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I've accumulated about 13 "expert" grades for you to go over. The lowest grade was a B and the highest was an A. So, take these grades for what they are worth and it's to give us hope that maybe we are finally in good hands and may have something to finally be proud of since the 70s and 80s teams. Keep in mind that it is a proven opinion that you really do not know how successful a draft is until the third season, but I would still get excited for the future.Most analysts felt we "hit it out of the park".

As Phinfever blog writer, Rich Rodriguez, said this week ...

It's funny, these experts are usually giving us a C and the fans are super-excited. This year it seems the other other way around.

 

"The Dolphins addressed needs and provided playmakers for Tua. They got four 1st round quality guys in this draft" - Generic Draft Analyst

 

"The Dolphins didn't do exactly what I thought they should have done. Grier will be fired by the end of the year!!!" - Generic Dolphins Fan

 

As always, you can find all this information along with our draft picks and free agent acquisition on our Phinfever Draft Central page.

 

DRAFT GRADES

ESPN+ (Mel Kiper)

Draft Grade: A-
top needs: DE, WR, OLB

The Dolphins came into this draft with an extra first- and-second-round pick (added a valuable 2023 first-rounder) and had clear needs to fill. They had to get some receiving help for Tua Tagovailoa. They needed a young, talented pass-rusher to put into their edge-rushing rotation. And if they are going to move Robert Hunt to guard full-time, they had to draft a potential starter at offensive tackle.

That's why I like what general manager Chris Grier did. Tagovailoa struggled as a rookie last season, but there should be no way he averages 6.3 yards per attempt again in 2021. The addition of No. 5 overall pick Jaylen Waddle (and free-agent signing Will Fuller V) means he now has multiple playmakers to run after the catch and to target on deep balls. Waddle was the fifth-ranked player on my board. Jaelan Phillips (18) is a silky-smooth edge rusher with the physical traits to average 10 sacks per season. As I wrote Thursday night, he likely would have been a top-10 pick if he didn't have an injury history.

I really liked their Day 2 haul as well. Jevon Holland (36) will compete to start at free safety. Liam Eichenberg (42) has a good chance to be their Day 1 right tackle in place of Hunt; he was a three-year starter at left tackle for Notre Dame. Tight end Hunter Long (81) is an awesome player who will compete as a blocker and catch a few passes up the seam. He's one of my favorites in this class, and he's a nice complement for Mike Gesicki, who had 703 receiving yards last season.

Grier didn't have any picks in Rounds 4, 5 or 6, but seventh-round pick Larnel Coleman (231) has a chance to stick on the team as a swing tackle. I thought he might go in Round 5.

Looking at this roster, I don't think it's far away from being a Super Bowl contender, and the Dolphins hit their major needs. The other major bonus is that they ended up moving down three spots from No. 3 after some maneuvering and picked up that 2023 first-round pick. This is a stellar class overall, and the AFC East is going to be a fun race in 2021

 

Sporting News (TSN)
Grade: A

Draft picks: Alabama WR Jaylen Waddle, Miami EDGE Jaelan Phillips, Notre Dame OT Liam Eichenberg, Boston College TE Hunter Long, UMass OT Larnel Coelman, Cincinnati RB Gerrid Doaks

This was another great draft for Brian Flores and GM Chris Grier. Waddle keeps improving the big-play potential Around Tua Tagovailoa and Eichenberg should be his new starting right tackle. Long will help as a run blocker and additional receiver. Phillips will thrill Flores rushing the passer from several places in his front seven. Despite limited overall quantity, the quality was hard to beat with most key needs met.

 

Next Gen Stats

 

ESPN+ (Todd McShay)

I'm not sure there was a tougher team to pick a favorite for than the Dolphins. As I mentioned above, Miami's first five picks over the course of three rounds were all guys who I had ranked in my top 60. It was a masterful Thursday and Friday for general manager Chris Grier. But ultimately, I went with the Dolphins' first pick. I love DeVonta Smith, but if you are good with Waddle's medical reports, then Waddle has every bit of an argument as the better receiver in terms of NFL potential.

Waddle is the most elusive player in the class, with the lateral movement, explosion and vision to chew up turf after the catch and the deep-ball tracking and elite speed to make vertical plays downfield. Those are two areas where Dolphins QB Tua Tagovailoa excels. Tagovailoa likes to distribute the ball out of run-pass options and quick-game throws, but he also has the touch to hit deep. And I expect this duo to dominate in those areas. Need proof? Turn on the 2018-19 tape from Alabama, when Tagovailoa and Waddle connected for 48 catches, 798 yards and seven scores -- including 15 completions for at least 20 yards.

Miami edge rusher Jaelan Phillips and Boston College tight end Hunter Long also were under consideration. Phillips has a lot of power, long arms and versatility, while Long makes a ton of contested catches. I think Long could end up being a steal in Round 3; he is a complete player who has great hands and is tough after the catch.

 

CBS Sports (Pete Prisco)
Draft Grade: A

Best pick: First-round receiver Jaylen Waddle will give them a Tyreek Hill-type of threat in the passing game. He was their guy as the top receiver on their board, and they got him.

Worst pick: I like second-round safety Jevon Holland, but I would have gone with Trevon Moehrig in that spot. Again, that's nitpicking.

