A Miami Dolphins mock draft is always a fun exercise, because with four picks in the top 50 of the 2021 NFL Draft, general manager Chris Grier really has the means to build a juggernaut in the AFC East.
After years of staring up at New England in the standings, it’ll take a strong rookie class for Miami to continue competing with the Buffalo Bills and the reloaded Patriots in 2021 and beyond. Thanks to the Dolphins’ savvy trades with the San Francisco 49ers and Philadelphia Eagles, they’re set up well for the next several years to come.
Fresh off a 10-win season with a promising young quarterback to build around in Tua Tagovailoa, the ‘Fins are in as enviable of a position as any team in the NFL entering draft day — provided Tagovailoa is who Miami thinks he is.
With the Dolphins committed to Tagovailoa at least for this coming season, let’s take a look at an updated seven-round mock draft, using The Draft Network as our simulator.
Miami Dolphins mock draft: High picks yield massive haul
- First round, 6th pick: Ja’Marr Chase, WR, LSU
- First round, 18th pick: Kwity Paye, EDGE, Michigan
- Second round, 36th pick: Javonte Williams, RB, North Carolina
- Second round, 50th pick: Nick Bolton, LB, Missouri
- Third round, 81st pick: Israel Mukuamu CB, South Carolina
Ja’Marr Chase lit the college football world on fire in 2019 as a national champion at LSU. Combining with Joe Burrow to form one of the nation’s most phenomenal QB-receiver tandems, Chase amassed 84 receptions for 1,780 yards and 20 touchdowns.
With exceptional speed, the capability to run any route and an NFL-ready frame, there’s no telling what the ceiling is for Chase in the pros.
Tagovailoa might prefer it if the Dolphins reunite him with either of his former Alabama teammates in reigning Heisman Trophy winner DeVonta Smith or Jaylen Waddle. Alas, Chase is just a better prospect than either of them, and he was still on the board in this simulation, so he’s the pick.
Just to briefly run down the rest of Miami’s selections: Kwity Paye might have the highest ceiling of any edge defender in this draft. The separation between the first-round prospects isn’t much, and his quick-twitch athleticism at 272 pounds is eye-opening. Dolphins head coach Brian Flores could find ways to unleash Paye and help him realize his immense potential.
Miami could use a featured back to balance out its offense and take some pressure off Tagovailoa. Enter Javonte Williams, who scored 22 touchdowns for North Carolina in 2020 and created many yards for himself, per Pro Football Focus:
Considering the stages of the draft at which Miami gets Nick Bolton and Israel Mukuamu in this mock scenario, you’d have to think Grier and the personnel department would be doing happy dances in the war room if it shook out this way. Both players have incredible traits to work with.
Bolton is more about intangibles, as he lacks elite speed and quick-twitch athleticism compared to some of the other top prospects at his position. Nevertheless, he’s a phenomenal run defender, always finds himself around the football and has two years of excellent production in the SEC. He could well turn into a perennial Pro Bowler under Flores’ guidance, especially with such a talented Dolphins secondary increasing Bolton’s margin for error in the passing game.
Speaking of playing the pass, Mukuamu is a traits-heavy, imposing player at 6-foot-4 and 212 pounds. Most corners aren’t built that way, and even fewer have such a finessed skill set and versatility at Mukuamu’s size. If he winds up being a big hit, Flores could really get creative on the back end, since prized veteran corner Byron Jones also has immense experience as a safety.
Miami Dolphins mock draft: Intriguing Day 3 selections
- Fifth round, 156th pick: Anthony Schwartz, WR, Auburn
- Seventh round, 231st pick: Feleipe Franks, QB, Arkansas
- Seventh round, 258th pick: Tommy Kraemer, iOL, Notre Dame
Since the Dolphins don’t have any sixth-round picks, this section will be short, sweet and to the point. Day 3 of the draft is the time to take swings on prospects who have appealing traits, and oh my, do these men have them in spades.
Schwartz is a sprinting extraordinaire on the track whose full abilities have yet to be realized on the gridiron. Playing in Auburn’s offense didn’t help Schwartz’s NFL Draft stock, yet with the right coaching, he has the upside to be a lethal deep threat. Tagovailoa is extremely accurate on deeper throws when called upon, so taking a flier on Schwartz isn’t a bad idea at all.
Speaking of launching downfield passes, few in the 2021 QB class do it better than Franks. The big knock on the Florida transfer who played at Arkansas last season is that he can’t do much when the play breaks down.
Nevertheless, Franks is an ideal developmental prospect whose arm strength is off the charts. He also ran 4.55-second 40-yard dash at his pro day, so maybe Franks just needs to get a better feel for when to bail and make plays with his legs when nothing’s there in the passing game. In any event, he’s well worth a seventh-round look.