The Miami Dolphins have made their first five picks in the 2021 NFL Draft. The Draft is three-rounds old, with four more periods of selections to go tomorrow. The draft has included Miami addressing specific needs, while adding some of the top-tier prospects, as well as the team making trades - both before the Draft and during it.
Who is benefiting from the Dolphins’ first three rounds of selections? Whose stock is falling from what has happened the last two days? It is time for some winners and losers from the first three rounds of the 2021 NFL Draft.
Winner: Tua Tagovailoa, quarterback - There can be no bigger winner for the Dolphins than Tagovailoa. First and foremost, all the talk about the Dolphins needing to draft a quarterback to replace the player they selected fifth-overall last year can end now. After that, the Dolphins have given him a speed wide receiver he knows in Jaylen Waddle, who will hopefully open up the passing game as teams respect his ridiculous speed. Then, they traded up in the second round to grab Liam Eichenberg, who will compete for a starting offensive line position - most likely right tackle, but possibly guard - to finally shore up Miami’s pass protection. This was a great two nights for Tagovailoa.
Loser: Bobby McCain/Eric Rowe, safety - The addition of Jevon Williams, along with Brandon Jones last year, gives Miami a safety group that may be too deep to keep both McCain and Rowe. McCain has a $7.1 million cap number this year, but would only be a $740,000 hit in dead money this year if the Dolphins were to cut him post-June 1, according to OverTheCap.com. A $6.4 million cap savings would be helpful this summer. Rowe, meanwhile, is scheduled to have a $6.1 million cap number and would have $525,000 in dread money this year if made a post-June 1 cut, giving Miami $5.5 million in space. They both have grown into their roles as safeties and they are both solid players, but it could just come down to numbers. McCain’s saving grace may be his ability to play in the nickel role, but so can Williams now.
Winner: Myles Gaskin, running back - The presumption heading into the Draft was Miami was looking to come away with one of the top three running backs, Najee Harris, Travis Etienne, or Javonte Williams. They did not seem overly concerned about the position and, as of now, have not made any picks for the spot. That clearly establishes Gaskin as Miami’s top running back. He started seven games last year, appearing in three more, and carried the ball 142 times for 584 yards with three touchdowns. Unless something strange happens between now and the season, this is Gaskin’s job.
Loser: Jakeem Grant, wide receiver - The addition of Waddle hurts Grant’s position on the roster. He falls from being the third- or fourth-option in the receiver group to the fifth one at best, and probably further down when you consider DeVante Parker, Will Fuller V, Waddle, Preston Williams, Albert Wilson, and Allen Hurns. He could make the team as the primary returner if the Dolphins do not want to risk Waddle back there...oh, wait. The Dolphins also selected safety Jevon Holland, who can return. Grant creates $4.1 million in cap space as a post-June 1 release.
Winner: Matt Skura, center - The Dolphins have not added a center yet, which seems to signal they are moving forward with Skura as their starter. It seemed as though they could use the Draft to create competition at the position. They still could look to Michel Deiter to challenge for the starting position, but Skura is a winner for now.
Loser: Zach Wilson, quarterback, New York Jets - Come on, the poor guy has to go play for the Jets. That is enough of a reason for Wilson to be listed here. But, add in Miami’s selection of Jaelan Phillips, and Wilson is going to be seeing the ghosts Sam Darnold left in New Jersey.