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2021 NFL Mock Draft: Todd McShay final first-round projection

NCAA Football: West Virginia vs Virginia Tech Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports

The 2021 NFL Draft kicks off tonight, so today will be filled with people making their final first-round mock drafts of the year. That includes ESPN’s Todd McShay, who released his final 2021 NFL Mock Draft early this morning. How does he see the first round falling for the Miami Dolphins?

Unfortunately for Miami, their presumed top-two targets come off the board prior to their sixth-overall pick. McShay has Florida tight end Kyle Pitts landing with the Atlanta Falcons with the fourth pick, then LSU wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase being selected by the Cincinnati Bengals with the fifth pick. That leaves Miami deciding between the two Alabama wide receivers, Jaylen Waddle or Devonta Smith. With the sixth-overall pick, McShay projects the Dolphins to select Jaylen Waddle.

He explains the pick, writing, “The Dolphins have to give Tua Tagovailoa more to work with, and Waddle is the class’ most elusive playmaker with the ball in his hands. Tagovailoa and Waddle connected for nearly 800 yards in Tuscaloosa, too. A trio of Waddle, Will Fuller V and DeVante Parker is exactly what the second-year QB needs in order to find success.”

McShay gets another shot at adding prospects to the Dolphins with the team’s 18th-overall pick. Here he looks to give Miami a piece to fortify head coach Brian Flores’ defense. McShay projects Miami to use their second pick in the first round on Notre Dame linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah. He says of the pick, “Versatility is the name of the game for Owusu-Koramoah. He can play all over the defense and contribute to multiple areas. Defensive coordinator Josh Boyer could use a dynamic player like Owusu-Koramoah in the middle of his defense.”

A Waddle/Owusu-Koramoah first round could be a great one for Miami. Ideally, if both Pitts and Chase are selected prior to Miami’s pick, the Dolphins are fielding phone calls for a trade back, but if they cannot find a deal, Waddle gives the team the flexibility to play him in the slot or out wide, using his speed as a weapon. Owusu-Koramoah fits well in the amoeba style defense the Dolphins like to use and can blitz, cover, or plug a hole.

This is not a bad first day to the Draft should it unfold like this.