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2021 NFL Mock Draft | Dolphins trade down with Panthers in not one, but two EXPERT mock drafts

Tis the season for NFL mock drafts!

CFP National Championship Presented by AT&T - Ohio State v Alabama Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Now that the Super Bowl is over and Tom Brady has officially won another ring (barf) we can all turn our undivided attention towards the 2021 NFL draft. More specifically, being upset about an expert or analyst's mock draft that we don’t necessarily agree with.

That’s right folks, It is mock draft season.

This means it is time for everyone to fire up their favorite mock draft simulator—PRO FOOTBALL NETWORK and THE DRAFT NETWORK—and become the couch potato general manager we all wish we could be. For others, this is their livelihood.

Regardless of which side of the spectrum you fall on, we can all agree on one thing.

“Mock drafts are like buttholes, and everyone has one.”

Let’s take a look at Todd McShay and Dane Brugler’s latest mock drafts.

Todd McShay ESPN (2/9)

I’m a few days behind on this first mock draft, which is why I cleverly decided to combine the two for optimal effect and maximum effort. The first mock draft is from our good pal Todd McShay from ESPN. Yes, the same Todd McShay that was on his podcast with Mel Kiper and Field Yates and said he believed, truly believed, that Sam Darnold was not only a better quarterback than Tua Tagovailoa but that his trade value was greater too.

Now that I got that off my chest, this mock draft is actually very good.

The Jacksonville Jaguars take Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence first overall. This is expected. But at #2 with the Jets is where most mock drafts differentiate, and this one is no different. New York will ultimately decide how valuable the #3 overall pick is for Chris Grier and the Dolphins.

In this mock draft, however, McShay has the Jets taking BYU QB Zack Wilson.

I, too, think the Jets will go QB, but I still believe that Justin Fields is QB2, despite being hoodwinked by Ohio State quarterbacks in the past. Nevertheless, the Jets get a new QB, and with Penei Sewell still on the board, the Dolphins instead trade down with the Carolina Panthers.

Here’s what McShay says about the trade.

OK, my guy Mel Kiper Jr. waived the no-trade clause on our mocks, so let’s have at it. The Panthers give the Dolphins a call in this scenario, seeing a chance to jump the line to get a quarterback at No. 3. Miami originally acquired this pick via an August 2019 trade with the Texans but now hand over the selection to Carolina in exchange for the No. 8 pick, the Panthers’ second-rounder (No. 39) and a 2022 first-rounder. It’s a great haul for the Dolphins, who just barely missed the playoffs this season and can now build even further around QB Tua Tagovailoa. But it’s also a good price for the Panthers, who need their QB of the future.

Carolina takes North Dakota State QB Trey Lance.....

Moving on.

The plan here had to be for the Dolphins to land DeVonta Smith or Ja’Maar Chase in a trade down at #8. Unfortunately, the Philadelphia Eagles (Chase) and Detroit Lions (Smith) sniped Miami. But there was no need to panic because another playmaking wide receiver still left on the board.

A wide receiver who, like Smith, also has chemistry with Dolphins QB Tua Tagovailoa.

With the 8th pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, the Miami Dolphins select:
Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama

So in our mock trade scenario, Miami picks up an extra first-rounder and a second-rounder and it stillgets an elusive playmaker on offense. Tagovailoa was ranked 35th out of 35 qualified quarterbacks this season in yards per attempt when targeting wide receivers (6.2), and the WR group was No. 30 in the NFL in yards after the catch per reception (3.18). Waddle caught 48 passes from Tagovailoa during their Bama days together, and he’d be a dangerous option opposite DeVante Parker.

This would not only be the first time a school has sent multiple wide receivers to the first round in back-to-back years, it would also be the first time two from the same school have been off the board this quickly. (The previous high was last year, when Alabama’s Henry Ruggs III and Jerry Jeudy were off the board by No. 15.)

I like this pick. And whether it’s a trade down with the Panthers or the Dolphins decide to go Penei Sewell at #3 and trade up for Waddle, his fit in Miami’s offense is perfect. He’s everything the WR room was missing in 2020 and so much more.

With the Dolphins' second first-round draft pick, they select a player that most fans are extremely familiar with.

With the 18th pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, the Miami Dolphins select:
Jaelan Phillips, DE, Miami

Jaelan Phillips, DE, Miami

After getting Tagovailoa a receiver at No. 8, let’s turn our attention to the defense and keep a strength exactly that. Miami had 41 sacks in 2020, tied for 10th in the NFL, but the rich get richer with Phillips, who racked up eight of his own this season. The Dolphins will love his suddenness and length coming around the corner. And looking ahead to 2022, he’d ease a potential loss of Emmanuel Ogbah or Jerome Baker in free agency.

Yes, I would be a little hesitant to draft Phillips based on his extensive history. But no one can deny how talented of a player he is. And when healthy, Phillips has shown that he’s a force to be reckoned with time and time again.

Adding a pass-rusher of Phillips’ caliber to Miami’s ascending defense is unfair.

Dane Brugler ATHLETIC (2/11)

Todd McShay’s mock draft was excellent, but Dan Brugler’s is better.

I think what separates this mock draft from the previous is that the Dolphins are clearly using their war chest of draft picks to move up and down the board accordingly. While I do like Smith more than Waddle, I won’t let that pick push Brugler’s over the edge.

Here’s what Brugler had to say about DeVonta Smith to Miami.

8. Miami Dolphins (via CAR) — DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama

A player the Dolphins will likely consider if they stay at No. 3 overall, Smith is a dynamic playmaker due to his instincts, quickness and ball skills. Reuniting him with Tua Tagovailoa will help the second-year quarterback take another step forward in his development.

Miami would then trade back to #24 with the Pittsburgh Steelers to draft Tulsa's playmaking linebacker.

24. Miami Dolphins (via PIT) — Zaven Collins, LB, Tulsa

In terms of scheme fit, Collins in Brian Flores’ defense is one of the most logical projections in this mock. And the Dolphins are able to trade back (for the second time in this scenario) and still land him here at No. 24 while adding picks later in the draft.

Finally, the Dolphins make a trade with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at #32 to acquire Clemson RB Travis Etienne.

Etienne was my favorite running back prospect a season ago before he chose to return to school for one more season. Nevertheless, I now prefer Najee Harris based on Miami’s current stable of running backs. But if Harris is RB1A, Etienne is RB1B. He is the second-best running back in this class, and if the Dolphins like him enough to move up to #32, no one will question their decision.

(NOTE: Drafting a RB in round one will give the team one more year’s worth of control)

Which mock draft do you like better? Let me know in the comments section below!


Which mock draft do you prefer?

This poll is closed

  • 18%
    Todd McShay
    (180 votes)
  • 81%
    Dane Brugler
    (811 votes)
991 votes total Vote Now