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’ll be 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 4 contest against the Indianapolis Colts.
Jaylen Waddle, WR (Round 1, 6th overall): C+
Jaylen Waddle’s frustrating usage continued into Week 4. After flashing during Miami’s first few drives, Waddle was unheard from again through the rest of the contest. His final stat line? Four targets, three receptions, 33 receiving yards, and a 75% snap count. I sound like a broken record at this point, but I’ll say it again: Miami needs to do a better job of getting the ball into Waddle’s hands and giving him space to make plays after the catch. That’s simply not happening right now.
Jaelan Phillips, LB (1st round, 18th overall): A-
It may not have been a “breakout” per say, but this was by far Jaelan Phillips’ best game, and the glimpses of dominance showed. Phillips displayed speed, power, and aggressiveness on nearly every snap. He accumulated six quarterback pressures on just 22 pass-rushing snaps, per Pro Football Focus. On a 41% snap count, Phillips accumulated two total tackles, three quarterback hits, and a half-sack, with the latter coming on a team-up takedown in the Colts backfield. After the game, head coach Brian Flores noted, “I think he’s playing with a lot more confidence. Fast. Aggressive. Better.”
Highest pass rush win % among rookie defenders through four weeks— PFF MIA Dolphins (@PFF_Dolphins) October 5, 2021
1). Micah Parsons - 23.3%
2). Jaelan Phillips - 19.9% pic.twitter.com/ibTkSN34xm
Jevon Holland, S (2nd round, 35th overall): C+
Holland hasn’t shown up quite as much through the last two games as he did in Weeks 1 and 2. He only played on 27% of snaps against the Colts, yielding more playing time to Eric Rowe and Jason McCourty. It’s possible his involvement is going to be game-plan specific for now, as there was very little reason to bench him following a standout start to the season. His playing time will be something to watch out for in Week 5.
Liam Eichenberg, OT (2nd round, 42nd overall): C
Eichenberg held up better in Week 4 than in any game thus far this season, but he was by no means perfect. Per Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald, the rookie mentioned in a press conference that he thinks “Austin [Jackson] is a better left tackle than [he] would be.” Eichenberg was a stellar left tackle for all of his seasons at Notre Dame, and Jackson has struggled mightily at that spot through the start to the season. He also said that he thinks right tackle “will be [his] best position.” For the sake of Tua Tagovailoa’s development, Dolphins fans better hope that he’s right about the latter point.
#Dolphins pass-blocking grades in Week 4: (min 15 snaps)— Ryan Smith (@PFF_RyanSmith) October 4, 2021
* Malcolm Brown - 81.5
* Robert Hunt - 68.4
* Mike Gesicki - 66.3
* Jesse Davis - 66.1
* Greg Mancz - 61.9
* Liam Eichenberg - 56.7
* Austin Jackson - 35.5#INDvsMIA #FinsUp
Hunter Long, TE (3rd round, 81st overall): N/A
Long was inactive for Week 4.
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 4’s contest.