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Miami Dolphins: 4 options with 2021 NFL Draft pick acquired in trade with Texans

Miami Dolphins NFL Draft: Micah Parsons
Dec 28, 2019; Arlington, Texas, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions linebacker Micah Parsons (11) holds up the most outstanding defensive player award after the game against the Memphis Tigers at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

As of right now, the Miami Dolphins would have the No. 3 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft from the Houston Texans. It comes via the Laremy Tunsil blockbuster with the Houston Texans ahead of the 2019 season and with Houston finishing up shop on a disastrous campaign.

While Tunsil has performed well in two years with the Texans (two Pro Bowl appearances), it’s pretty obvious that their trade with the Dolphins has become pretty lopsided in Miami’s direction. If the four-win Texans were to lose Week 17 against the Tennessee Titans, Miami would be locked on with the No. 3 pick. That alone, would have made this trade favorable to the Dolphins.

The initial iteration of the trade helped Miami net cornerback Noah Igbinoghene in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft after a trade with the Green Bay Packers. These Miami Dolphins also boast the Texans’ second-round pick in the 2021 draft. Needless to say, a surprising Dolphins squad now has the draft pick assets to continue its upward trajectory.

The question now becomes what Miami does with the first-round pick it acquired in the above-mentioned trade with the Texans. We take a look at four options below.

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NFL Draft: Miami Dolphins select wide receiver, get Tua Tagovailoa more weapons

Miami Dolphins draft: Is Je'Marr Chase an option with Texans' pick?
Aug 17, 2020; Baton Rouge, Louisiana, United States; LSU Tigers wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase (7) catches the football during practice at Football Operations Center. Mandatory Credit: LSU Athletics/Pool Photo via USA TODAY Network

The injury-prone DeVante Parker has had his moments, including a 1,000-yard season in 2019. Even then, it’s really hard for the Dolphins to rely on someone who continues to deal with nagging injuries. Regardless of your thoughts about Tagovailoa as a potential franchise quarterback for the Miami Dolphins, they need to get more weapons at receiver. With Parker currently sidelined, Jakeem Grant is their top active wide receiver at 373 yards. That’s not going to cut it.

Related: If you’re a fan of the Dolphins, check out #FinUp rumors, rankings, and news here.

If the Dolphins were to stand pat at the top of the first round, there would be three can’t-miss options at receiver from the SEC. LSU’s Ja’Marr Chase is considered by most to be the top receiver in the 2021 NFL Draft. Though, there’s something to be said about going after Heisman finalist DeVonta Smith from Alabama. All he’s done is put up 98 receptions for 1,511 yards and 17 touchdowns in 11 games this season.

NFL Draft: Miami Dolphins trade down, acquire more assets from Laremy Tunsil deal

This would be a New England Patriots-like strategy. The Dolphins already turned the 2020 first-round pick they acquired in the Laremy Tunsil trade into Igbinoghene and guard Solomon Kindley, the latter of whom was selected in the fourth round after a Day 1 trade down with the Green Bay Packers. Could the Miami Dolphins net more assets in a trade down should they land the No. 3 pick?

Related: If you’re a fan of the Dolphins, check out #FinUp rumors, rankings, and news here.

It’s reasonable. Assuming Trevor Lawrence goes first to the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Jets aim to replace Sam Darnold with the second pick, Miami’s third selection would become of utmost value. Whether it’s Zach Wilson (BYU) or Justin Fields (Ohio State) on the board, another quarterback-needy team might be willing to send a huge bounty to South Beach in a move up to the third spot. This puts Dolphins general manager Chris Grier in a great position.

NFL Draft: Miami Dolphins go with best defensive player available

Hurricanes star Gregory Rousseau could remain at home with the Miami Dolphins in the 2021 NFL Draft
Sep 21, 2019; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Miami Hurricanes defensive lineman Gregory Rousseau (15) celebrates by wearing the turnover chain after recovering a fumble in the first quarter of a football game against the Central Michigan Chippewas at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

Part of the reason Miami heads into Week 17 with a 10-5 record and a good shot at earning a playoff appearance is the fact that its defense has yielded the fewest points in the NFL. Xavien Howard leads the NFL with nine interceptions and is playing at a Defensive Player of the Year level. The Dolphins’ defense as a whole has yielded 17 passing touchdowns against 16 interceptions.

However, there’s an argument that the Fins could use an elite-level pass rusher. Linebacker Jerome Baker, not a traditional edge guy, is second on the team with seven sacks thus far this season. Could the Dolphins double down on defense by adding to its already loaded young core? In addition to a top-flight defensive end like Miami’s Gregory Rousseau, it’s possible Penn State linebacker Micah Parsons could be a target in Round 1 for the Miami Dolphins.

NFL Draft: Miami Dolphins shock football world, draft a quarterback

Miami Dolphins NFL Draft: Zach Wilson, QB, BYU
Oct 10, 2020; Provo, UT, USA; BYU quarterback Zach Wilson (1) throws downfield as he warms up during an NCAA college football game against UTSA Saturday, Oct. 10, 2020, in Provo, Utah. Mandatory Credit: Rick Bowmer/Pool Photo-USA TODAY Sports

It’s an open question whether the Dolphins should even be starting rookie No. 5 pick Tua Tagovailoa right now. They are legit playoff contenders. Veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick led the team back to a thrilling win over the Las Vegas Raiders back in Week 16. Through the first eight starts of his NFL career, Tua has put up less than 1,500 passing yards. While he’s thrown 10 touchdowns against two interceptions, there has to be some concern here.

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At the end of the day, I just don’t envision scrapping the Tagovailoa project after less than a full season. Remember, they were targeting him more than a calendar year ahead of the 2020 NFL Draft. That has to count for something here. However shocking it might be, we still can’t discount this possibility should the Miami Dolphins brass fall in love with Justin Fields or Zach Wilson.

Quick Miami Dolphins mock draft (using the Draft Network simulator)

  • First round: Ja’Marr Chase, wide receiver, LSU
  • First round: Trevon Moehrig, safety, TCU
  • Second round: Najee Harris, running back, Alabama
  • Second round: Rondale Moore, wide receiver, Purdue
  • Third round: Baron Browning, linebacker, Ohio State