The Miami Dolphins had five selections in the first three rounds of the 2021 NFL Draft and picked up several more rookies thereafter, meaning the team has young players who are in line to be key contributors. 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 15 win over the New York Jets.
Jaylen Waddle, WR (Round 1, 6th overall): N/A
Waddle (reserve/COVID-19) was inactive for Week 15. He has since been activated to the 53-man roster and should be available for Miami’s Week 16 matchup with the New Orleans Saints.
Jaelan Phillips, LB (1st round, 18th overall): B
Phillips cooled off a bit following a three-game stretch in which he registered six sacks, but he was by no means a non-factor on Sunday. The former Miami Hurricane took the field for 72% of Miami’s defensive snaps and recorded two combined tackles with one of them registering as a tackle for loss. He provided plenty of pressure on rookie quarterback Zach Wilson and drew a critical holding call against Jets offensive tackle Connor McDermott during New York’s comeback attempt with just over 90 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter.
Jevon Holland, S (2nd round, 35th overall): N/A
Holland (reserve/COVID-19) was inactive for Week 15. As of the publishing of this article, he has yet to be activated to the 53-man roster.
Liam Eichenberg, OT (2nd round, 42nd overall): A-
Eichenberg had a near perfect outing against the Jets. He was credited with just one pressure and received a 76.3 overall grade per Pro Football Focus, the highest on Miami’s offensive line. Eichenberg also helped anchor one of Miami’s best rushing performances of the season, as many of the team’s most impressive runs came behind the left side of the offensive line where the former Notre Dame standout plays.
Hunter Long, TE (3rd round, 81st overall): D-
With Adam Shaheen still out, Long was active for the third consecutive week as the team’s third tight end. He was in on 23 snaps (32%) and was targeted once. That one target resulted in Tua Tagovailoa throwing an interception that was returned by the Jets for a touchdown, and though blame for the play should certainly be placed on Tua’s shoulders, Long could have done a better job attempting to break up the pass. Long was also called for holding on two occasions, putting Miami behind the chains on offense.
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 (hamstring) was inactive for Week 15.
Robert Jones, OL (Undrafted Free Agent): N/A
Jones checked into the game for 10 offensive snaps when the Dolphins deployed heavy packages, particularly near the goal line. The sample size wasn’t enough to give him a full grade here, but Jones impressed during the preseason and saw his first action on Sunday since Week 2. Given Miami’s offensive line woes, it would be wise to continue giving the undrafted rookie extra looks.
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