The Miami Dolphins are not yet done with making trades in the 2021 NFL Draft. At least, they are not according to ESPN’s Todd McShay. A week after the Dolphins shook up the first round of the Draft by trading back from the third-overall position to the 12th slot, a move made with the assistance of the San Francisco 49ers, then immediately Miami moved that 12th pick to the Philadelphia Eagles for the sixth-overall pick, McShay has Miami moving again in his 2021 NFL Mock Draft 2.0.
This version of his projection includes two rounds, giving Miami four picks to make. He has them making a trade in the first round, but not until their second time on the clock. With their first pick, that sixth selection, he predicts Miami to add Alabama wide receiver DeVonta Smith. He explains the pick, writing. “I love Miami trading out of No. 3, picking up additional draft picks — including a 2023 first-rounder — and still getting one of the players it would have been looking at in its original slot. Will Fuller V is on only a one-year deal, and bringing in Smith to join him and DeVante Parker would give Tua Tagovailoa the weapons he needs in the passing game. Smith is an explosive and savvy route runner, and let’s not forget that he was one of Tagovailoa’s favorite targets in Tuscaloosa.”
Adding Smith makes sense, giving Miami another offensive weapons which which to surround Tagovailoa, especially when it is a former teammate so the learning curve between quarterback and receiver should be smaller.
The Dolphins’ trade fun begins again with their next pick. Instead of waiting until the 18th overall selection, Miami moves up to the 16th pick, sending the Arizona Cardinals “more draft capital” that McShay projects, “could return a third-rounder (No. 81) or perhaps something like a fifth-rounder (No. 156) and a 2022 fourth-rounder for Arizona.” McShay explains Miami’s penchant for trades this year, writing, “But when you have four picks in the first two rounds, you can afford to hop around a bit if there’s a player you’re enamored with.”
With the newly acquired 16th pick, McShay has Miami selecting guard Alijah Vera-Tucker from USC. He explains, “With DeVonta Smith off to help Tua Tagovailoa, we can now look to protection. Vera-Tucker has played tackle, but he’s a better fit at guard in the NFL. Miami took 34 sacks last season, and Tagovailoa was blitzed at the fourth-highest rate in the league (35.3% of his dropbacks).”
This pick surprised me. Miami could use the offensive line help, but selecting a guard here is definitely something new in mock drafts. And was this a trade just to make a trade? McShay has the Raiders adding safety Trevon Moehrig from TCU with the 17th pick, though he does mention Vera-Tucker could be an option. I feel like Miami would sit at 18 and either add Vera-Tucker if he fell to them or look at a player like tackle Christian Darrisaw from Virginia Tech (19th to the Washington Football Team) if they were set on an offensive lineman with this pick. You can make an argument for Florida wide receiver Kadarius Toney (20th to the Chicago Bears) in a double-down of the position, a move which would give them a slot receiver to go with Smith and incumbent DeVante Parker, or Michigan defensive end Kwity Paye (21st to the Indianapolis Colts) in the 18th position as well. Both top-tier running backs, Alabama’s Najee Harris (24th to the Pittsburgh Steelers) and Clemson’s Travis Etienne (23rd to the New York Jets) are on the board here as well.
Moving into round two, the Dolphins are back on the clock with the 36th pick. McShay predicts they would select Oklahoma defensive end Ronnie Perkins. He explains, “After two offensive picks on Day 1, Miami pivots to the other side of the ball here and gets an edge rusher who closes quickly on the quarterback. Perkins had 5.5 sacks and 10.5 tackles for loss in just six games last season.”
Perkins here makes passing on a player like Paye in the first round a little less confusing. The Dolphins need to address the edge rush and Perkins would do that.
McShay has Miami staying on defense for the 50th overall pick, selecting LSU linebacker Jabril Cox. He writes, “After fixating on offense in Round 1, the Dolphins now continue to concentrate on defense. They took an edge rusher at the beginning of Day 2, so linebacker seems like a good fit here. Cox excels in coverage — he has nine career interceptions — and could be a replacement for Kyle Van Noy.”
This could be a great pick if he proves to be a coverage asset for the Dolphins who have struggled to cover tight ends for the past several seasons. Miami could be looking to add a linebacker this year, rounding out a presumed starting group that includes Jerome Baker, Benardrick McKinney, and Andrew Van Ginkel at three of the four spots.
I can understand some of McShay’s reasoning for a Smith, Vera-Tucker, Perkins, Cox first two rounds for Miami, but there are still some questions to be answered.