We are pretty far away from the 2022 NFL Draft, but like all teams, the Dolphins have plenty of holes to fill next off-season. As they do own the San Francisco 49ers first-round pick (projected 18-25 pick) and not their own, the Dolphins should still more importunately continue to build around their rising franchise quarterback.
March 26, 2021: The Miami Dolphins trade the third-overall pick (VIA HOU) to the San Francisco 49ers in return for the twelfth-overall pick, a first and third in 2022, and another first in 2023.
Minutes Later: The Miami Dolphins send the twelfth-overall pick (VIA SF) and a fourth-round pick (pick 123) to the Philadelphia Eagles in return for the sixth-overall pick and a fifth-round pick (pick 156).
Chris Olave: WR, Ohio State
Using another first-round selection on a wide receiver in back to back drafts would be very exciting for Dolphins fans…especially for Tua. While Miami’s goal in the 2021 off-season was to “revamp” the offense, it certainly hasn’t worked. They gave Houston’s top playmaker in 2020, Will Fuller $10M for 1 season. Fuller has only played 1.5 games, recording 4 catches for 26 yards after breaking his finger in week 3 vs the Colts. Their former first-round selection, DeVante Parker has always dealt with many injuries throughout the season, missing 7 games which is so far half of the season (Dolphins would save $6.25M in cap space if they released Parker after June 1 of 2022). It is very hard to see Parker stay healthy for a whole season, as he’s only played a full 16 games once in his career. Miami should take all the money they can from the soon to be 29 year old and bring more speed and youth to this offense, such as Chris Olave.
Chris Olave is no doubt one of the best receivers of this draft class. Standing at 6,1 and 189 pounds, the Senior Buckeye is having a career year, so far totaling 65 receptions for 943 yards and 13 touchdowns.
Strengths: One of his biggest green lights is his athletic ability, which makes him one of the perfect targets for the Miami Dolphins (Olave was a sprinter in high school). Olave comes with great speed, explosiveness, seperation, smooth movement, and footwork. He has such an advantage at the line of scrimmage with his footwork, has it allows him to create a big gap between him and the defensive back. Another strength of his is awareness, knowing where he is at all times and finding the soft spots of opposing defenses.
Weaknesses: For weaknesses in Olave, there really isn’t any. For some, it might be his measurables. Olave is a bit bigger than current Dolphins receiver Jaylen Waddle, so that doesn’t really affect me. The only thing that somewhat stands out is his physicality, such as contested catches and downfield blocking. If Olave can improve this trait, he certainly can become the best receiver of this class. Olave and Waddle are somewhat similar in playstyle and traits.
Overall: The Dolphins need a legit outside receiver that can stay on the field. Top boundary receivers DeVante Parker and Will Fuller have not provided that. The Dolphins made a statement in the 2021 off-season that they were going to “improve” the offense, but that certainly has not turned out nicely. With the additions of Jaylen Waddle and Will Fuller, fans were shown that they want speed. They want to build around Tua’s strengths and playstyle, which is the RPO/quick game. Olave would certainly provide that for the Dolphins, as he reportedly ran a 4.38 40. I believe that the Dolphins should move on from their top receivers in DeVante Parker and Will Fuller to acquire one of the markets top receivers, such as Davante Adams or Chris Godwin to pair with a playmaker from the draft such as Chris Olave. The Dolphins are projected to have the most cap space in 2022 at about $77.5M, owner Stephen Ross is known for being a baller and giving out signing bonuses that players cannot pass on (Ndamukong Suh, Byron Jones). Olave is currently projected to be a top-15 pick, so Miami would have to either trade up if all goes well for him at the combine or hope and pray that San Francisco starts losing, as that’s the only pick Miami owns in 2022.
Draft Projection: Top-15 pick
Pro Comparison(s): Tyler Lockett, Keenan Allen
Jordan Davis: DL, Georgia
Jordan Davis is probably my favorite player of this class, mainly because of his size which is a very elite trait of his. Standing at 6-6, 340, Jordan Davis is certainly a gem of this draft class, and could easily become a havoc for NFL offenses in the future.
