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 6 contest against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Jaylen Waddle, WR (Round 1, 6th overall): A-
Jaylen Waddle was superb in this contest. He was Miami’s clear number one wideout, corralling 10 of 13 targets for 70 yards and two touchdowns. The yards per catch mark leaves a bit to be desired, but if you’ve read this column at all this year, you know that I’ve harped at length about the coaching staff’s frustrating insistence on using Waddle so close to the line of scrimmage, which makes it tough for the uber-talented pass-catcher to provide explosive plays downfield. Still, he routinely makes the first man miss and supplies a juice to Miami’s aerial attack that was sorely missing last season.
Jaelan Phillips, LB (1st round, 18th overall): C
After two weeks of promising pass rush production, Phillips was quieter in this one. There were no sacks or QB hits, but his presence was nonetheless showing up in the backfield. He made two solo tackles defending the run and registered an 82% snap count.
It’s starting to click for Jaelan Phillips.— Omar Kelly (@OmarKelly) October 17, 2021
Jevon Holland, S (2nd round, 35th overall): B+
For the first time this season, Holland played on every single one of Miami’s defensive snaps. It’s clear this coaching staff trusts him to become a leader on defense despite being just six games into his NFL career. You can make the argument that his presence was needed more because Xavien Howard and Byron Jones were absent from this matchup, but two veterans in Jason McCourty (21% snap count) and Eric Rowe (29% snap count) saw their share of plays drastically reduced in favor of the talented rookie. Holland had six total tackles and one pass defense. Miami’s ailing secondary yielded 319 yards to Trevor Lawrence, but Holland’s individual performance was encouraging.
Highest graded #Dolphins vs Jacksonville (min. 25 snaps)— PFF MIA Dolphins (@PFF_Dolphins) October 18, 2021
1️⃣ Tua Tagovailoa - 83.9
2️⃣ Christian Wilkins - 74.8
3️⃣ Jerome Baker - 74.5
4️⃣ Zach Sieler - 74.3
5️⃣ Jevon Holland - 71.9 pic.twitter.com/C4LoOjYsSk
Liam Eichenberg, OT (2nd round, 42nd overall): D
This was a rough outing for Eichenberg. After a strong showing in Week 5 against a fearsome Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive line that saw the rookie second-round pick grade out as Pro Football Focus’ second-highest graded rookie offensive tackle, Eichenberg struggled against Jacksonville. He let up several pressures that forced Tua Tagovailoa into precarious positions, though none ended up as sacks thanks to the quarterback’s pocket presence and evasiveness. Eichenberg’s run-blocking grade (69.9) was significantly higher than his pass-blocking grade (14.7).
The switch the left tackle has helped much-maligned teammate Austin Jackson settle in at his new position at left guard; hopefully Eichenberg can settle in himself as the season progresses.
Hunter Long, TE (3rd round, 81st overall): N/A
Long played on just nine of Miami’s Week 6 snaps.
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 did not record a defensive snap in Week 6.
Robert Jones, OL (Undrafted Free Agent): N/A
Jones did not record an offensive snap in Week 6.
Follow Justin Hier on Twitter.