The skinny: I love their draft. Chris Grier did a great job, starting with Waddle and adding a lot of quality players after that. The key will be how well edge Jaelen Phillips, their second first-round pick, shows up in the pass rush. Getting a right tackle in Liam Eichenberg was big, too.

 

Chris Simms
Draft grade: Killed it.

Unreal draft for the Dolphins. Waddle, Phillips, Holland, and now Liam Eichenberg. Four surefire big time contributors, each of them can help right now. The Dolphins are incredible with their team building. Grier and Flores continue to crush it. Holland is a heat seeking missile safety.*

 

FMIA (Peter King)

Miami picked four scouts’ darlings in the first three rounds: wideout Jaylen Waddle (six), edge-rusher Jaelan Phillips (18), tackle Liam Eichenberg (42) and tight end Hunter Long (81). If Tua can play, this team’s going to be dangerous.

 

Pro Football Focus
Draft Grade: B+

Day 1: Like the Bengals, the Dolphins reunite their starting quarterback with a former wide receiver teammate. Jaylen Waddle arrives in Miami with experience catching passes from Tua Tagovailoa. He is an explosive play waiting to happen, whether it’s on a bubble screen or a post route. He is the elite burner receiver of the entire draft class and rounds out the Dolphins’ receiving corps.

Jaelan Phillips boasts the best production of any edge rusher in this class, and if medical concerns weren’t a factor, he could have come off the board much earlier. He recorded 42 quarterback pressures on 542 snaps last season for Miami but has already had to walk away from the game once due to concussion issues. As a result, he has less than 1,000 career college snaps to his name. There are concerns, but Miami is playing with house money with all of their draft capital and can afford to take that kind of gamble.

Day 2: Miami makes Jevon Holland the first safety off the board, shocking many who had TCU’s Trevon Moehrig projected as a sure-fire first-rounder. Holland, who can also play cornerback, was an excellent coverage player for Oregon over two high-level seasons of play. Miami needs help at safety after stacking their cornerback depth chart over the past year, and this goes a long way toward achieving that.

One of the top tackles in the country, Liam Eichenberg might not be quite as spectacular a prospect as some of the other players at his position, but he improved significantly in PFF grade every season of his college career, culminating in an 89.9 overall mark in 2020. Eichenberg didn’t surrender a sack in either of the past two seasons, and he gives the Dolphins some real competition at a position they’ve already invested significantly in without seeing clear and certain results yet.

Even with Mike Gesicki on the roster, Long fills the need for a true inline tight end. He was a volume target at Boston College — head and shoulders the best receiving option for the Eagles over the last couple of seasons. He does a lot of different things at a very good level and can help in a few different roles, he just might not have the requisite athleticism to be a difference-maker.

 

David Jeremiah

 

Yahoo Sports (Eric Edholm)
Grade: B

The Dolphins’ 2020 draft had a safe feel to it. They went for fit and reached on a few picks. There were very few trades once the draft process was in motion. In 2021, however, Miami got aggressive up high. The Waddle and Phillips picks are swings for the fences. Phillips, in particular, carries big risk, but we get the upside if his character and medical evaluations were thoroughly vetted. Day 2 was more passive, and the picks were more conservative. Overall, Miami filled holes but might have left a few shells in the chamber in not grabbing one of the top four or five running backs.

 

USA Today (Nate Davis)
Grade: B

Did they get too cute with their circuitous route from No. 3 to No. 6? TBD. But this much is sure: Despite a sensible near-term commitment to help second-year QB Tua Tagovailoa, neither Pitts nor Chase is walking through that door. It will be a moot point if WR Jaylen Waddle, a teammate of Tagovailoa's at Alabama, becomes the second coming of Tyreek Hill, to whom he's been compared. And, collectively, first-round DE Jaelan Phillips, second-round S Jevon Holland and OT Liam Eichenberg and third-round TE Hunter Long could form a strong class. But the Fins' future considerations could have a hard time compensating for the immediate opportunity cost.

 

The Draft Network
Grade: A

Jaylen Waddle, Jaelan Phillips, Jevon Holland, and Liam Eichenberg were all top-five players at their position, with Phillips as EDGE1, Waddle as WR2, Holland as SAF2, and Eichenberg as OT5. This was a great draft for the ‘Phins.

 

Sports Illustrated (Conor Orr)
Grade: A-

There were few of us out there who missed badly on projecting Miami’s first round based on their most glaring needs. Trading back into the top 10 almost locked them into a top wide receiver. Keeping the 18th pick almost guaranteed them an edge rusher. They did not disappoint. This will be a formative draft for Chris Grier and Brian Flores, who have already transformed the Dolphins into a relevant division power player but now have to shift the gear into a team dripping with playmaking talent good enough to consistently compete with Buffalo and New England. Their picks reflected as much; a mix of top-end skill and speed, with high risk-reward potential (Jaylen Waddle and Jaelan Phillips) and a handful of safer bets that should be able to contribute right away. Liam Eichenberg and Hunter Long will not be as frequently discussed but could serve as foundational blocks that, if they play up to their potential, will go a long way toward rounding out the operation. While much of the success of this team hangs in the balance of Tua Tagovailoa’s left arm, there is little else Miami could have done.

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