Strengths: The biggest strength of Davis’s is his frame. Not everyday can you find a 6-6 340 pound man in today’s NFL. With his massive frame, teams offensive lines would have to start scheming out double-teams for him, which would then create other holes in the line for others. “If there’s two on me, somebody’s free”, Davis once stated. Teams that free up their linebackers (Miami) should be all over a prospect like Davis, making him the perfect fit for these type of teams. His frame would also force quarterbacks to rush their progressions and throws if he’s in their faces, this mainly goes for the typical pocket passers of today’s league (Mac Jones, Tom Brady, Ben Roethlisberger, etc). Davis also moves pretty well for his size as he reportedly runs somewhere in the 4.8s. He has a great ability to change direction and stand ground for someone his size. Davis also comes with an excellent amount of strength in both his upper and lower body, more specifically his hands; great hand and technical ability. The last strength would be character, which is what Miami looks for in anyone they bring in. Davis is a team captain of the Georgia Bulldogs, and is reportedly referred to as one of the leaders of their locker room. Davis is also a favorite by the media because he always keeps himself available for questions, especially when others do not want to step up. From a player and character perspective, Jordan Davis is one of the only few players that check all of the boxes for Miami as of now. The Dolphins potentially pairing Jordan Davis with Raekwon Davis (6-6 330) and Christian Wilkins (6-4 315) would just be absolutely ridiculous and a scary sight for NFL defenses (more specifically the AFC East).
“Davis was named first-team USA Today North Carolina All-USA and received first-team All-State honors for basketball”
Weaknesses: Jordan Davis doesn’t provide much of a pass rush ability, as his strength comes against the run game. This could be because of his explosiveness off the snap, he shows a little bit of slowness and lack of explosion. This makes him a two-down player in today’s NFL, which decreases his draft stock a bit (The Dolphins defensive line rotates regardless). Lack of explosion should be an easy fix for NFL teams though, as improvement in this area would seriously improve his game as a player and prospect.
Overall: While the Dolphins don’t really need an interior DL, you can never have enough. If the Dolphins want to compete with physical teams such as the Bills, they need more physical players with big frames upfront (starts with Davis). There’s nothing wrong with being an elusive team, but physicality should be one of the biggest targets when looking upfront. Miami also struggles vs the run, especially against a good offensive line (Patriots, Bills). Aside from Raekwon Davis and a bit of Christian Wilkins, the Dolphins really don’t have a legit mover inside. Having two Davis’s in the middle would be impossible to stop for opposing offenses and probably difficult to scheme out, as both stand at 6-6 and weigh a combined 670 pounds. It would definitely be fun to watch two gigantic human beings devour opposing offenses…if there’s no standout playmakers available (receivers). Davis is projected to go in the middle of the first-round/early in the second.
Draft Projection: Middle/late-first
Pro Comparison: Gilbert Brown
Kenneth Walker III: RB, Michigan State
While he did win the 2021 Doak Walker Award and was whispered in the Heisman talks, Kenneth Walker is definitely the type of back Miami needs. Walker has all of the traits that can lead him to a successful NFL career.
Strengths: While Walker isn’t the biggest back, he sure doesn’t play like it on the field. Walker provides great strength and that “hard nosed” mentality when running with the football. He sheds tackles with ease, making it nearly impossible to tackle him one on one. What makes it even harder to bring Kenneth Walker down is his balance. He changes his rushing angles with no effort while maintaining his speed. He has a great ability to lean into change of direction without losing any movement. Finally, Walker is a very patient runner despite the way he runs. Walker will wait and scan the field before he actually finds a hole, and can easily manipulate secondaries with his elusiveness and shifty cuts. Walker can also provide some juice in the pass game if needed.
Weaknesses: While there isn’t a lot of things Kenneth Walker lacks, there are still some things he can improve on. One of those things could be pass blocking, Walker normally doesn’t take the first guy that goes to him and tends to not “throw his body out there”, in other words goes for the ankles. It would be better to meet him in the middle and square up, but I think just building up his confidence in the pass game should do the trick for him mainly. It surely will question NFL teams as a three-down back. He also isn’t the biggest back at 5-10 210, so NFL defensive fronts won’t be very overwhelmed. Walker also doesn’t have that elite, breakaway speed. While Walker can move, he’ll never break a long one. He can definitely create space, but won’t always get away.
