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2021 NFL Mock Draft: Dan Kadar updates Dolphins’ first round

Los Angeles Chargers v Miami Dolphins Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images

It has been about a month since we last check in with our friend Dan Kadar and his weekly 2021 NFL Mock Draft. Back near the end of January, Kadar projected the Miami Dolphins to use the third-overall selection to add LSU wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase, then come back and use the 18th-overall pick on Minnesota wide receiver Rashod Bateman. Does he still think Miami could double-down on the wide out position?

Released earlier today in the Akrom Beacon Journal, Kadar’s latest mock starts right where the actual Draft should start, with the Jacksonville Jaguars selecting Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence. If that is not how the selection process begins in April, shocking would not be enough of an adjective to describe it. The second pick, belonging the to the New York Jets, will likely be a quarterback as well, though there does seem to be some discussion the Jets could stick with Sam Darnold and use this pick to build around him.

Kadar does not see that, having New York add BYU quarterback Zach Wilson.

Then is comes to Miami. With the pick they received from the Houston Texans, Kadar still has them adding Chase. He explains:

Make no mistake, the Dolphins would probably love to trade down from this pick, get more draft capital and still land a much-needed wide receiver. Maybe they can convince a team like the Eagles to jump up.

Regardless, the Dolphins need to come out of the first round with a playmaking wide receiver. Chase is that type of player. In 2019, he averaged 21.2 yards per catch, and is as explosive of a wide receiver as you’ll find. Calling prospects “generational” is overblown. But it’s easy to say that Chase is the best wide receiver prospect in the draft since Sammy Watkins and Mike Evans in 2014.

Chase to the Dolphins seems to be gaining a lot of traction as we head into the middle of mock draft season. There really are only two other options for Miami here, outside of a trade. The Dolphins could simply go best player available and add Oregon’s Penei Sewell, or they could stick to their top need at wide receiver, but choose Alabama’s DeVonta Smith instead.

I think Kadar is right that Miami would love to trade back in the Draft, though they would have to find the right partner to do it. The Philadelphia Eagles at six makes sense, as would the Detroit Lions at seven. The Dolphins would still land a top wide receiver in that position, and they could add more picks this year or next year. The question is, will a team want to get ahead of the Atlanta Falcons, who are picking fourth, to grab a quarterback? Kadar does not think they will have to make that move, as he sees Atlanta sticking it out with Matt Ryan, using their pick to grab Alabama cornerback Patrick Surtain II.

Jumping to Miami’s second first-round pick, Kadar adjusts things for the Dolphins here. Instead of Bateman and a second wide receiver pick, he has the turning their attention to the defense. With the 18th-overall selection, Kadar projects Miami to select Georgia edge rusher Azeez Ojulair. He writes:

The Dolphins badly need a player who can consistently get to the quarterback. Emmanuel Ogbah and Kyle Van Noy are decent, but they need more of a sure thing pass rush threat. Ojulari would be at home [in] a Miami system that would allow him to stand up on the edge and win with his speed.

I do not know what to think about this pick. I cannot argue that (a) Miami could look to add to their edge rusher pool this offseason and (b) Ojulair would not be a great pick here. I just do not know that Miami feels an early round edge rusher is a need this year. If they do pick someone in the first round, it makes sense. If they do not, it is not going to make or break the Draft. Ojulair could be the perfect outside linebacker Miami needs to allow their high-powered secondary to dominate.

What do you think of a Chase-Ojulair first round for the Dolphins?