progression of said first-year players and their impact on the team. Let’s take a look at how the young bucks fared in their Week 5 contest against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Jaylen Waddle, WR (Round 1, 6th overall): C

Waddle took the field for 43 of Miami’s 54 offensive snaps (80%) against Tampa and had a minimal impact despite the absence of both DeVante Parker (hamstring) and Will Fuller (finger, IR). He also committed one drop that played a part in stalling one of Miami’s offensive drives. He totaled two receptions on six targets for 31 yards receiving and one rush for two yards on the ground. Waddle has shown the ability to be a star in the making with the ball in his hands, and the coaching staff and quarterback play are major contributing factors as to why that isn’t happening often enough, but at the end of the day, there’s only so high a grade you can give a player with 33 total yards.

Jaelan Phillips, LB (1st round, 18th overall): A

Phillips achieved his highest snap share (77%) of the season in Week 5, and for good reason. He’s becoming downright disruptive both against the run and the pass. Against Tampa Bay, the 2021 18th-overall pick recorded four total tackles, one tackle for loss, one QB hit, and his first solo NFL sack. Phillips’ athleticism has been on full display, and he’s getting better with each passing contest. Miami found good one in the former Miami Hurricane.

Jevon Holland, S (2nd round, 35th overall): B+

After taking a step back in his contributions in Week 4, where Holland was only on the field for 27% of the snaps, head coach Brian Flores and company got the second-round safety heavily involved in Week 5. Holland was in on a whopping 97% of Miami’s defensive snaps, most of any defender on the team. He made his presence felt in the run game, totaling seven combined tackles. In coverage, Miami gave up some big plays downfield, but Holland is displaying the traits coveted by most teams in a star center-fielder.

Liam Eichenberg, OT (2nd round, 42nd overall): B

Brian Flores must take notes from Dolphins fans on Twitter, right? Fans had been blasting the team for moving Eichenberg from his natural left tackle spot in which he dominated in college to the right side of the line. In Week 5, the team swapped him back over to left tackle, and the results were encouraging.

Per Pro Football Focus, Eichenberg was the second-highest graded rookie offensive tackle in Week 2 (76.0) and had stellar 91.0 run-blocking grade. His 64.1 pass blocking grade leaves a bit to be desired, but it’s a solid improvement following his early-season struggles. Per Joe Schad of the Palm Beach Post, Flores sees this new combination of Eichenberg at left tackle and 2020 first-round pick Austin Jackson at left guard as a potential long-term solution.

Hunter Long, TE (3rd round, 81st overall): N/A

Long was inactive for Week 5.

Larnel Coleman, OT (7th round, 231st overall): N/A

Coleman is currently on Miami’s injured reserve list.

Gerrid Doaks, RB (7th round, 244th overall): N/A

Doaks is currently on Miami’s practice squad.

Trill Williams, DB (Undrafted Free Agent): N/A

Williams has been inactive for all four of Miami’s games this season.

Robert Jones, OL (Undrafted Free Agent): N/A

Jones saw zero snaps in Week 5’s contest.

Follow Justin Hier on Twitter.