Overall: This is the type of back Miami needs. Despite the most recent successful game for Duke Johnson, he played the Jets. He also hasn’t really clicked anywhere he’s played in the NFL, so no one can say the position is solved. Phillip Lindsay has only played one game as a Dolphin so far and Myles Gaskins usage just keeps diving down into the depths (he’s also an elusive back, not a power back). Miami needs a reliable power back that can consistently get the job done, and I believe that Kenneth Walker has the tools to do that in South Beach. While I did want Najee Harris in the 2021 draft, I am starting to like Jaelan Phillips more and more. I still want Miami to give me an apology gift for breaking my heart for not taking Najee at eighteen by taking Kenneth Walker III in the second round.
Draft Projection: Early/Middle of the second round
Pro Comparison: David Montgomery
Jahan Dotson: WR, Penn State
Jahan Dotson is a pure speedster, reportedly running a 4.33 40 time. Dotson has been absolutely performing with an decent signal caller and has been absolutely consistent in his three years as a Nittany Lion.
Strengths: Jahan Dotson is just a pure athlete, he can do anything. Dotson definitely has the traits to become a three-level threat in today’s NFL. Dotson comes with elite speed, reportedly clocking in a 4.33 40 time. He has great long strider speed in open space and absolutely ridiculous explosiveness. He easily can gain a high level of speed within seconds, and is nearly impossible to catch when the speed gets up there. He also is very excellent in the vertical game (like all speedsters should). He can get up there effortlessly and easily snag down off target passes. He has a great ability to track deep balls down with his eyes and hands, allowing him to properly time the catch and adjust his strides, body, and positioning. Finally, has a great ability to sink his hips to generate displacement and fake out defenders by giving out head nods on double moves, which gives him the ability to succeed vs press coverage (which he does).
Weaknesses: Route running is certainly one of his biggest issues. It necessarily isn’t bad, but something he definitely needs to sharpen up. Dotson tends to round up routes and doesn’t really show that elite stop ability on route breaks. If he can clean this up, he certainly can pose to become an even bigger threat to opposing defenses. The other weakness is his size. He isn’t the biggest player at 5-11 183, but I believe that his athletic ability and elite speed will wash this out in the NFL. So this really shouldn’t be an issue.
Overall: Like I said about Olave, Miami needs a reliable outside receiver that can stay on the field. We saw that Miami wants to build this offense on speed based on the additions of Will Fuller and Jaylen Waddle, so having an outside receiver like Jahan Dotson aside Jaylen Waddle (two guys with elite speed) would be a perfect fit for this Miami team.
Draft Projection: Mid-first/early second
Pro Comparison: Jarvis Landry (not counting in speed), Kadarius Toney
John Metchie III: WR, Alabama
How can you create a list of the best draft prospects for the Miami Dolphins without throwing an Alabama product on the list? Nick Saban and the Miami Dolphins both have a very strong relationship, so Metchie will most likely be the most well known player by the Dolphins front office…especially with his current knee injury.
Strengths: Like all of these other receivers we talked about, the first thing on their lists mentioned is speed. That’s exactly what Metchie brings to the table too. Metchie is a pure speed threat, making it nearly impossible to catch him in the open field. The amount of speed he has also allows him to create a greater amount of separation compared to most, which also helps a lot in his other strength which is route running. Metchie displays strong/quick footwork and great change of direction, which plays an important role in fake outs, which helps out in creating even more separation. Not only is he a downfield threat, but he is also a big threat in the underneath routes, such as the slants and drags. Metchie has also lined up everywhere in the Crimson Tides offense, such as the backfield. He was motioned a lot on fake sweeps, which created variety for the offense and confusion for opposing defenses due to his speed. Metchie can basically do anything. He’d be a great fit in Miami, as they share a very similar offense to the Crimson Tide.
Weaknesses: There isn’t really any stand out weaknesses for Metchie, but of course there’s some. Metchie’s ability to secure the catch in contested situations can use some work, as he didn’t consistently hold onto the ball through contact. Awareness is another one, as there were times where Metchie would bump into defenders or teammates while running his route (mainly in the middle of the field). Those issues could affect his play at the NFL level vs an increased level of press coverage, which he hasn’t really seen a lot of in his three years at the University of Alabama.
Overall: Metchie is a swiss army knife who can provide a high level of speed and reliability for this washed up receiving core. The Crimson Tide product would fit right into the offense, as Miami and Alabama share similar offenses. Metchie would once again team up with Tua Tagovailoa and Jaylen Waddle. We must look very closely at Metchie’s rehab as the combine comes closer.
Draft Projection: Second-round
Pro Comparison: Deebo Samuel
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